How to move house with a pet
Moving home can be stressful experience, especially when you have pets to consider. The sudden changes will confuse and frighten them which will make the experience more stressful for both of you. If you’re concerned about their wellbeing, it’s worth planning your move around them in order to make their transition quick and relatively painless.
Speak to your vet
If moving abroad, you’ll need to speak to your vet to establish what actions you’re going to need to take. Certain countries have restrictions on pet travel, require specific vaccinations be applied and specialist documents be issued such as a pet passport. When flying to the UK from within the EU for example you need to see that your pet has had a rabies vaccine which is not given as standard in some parts of the world. Your pet will also be required to have a microchip inserted so ask your vet about your options.
Start packing gradually
If you’re doing your own packing, start gradually so that your pets can observe what is happening. Some animals can be very sensitive to changes to their environment so make sure that they’re witnessing and getting used to the changes taking place to limit their anxiety. Take particular care when leaving things unattended as some curious pets will feel the need to explore when you’re not around and could get trapped in half filled boxes or even break things in their attempts to discover what’s in all the cartons. If you have cats bring their carriers out of the attic a few days in advance and leave them in plain view with some bedding inside. Nothing alarms a cat more than the sight of a carrier which comes out only when they’re about to be taken somewhere.
On moving day keep the food, treats and bowls with you for easy access as soon as you’re in your new house. A quick snack and a drink of water will put them at ease right away.
If you’re getting professionals pack for you make sure your pets will be out of the way on the day. The introduction of new people and items could spook them so take them to a friend’s so that they still get walked, fed, petted and kept safe. In the case of cats who might not like to leave the house keep them in a room you know won’t get any traffic with plenty of food and water, making sure to check on them often-and don’t forget the litter tray! If you’ll be arriving at your new home by the end of the day only transport cats when all other activity has ceased so that they’re not alarmed by noise and new surroundings. If all this proves too difficult however, put them in a cattery for a couple of days until your new home is ready to receive them.
Find a new vet
Once you’re at your new property find a vet in your area and register your pets right away. Your old vet might be able to give recommendations of reliable vets in the area or why not try asking your neighbours? If all else fails look for online reviews. It’s a good idea to pay your new vet a visit ahead of time to get a sense of what the practice is like and gauge whether they’d be right for your pet before you need them.
Keep contact information up to date
If you’re moving internationally a lot of countries, including the UK, will require your pet be microchipped. If you don’t have the microchip number recorded your vet will be able to read it using a microchip reader which you should use to update your pet’s details on the national database in the unfortunate event they are ever lost, which will enable you to be reunited a lot faster. The same applies if your pet wears a collar and ID tag. This will need to get changed to the new address before you move house, that way if they get spooked and run off, people in the area will know where to come.
Mode of transportation
If you’re moving overseas a good relocation company will manage your pet’s international transportation for you ensuring you have one less thing to worry about, but do find out what time they’re landing and what procedures are required for you to pick up your pet as soon as they land if you can. Your pet relocation service will collect your pets from the airport and deliver them to you if you wish, but we suggest collecting them from the airport yourself. This will make them spend less time in the company of people who are unfamiliar to them and reduce their anxiety. For air travel, your pet carriers will need to be IATA approved so that your pet has sufficient room to stand upright if they wish to. Your move manager will be able to supply you with crates if you don’t already have them as well as advise on all the paperwork you’ll need on the day.
Alternatively, if moving within the EU you could choose to drive your pets to your destination. This might be more hassle to you but it will make them feel less disorientated if they’re with you throughout this period of change. If you choose this option research your route ahead of time and choose hotels which are pet friendly for your overnight stays.
At the new house
At the new house make their favourite toys and beds available right away so that they’re reassured by the familiarity. Leave blankets and bedding unwashed so that they recognise the smell as their own, which will help reduce their anxiety while they’re getting used to their new surroundings.
Once you have moved in
When you’re at your new house keep a closer eye on your pets than usual to see how they’re adjusting to their surroundings. Extreme anxiety could mean they stop eating or hiding in hard to reach places so monitor their eating habits and ensure they don’t appear distressed. If in doubt contact your vet immediately. Take dogs out for short walks in the new neighbourhood so they start getting familiar with the new area. Cats will need to remain indoors for a few weeks, even if they’re used to going outside, so they can understand that this is their new home and don’t feel the need to return to the old one once they’ve been let out. Don’t underestimate how big a change moving home can be for an animal so provide them with the necessary support and encouragement and they’ll feel settled sooner rather than later.