Make a move with a four-legged friend.

Congratulations on landing your new job! Some exciting times lie ahead as you discover your new city, expand your social networks, and start those new work projects! Of course, before you can begin to this chapter, there is the little matter of moving to your new flat with your fur friend in tow. If you think moving is stressful for us, multiply that ten-fold for our furry companions, who are naturally creatures of habit and for whom change can be highly unsettling. So while it may seem minuscule considering all the elements involved in moving, a little forethought will go a long way in easing your pet’s anxiety and helping them adjust to their new environment. In previous articles, we have given detailed advice regarding moving house with your pet, see for example Moving house with your dog or How to move across the country and not lose your cat. We would like to highlight our top three suggestions for moving with a four-legged friend.

If you are a long time reader of our blog, you likely know our number one tip with anything related to moving is preparation. Like all other parts of a big move, preparation is vital, and all the more so, when it comes to moving with a pet.

1. Determine your moving day plan. Decide whether you will have your pet with you during the packing phase and on moving day or whether you can have a relative or friend pet-sit during that time. Think about your pet’s needs; it is a good idea to have a pet box or bag packed so that once you are moved in, you can quickly settle him/her in to a designated area. Another important point to consider as you prepare to move is preparing your pet for the journey. Ideally this should begin with crate training. If your pet is not accustomed to staying in a crate, it would be wise to start introducing him/her to it gradually. An article by Purina similarly suggests introducing pets to car travel in small increments. If the move involves a long journey, consult with your vet as to whether it is advisable to use a mild sedative or relaxant for the journey. If your pet has a tendency to get carsick reduce the amount of food you give him/her on moving day and if your vet agrees, administer medication for motion sickness before the journey.

2. Provide reassurance. When it comes to settling your pet in to the new home, less is more. It is a well-known fact that animals have more acute senses that we do, so think about your new home and neighbourhood as an explosion of new scents and sounds. While that may seem exciting for some pets, for others it may be quite overwhelming and result in very nervous or anxious behaviour. So try a gradual approach; designate an area or room for your pet and ensure that it has a few of their favourites items (feeding bowl, toys, towel, etc.). Spend time with your pet in that space; playing familiar games, practising tricks and reinforcing positive behaviours. Once your pet seems at ease in that area, continue to introduce him/her other parts of the home gradually. The key is to avoid sensory overload. If venturing outside in the new neighbourhood, try walking your pet on a lead so that they can explore their new environment safely and under your supervision. Establishing your pet’s routine in the new flat would also contribute to him/her feeling at ease. In as much as possible, once you are moved in, stick to your pet’s usual feeding, walking and bathroom times.

3. Make your pet feel at home. You are not the only one who should feel excited about this move, ideally, so should your furry family member! In the weeks before the move, if possible, why not take your pet to visit the new neighbourhood and even the new flat? This would be a great way to get them familiar with the new environment. When you are finally moved in, and your pet has its designated base of operations (eating, sleeping and the like), find fun ways to have your pet explore the new place. If your four-legged friend is a dog, we love the idea of engaging in mentally stimulating activities, like playing hide-and-seek or using treat puzzles. The more fun you have in the new environment, the quicker your pet will adjust and start feeling at home. From our viewpoint, the sooner your pet feels comfortable in the new environment, the less you will have to deal with negative behaviours, and the more time you will have to focus on settling yourself in. So basically, everybody wins! There are many other tips available online to help pets adjust to a new environment, see one example here.

All things considered, if you feel that your four-legged friend needs a bit more of your attention to adjust to the new environment, we would be happy to help you unpack. With years of experience in removal services and a wide range of packing and cleaning services, a sterling reputation in York, and hundreds of satisfied customers, let us help you get settled in and on to creating new memories in your new home with your furry friend. Feel free to contact us for your quote today. We’ll be pleased to chat with you.

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