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Moving with pets

Much as we all love our furry (scaley or feathered!) friends, at Perry’s we know that they can present a challenge on moving day. With that in mind we’ve put together some advice to help you successfully transport and acclimatise your pets with the least amount of hassle. Planning well in advance can help you feel less stressed, and your pet feel safer, so that everything goes smoothly before, during and after your move.

Moving with Pets

If possible, the best thing for your pets is to be away from the hustle and bustle of moving day. See if you can find a kind friend or relative who’ll look after them for the day so they’re not in the thick of it. Or you could find a pet sitter who could look after them for a few hours. If those options aren’t possible, for example if your pet is particularly nervous when away from you or you’re moving a long distance you may have to keep them with you. If this is the case, move everything from one room and then put them in there with some food and favourite toys to wait out the move. Make sure you put a sign on the door so that family and removal operatives know that the door needs to remain shut. If you have children task them looking after your pet on moving day. It’s a great solution to keeping them occupied and out from under your feet too!

Using a pheromone spray is a good idea for cats and dogs. They contain calming and reassuring scents designed to help the animals to relax in stressful situations, which you can spray in both the room where they are waiting and in your new home. This can create a useful bridge. If you are using a crate, then also spray it in there. You can buy pheromone sprays from your vet, in pet shops or online. If you have a dog with a history of extreme anxiety, it’s also possible that your vet can prescribe some anti-anxiety medication.

There are some different considerations to bear in mind for smaller pets, cats and dogs.

Smaller pets

  • Get the right kind of carrier. This can vary depending on the size and type of creature. Also, add familiar things to it. Move your pet/pets into it before moving day if you can so that they get used to it.
  • Temperature control. Small mammals and birds can be easily affected by changes in temperature, suffering distress. Try and make sure that your pet stays at a consistent temperature and make sure that they have enough water to drink.
  • Move them first. Take them to the new house and set them up in a quiet space to help them to feel safe and secure. Allow them time to acclimatise. It’s a good idea to keep them in the same room for a few days or weeks so that they can get used to their new situation.
  • Fish transportation. If you have fish, you’ll need to get specialist advice on how best to transport them. Also, moving them is time sensitive, as they’ll need to be back in their oxygenated tank within 12 hours.

Cats

  • Consider a cattery. If you have a particularly anxious cat, you could take it to a cattery before the move and collect it once the move is over.
  • Leave out the carrier. Leave the open carrier in the house for a week or two before the move so that the cat can explore it. Put some toys in it, or even feed them in it. You could also leave some boxes out so that they get used to those too.
  • Keep them inside! Don’t wait until moving day to find your cat! Make sure you know where it is and keep it in the house the night before. You’ll need to get a litter tray! Once you’ve moved, don’t let them out for at least a week, so that they get used to their new surroundings. Cats are extremely sensitive, and you may lose them if you let them out too soon. If there’s a cat-flap, lock it shut.
  • Move them last. Once the rest of the house has been packed up onto the moving truck, get the cat into your carrier and take them in the car.
  • Give them some food and love! Once you’ve set your cat up in a quiet room in your new home, give them some food and some loving to help them to settle. The unpacking can wait!
  • Let them explore. Over the next few days allow your cat to gradually explore the house. Once you are sure they’ve become comfortable in their new environment you could take them out with you into your back garden.
  • Get a collar ID or microchip. Your cat may try to return to its old home and get lost, so it’s wise to do all you can to makes sure that you can be reunited if this happens. Also, leave your phone number with the new owners of your old house so that they can call you if your cat turns up there.

Dogs

  • Reassure them. Give them lots of love and attention to ease their possible anxiety over the move.
  • Make them a space. Create a space for them in your new home, with their bedding and toys. They’ll have the reassuring smell of your old home and help your dog to acclimatise.
  • Let them explore. Over the next few days allow your dog to gradually explore their new territory. Take them for walks, as they’ll have all sorts of new sights and smells to get used to!
  • Stick to your usual routine. Once you’ve moved, don’t start to do things differently. Stick to the same feeding, walking and bedtime routines.
  • Be patient. Moving home is a big deal for your dog so cut them some slack if their behaviour changes temporarily. They’re learning to settle into a new situation. Dogs tend to acclimatise to change more quickly than cats, usually within a few days, but sometimes it can take them weeks or months to settle. Just keep on reassuring them so that they feel loved and protected.

Generally, pets settle into their new environment after a week or two. The important thing is that you are all together supporting each other, and pretty soon your new house will feel like home for all the members of your family, pets included!

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The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the recognised voice of the professional moving and storage industry in the UK and we are proud to be members. Find out why its good to choose a BAR Member for your move.

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