Moving home with pets

Moving house and the build up to moving are stressful enough for us humans, with packing and planning and sense of the unknown. Imagine how confusing this must be for our pets, who can’t understand why all these changes are happening.

Carefully planning your pet’s move will really help them to make the move to their new home as smooth as possible, with less stress for you and them. Here are some simple tips you can follow.

Before you move

  • Leading up to the big day, get one room packed up and empty then move your pet’s food and water bowls, toys, beds and any litter trays into that room. Let your pet get used to being fed in that room, so they don’t feel strange when they’re shut in there on moving day. With this room being already cleared out, your pet can stay in there and won’t need to be disturbed while the big move goes on.
  • Avoid feeding pets close to travelling time, as this could cause travel sickness. Instead, give them small amounts of their usual food throughout the day. This will give them something to do while you’re busy and will be gentler on their tummy if they are feeling anxious. Let them have a fun toy too to keep them busy.
  • Using a pheromone diffuser in your pet’s room can help your pet feel more relaxed during the move, as there will be plenty of bumping and banging going on and strangers around their house. Pheromones are natural scents that are undetectable to humans, but can help keep your pet calm.
  • Make sure your pets are microchipped and remember to let the microchip company know about your new address. If your pets run off during the move, you’re much more likely to be reunited with them if they’re microchipped. Also, make sure that you notify your pet insurance company of your change of address.

The move itself

  • If your pet is quite nervous and finds it difficult to cope with change, it may be better to book them into a kennel or cattery during the move. Check with your vet that their vaccinations are up to date and give yourself enough time to find a cattery or kennel you like and trust.
  • If you’re moving your pet rather than booking them into a kennel or cattery, make sure they are ready for car travel. You’ll need a doggy seatbelt or secure cat carrier for them in the car.
  • Ideally, while all your stuff is being moved, keep your pet in a quiet room.
  • Leave moving your pet until everything else has gone from the house, to minimise the upset. Ideally take your dog for a good walk at this stage to calm them down, then take them to their new home.

At your new home

  • When you arrive at your new home, again, have a room available for your pet. Put some of your pet’s toys and bedding into one room along with a piece of clothing that smells of you. It’ll help them feel at home. 
  • Moving day will be really busy for you but do spend some time with your pet to help them settle into their new home.
  • Make sure your house is secure before letting your pet explore freely.
  • Walk your dog around the garden on a lead at first, so they can explore safely and only let them into the garden on their own once it has been secured.
  • Cats should be kept indoors for a couple of weeks to help them become familiar with their new environment. When your cat eventually ventures out, leave something that smells familiar in the garden (for example, your wellies or garden pots from your old home), so they can recognise where their new home is if they go exploring.

Our top tips for settling in to a new house

  • Let your pet explore at their pace, walk around with them as they go and be there with plenty of reassurance.
  • Try pheromone diffusers if your pet seems stressed.
  • Remember to treat your new home for fleas just in case (ideally, before you move in).
  • As you settle in to your new home, if you need to redecorate, keep your pet out of those rooms and air them thoroughly before your pet can go in them.
  • Pets like consistency so try to get back into your usual routine as soon as possible.