How to move house with your pet

17 November 2016

Moving home with pets

So you've found the perfect new Bovis Home for you and your pets, and now there's nothing you want more than to be settled in and enjoying your new abode as soon as possible.

But let's face it, while moving house can be exciting, it can often be a stressful experience, especially for your animals. So when it comes to planning the perfect move, there really is no time like the present.

Whether you're looking for the best way to relocate reptiles or need some advice on settling your cat into its new surroundings, here are our top tips for making the transition to your new home as smooth as possible for you and your beloved animals:

Planning your move

  • Animals are creatures of habit, and so to minimise stress and disruption, try and maintain your pet's day-to-day routine as much as possible in the run-up to the move.
  • If you have larger pets, it's important to update their microchip and collar information. As your new home won't have any previous occupiers, there's no harm in getting this done and dusted before move day.
  • Packing can unsettle your pets, so try putting them in another area of your home while you pack and avoid disturbing them unnecessarily.
  • If you're opting to use a cattery or kennels, try and get your pet settled in before all the commotion starts.

On moving day

  • If your pets are with you on moving day, try and keep them away from the action if you can. It's best to shut them in a room for safety, ensuring all windows and doors are closed, with some bedding and toys to keep them occupied. You can always leave a litter tray out for a cat, or take dogs out now and again for toilet breaks. But make sure you let your movers or helpers know where your pets are to minimise potential escape routes.
  • Once you're done, leave their bedding and toys in a box to be packed last so it can be found quickly when you arrive at your new home.
  • Most importantly, be sure to provide your pet with a treat at the end of the day.

When you're on the move

  • Ensure your vehicle is well-ventilated and make sure your pets aren't left in direct sunlight for long periods, especially if you're travelling during the summer months. Also avoid feeding pets too close to travel time, and seek advice from your vet if you're travelling a long distance.
  • If you have fish, it's best to transfer them into fish bags filled with water that has a good amount of air space at the top. To prevent the tank from breaking, wrap it in bubble wrap and towels and transport this in the boot of the car or in a spot where it is less likely to move around and get damaged.
  • Small pets such as rabbits and hamsters can be transported in their normal cage provided it is secure. If you can, place the cage on the back seat and fasten with a seat belt. Make sure they have plenty of access to water, ideally using a bottle so that it less likely to spill, and place a towel over the cage to help keep distractions from the outside world to a minimum.
  • Small birds can also travel in their normal cage, but take care to remove any objects that could move around and cause injury.
  • If you're moving reptiles, ensure the temperature is not too hot or cold, and if your pet needs a moist environment, keep damp towels in their carrier to avoid dehydration.

Settling your pets into their new home

  • A whole new house can be overwhelming, so where possible, keep your pets in their carrier or cage until you've unpacked a few items and it's safe for them to explore their new home.
  • Try to move fish and reptiles back in their tank as soon as you arrive, but always ensure it is at the correct temperature and give them time to acclimatise. Fish can easily become stressed from sudden changes in pH levels and other disturbances such as temperature fluctuations.
  • To begin with, try to make your pet's new environment as recognisable as possible. If you can, try and place objects in the same place as your old house, and refrain from washing bedding to ensure it retains a familiar, comforting smell.
  • Be sure to introduce your pets to your neighbours and postman to help them get used to new people as well as their new surroundings.
  • And be aware that it's not uncommon for some small pets to exhibit signs of ill health after the move, so make sure you keep a close eye on them and be sure to register with your new vet.

Getting rid of that new home smell

  • You can help eliminate the strange smells of a new property by spreading your pet's scent on to some of the furniture. If your cat will tolerate it, wipe a cloth over its face and then rub the cloth over some of the furniture, ideally in the places where a cat might normally rub itself, such as the corner of the sofa.
  • You can also purchase pheromone appeasing collars and plug-ins, which may be a worthwhile investment if your animal is particularly insecure or prone to stress.

Letting your pets explore

  • Before you let your dog out to explore, check the fences in your garden are secure and that there are no obvious escape routes.
  • Cats are particularly sensitive to environments, so it's important to take care when letting them out for the first time:
    • Try and wait at least a month so they're accustomed to the new house and pick a quiet day, when most of the unpacking has been done.
    • When you let them outside, avoid picking them up - just leave the door open and go outside with them.

  • Once you're comfortable that your cat is used to their new surroundings and are happy for them to explore unsupervised, let them out for short periods at first, preferably before meal times.
  • If you're worried about your cat roaming and trying to find your old house, keep them happy and feed them small but frequent meals until you feel they've properly settled in.

And remember...

It will take time for you all to settle in, and accidents can happen, so be patient with your pets and give them lots of fuss and attention to help them feel at home!