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Moving House with a Family Pet

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Marc Benger

30th Jul 2018 (Last updated on 12th Apr 2021) 7 minute read

Moving house with a cat, dog or even rabbit can prove to be difficult if you fail to prepare for the move with them. At Compare My Move, we want to make your house removals as stress free as possible, that’s why we’ve compiled this guide on how to ease your pet into the process of moving house.

As moving day approaches, you'll want to start preparing your pet for the disruption that moving house will cause. We've created the ultimate timeline for moving house with your dog and cat, including what to do throughout the week before the move. We've also included useful tips on how to move house with other animals such as your rabbit, fish and reptile.  

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This article will cover the following:
  1. Moving House with a Dog
  2. Moving House with a Cat
  3. Moving House with a Rabbit
  4. Moving House with a Fish
  5. Moving House with a Reptile
  6. 4 General Tips for Moving with Pets
  7. Move your Pets with Compare My Move

Moving House with a Dog

At Compare My Move, we understand that you might not know where to begin when it comes to moving house with your dog. We’ve put together a timeline of events that you should follow in the build-up to your move to create a stress-free time for both you and your dog.

Moving House with a Dog

One Week Before – Use of Pheromones

During the build up to your move, there’ll be a lot going on around the house. To avoid causing distress to your dog, try a dog appeasing pheromone (DAP) plug-in diffuser or a collar. This will help to make your dog feel safe and secure amongst all the chaos of moving.

Few Days Before Move – Set up a Dog Room

A few days before the move, create a spare room filled with food, water and toys to prepare your dog for moving day. Your dog should stay put in this room during the packing and loading of boxes on the day to avoid confusion and distress. This will allow your dog to be more relaxed on the day by being aware of change without it being sprung onto them.

The Day Before Move – Warn New Occupants

Once you’ve arrived in your new house, it might take a while for your dog to adjust to the new location and might try to return to your old house. You should notify your neighbours and the new occupants of your house to keep an eye out if your dog returns. If your dog does end up going back to your old house, ask the residents to avoid stroking or feeding your dog, as not to encourage it to go back or stay there.

The Day of the Move – Keep Your Dog with You

During the journey, it’s important your dog stays with you and not in the removal van or in an enclosed space. This will help to calm your dog throughout the move. Alternatively, it might be a good idea to ask someone to look after your dog for the day to make sure they’re out of the way. The doors are likely to be left open and you don't want them running out or wondering off.

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Moving House with a Cat

Cats are very territorial animals that develop strong bonds with their environment, so a house move can cause them a lot of distress. We’ve created the ultimate timeline for moving house with your cat to avoid stress for both of you. 

Moving House with a Cat

One Week Before – Prepare Your Cat

Get your cat used to the carrier that it’ll be in for the journey by letting your cat play in it a week before the move. Leave in a blanket and some toys, or something that will have a familiar smell to them. This will help ease the stress by gradually preparing your cat for the change, rather than putting them straight in the cage on the day.

Few Days Before Move - Update Microchip

If your cat is micro-chipped, it’s important that you change your address details on the central database. Make sure your cat has a collar with its name and your new address ready for after the move. Or, if you haven't already, ask your vet to microchip your cat with your new address in the event your cat gets lost, so they can be returned to you.

The Day Before Move – Keep Your Cat to One Room

One day or even a few days before the move, clear out a room in your house that will act as a temporary ‘cat room’. This room will hold the cat on moving day so that it doesn't go on a walkabout or get stressed when the removal team are in. Don't forget to put a note on the door so the removal company know that this room isn’t to be opened as it will disturb the cat.

The Day of the Move – Create Familiar Smells

Once settled in your new house, your cat may feel uneasy due to unfamiliar smells. Rub a cloth over your cat and then on a few items in your new house so your cat can start to feel more at home. Alternatively, don’t wash the toys or blankets etc and keep these with your cat until they’re more familiar with the new house. Additionally, you might want to consider putting your cat in a cattery for the duration of the move to save them from any unnecessary distress.

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Moving House with a Rabbit

Being in a new or strange environment can be stressful for your rabbit. When moving house, the process will be unfamiliar to your rabbit. We've compiled these tips to help make your move with your rabbit an easy one.

Moving House with a Rabbit
  • Rabbits feel safest hiding somewhere dark. When travelling, cover the cage so the rabbit feels secure.
  • Set aside the rabbit in their carrier and put them somewhere quiet while your old house is being packed up.
  • Familiar scents will be important to your rabbit, so let them keep their old toys/treats from their cages 
  • Make sure they’re not over heated during the move, especially if it’s a long-distance move.
Claire Watson, 28th January 2019
"Quick, efficient and friendly service. Everything was moved with care. Great value for money."

Moving House with a Fish

The thought of attempting to move your fish tank to a new house can seem daunting, but if you follow our tips, moving house with your fish will be stress-free.

Moving House with a Fish
  • It’s advised to transport fish in an additional fish bag to be extra careful during the move.
  • Try to get as much natural air as possible into the bag before you secure it.
  • Once the fish is safely in the bag, keep it somewhere dark to completely reduce stress. 
  • Reintroduce your fish to their new home just as carefully as you did when you first bought them.

Moving House with a Reptile

Moving house with your reptiles doesn't have to be hard. We've put together some helpful tips to help you with moving your snake, lizard, turtle or other reptile.

Moving House with a Reptile
  • Transport your reptile in a well ventilated, comfortable case or box.
  • Ensure the right light levels to lower the chance of stress.
  • Stow your reptiles safely in your car and not in the removal van.
  • Bring heat packs, water and food in case of delay.

4 General Tips for Moving with Pets

There's a lot to think about when moving house, especially if it involves moving to a new house with your pet. Here's a few general tips to remember for moving day to make the move stress-free. 

  1. Take your pet to a kennel or cattery for the day of the move
  2. Don't forget to update their microchip or collar
  3. Introduce familiar smells in your new house with their toys and blankets
  4. Don't feed your pet right before the move in case of travel sickness

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Move your Pets with Compare My Move

Now that you know exactly what to do in the week before moving house with your pet, get connected with Compare My Move to save you time, money and stress on your move. Just fill out our quick form and we'll provide you with up to 6 friendly home removal companies in your area. 

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Marc Benger

Reviewed by Marc Benger

Co-Founder and Director, Compare My Move

Co-founder and director of Compare My Move, Marc Benger has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.