How To Settle Pets Into A New Home
From vet checkups, to plug-in pheromones, the team at The Expert Gate Company have put together their top tips for pet owners making the big move so that everyone can quickly get to enjoying their new home together...
You’ve viewed a new house, fell in love and decided to take the plunge. Moving to a new home is an exciting (yet stressful!) chapter in our lives, but it’s an especially challenging experience for our furry friends. Cats and dogs thrive on routine and familiarity, so introducing them to a new environment requires careful planning and consideration. Here at The Expert Gate Company we’re a team of animal lovers, so we’ve pulled together a comprehensive guide on how to settle both cats and dogs into their new home. From preparations before the move to settling in, we’ll cover all the essential steps.
Preparing Pets For a House Move
Check In With Your Vet
It’s a good idea to visit your vet to ensure your cat, dog or both are in tip-top condition before the move. Be sure to bring up any concerns you have, particularly if they have any health issues to ensure they’re catered for whilst you move homes. It may be that you have to settle them into a cattery or kennel first before bringing them into your new home, particularly if they require special attention.
Before you move, ensure that your pets’ identification tags and microchips are up to date with your new address and contact information. Cats especially can be prone to wandering off after they’ve been let outside again for the first time, so this really is a vital step!
Pack Your Pet’s Essentials
It’s a good idea to prepare a bag with your pets’ essentials, including food, water, toys, bedding, and any necessary medications. This will help you easily access their belongings during the move and in the immediate aftermath. Be sure to include any items they deem comforting, such as blankets, particular objects or toys, as these will have your old home’s scent.
Products like Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs release a specific pheromone that can promote a sense of calm. This can be beneficial when you’re up and about moving items around the house. Pets are sensitive to changes in your environment and are bound to know a big change is coming, so it can’t hurt to have a bit of help from a plug-in pheromone treatment or spray around the house you’re in.
Stick To Your Pet’s Routine
This is incredibly important. Sticking to your current routine such as feeding times, walks, and playtime is essential to ensure pets feel like there aren’t too many changes happening all at once. This sense of normality in your furry friend’s routine will keep them as calm as possible.
The Day Of The Move
Secure Your Pets During The Move
Whether you’re moving by car or hiring a professional moving service, make sure your pets are safely secured in carriers or crates. This will prevent them from escaping or getting injured during transit. If there’s room in the carriers, pop a blanket and a small bowl of food or treats to keep them as comfortable as possible. Be sure to have some water handy and stop at a safe place to give your dog a walk and some water.
Create A Calm Environment
On the day of the move, set up a quiet room in your current home where your pets can stay whilst the moving process is underway. Ensure the room contains their familiar bedding, toys, a litter box for cats, food in their usual food bowls, and a comfortable crate or bed for dogs. This will provide a haven for them amidst the chaos of moving.
Plug In Your Pheromones Again
Yes, we’re repeating this step because we want to ensure your pets are as calm as possible. Pheromone sprays or diffusers designed for pets can also help reduce anxiety during the move and release calming scents that can create a more soothing environment for your pets.
Gradually Allow Pets To Explore
This is particularly true for cats. Allow your cat to explore their new environment gradually. Start by giving them access to one room at a time, gradually expanding their territory as they become more comfortable. Provide vertical spaces, such as cat trees or shelves, for them to feel secure and observe their surroundings. You may notice they hide a lot more often – this is totally normal. Give them room to find their own safe spaces - simply leave food and water out close to where they’re hiding so they can come out in their own time.
Get Your Dog Into A Routine
Dogs, on the other hand, thrive on routine fairly quickly, so try to establish a consistent schedule for feeding, exercise, and bathroom breaks. This will provide a sense of familiarity and help them adjust to the new home more easily. Be sure to take your dog on walks around the neighbourhood to familiarise them with the sights, sounds, and smells of their new surroundings. Gradually introduce them to new parks, trails, and dog-friendly areas to enhance their socialisation.
Provide As Much Reassurance As Possible
Spend quality time with your pets, offering reassurance, affection, and positive reinforcement. This will help them bond with you and associate the new home with positive experiences. If you find they’re shy or seem off, be sure to respect their boundaries, as they may be overstimulated by a new environment.
Be Prepared For “Accidents”
Moving to a new home can be quite stressful, particularly for cats and dogs, and even the most well-behaved ones may have an “accident” as they adjust to their new surroundings and routine.
Instead of scolding them for accidents, gently show them where you would like them to relieve themselves in the future. Remember to reward and praise them when they do it correctly. If needed, you can revisit the toilet training techniques you used in the past to help them get back on track.
Monitor Them Outdoors
If you have a garden in your new home, keep an eye on your pets when they venture outdoors during the initial stages of settling in. Take the time to closely supervise their outdoor time and observe how they interact with the new environment. It’s also important to check for any potential hazards that might pose a risk to their safety, such as poisonous weeds and plants, old tools and any weak points to keep foxes out of your garden. To ensure a smooth transition, gradually introduce them to different areas of the garden in a controlled and measured manner.
Remember that every pet adjusts at their own pace. Be patient with their progress and provide a supportive environment as they explore and settle into their new surroundings.