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Moving home with pets

Moving house can be a stressful time – for your pet as well as you. To help things go smoothly before, during and after your move, follow our tips for moving home with pets.

Moving house can be a stressful time – for your pet as well as you. To help things go smoothly before, during and after your move, follow our tips for moving home with pets.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Last Updated
5 APRIL 2022
4 min read
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Before you move

Pet-proof your new home and garden

Prevent your pets from causing chaos by pet-proofing your home before the big move. You may want to use child locks on cabinets and cable ties to prevent tails tangling with wiring. Check that the garden is secure, especially if you have a dog who’s an escape artist. And be wary of lily plants that could have been left by the previous owners – these plants can be lethal for cats.

Clean your new home

Be sure to clean your new place thoroughly to remove any existing odours that might unsettle your animals. If other pets have lived at the property before, your pet could consider them competition.

Do a recce with your dog

If you live close to your new address, you can help your dog get familiar with the area by taking them for walks in their new neighbourhood before you even move in. This will help them get accustomed to their new surroundings.

Let your removal company know about pets

Always tell movers if there are going to be pets around on moving day. And if you have more exotic pets such as snakes or tropical fish, let the removal firm know about any special equipment that needs to be moved.

Be prepared for wandering

Some pets may try to return to your old home. Before you go, leave the new owners a photo of your cat or dog, your contact details and ask them not to feed your homesick animals.

Also talk to your neighbours and ask them to keep an eye out for your pet and to let you know if it returns to its old stomping ground.

Find a kennel or cattery

Keeping your cat or dog away from the action of packing and unpacking will make things less stressful for everybody. Many kennels and catteries specialise in looking after your beloved pets during house moves, although you’ll have to make sure their vaccinations are up to date. Or you could save on costs and leave your pets with a friend or family member. Bring your pet into your new home once everything is settled. That way, they should feel more relaxed in their new surroundings.

During the move 

Make sure you have suitable transport

If you’d rather have your pets with you on move day, it’s best to keep them in a room of their own, away from people lifting heavy loads. Once you’ve given them toys, bedding and something to eat and drink, you’ll have to consider transport. Use a well-ventilated carrier or cage with room for water - and a litter tray if your pet is a cat.

If you’re travelling for a considerable amount of time, make sure they have the chance to exercise. For example, you should accommodate cats in a larger carrier for a longer journey, and schedule in walking stops for dogs.

Keep creature comforts close

Pack your pet’s favourite toys, bedding and treats in a box of their own that you can keep within easy reach throughout the move. If you have your pets with you during move day, box your pet’s items last and unpack them first at your new home so they feel comfortable for as long as possible.

Stick to your pet’s routine

Sticking to the usual walking hours, mealtimes and sleeping arrangements will prevent cats and dogs from feeling threatened by all the change going on around them. However, you’ll need to leave plenty of time between feeding and travel to avoid any potential pet car sickness.

Manage your own mood

Pets are sensitive to tone and body language – if you feel stressed, it’s likely they’ll feel the same. So try to be as organised as possible to avoid stressful situations before, during and after the move.

At your new home

Use smells to your advantage

Pheromone diffusers can be a great way of helping to calm your pet in their new environment. Cats and dogs usually give off these odours when comfortable in their surroundings, so it’s a good idea to start using the diffusers before your move. Diffusers can be bought as sprays, plug-in sprays, collars and wipes.

It’s worth taking your cat or dog’s unwashed blanket from your previous home along with you to your new home. This can help calm your pet in the first couple of days after the move.

Settle in slowly

Aside from familiar smells and sticking to old routines, there are a few more tricks to help your pet settle into their new home. Keep your cats indoors for the first month after your move. Then start letting them outside just before mealtimes to quickly entice them back to their new home.

And remember to pay your pet extra attention after your move to help them feel safe in their new environment.

Allow for accidents

The potential for accidents is huge when moving home with pets – think toilet mishaps and chewed wires. So be patient. It may take your pet some time to settle into their new home.

Don’t forget the vet

It’s important to register your pet with a local vet as early as possible. That’s because strange environments can lead to unforeseen accidents involving pets. And if you have a cat, there’s always the possibility that it could get into scrapes with territorial cats in your new area.

Update microchip details

Make sure you update your pet’s microchip details with your new address. And make sure the details on your pet’s collar are updated, if they wear one.

Consider your insurance

If you haven’t already got insurance that covers accidents caused by pets, now might be the time to consider it. Accidental damage pet insurance could cover the costs of damage caused by pets inside your new home.

If you’re moving into a property you don’t own and are worried your dog might be uneasy in its new surroundings, consider pet insurance that covers third party liability. This could cover damage caused to other people or their property.

Think about switching pet insurance

You’ll need to tell your pet insurance provider that you’re moving. But you may find that your insurance gets more expensive. That’s because vet consultations, surgery and medication can vary across the country, and the cost of cover will reflect this.

If your updated pet quote turns out to be expensive, you could see if you can switch to a better deal. However, be aware that any cover you might have for pre-existing conditions would likely be excluded if you change your pet insurance.

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Anna McEntee - Insurance expert

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