How to migrate your pets
Domestic pets reward their owners with a lifetime of loyalty. But without
exception, the most stressful situation in their lives (apart from injury)
is when you move. Most animals thrive on certainty. So this becomes our
1. Animals rely on their sense of smell.
When you move into a new environment, the only scent theyll recognise
is from your belongings. Try to avoid having your furniture steam cleaned
until your pets have settled in. They need the recognition of scent.
Place as many of their most familiar items prior to introducing your pets
to their new home e.g. Cushions, beds, toys and food bowls.
2. Cats are more territorial than dogs.
Ease them into their new environment slowly. Keep them indoors for the
first day or two. You can even begin by confining them to part of the
house or even one room.
Ive tried all theories. Ive come to the conclusion that severe
confinement can actually prolong their stress. If they can move about
freely, their natural curiosity not only serves as a nice distraction,
but also helps them realize that all the old familiar furnishings are
there, although in a different pattern. Some people smear butter onto
their cats paws believing that theyll adapt quicker. But I
disagree. Cats dont have butter in the wild!
3. Dogs need to be contained as well, to
prevent them from wandering off. Its a good idea to walk around
you immediate surrounding neighborhood a few times so that your dog can
get his bearings, and know how to get home should he go exploring.
If you groom your dog at a parlor, then move day is a great day to book
him in. Alternatively, stay close to you dog when the furniture is being
moved out, then put him into your car and introduce him to his new home.
Again, have his bowl and favourite food on hand.
4. Microchips. This is such an easy one
to overlook. Make sure you notify the authorities about your change of
5. Fish. The most difficult aspect to moving
your fish is the water. Fish need at least 25% of their existing environment
to survive. This can be a lot of water! If you have a reasonable sized
Koi pond, then you will need to measure the capacity of your existing
pond. Then get some barrels or tubs for the water and fill them only to
a level where 2 men can lift them!
Arrange to have as much of the existing pond water as possible moved to
your new enclosure before bringing the fish across. The fish come last.
Next, ensure that the new enclosure has good quality water. If its
old water, then you should test the pH and CO3 Nitrate levels. Testing
kits are readily available at pet stores. If you are setting up a new
pond, then the water you introduce needs to be conditioned.
Conditioner is inexpensive and neutralises any metals and minerals, such
as chlorine, that are often found in urban water supplies. Never put your
hose directly onto a pond with fish. The temperature change will kill
them. Set up a holding tub where the water can warm up to its natural
outside temperature before introducing it to your fish.
If you dont have conditioner, then let the water stand in direct
sunlight for a few days to allow the chlorine to burn off.
Storage containers, like the ones sold at K-Mart for childrens toys,
are good for transporting fish. Large garbage bins are also fine. But
these plastics are not food safe, which means that the toxins will kill
your fish if you leave then in for any length of time. They are also not
airtight. To avoid water seeping during transportation, use a towel or
blanket, pulled tight like a drum skin across the top, then clamp down
the lid. This actually works. Weve tried Glad Wrap and plastics
and they cannot contain that much water securely.
Finally, introduce your fish to the new environment slowly by interchanging
water from their holding bins to the new pond at least 30 mins before
let them into the new enclosure. All things begin equal, your fish will
happily settle in.
6. Birds. Remove seed and water from your birdcage, drape it in
a sheet or blanket to reduce his stress, and, if it will fit, use your
car to transport your cage.
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