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Moving Home: Stress management for your pets

They say that moving home can be one of the most stressful experiences in life and that’s probably how most of us feel, but we are not alone in this as our pets can often become very stressed during and just after a move.  Here is some information that will help you help your pets – and give you one less thing to worry about.

Dogs and cats are the pets that are most in tune with their owners and consequently the ones to be most affected by changes to their home environment.  Being creatures of habit, any upset to the norm can trigger stress.  In short, moving house represents everything your pet hates.  Disturbing and removing favourite chairs and familiar smells is a huge threat to their stability and security in the space they consider being their territory.  That very territory is your home.
This period of change can be very stressful for any pet and person moving into a new home, but there are ways that owners can minimise the stress for the animal and therefore themselves.

Preparing the new home:
•    Always take your pet’s unwashed bedding to the new home in advance of the pet. The bedding will smell familiar and therefore comforting.  Place the bed in a sheltered spot in a corner or next to a wall where the pet is less likely to be disturbed by the indoor traffic of people.
•    Make time to take your pet on a guided tour of your new home.  Introduce it to each room in turn allowing the pet to sniff around and wipe its face against strategic spots where the invisible pheromone marking is important to it.
•    Do your pet a favour and supply a secure and familiar environment by using a pheromone mimic in the form of a plug-in diffuser.  Feliway is the feline version of a pheromone that cats find calming.  The dog appeasing pheromone or Adaptil is the canine equivalent.  Both are natural products of a plug-in design that simply act in the atmosphere.  Plugged in for a couple of days before the pet arrives, the pheromones will be there to provide calm from day one.  Spray-on versions of each product are also available.
•    If possible make your pet the last item to arrive in your new home.  When all the hustle and bustle of moving is over, pets are more likely to settle into their new surroundings and less likely to bolt in fear.
•    When pets show a particular and unwelcome interest in a new and unmarked piece of furniture, save the day by spraying Feliway or Adaptil onto the item or the area.  This will make it smell familiar and then less likely to become a target for your pet!
•    If your new home has a cat or dog flap it may be wise to keep it closed until the animal is settled and considers the new house to be its home.

Don’t forget, when travelling to and from the old home to the new house, that this can present problems of its own especially if you have a travel sick pet.  Once again Feliway or Adaptil can help to provide calm in transit, especially if it is sprayed on a favourite blanket or toy 15 minutes before needed.   If only it was so easy to calm the owner in a state of chaos!

Talk to your Vetsure vet for more advice on stress management and how Feliway and Adaptil can help.

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