Moving is one of the most stressful life events and it certainly takes its toll on many people, so imagine how stressful it must be for our pets. But it doesn't need to be that way, there are plenty of things we can do to ensure our moves run as smoothly as possible for both us and our pets.
Pets become very attached to their surroundings and territory so it's important that they are given plenty of support when moving. Here are some of our top tips on a stress-free move for pets.
The do's of moving with pets
In the lead up to the move, make sure you're giving your pet lots of reassurance. They'll probably be feeling quite unsettled at all of the belongings in the house being packed away, and with how busy you are getting everything ready. Make sure you dedicate a few periods throughout the day to play with them and reassure them.
In the few weeks prior to the move, try to keep their routine as consistent as possible. If you usually take them on two walks per day and feed them at specific times, stick to this schedule.
Around a week or so before the move, make sure you get a new ID tag that you'll be able to add to their collar on the day of the move.
Leave all of their toys and belongings out until the day of the move so they have plenty of familiar things around them.
Set aside one room of the house which they can stay in on the day of the move. There will be lots of people around moving boxes and furniture out of the house so ensure that you empty one room and let them stay in there.
If you aren't able to stick to their regular schedule on the big move day, have a friend or family member come over to sit with them and make sure they get their regular walk and feeds.
Leave a spare box which you can pile all of your pet's things into, and keep the box with you so they can have all their things as soon as you arrive at the new house.
When you arrive at the new home, make settling your pet a priority. Only give them access to one room at first. Get out all of their toys and bed and stay with them for half an hour to an hour while they settle in. If they're crate trained, you can put them in the crate after an hour while you go and help unpack.
Once all the movers have gone, you can safely let them explore their new surroundings. Let them have a good sniff around their new home, and then take them for a walk in their new neighborhood.
Once you're all settled in, make sure you update their new details with your pet insurance company, the vet and their microchip details.
Don't place your pet in daycare during the day of the move. Keep them with you so they don't feel abandoned. They will already sense that something huge is going on because of the big build-up in the days prior to the move.
Don't feed your pet just before the car journey to your new house, especially if it's a long one. Your pet will likely already be feeling nervous, even if you've done everything you can to relieve their nerves, so the last thing you want to deal with is your pet getting sick on the way to your brand new home.
Don't give your pet new toys until they're fully settled in. There are already enough new things for them to get used to.
Don't add any extra stress to the house moving period, like grooming or taking a bath. If your furry friend doesn't enjoy these things, wait until after you're all settled in your new home.
When you reach the new house, don't let them explore the back garden until you have checked that it's fully secure.
Don't leave your pet on their own for long periods of time in their new surroundings. If you need to leave them alone on the day of the move, make sure you check up on them every hour.
Don't punish them for any accidents or destructive behaviors that arise from the move. They'll likely feel quite anxious for the first few days in their new home, and might not know where to go, to use the toilet.
Don't wash your animals' bedding for the first couple of weeks in your new home so that they have the familiar smell of their old home.
Don't change the routine which they are used to. Even if you've got lots of boxes to unpack at your new home, take a half an hour break at the time which you would normally take your dog out, for consistency.
When you take them for their first walk, don't take them off-leash. They'll be in an unfamiliar environment and if they run off too far they won't know their surroundings well enough to get back home.
Count on consistency
Moving with a dog can be just as stressful for them as it can be for you, so it's important to follow these simple dos and don'ts to make the move as easy as possible for them.
Always keep his belongings and toys with him, right up until the last minute before you leave your old home behind, in the car with him on the way to your new home and in your new home so that he feels safe and can settle in quickly.
Try to stay as consistent as possible with routines, and avoid any other large lifestyle changes for the first few months. By doing this, you'll ensure that your dog remains happy, and he will be much less likely to regress in any of his training or good habits.
Thomas Woods is the creator of Perfect Dog Breeds, a website he set up to share his knowledge of training and raising dogs. He is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and studied dog welfare and behavior.