Moving house is not the easiest of tasks and requires a great deal of emphasis on organisational skills as well as the ability to adapt when problems do arise. We all know how tough moving can be, now imagine our four legged friends; the whole moving ordeal can leave them quite confused.
Cats and dogs are most comfortable in a settled environment because they are familiar with their surroundings and see it as their 'territory'. There is a familiarity that they have acquired over the years living in the same space, walking around the same neighbourhood and meeting other pets nearby. When they move away from an environment that they know and trust, dogs and cats may feel anxious, they can feel that they have been separated from their territory and become stressed.
How can I identify whether my pet has anxiety?
When cats or dogs are anxious or stressed they tend to exhibit behavioural changes that are not normally aligned with their personality. Dogs may begin to bark more often, show signs of pacing or panicked behaviour and can even escape. Cats can begin to pull or chew out its fur and begin to groom excessively, they may lose their appetite, begin urinating or defecate where they are not supposed to.
How can I ease my pet into the moving process?
It is best to familiarise your pet with their new environment and neighbourhood where possible, this should be prepared in advance prior to moving day. Taking your dog on regular walks around the new home will certainly give them plenty of opportunities to elevate their senses and make them feel excited when they return. Allow your cat to sniff around and discover their new surroundings, give pets a treat or feed them their favourite meal at the new house can reduce some anxiety.
When moving day eventually arrives, make sure you already have a pet sitter organised, it would be best to have pets in a safe environment away from the hectic move to reduce their stress and to ensure they are not in the way of furniture movers. The last thing you would want is to have your furry friend injured and be taken to the vet on an important moving day.
Once the move has completed, keep an eye on any signs of anxiety or stress from your pet. Help them settle in the new home and try to keep to the regular routine as you would in your old home. Following your usual timetable for meals and walks will make it familiar to your pets. Try not to leave your pets alone for the initial few days and spend some much needed quality time with your pets to assure them the new space they are in is a safe one. After a few days you can try and leave for short trips and give them about 1 - 2 weeks to adjust before progressing to longer trips.
Often a change in environment can be a welcoming one, it can bring excitement but at the same time could be a daunting experience for your pets. Moving to a new home is a task that requires weeks of preparation and considerable amounts of organisation, by taking proactive steps to transition your pet into your new home you can ensure they too can have a stress free moving experience.