Moving day can be stressful enough for humans but for pets, that have no understanding as to why there are boxes everywhere and their territory is being invaded by strange people that seem to be taking everything away, it can be deeply upsetting. This guide has been written to help you reduce the stress for both you and your pet(s) before, during and after, move day so you have one less thing to worry about.
There are a multitude of pets in the UK but this guide will focus on the most common and those that will likely be most affected by the move – the 12 million dogs and 11 millions cats that share our homes.
Before moving day
Let your mover know about your pet(s)
Whatever pets you have it’s worth discussing them with your mover so they know if the pet will be there on the day or not. Every few years there is a story of a cat (it’s always a cat!) discovered in the back of a removal lorry, sometimes having travelled hundreds of miles. If you have exotic pets, animals in climatic controlled tanks or fish your mover may have some suggestions about how best to transport them or their accessories/habitats, as there are very few situations that established BAR Members won’t have come across before!
Prepare your cat
If you’re transporting them in a carrier, leave it open in an area they frequent to get used to it; put any favourite toys or even treats inside. Cats are sensitive to change and with the upheaval leading up to a move it’s been known for them to go missing beforehand, so you might decide to keep your cat indoors a day or more before the moving day so you don’t risk losing them. On occasion cats try to return to their old home so if you haven’t already it’s advisable to have them microchipped or ensure their collar ID is updated
On moving day
Out of harm’s way.
If you can’t arrange for your pet to be with someone else or at a regular kennel/cattery, it can be a good idea to put them in a closed room with things that are familiar and soothing. If you have children that aren’t going to be directly involved in the move day it’s maybe worth them spending some time with your pets, just be careful when leaving and entering the room! A pheromone spray may help soothe cats and dogs as they contain calming scents that are designed to relax and de-stress them. It can be sprayed in the room in your old home and, in your new home.
Move them last
If your pet is with you on moving day, once your belongings have all been packed up and loaded into removal vehicle, transport your dog or cat in the car to your new home.
In your new home
Show them some love!
Set your cat or dog up in a quiet room in your new home and give them their regular food (and maybe a treat) – at their usual feeding time and give them lots of attention to help them settle. For dogs especially the reassuring scents of your old home on bedding or toys will help them settle.
Let them explore
During the first few days in your new home allow your pet to explore their new environment, in their own time. Dogs usually acclimatise fairly quickly and so taking them for walks (on a lead to start with) will help that process but be patient if they do take time to settle. Cats have been known to return to their previous homes after a move, so only once they are comfortable inside should you let them out into any outside space you have such as the garden to start with.
Routines are important
If at all possible stick to the same feeding, walking and bedtime routines.
Register with a new vet
If you’re moving to a different area then you’ll likely want to register with a new veterinary practice. You can ask for any medical history to be passed on to your new vet.
Need further help?
If you’re moving in the UK or abroad with your pet and you need assistance with your pet, the BAR has two Affiliates who can help:
Moving internationally and across the UK: Airpets Ltd
Moving internationally: Pets Abroad UK Ltd