Tips for moving house with your pets

Harriet Meyer / 25 April 2015

Moving home is considered to be one of life’s most stressful events – and it can also have a big effect on your pet. Harriet Meyer shares six tips to make the move easier for cats and dogs.

Moving home is considered to be one of life’s most stressful events – and it can also have a big effect on your pet.

A significant life change to a human may cause anxiety, but to an animal that doesn’t know what’s going on it can be terrifying. So what can you do to ease the move for them.

Find the right home and area

If you have a young family you wouldn’t move to an area that’s not child-friendly, and similarly you need to ensure it’s suitable for your pet. This may not be a concern if your pet is kept indoors, but if you have a dog that needs walking it’s a consideration. Is it an area with green spaces nearby, and are there other dog owners around?

Check out the local area for a veterinary practice. This is particularly important if you have an unusual breed of pet, or one with medical needs. If you have time, it may be worth paying a visit to check you’re happy with the service on offer.

Read our guide to viewing houses.

Don’t pack everything at once

Cats, in particular, can get nervous of big changes in environment. If you pack rooms gradually, the starting phase of any move will be less of a shock.

Ensure your pet has access to the room it spends the most time in, and pack this up last. They will need a ‘safe’ place to retreat if they suffer any anxiety.

Dealing with removals

Place your pet in one room before the removal van arrives. Let the removal men know to deal with this room last, and put some of your pet’s favourite items in there. This may be a bed, or a few toys and a dark, quiet spot to rest. Don’t forget to leave food and water. 

Not sure how to choose a removal service? Read our tips.

Update your pet’s microchip

This form of pet ID holds your address and phone number on a central database, so if you move, make sure this is updated. If disaster strikes, and somehow your pet goes walkabout, this can be used to trace them. Sites such as petlog can also help find your pet.

Introduce them to the new home slowly

Leave the door to the pet carrier open if you’ve used one, so they can leave at their own pace. Start them off in one room, with a few of their favourite items.

Let them discover and sniff at their own pace, and then gradually open up new rooms as your pet starts to get comfortable. This will help avoid any sudden panic.

For cats, you could use a synthetic feline pheromone diffuser. You can them from most pet stores and online. They calm and help reduce any behavioural issues that result from a sudden change in environment. There is an equivalent for dogs, but it’s not so commonly used.

Don't forget to check that the garden is securely enclosed, with no gaps in hedges or holes in fences, before letting your pet out.

Ten top tips for dog-proofing your home and garden

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.