Pet Proofing

Moving House with a Family Pet

Katie Cullen
Written by Katie Cullen
8th June 2017
There is so much work that goes into a house removal. You have the admin rigmarole, the organising, planning and the packing. Moving house with a family pet requires careful consideration and just a smidge of extra planning but, worry not, Compare My Move are on the case for you. We have compiled this comprehensive guide on pet relocation covering everything from dogs, cats, rodents and snakes.

Moving House with a Dog

Moving house is a really exciting time, albeit busy, chaotic and sometimes stressful. If you will also be moving with a dog then you have even more to consider. Our dogs are more than just pets... It's such a cliché to say that they are part of the family but, clichés are clichés for a reason... they're true. We need to consider our dogs and their needs when we move house. OK, so it can't be a deal breaker or anything... We are not suggesting that you pull out of a sale because there isn't a water feature for Jasper or because there's a cat living next door that looks like it might be trouble. We are, however, suggesting that there are certain things you need to think of when you are a) choosing a house and b) actually going through the process of moving yourself and your family (including the pooch) there.

Here at Compare My Move, we get it... You love your dog and you want to consider what he needs. Here are our tips for moving your dog to a new home.

Keep your Cool

Dogs are intuitive creatures. They know when you're happy, they know when you're sad and they know when you are stressed. Moving house doesn't need to be the stress fest that most would have you believe. Keep your cool or the dog will be wound up and sense an upcoming disruption. If you're relaxed through the move, the dog will be too.

Moving Day

On Moving Day, it might be a good idea to ask someone to look after your dog for the day to make sure he's out of the way. The doors are likely to be left open and you don't want him running out or wondering off. If you are going to keep Rover with you that day then just make sure he is comforted and reassured throughout the day. He may panic when he sees all his comforts being taken away from him... and by comforts of course, we mean your bed and your sofa... let's face it, in his mind that's his bed and his sofa. Just as you pack a survival bag for you and your children on moving day, do the same for your dog. Make sure he still has his bowl and treats nearby, his favourite toy and blanket so he still has that feeling of familiarity and safety.

Name Tags

As soon as you start moving on moving day, change the tags on your dog's collar, adding your new address and contact details so if the little scamp does run off on arrival at the new home, he will be found safely and returned to you quickly. Fuss your dog telling him what a ‘Good Boy'... or girl he/she is when you're putting the new tag on so he/she can join in the excitement of all the new things going on for the family that day.

Lock Down

One of the biggest concerns when you move to a new home with your beloved canine, is that the little bugger will find a way out of the new garden. Check the place out when you first get there and before you let the pooch loose in the garden, check there isn't a hole in the fence behind the shed or room under the gate.

New House, Old Bed

When you choose a spot for your dog's bed, be sure to put bedding and toys with the scent of the old house in this spot so he still has that familiarity and comfort. Dogs are creatures of habit after all.

Patience and Piddling

If you're moving house with a younger dog or puppy you may need to go back to the beginning of house training all over again, but with older dogs there may be a few small accidents, so you may find yourself having to clean up a few harmless piddles here and there. Be patient, he will snap out of it.

Walkies

When you take your dog out for their first walk at your new home, give him time to adjust and explore the new place. Imagine how many new and exciting smells there are for him. Keep him on his lead to begin with. Keep in mind that your new home isn't only new to you, but to your dog too! The sun may rise at different times, the postman may come earlier or later than at your old home and the cars may be nearer and therefore noisier. Luckily, dogs are resilient and they will adjust so just bear with him.

Moving House with a Cat

Moving house with a cat can be a worrying time. Mostly because Cats are total divas.... Let's be real... We don't actually ‘own' cats. We just let them live with us and we work hard to gain their approval and respect... usually to no avail. Despite their misgivings, we love our cats so there is always that concern when moving house that our feline friends won't adjust to the new place or that they will go in search of their old homes. Cats are very territorial animals that develop strong bonds with their environment, so a house move can cause them a lot of distress.

With our list of tips and advice, along with good thoughts and good luck, you will get through moving house with your kitty.

Create a Cat Room

2 weeks before your moving day, clear out a room in your house that will act a temporary 'Cat Base'. This room will hold the cat on moving day so that she doesn't go on a walkabout or get flustered and stressed when the removal team are in. Place all your cat's comforts into this room.... Bed, food, toys, scratching post, weapons of mass destruction... you know, the usual cat bits and bobs. It's a good idea to feed your cat in this room in the run up to the move so that she accepts this space as her own. This should mean that she is less likely to be furious or flustered on moving day when you shut her in. TIP!!! Don't forget to put a note on the door so the removals team know that this is the home of the 'Queen of Sheba' and not to open it. Once the rest of the house is packed up in the removal van, the ‘cat's room can be tackled last. If your cat is used to freely going outside and is likely to meow holy hell upon being locked in on moving day, you might want to consider putting her into a cattery for the duration of the move to save her from unnecessary distress and keep her from being in an enclosed space.

Settling In

It can take a little while to settle the cat into your new home. They are creatures of habit so new surroundings can be unsettling and strange to them. Introduce her to just one room to begin with, filling that room with all the things that will make her feel at home, just as you did in the lead up to the move at your old house. Put her toys, bed, food and water bowls in with her and keep her confined to this space for now. Try using a pheromone diffuser, this should keep her calm and put her at ease while she adjusts. Once your cat is in her new room, make sure doors and windows are closed until the removal men leave because they are little Houdinis and they will do their best disappearing act. Once the removal team are gone, you can go into the cat's room, give her some much deserved and needed fuss before letting her out to explore the rest of the new house.

Incarcerate

As harsh as it may seem, the house will need to be on complete lock down for your cat as she first starts to look around. Ensure all windows and doors are closed so that she can't get out. If you let her outside too soon, she may wander off too far and get lost or even attempt to make her way back to the old house. It can be a difficult task but it is best that you try not to let your cat outside for a few weeks until she has settled and bonded with the new home. To reassure your cat, give her small and frequent meals so she has more contact with you and feels comforted.

Freedom

Before you let your cat outside in the new garden for the first time, we would advise you getting your cat some form of identification. Make sure she has a collar with her name and address, or if you haven't already, ask your vet to microchip your cat in the event she gets lost, so she can be returned to you. When you first introduce your cat to her new garden, go outside with her and keep an eye on her in the first instance to make sure she doesn't wander off and can't find her way back. The best time to do this is before your cat's mealtimes. Once she has explored her new territory, she will be tempted to come back into the house by the familiar and joyous sound of the rattling food box as well as the delightful whiff.

Home from Home

If your new house is only a few streets away from your old one, it's possible that when your cat goes outside, she might come across some familiar smells and routes that lead it back to your old house. This usually means they haven't yet bonded with their new home. In this instance, all you can do is be patient and try to keep your cat indoors until they feel safe and until your house becomes their territory. You may also want to warn the residents of your old house that your cat might make an appearance, and to call you if that happens. If your cat does end up going back to your old house, ask the residents to avoid stroking or feeding your cat, so as not to encourage her to go back or stay there. You may need to warn them if your cat is a charmer and tell them not to fall for it.

Rodents, Rabbits and Ferrets

Cats and Dogs require lots of fussing and you have to play a game of psychology when moving them but our other furry friends are a lot easier going. Still, the likes of our rabbits, guinea pigs, rodents and ferrets require careful shifting. These pets feel safest when they're hiding somewhere dark. Remove from their hutches or cages and put them in their carry cases/boxes somewhere quiet while your old house is emptied. Scent is important so let them keep their old toys/treats from their cages until you can put them back into their enclosures at the new house.

Snakes

Don't feed your snake for at least 48 hours before the move. Snakes can be placed in pillow cases inside a box with air holes while travelling to protect against bumps. If placed directly into the box, it can be a good idea to put the hide in their vivarium in the run up to the move to get their scent onto it.

Fish

Transport fish in fish bags. It is recommended that you double bag, to keep the fish safe if one breaks. Try to get as much air as possible into the bag (without blowing) before you secure it. Keep the bagged fish somewhere dark to reduce stress. Reintroduce your fish to their new home as you did when you first bought them.

Birds

Birds should be transported in travel cages or their own cage with all swinging objects removed. On long journeys or hot days, a water bottle spritzer can come in handy for showers. If possible, in the new house keep your bird in a similar position as in the old, and keep the toys, food and water in the same place for a little while to keep some familiarity.

Remember that no one knows your pet like you do and each animal is individual. Do what you feel is right for your pet, and enjoy your new home together.

Last updated on Monday 21st August 2017

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