Advice for moving house with pets
Moving home can be stressful for pets as they are removed from their familiar surroundings and routine. If you are unable to find someone to look after your pet on moving day you should investigate local catteries and kennels to house them until your new home is ready.
It is vital that you update the contact information on your pets' microchips, and that any collars have the correct details on them in case your pet decides to wander off.
Additional sources of advice for moving home with pets
Additional advice on moving with cats
Additional advice on moving with dogs
Additional advice on moving with rabbits
Cats and dogs
Cats and dogs are very territorial and scent mark their surroundings. A new home will smell and feel alien to them, so pack a box with their favourite bedding and toys so they are comforted by familiar sights and smells.
Treatments such as Feliway for cats and Adaptil for dogs may also help. These remedies are designed to reduce hormonal stress in pets, but it may be worth consulting your vet before you make a purchase.
If you’re transporting a pet abroad, they must be transported as cargo (with the exception of working assistance dogs) so it is important to use a cage which has been approved by the IATA (International Airport Transportation Association) to ensure they have enough room to sit and stand properly. This will allow your pet to travel in comfort and reduce the likelihood of them becoming unhappy or aggressive.
Once your pet has moved into your new home, let them adjust at their own pace. In the case of cats who go outside, allow them a couple of weeks to familiarise themselves with your new house before introducing them to the garden and other outside spaces. This will allow them to get used to their new territory and be able to find their way home once they start to explore.
Conversely, dogs should be taken for a walk right away to get used to their new surroundings. Allowing your pooch to sniff around and mark their territory will give them confidence. It is important your dog’s exercise routine is maintained or they may become unsettled.
Rabbits and other small mammals
Small mammals such as rabbits are extremely sensitive to stress and disruption to their routine should be kept to a minimum. Many pet boarding facilities now accommodate rabbits, but make sure that they are kept separately from dogs and cats. Rabbits must have access to fresh hay and water at all times during transportation.
Fish are highly sensitive to changes in their environment, so great care must be taken. Fish should be transported in special plastic bags which are available from pet shops and specialist outlets. Fill 1/3 of the bag with aquarium water. The rest should be air. Double bag and secure with elastic bands. Save as much of the aquarium water as possible and pack separately. The conditions in their tank or aquarium should be as close as possible to how they were before your move before returning your fish to it.
Ask at your local fish store and get a whole pile of plastic fish bags. Fill these with 1/3 of aquarium water, add the fish, and tie it off with as much air as you can, Use two bags for extra safety. You will find that this way is more work but at least your treasured fish will arrive safely.
Once you have secured the fish in bags place the bags in coolers - styrofoam or plastic. This will keep the temperature stable for you and also keep the fish in the dark, which eases their stress immensely and helps keeps them calm. Next step make sure you transfer your filter media safely also in a plastic bag to preserve all your bacteria so the tank doesn't have to cycle all over again.
When you finally arrive at your new home, make sure you fill the tank, treat it with conditioner, and let it run for a few hours to aerate before introducing the fish. The fish will be fine in the plastic bags in the cooler for this length of time. Finally float the bags for a few minutes and then pour the fish in.
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