February 20th Marks ‘Love Your Pet Day’. And ‘love our pets’ we certainly do! Research last year revealed that one in seven Brits admitted they loved their pet more than they loved their partner!
Whether they are furry, feathered or scaled, have eight, four or two legs (or zero!) our pets are a member of our family. So, what happens when you’re planning a house move – how do you ensure the minimum amount of stress for them and ensure they’re kept safe?
You may have seen an article in the Yorkshire Post a few weeks ago from our MD Mike McCarthy, giving some top tips on how to ensure your pets have a smooth move. So, in honour or Love Your Pet Day, we felt it was worth sharing some advice here for anyone with a pet who is planning a move.
As a removals company with over 50 years of experience, we’ve moved homeowners with many different animals over the decades, so we’ve learnt a thing or two. Don’t get us started about the time the ‘pet’ was a fully grown lion though (yes, really…)
Here are our top tips for moving with a pet:
It will take your pet a while to feel at ‘home’ in a new house. Make sure your pet is microchipped if it can be. That way if your pet were to go missing from their new (or old) home, it’s easier to reunite you as quickly as possible.
The upheaval ahead of a move can be unsettling for a pet and they’re bound to pick up on changes ahead of the day itself. Try to keep their life and routine the same as much as possible – for example, don’t pack their belongings until the day itself.
Talk to your removal company. Let them know your plans with regards to your pet so they are aware of the situation, and you can ask questions if you need to.
Make sure anything you will be likely to need for your pet the first few days is transported in your own vehicle, so you can easily access it. This will include food, water bowls or bottles, toys, medicines and bedding. If you have a dog or cat, don’t wash any of your pet’s bedding just before or after the move as the familiar scent can be reassuring to your four legged friend.
If your pet is unsettled ahead of the move, or you suspect they will find the move difficult, consider using a pheromone diffuser, which can help them feel calmer. It’s worth speaking to your vet for recommendations and advice.
On move day itself, your pet is likely to find everything very confusing and worrying. We always recommend, if possible, people ask friends or family to look after their pet for the day, or that they consider using a cattery or kennels.
If your pet needs to stay with you during the move, put them in an empty, safe room and let everyone involved in the move know the door is not to be opened unless by you. You don’t want to risk them making a run for an open front door and going missing. Ensure they have their favourite things and anything they might need, and keep going in to check on them.
The physical moving of any pet will need to be done by yourself in your own vehicle – it won’t be able to go in the removal van, so ensure you have a safe means of transporting them.
Don’t forget that smaller pets, such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters or budgies, can still find moving stressful. Make sure you have a safe and suitable carrier and that they’re properly secured in your car. They may find the movement of the vehicle upsetting so try to keep the emergency stops and sharp steering to a minimum! Covering the cage may help them feel more settled, but don’t let them overheat.
If you have aquatic or reptilian cages to transport make sure you discuss this with your removal company so they’re safely delivered to your new home. However, you will still need to transport your animal to your new home, so make sure you seek expert advice on how to best do so.
Once in your new home be patient with your pet and give lots of reassurance. If your pet goes outside, make sure the area they use is secure and for a dog, only take them out on a lead for the first few days at least. Cats should be kept inside for a couple of weeks if possible.
Hopefully you and your pet will be happily settled in your new home in no time!