Worried about how you’re going to move with your four-legged family members? Here’s how to ensure Move day goes smoothly.
As if moving house was not stressful enough, adding pets into the mix makes things that little bit harder.
Dogs can get under your feet while you’re trying to get important jobs done, and cats may get stressed amidst all the commotion and might even run away.
Given around 45% of the UK population own a pet, moving house with an animal is a situation that many of us will encounter at some point in our lives.
Here’s our guide to the common mistakes people make when relocating to a new home with pets – and what you can do to avoid making mistakes.
1. Check pets are allowed at your new property
It’s always worth checking – especially if you are renting – that you’re allowed pets in your new home. Flats or multiple occupancy dwellings may have rules in the small print either preventing pets, or putting a limit on the number. You don’t want to breach tenancy rules and face penalties, so be sure to check the Ts and Cs.
2. Visit the vet
While a trip to the vet may not feature high on your to-do list in the run-up to Move day, it’s important to prioritise. That way, you can check your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date, and you’ve got all the relevant records and certificates to hand.
3. Pack medication for existing conditions
You may be busy trying to get everything packed into boxes, but it’s important not to pack medication that your pet needs on a daily basis. Make sure you keep items in a safe place so you can locate them easily once you arrive at your new home.
4. Organise an ‘overnight kit’
Don’t be so preoccupied with packing your own stuff, that you overlook packing an ‘overnight kit’ for your pet. This easily-accessible kit should include enough food, cat litter, toys and grooming brushes to get your pet comfortable during the first days at your new home while you are unpacking.
5. Update your pet’s microchip
If your cat or dog is micro-chipped, update the details of your new address and phone number on the central database in case your pet goes missing during the upheaval of the move, or walkabout when you arrive at your new home. It’s also worth buying or making a new tag with your new address and contact details, which your pet can wear on Move Day. If the worst does happen, and your pet goes astray, sites such as Petlog can help you find your pet.
6. Register with a new vet
You may have set aside time to register with a new doctor, dentist and other medical practitioners you visit, but don’t overlook the need to register with a new vet for your pets. Ask your old vet for recommendations and speak to neighbours in your new area. If you have an unusual pet, or one with peculiar medical conditions, finding the right vet is even more important. Consider paying a visit to the practice to check you’re happy with the service on offer.
7. Keep the normal routine
While your daily routine may be more than a little out of kilter around Move Day, remember that animals – and cats in particular – are creatures of habit. It may be hard with so much going on, but try to feed and exercise pets at their regular times.
8. Bring out pet carriers in advance
Cats may panic at the sight of their cat boxes, as they’ll associate these with trips to the vet. A better approach is to leave these boxes in view in the lead-up to Move Day so pets get used to their sight and smell.
9. Consider booking pets into kennels or cattery
Your bank balance may have taken a battering in the weeks running up to Move Day, but scrimping on the cost of putting pets into kennels or a cattery for a night or two can be a false economy. Having your pets away from home during the Move can both significantly reduce the stress experienced by your pet and the worry experienced by you. It’s almost certainly a price worth paying.
10. Leave enough time to book pets into kennels or cattery
If you do decide to book Fido and Smudge into kennels or cattery, do it in good time to secure a place, especially over the summer. If not, you could find places are all booked up.
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11. Allow pets to roam freely on Move Day
If you decide not to book dogs and cats into kennels or cattery, have a plan for Move Day. This should involve keeping cats or dogs in one room which is quiet, calm and secure. This ‘safe’ place should be the last room you pack up so as to cause your pet minimal upheaval.
12. Tell removals staff that pets are being kept in a ‘safe’ place
Once you’ve put your pets in their designated room, ensure that all those helping you Move know the animals are there. If not, you could find doors are left open and litter trays, beds and toys are packed too early.
13. Give pets time
If your move involves a long car journey, don’t feed pets just before you’re about to set off in case they become travel sick. Also, remember to take plenty of breaks so your dog can have some exercise and go to the toilet.
14. Keep cats inside your new home
Keeping an outdoor cat cooped up indoors when you reach your new home is not much fun, but it’s the best way to help them become used to their new surroundings. If you let them out straight away, there’s a risk they will try to return to their old home.
Experts recommend you keep them inside for a fortnight, so set aside a dedicated ‘cat room’ at your new home where your cat can slowly get used to its new environment. Take steps to make it feel ‘homely’ – such as surrounding your cat with familiar belongings, favourite toys, and a litter tray.
Also, give your cat lots of treats and cuddles so they can feel safe. You could even try a synthetic feline pheromone diffuser to help calm your feline family members.
15. Pet proof your garden
Don’t forget to check that the garden of your new home is securely enclosed before letting your dog out. If not, you risk your pooch wiggling its way through a gap in a hedge or a hole in a fence. You also need to think about plants which might be poisonous or dangerous to domestic pets.
16. Introduce yourself – and your pets – to your new neighbours
Make a concerted effort to introduce yourself – and your pets – to the people living around you. If problems arise with your pets, a little rapport can go a long way.