Moving house is stressful for the whole family, including your pets. Moving from a safe and familiar environment can be disorientating and can lead to behavioural problems or even your pet going missing.
As well as coping with all of the upheaval during the move, it’ll take weeks for him to get used to a new territory and strange smells in the new house. Although you’ll be very busy with little time, please bear in mind the following to help make it easier and safer for him.
Things to do before the move:
Some dogs may become distressed or anxious during the upheaval of packing, so confine them to a quiet room with some of their familiar belongings, where they can rest and be safe and where you do not have to worry about them.
Leave packing his toys, bedding and other equipment to the last moment so that he is comforted by the presence of his familiar things. Do not wash his bedding until a couple of weeks after the move, so that he will have something familiar smelling in the new house.
Make arrangements for your dog to stay with a friend or relative that he feels comfortable with during the move, as he may be upset by strange people coming into his house to do the removal. He will also be safer; if he stays with you in the house there is a chance he may be able to escape as doors are likely to be left open. You will also be able to concentrate on the stressful business of moving house without the added worry of looking after your dog. If you do not have any friends or family that can look after him then consider booking him into a boarding kennel for the night.
Speak to your vet about obtaining a DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) plug-in device to use before, during and after moving. If you are planning to move a long distance away and your dog suffers from travel sickness or severe anxiety in the car, talk to your vet about ways to make the journey less stressful for him.
Find a new vet in the area you are moving to and register your pets with them, just in case you have an emergency.
Take a photograph of your dog so that you can accurately describe it should it go missing, as well as giving you an up to date image you could use on lost pet posters.
Make sure you get a new collar tag for your dog with your new details written on it. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 advises that any dog in a public place must wear a collar with the name and address (including postcode) of the owner engraved or written on it, or an identification tag. Your telephone number is optional but recommended to ensure fast reunion if your pet strays.
Please think about getting your dog microchipped and registered with an organisation such as Petlog. The Petlog Premium service can even alert local vets and dog wardens when an owner reports where their pet was lost. This can be done by telephone, SMS text message or via the Petlog website. It is advisable to update your records on the day of the move. It is vital to the effectiveness of this service that people keep their records up to date, informing Petlog of any change in circumstances.
Contact Petlog on 0844 4633 999 or visit www.petlog.org.uk
Try to find out about good walking places in advance so that you can get your dog into a new routine as quickly as possible.
If your dog does not travel well try and get it used to travelling in the car in advance.
If your dog suffers from travel sickness do not feed it for 12 hours before travelling.
If your dog is staying with you during the move then confine him to one secure room, so that escape and injury cannot occur to him whilst people are going in and out of the house. Leave him in a quiet area with his familiar unwashed bed and possessions.
Put his new tag on.
Make sure that he is safely secured in the car or vehicle that he is to be transported in to the new house with a dog guard, travel crate or car harness on the back seat. If it is a long journey, make sure that he gets regular toilet and water breaks. Keep your dog in one room while all the furniture and belongings are taken out of the house.
Make sure the car is well ventilated and never leave your dog in a car while you stop for a break on warm/hot days or on very cold days.
In the new home:
Check your boundary fencing to make sure that it is secure, of sufficient height and ‘hole-free’ before letting your dog run free in the garden. If your dog is able to escape then take him out on a lead until you are able to do the necessary improvements.
Try to unpack the essentials before introducing your dog to the new house so that he can see familiar items within the unfamiliar house. If possible place furniture and items in similar places to those in the old house.
Buy a new toy or chew to give to your dog once you arrive in the new house, to keep his mind off things.
Keep your dog in one room with its toys and familiar items, i.e. its bed, while all the furniture and belongings arrive in your new home.
Use the DAP in your new home, particularly in the room that your dog spends most of his time in.
Be patient with your dog in the new home and make allowances for ‘accidents’ on the carpet if they should happen. Don’t make a fuss, don’t punish your dog or draw his attention to
accidents, as this may make the problem worse. Quietly pick up the mess and clean the area
with a biological solution, or special cleaner from the vets or pet shop to properly remove the
smell. Once your dog has settled in they should stop. Always praise him when he goes to toilet in the correct place (i.e. outside!) so that he knows where to go. Essentially if he has an accident, return to puppy type house training till he gets it right again.
Introduce your dog to your neighbours, postman and any other regular callers as soon as you can.
Make sure that you stick to your usual routines, as this will help him to settle – feed and walk him at the usual times. Don’t give him more or less attention than he is used to having from you; this may cause him to become anxious or over dependent on you and lead to behaviour problems.