Published: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Moving to a new environment can be extremely stressful for your pets. Burns Nutritionist Fiona is just about to move house, so she's here to share a few things you can try to make the move go as smoothly as possible.
We have been lucky enough not to need to rush out of the current house into our new home. This has allowed me to plug in a couple of Adaptil® diffusers in the new home to help the dogs when we arrive. Adaptil® diffusers release chemicals called pheromones (which humans cannot detect). The specific pheromone they release is the dog appeasing pheromone which is also released by a bitch after giving birth. It helps the puppies to feel safe and secure and the diffuser should help to do the same thing for your dog when you move. Studies have shown them to be very effective and many rescue centres use either the diffusers or collars to ease stress.
There are also diffusers available for cats called Feliway®. These work in a similar way and release copies of the feline facial pheromone (which cats release when they rub their face on things) helping to reassure your cat. We have a very laid back, relaxed cat who has moved several times with me so I have decided it is not necessary for her, whereas one of the dogs gets very upset with a change in routine.
As we are moving only a few miles away, I have also been to the house several times with the dogs just so they can become familiar with it before we move permanently. They have had their dinner there and some very tasty treats (which they don’t normally get) so they associate the new home with really good things. On our visits there we have left dog beds and old dog towels (unwashed) so that it smells familiar for them.
If your dog gets easily upset with a change in routine another possible way of avoiding stress is to ask a friend or relative to look after them or put them into boarding kennels (if this is less stressful for them). This way you can pack up and move without them becoming concerned with what you are doing.
Once you are at the new home, make sure the garden is secure and safe before allowing your dog out. A collar and tag is a legal requirement when your dog is out and about in public; if he/she does not normally wear one at home it is worth considering in case of escape. Microchipping your pet is recommended - it's a legal requirement in Wales to microchip your dog.
Try to move your dog or cat last so that they are not in the house whilst you are bringing in furniture or boxes. Not only is this stressful, open doors could lead to them escaping. If this is not possible, keep them locked in a secure room with their favourite toys, bed and food until it is safe for them to come out. When removing items from your old home it is also best to keep pets out of harm's way.
Cats should be kept indoors for a couple of weeks after you move to prevent them trying to return to their old home. After the two weeks you may want to go out to the garden with him/her for the first few times, especially if your cat is very timid. Keeping other cats away from your garden initially will also help boost your cat’s confidence.
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