Moving with a Lockdown Pet?
When Lockdown first began in March 2020, the demand for pets rose dramatically. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association, 3.2 Million UK households have bought a pet since the pandemic began.
With so many people either on furlough or working from home, Lockdown seemed the perfect time to welcome a fur baby to the household. When restrictions stopped us from seeing family and friends, for some, a new pet offered companionship.
Pets have also been making headlines in property news.
Currently, many renters are not allowed pets as part of their tenancy. Just 7% of private landlords currently advertise pet-friendly properties, but the Government is trying to change this. And though currently only a guideline if it becomes law, it would be welcomed new for renters with well-behaved pets.
So with this change on the horizon and the current housing market boom, it seems that more buyers and renters are likely be pet owners than ever before.
Moving house can be a very chaotic time for humans. First, there’s organising, dismantling furniture, packing boxes, then unpacking a box when you realised you’ve accidentally put something important at the bottom of it, the list goes on.
Here is a summary of some of the points they cover.
Routine – Routine is essential to dogs. They have a good sense of when their walks, food and rest times are, so try to keep this as normal as possible. Doing so will help reduce their stress levels.
Travelling – If your dog is not very good at travelling, talk to your vet before the big move as you may need them to prescribe some medication.
Moving Day – If possible find someone who can look after your dog on moving day. Ask either a friend or family member if they are free. Another idea would be searching for local boarding kennel. If neither of these options are possible, secure a safe room for your dog to stay in whilst you unload and unpack. Make sure this room is filled with their possessions to make them feel more settled. When the house is secure, let the dog explore it in their own time. Be sure not to make too much of a fuss as they may see this as a worrying sign. But you should constantly reassure them.
House – As dogs are susceptible to smell, cleaning the house is very important. Remember to clean at ‘dog height’. If possible, do this before your dog arrives, as it will help them settle quicker if there are not any ‘competition scents’ for them to compete with.
Garden – Before you let your dog in the garden, make sure it’s secure and there’s no holes or gaps from which they can escape. Also, check for poisonous plants or any other hazards that may cause your dog harm.
Routine – Cats are used to a routine. Though not as regimented as dogs, they will know roughly when they are going to eat or when their rest times are. Try to keep these as normal as possible.
Travel Box – If you can, leave your cat’s travel box open in your house a few weeks before the move. This will reduce the cat’s anxiety if they only associate the crate with trips to the vets.
Move Day – Consider leaving the cat at a cattery. If the cat can be welcomed to their new home when everything is unpacked and ready, it will show them it is a place to relax.
If a cattery is not an option, then set up a ‘safe room’ in your house. It would help if you put them in there the night before; this will save you keeping an eye on them during the hustle and bustle of the move and reduce the risk of them disappearing when it’s time to leave.
When you arrive at the new house, unpack your cat’s possessions first. These should be kept in one room that can be closed off. The familiarity of their bedding, toys, food and water will help reassure them. When you’re happy that the room is secure, open their travel box and allow them to explore in their own time.
Going outside – Cats can get disorientated when let outside too early after a move. Therefore, you should keep your cat indoors for at least three weeks. They will then begin to regard the new home as their own and discourage them from finding their old territory.
When you let them out for the first time, do it shortly before feeding time so that the rattling of a packet will likely bring them back. Please don’t force the cat to leave the house but leave a door open for them to explore in their own time.
Microchip – Don’t forget to make sure your pet’s details are up to date on their microchip and collar. It would be best if you did this the day before you move.
Register at a Vets – If you’re moving out of your current area, register your pet as soon as possible. You can check this page to find your local vets4pets practice.
With beautiful, spacious parks like the Hucking Woodland Estate, Moat Park and White Horse Wood Country Park, Maidstone is a great place to move with a dog. And there’s plenty of exciting locations within the ME15 area for cats to explore too.
Currently, one of the most popular questions I get asked by buyers is regarding local schools and their Ofsted rating. But with this sudden increase of pet owners, I wonder how soon those questions will be replaced with ones about local dog-friendly parks, catteries, vets and pet trainers!
Check out our other blog on outdoor attractions to visit in Kent!