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Our advice for moving home with pets

Moving home is one of the most stressful things you can do and while it is ultimately worthwhile- a change is as good as a holiday - it is not just a mentally draining process for humans with our animal family members also going through a bit of an ordeal with the upheaval.

Dogs, and especially cats, have a tendency to not react well to change and upheaval and it can be quite traumatic for them to leave a place that they have come to think of as home – don’t forget that they have no idea that relocating is about to happen. So it is worth putting some extra consideration into what to do with them while you are packing and when the actual moving process is underway.

The easiest thing to do is to take your furry friend out of the situation by having them stay elsewhere but many won’t be keen to part with them even for a short amount of time. This may not even be possible if you have an animal that does not respond well to separation and if that is the case, there are still some things you can do to keep their stress levels down as much as possible.

A good rule of thumb is to give them a room in the home you are leaving that will be largely calm. Maybe it’s an office or one of the smaller rooms of the house. Pop them in here with their food, water and a bunch of their favourite toys and make them and their belongings one of the last things to be taken out. This keeps them in a calming environment and keeps the amount of time they will be caught up in the madness of a move to a minimum.

If you have more than one, then do try and keep them together when you are on the move. You will be driving or busy the entire time and they won’t have anyone else to distract them, - so if you only have the one, make sure you take the time to give them some attention and reassurance especially while making your way from your old home to your new one.

But just because you have arrived at your new home does not mean that your animals will settle in instantly and they will need some help. Dogs should be fine with their toys around and a lot of dogs will be too caught up in the excitement of what is happening to be too worried. But cats rely on scent so try and place things around the house that has the sort of smells they are used to, so they realise that this is their new abode. And try to make sure that one of the first things to be put in place are the beds for the animals – it’s their safe space and they may just need it now more than ever.

Now it’s just a case of letting them acclimatise and it is always worth keeping cats indoors for a few days until it’s settled in that they are somewhere new, and they won’t be going back to their old home.

Other than that, you will just need patience. Don’t worry if you notice changes in their personality or they seem distant or reserved, they will soon realise that they are home, and it rarely takes them long to start marking their territory.