Top tips for moving home with a pet

When it comes to moving home, there’s so much to organise it can be easy for pets to become an afterthought. But if the move’s stressful for you, imagine how upsetting it could be for an animal with no idea what’s going on around them. Here’s what to do to keep pets feeling at ease on the big day and beyond…

Before the move

Take a trip to the vet

Unsurprisingly, moving a pet who’s feeling poorly isn’t a good idea, and extra precautions will need to be taken if this is the case. Book in for a veterinary check-up in the weeks leading up to the move to make sure yours has a clean bill of health. It’s also a good chance to collect top-ups of any flea or worming treatments, assess existing medications, and discuss recommendations for a new vet – that is, if you’re moving out of the area.

Familiarise your pet

If you’re a dog owner, consider walking your pooch around your new neighbourhood before the move. It means all those new scents and sounds won’t be completely foreign on the big day itself. If you can, get as close as possible to the new property and let your pup have a good sniff around outside.

This is also true if you’re moving to a pet-friendly community with lots of other animals (these are becoming more and more common). Many of these developments will let you tour the grounds with your pet ahead of time, which we’d highly recommend.

Do your research

Cats, dogs and hamsters are one thing, but if you’re the proud owner of a more unusual pet, such as a snake, parrot or tarantula, then you’ll need to be clear on the requirements for moving them safely. Talk to your vet well in advance of the move to find out what’s needed – if they don’t have the specialist knowledge, they’ll be able to point you in the direction of an expert who does.

When it comes to travelling to your new abode, meanwhile, you’ll need to understand things like how to properly transport hutches and cages. And bear in mind, some cats and dogs may need to be trained to use a carrier, so they don’t freak out on the day.

Update the microchip

It’s best to update your pet’s microchip before you move, just in case they manage to get away en-route (believe us, it happens!). If you’ve not got the paperwork handy and you’re unsure which database your pet is listed on, then Check-a-Chip can help. If you’re moving to a new area and swapping vets, as mentioned above, it’s best to do this in advance, too.

On moving day

Find a pet-sitter

Thanks to empty rooms, piles of boxes and strangers coming in and out, moving day can be incredibly overwhelming for our animal family members. That’s why it’s better to spare them the experience altogether if possible. A reputable kennel or cattery is ideal if you can afford it. If not, try and leave your companion with a trusted friend or family member. Not only is this less distressing for your pet, but it gives you time to get things nicely set up for them in the new place.

Take safety precautions

If your pet has to be in attendance during the move, there are some things to think about beforehand. Cats and dogs, for example, will need to be kept inside a designated room while the move is happening, so make sure all the relevant people know to keep this door shut (sticking up a sign is helpful), and put some comforting items in with your pet. The same goes for the new house at the other end!

Help them feel comfortable

First off, leave it around three hours after feeding before you move your pet, to keep travel sickness at bay. And remember, a new home is new territory for a pet. Not only will things look different, but there’ll be new obstacles (like stairs) to get used to, and smells that are totally unfamiliar. It’s your job to make things feel like home. As soon as you arrive, set up a ‘safe space’ for your pet in a calm, quiet area. Pile this patch up with familiar blankets and toys, and maybe a treat or two. Having familiar items with their scent on will make them feel more comfortable while they get used to things.

Try a calming supplement

There are some really effective supplements out there designed to help soothe cats and dogs who are stressed or nervous. You’ll find tons of different forms – tablets, capsules, diffusers – so see what works best for your pet in advance of the move.

After the move

Get into a routine

Make sure you’re sticking to your pet’s usual routine once you’ve arrived. Feeding times, for instance, should be kept the same as at your old home, and dog walks at a similar time and for a similar duration.

Keep kitties indoors

Outdoor cats will need to be kept inside for a while after the move – at least two weeks is recommended to be on the safe side, or you risk them wandering too far and not being able to find their way back. You should only consider it if your cat’s behaviour has settled at that point, as well.

When you do open the door to let your kitty roam, it’s a good idea to leave it open and venture out with them at first – perhaps with some treats. And, along with the microchip, as mentioned above, it’s essential to kit your cat out with a collar. Avoid adding their name to it, for security reasons, but ensure your name and contact information is on there in case the worst happens.

A final word

Always let your removals company know if you’re travelling with a pet ahead of time, as they may need to make special arrangements for certain equipment, for example.

Haven’t yet decided on a removals firm? Find a dependable company on Rezigo – click here for quotes from our vetted suppliers.