Moving home with your pet Keeping your furry friend stress free

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Planning, packing and nervous expectation – moving house is one of the most stressful experiences in life. But, just imagine how confusing this time is for our pets, who cannot understand why all these changes are taking place.

Taking time to carefully plan your pet’s move will ensure the transition is as smooth as possible.

PDSA veterinary surgeon Elaine Pendlebury said: “Worrying about an anxious pet who is struggling to settle into a new environment can really take the shine out of enjoying your new home. “Moving house can be difficult, but by following a few simple tips responsible owners can help their pets feel much more relaxed, which can only help their humans to remain calm and enjoy the experience.”

Elaine said in order to do this it is important to consider your pet’s personalities – nervous, fretful animals who respond badly to strange scents and noises may actually benefit from being kenneled during the move.

If this sounds like your pet’s personality, ensure their vaccinations are up to date prior to the move and give yourself enough time to find a cattery or kennel you like and trust. Knowing your furry friend is being well looked after in a pleasant environment will give you one less thing to worry about during the difficult time.

If boarding does not seem like a suitable solution there are plenty of things you can do to help your pet settle quickly. Elaine said: “Familiar smells and scents play a pivotal role in helping your pet feel safe and relaxed at home. “Taking steps to introduce some of these odours into your new house prior to your four-legged friend’s arrival will help your pet settle more quickly.”

Here are some simple tips follow:
·        Leading up to the day of the move gradually move your pets’ food bowls, toys and beds into one room. This will mean on moving day they should be happy to remain in one secure room for a number of hours. This will help keep them away from accidents, scary people or strange noises and stop them from escaping.
·        Do not feed pets close to travelling time, this could cause travel sickness. Small of their usual food throughout the day will help to keep your pet occupied and be gentler on their tummy if they are feeling anxious.
·        When you arrive at the new house, place some of your pet’s toys and bedding into one room with a piece of clothing that smells of you and spend some time with them to help them settle.
·        Ensure your house is secure before letting them out.  In addition, dogs could be walked around the house on a lead and let into the garden once it has been secured. But cats should be kept indoors for a few weeks to help them become familiar with the house and surrounding area – walking them in the garden using a small harness and lead can also be useful.
·        Your vet can recommend a pheromone diffuser which can help your pet feel more relaxed.  Pheromones are natural scents that are undetectable to humans, but can help keep your pet calm.  Your vet will be able to let you know if this would help your pet.
·        Ensure your pets are microchipped and remember to let the microchip company know about your new address.  Microchipping will greatly increase the chances finding pets should they escape during the move.

For more pet care tips log onto www.pdsa.org.uk/pethealth.