Tails Blog

Moving House with your Pets

Steve Coppell - Sunday, November 07, 2010

Moving house is usually stressful for everyone involved, and that includes your pet. In all the upheaval, imagine what its like for your animal friends, with their normal routine gone and everyone preoccupied with different things. Your pets familiar world, smells, favourite sleeping spots and household objects has changed dramatically, and it may find it hard to cope. Heres how to make the moving experience less stressful for your pets.

General Tips
Keep your pet away from the moving activity by confining it to a room where it will feel safe and cant escape. Tell the movers where your pet is so they dont inadvertently let it out.
Alternatively, put your pet in a boarding kennel or cattery for the duration of the move. Remember to make sure its vaccinations, worming and flea treatments are up to date.
Unpack and get organised before turning your pet loose in your new home. Initially, keep the doors to extra rooms closed and slowly give access to them as it becomes accustomed to its new home.
During the transition from an old home to the new home, pets can sometimes escape or become stressed. Try to remain calm and provide as much routine, comfort and security as you can for them.

Possibly the pet that will take the longest time to adjust is your cat! Its a good idea to have your cat microchipped and registered with New Zealand Companion Animal Register. A lost cat can be scanned for a microchip by any vet or animal rescue organisation and their owners notified.
If your cat is already registered, make sure your contact details are updated with the registry. Organise a new tag for your cats collar with the cats name, the new home phone number and your mobile number so that it is ready for the big move.
Use a sturdy, comfortable pet carrier large enough for your cat to stand up, turn around and lie down in. This will provide a safe, escape proof haven while travelling.
Remove food and water a few hours before you leave as your cat may become nervous and vomit, urinate or deficate when stressed. Take a supply of water from home if you plan to travel a long distance.
When you get to your new home, designate a spare room that you can close off and set up with food, a litter tray, bed and toys.
Once the movers have left and your settled for the evening, let your cat explore the rest of the house, remember to keep external doors and windows shut. Its best to keep your cat indoors for one or two weeks to get used to their new home.
When your cat goes outside for the first time, monitor its progress as it explores its new surroundings.

If possible check out the new property for potential problems ahead of the move. Are the perimeter fences secure enough to stop your dog escaping into an unfamiliar neighbourhood?
If your moving to a new city, cancel your current dog registration and re register with your new council. Make sure your contact details are updated with the microchip registry and organise a new tag with your dogs name, the new home phone number and your mobile number.
Most councils provide directions to off leash parks and beaches. Find out where these are in your new neighbourhood before you move.
Dogs can get car sick too, so dont feed or water your pet a few hours before you leave your old home.
Depending on the size of your dog you may want to use a pet carrier. Choose a sturdy one, that is comfortable and roomy enough for your dog to move around in.
If your traveling a long distance, make frequent stops to water and excercise your dog, and keep it on a leash for its own protection.
If your car doesnt have air conditioning, keep the windows down low enough for air to circulate but high enough to ensure your dog stays in the car.
When you arrive at your new home, designate a secure area/room for your dog while you unpack. Provide water, a bed and some toys.
Your dog will need excercise at some point during the day, so take it for a walk on its leash around the new neighbourhood. At the end of the day, take a walk around the house and garden with the dog at your side, so you can explore your new surroundings together without your pet becoming overwhelmed.