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Moving House? A Pet Perspective

Woof. I’m Bow the Boston Terrier. You may remember me from that video where I’m pretty much the canine version of 007.

No? Well, I’m a lot tougher than my name suggests. I remember the time at my old house where I fought off five great Danes whilst blindfolded. Those were the days! Not that I miss or reserve any sentiment for my old place. Feelings? Me? Ha!

Anyway, I’ve experienced it before. People move house; it happens. I remember leaving one of my previous residences with my human and his other dog, Rex. God, Rex was old… He’s gone now. I can’t help but wonder if his demise was caused by him not coping with the emotional rigours of the house move. Poor thing. Do you know whom I blame? The owners! Don’t get me wrong, moving is one of the more stressful events in life so making special arrangements for your pets may not be at the forefront of your mind. But if it’s not, it certainly should be.

So, here it is. A warning to all of you humans about what to do when you and your furry friends are about to up sticks.

Dogs

Before the move

Stick to their routine where possible

Unlike lazy humans, dogs are busy beings and keep up a specific routine. If you mess this up we might become stressed, annoying and ugly like cats. So, if you usually feed your dog and then walk them at 9am, continue to do it.

Medication for sickness

Consult your vet before travelling with pets. I remember watching Rex in the back of the car being sick, then eating it, then being sick again… and then eating it. It was like being forced to watch a Vine on loop, but to be fair to him, it did smell pretty good.

Keep calm

Dogs pick up on their owners’ moods so if you’re stressed out, chances are your dog will be too. Thankfully I’m not emotionally dependent on my owner because I’m smarter and he’s an absolute wreck. If you think your dog is acting out of the ordinary or seems stressed out, give them a biscuit.

Pack their stuff up last

Dogs are anxious creatures. If they see you packing up their things as well as the rest of your possessions, they’ll start to freak out so leave them until last. Another good way to stop dogs freaking out is by giving them biscuits…. all the time.

Tell them that they’ll be moving too

I don’t need the reassurance but less confident dogs will want to know they’re going wherever the hell you are. Saying things repeatedly, like ‘you’re coming to our new home too’ will transmit through to your dog. Whilst most dogs can’t understand what you’re actually saying, the tone of voice you use to say things will reassure them, so make sure you’re chirpy!

After the move

Surround them with familiar things

– Put the squeaky dog bone here, and the rope toy just over there. This will assure your dog that things are as they should be. Familiar scents will help them accept their new surroundings and will stop them marking their territory or chewing up that new sofa. Additionally, providing them with a whole pack of biscuits will keep them occupied and will stop them from doing the aforementioned – maybe.

Cats

Awful aren’t they? Our neighbour, Cappy the Cat, moved once. I was pleased to see the back of her but she’d returned within a year. Apparently her new neighbourhood didn’t feel like ‘home’. What a pussy… cat! However, I did ask her if there was anything she’d have told her owner prior to the move if she could have. Whilst I wasn’t listening for the most part I did manage to jot down a few notes.

Before the move

Set aside a quiet room during the move

Cats can become scared and disoriented by the hustle and bustle of removal men taking away familiar surroundings. By keeping them confined to a separate room you can help to reduce any potential anxiety.

After the move

Consider using a calming pheromone spray

Or cyanide? (DISCLAIMER: I’m joking, you will kill your cat by using cyanide). Use the pheromone spray instead. The stuff smells nearly as bad as the cologne my owner wore when he took a lady out on that one, lonely occasion, but for cats it’s awesome, apparently.

Keep them inside for 2 weeks once you’ve arrived

It’s best to let your cat acclimatise to their new surroundings before allowing them to leave the house. Because they’re so cold and heartless, they will probably leave if you let them in the garden, as they won’t identify your new property as home.

Feed them before letting them out

Cats are fickle and disloyal and will basically leave you for anyone shaking a pouch of wet cat food at them. If they know they can get it elsewhere, chances are they will!

Fit them with an identity collar

I’d also recommend a tracking device so you’ll be able to locate their whereabouts once they’ve left you for another human.

 

So whilst moving house can be a stressful and traumatic time for you, it’s clear that it’s the same – if not worse – for your pets. That’s why it’s important to plan their move as much as yours. Ensure they settle into their new home as quickly as possible and avoid a situation like Rex’s!