Moving Home With Your Four-Legged Friends…
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Moving Home With Your Four-Legged Friends…

It’s National Pet Month until May 10, promoting responsible pet ownership.

Here at Anwyl Homes we know that many of our customers are pet owners. We love hearing all about your four-legged friends when you’re choosing your new homes – and we know how important it is to you to take their needs into account.

With the current Coronavirus situation potentially leaving you with more time on your hands to plan your move, a big part of that will be making sure your pets are as ready for moving day as you are.

We spoke to dog behaviourist Jenny Thomson, who runs Cheshire-based Padders Dog Training, for her top tips.  (Facebook: @PaddersDogTraining).

Before the move…

  • Stay calm and stick to your pet’s daily routine, walk*, feed, groom and play as normal. Giving your pet too many cuddles or changes in their routine can bring on behavioural changes.
  • If your pet is particularly nervous or anxious, talk to your vet beforehand as it may be good to start the use of pheromones sprays or diffusers. If they have a medical condition your vet may know a veterinary practice in the area that you are moving to that specialises in your pet’s condition.
  • Ring up the new practice, register with them and check if there are any ongoing health issues in the area that may affect your pet. Remember all pets should be vaccinated.
  • All pets need their own space to settle down, peacefully. Start to get them used to using a dog crate or cat box, or even just to stay behind a safety gate; also, to travel in a car with a harness.
  • If you have a dog or cat flap but your new homes doesn’t, it’s a good idea to start blocking it now. Try hanging a bell on it so when your pet knocks it you can take them straight out through the door.
  • Declutter your house gradually but try not to get suitcases out until as late as possible as these may trigger stress if you have used them before going on holiday.
  • If possible, allocate one room that will become your pet’s room with their beds, toys etc, even if it’s your lounge. This will have their smell in there and will be the last room you pack on the day you move.
  • If you are moving locally and your pet can walk out on a lead, take them to the area as part of your daily exercise. They can start to familiarise themselves with the new environment.
  • Sometimes it’s better to find a friend or boarding establishment to leave your pet with for a few days before, during and immediately after your move, so that you can then have time to help your pet adjust to their new surroundings once you have unpacked the basics.

*  Be sure to follow any government guidelines that may still be in place.

Moving day …

  • Feed your pet a light meal only, you don’t want them to be travel sick on the journey.
  • Attach your new identity tag to your pet’s collar and leave the old one on for a few days too.
  • Pack a bag with the essentials you need for your pet and place by your side in the vehicle, eg. lead, bags, disinfectant and cloths, towel, water and bowl. If it’s a long journey, then food may be needed.
  • If your pet is going to a friend’s take them early before the removal men arrive; otherwise place them securely in the room they are used to, in a crate, cat box or behind a gate. Designate one family member to be responsible for your pet.
  • The pet’s bedding, toys and food should be the last things to be boxed and clearly marked, as this is the first thing you’ll need to unpack when you arrive.
  • Leave your forwarding address and telephone number for the new owners just in case your pet should escape and return back to their original home.
  • Remember the length of your journey, let pets relieve themselves before setting off and it may be wise to stop for a toilet break on route. Remember, the Highway Code says dogs and other animals must be restrained in a vehicle, using a harness, pet carrier or crate; not left loose in the boot or on someone’s lap. Failure to comply could result in a fine for careless driving.
  • When you arrive let the designated person take the pet to relieve themselves and then place them again in a secure crate, cat box or a room with a gate across. Place the box with their bed, toys, water bowl, etc in there straight away, together with a few cushions, coats, etc, you may have which carry your scent from the previous house.
  • Have the designated person to check out the property boundaries and identify any ways a dog could escape, eg. a gap beneath a gate.
  • Once the removal people have left take your pet outside, ideally on a lead or line, to explore the garden. It will help to reassure them. If your garden is not secure don’t leave them unattended.
  • Feed as normal, they may be hungry as they only had a light breakfast, if they don’t eat the food straight away don’t worry, there is probably too much for them to take in and explore.

Next few days …

  • Remember to get in touch with the Microchip company (your vet will be able to advise you) and change your address over to the new one.
  • Remove your old identity tag off the collar and just leave on the new disc.
  • Talk to your neighbours, they may not be used to a dog barking next door or let them know you have a cat that may be finding its feet. If the barking is a problem you can reassure them that it won’t be a long-term problem. Your dog is just getting used to its new surroundings and noise.
  • A cat usually takes between one and five days to get used to its surroundings, with dogs it varies; some settle well and others may become slightly depressed, sleeping more, not wanting to interact with the family or go out. Fouling in the house can also be a problem but keep calm and reassure your pet by being positive in things that you do. If you have any behavioural problems that persist then contact your veterinary practice for details of an animal behaviourist.
  • With rabbits and guinea pigs that live outdoors, it is a good idea to speak to neighbours in case they have had any previous problems with foxes in the area. If so you may have to strengthen the mesh on the runs.
  • If you are fetching your pet back from the boarders or friends remember it is still all new to them, introduce them gradually following the same guidelines as above.

For more about National Pet Month see: https://www.nationalpetmonth.org.uk/