Whether your dogs are basically your four-legged children or your cat rules the roost, your pets are a part of the family, so it makes sense to consider them when you’re moving house!
While most small rodents, reptiles and fish can be moved fairly easily, cats and dogs especially are territory-oriented, so a change in location and circumstances can be hard to navigate. Follow our tips and you and your pets can enjoy starting a new chapter in your new home!
Dogs can pick up on human emotions very easily, so if you’re stressed, chances are they are too. They might be confused or even distressed about a change in their routine, so on moving day try to make sure you keep the basics of their routine the same. Take them for a long walk in the morning to tire them out for the car journey ahead, and feed and play with them as normal to make sure they’re reasonably settled by the time your removals service arrives!
It’ll be easier for everyone involved if you can keep your dog or dogs out of the way of the removals service: try to settle them in a room (preferably an empty upstairs room which you can fill with their bedding, blankets, toys and fresh water) while your belongings are packed away ready to move to your new home. This prevents your dog making a break for freedom out of the open front door, or becoming unsettled by the presence of strangers in their home!
On the journey to your new home, try to keep their regular car routine the same as it would usually be, even if their travel arrangements take up valuable car space that could have been used for a few more precious boxes! Make sure you keep their favourite toys and blankets with them as dogs are very scent-oriented and will be comforted by their belongings that smell like home.
If your dog struggles with car journeys, try to identify whether their issue is a physical one – presenting as car sickness – or a psychological one, like a fear of being confined in the car. Your vet will be able to advise you in more detail, but they can also prescribe anti-anxiety medication or even anti-nausea tablets to make the journey more bearable for your pup – and you!
Stop regularly along the way for quick toilet breaks and at least one walk to stretch your legs as well as your dogs’. While some dogs may not want to eat during car journeys, make sure their food and water are accessible whenever they need them.
If you’re making an international move, bear in mind that your dog will need legal paperwork including a passport to travel to your new home. Plan for this allowing at least three months for the paperwork to be filed and your dog’s passport to be processed.
When you arrive at your new home, make sure you don’t wash or replace any of your dog’s bedding, blankets or toys for at least a couple of weeks after you’ve moved in. They’ll be comforting reminders for your pup that they’re in a safe space and this can help as they settle in.
Cats are perhaps the trickiest pet to involve in a house move. They can be very sensitive and attached to their territory – which is your old home and neighbourhood, if your cat is allowed to roam outside.
Before you move, consider buying a calming plug-in to try and ease any stress for your cat during the packing and moving process. Most cats love boxes, so find a few for your furry friend to sit in while they oversee the packing!
If your cat is particularly nervous or on edge, create a safe space for them in an empty room; ideally upstairs. You can move their belongings into the room, including their litter tray and food bowls, so the room becomes a safe haven for them to retreat to during the packing process. If your cat is particularly frightened or distressed, consider booking them into a cattery for a few days while you empty the house.
Just like dogs, cats are used to routine, and disruption to this routine can be frightening for them. Although you might want to head straight out of the door on moving day, take the time to feed and play with your cat at the same time as you normally would – even if that means waiting for your little one to finish their breakfast while everyone waits in the car!
When travelling in the car with your cat or cats, make sure to put one of their blankets in their carry case to keep their scent. If your journey is a long one, you might have to stop along the way to feed your cat.
Keep cats indoors for a couple of weeks once you’ve moved to make sure they get used to their new home.
Register your pet with a local veterinarian as soon as possible – ideally a day or two before you move so you’ll know who to contact if there’s an emergency en route. You should also update your pet’s microchip details once you’ve moved house, in case they stray too far in their new neighbourhood, or get lost.
For small rodents, keep a close eye on how much or how little they are eating during the moving process. Small furries in particular are prey animals, so they’ll tend to hide any outward signs of illness or distress and it can be hard for you to tell what they’re feeling. If your little pet is off their food for more than a few days after the journey to your new home, it’s time for a vet visit.
With exotic pets or pets that are tricky to transport – like fish or snakes! – speak to your removals company. They may have experienced moving pets before and can advise you on the best method that suits both you and the company – and prevents any lost snakes along the way!
No home is complete without a pet or two, so follow these tips to keep yours happy during the moving process.