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Tips for when you're moving with your pets

If moving is stressful for a homeowner, imagine how it feels for a family pet!

Yes, it's true, moving home is a difficult time for any household pet. Whether it's a dog or a hamster, animals do not like to be disturbed. Dog's in particular hate being parted from their owners for long and any separation can be very upsetting for them. All animals need fresh water and food; they should also be surrounded by familiar things. They may not be human, but animals are home loving creatures and if you don't include your pet in your moving plans, they might be the first to run away, all right, maybe not your goldfish!!!

What can you do to help family pets settle down?

Dogs: Keep them away on moving day. Ask a neighbour who knows your dog to look after it. The sight of its owners packing can be worrying. Once your dog is out of the home, keep it away until you can take it with you to the new home. When you arrive at the new house (and this applies to cats too), wait until everything is indoors before bringing them in. Make sure their basket and any toys are ready. The idea is to keep everything looking as normal as possible - not always easy, it's true. It's also a good idea to encourage them to go to the toilet before coming into the house for the first time. Dogs in particular can be very excitable. For the first few hours it doesn't do any harm to keep them on a lead.

Cats: Again, keep them with a friend on moving day as they have a habit of wandering off on some private mission. Just when you are packed and ready to leave the house, you don't want to be looking for your cat. Make sure you don't let its food and milk go in the moving van - cats can be very unforgiving sometimes. As with a dog, the sight of familiar things such as a basket or favourite rug can be very comforting on arrival. For the journey, buy or hire a travel basket. Your mover may be able to hire or lend you one.

Birds: If possible, put their cage in a position in the new home as similar as possible to the old home. Caged birds will normally travel quite well and will be happy with you in the car, but the journey needs to be short and they need their food, water and ventilation

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