Pets can find the removals process particularly exhausting and the last thing you want on moving day is even more stress and anxiety thinking about your dog running off or getting injured. Keep reading for our handy guide on making removals day stress free for your pet and less stressful for you!
There’s a lot of upheaval and noise in the run up to a move, along with strangers walking around, which is a less than ideal environment for a pet to be in. Cats are especially hateful of change and moving all your belongings around and clearing out rooms can be very stressful to your moggie.
The kindest thing you can do for your pet (and you) is remove them from the house during the run up to moving day. Place them with a trusted family member or friend, in a cattery or in one designated room of your house with a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign attached to the door. This way they cannot escape, and the removals company knows not to enter and potentially allow your pet to escape. Make sure you provide them with plenty of fresh water and food, and give them some love every so often.
Vets can often provide a helping hand in the form of light tranquilisers or sedatives designed for helping keep highly strung or easily upset pets quiet on moving day. There may be a charge, and a short wait if the drugs are not kept on site, so make sure you schedule an appointment well ahead of moving day.
You should also prepare new ID tags and collars for your pets once you’re aware of your new address. If you have a landline listed on tags, and you’re switching numbers, amend this as well. It’s a good idea to register with your new vet in advance so you can take your pet there if the stress of moving day gets too much.
Prepare a bag of your pet’s belongings for easy access, for example if you need a lead or medication quickly and load it into the removals van last or keep it with you when you travel. Have a bag of treats at hand to make your pet feel more comfortable and help them settle in once you arrive at your new place.
Removals companies inevitably have a lot of heavy lifting and manoeuvring to do, and it can be hard to spot small animals. The most important thing to do is to ensure your pets are out of danger. If they are still with you, make sure the room they’re in is locked and secure.
Make moving your pet the last thing you do before you leave, so they avoid as much commotion as possible. Don’t feed them for at least 3 hours before leaving, to avoid any unfortunate accidents when travelling! You should use a high quality pet carrier when moving them, but most pets don’t enjoy these at all, so acclimatise them to it before you travel. Keeping them in there for 20 or so minutes a day can aid in this process, as can training them to associate the cage with rewards. On moving day you may also want to place a piece of material with your scent on it into the cage, to make them more comfortable.
If you move in summer, the trip can be very uncomfortable for pets, especially if you are travelling long distances. All animals get dehydrated very quickly, so provide them with plenty of fresh water during the journey, and bring them with you or leave a window open if you stop for refreshments.
After you’ve moved
You want your pet to associate your new house with love and affection, so it’s a good idea to show them you care from the minute you get in. Show them where their new special place is, for example a corner with their basket in, and put all their old toys there to make them feel more at home. Show your cat and dog every room of the house, as well as the garden. Give them as much love as you can – remember the move is incredibly stressful for them as well!
Please also remember that your pet is in a completely new environment. You should ask advice from your vet about how best to reintroduce your cat to outside life and when and where to first take your dog off the lead.