A quick guide to moving with pets
Moving with pets adds a layer of complexity to a house move, but with some careful planning and a little patience, you’ll manage to settle your pet into your new home and stay out of the dog house.
Before you move
One of the simplest things you can do before you move is to ensure your pet is easily identifiable and trackable in case your pet goes missing during or after your house move. New surroundings can really spook pets, and with many doors opening and closing during a house move, there’s a chance your pet could slip through the front or back gate unnoticed. Before you move house check that your pet has a collar and tag with your current mobile number on it. If your pet isn’t yet microchipped and registered, take your pet to the vet to arrange this so that you can be reunited with your pet in case you’re separated in the move.
Before you settle into a new space, it’s always a good idea to do a yard check to ensure there are no hazards. Does the front gate lock? Is the fence secure? Are there any poisonous plants on the property? These are the things you should be identifying and fixing before you move, not on the day you move in, or afterwards.
If your pet isn’t used to being in a crate or carrier, buy one well in advance and leave it in the backyard or lounge room so your pet can get used to the idea of the carrier or crate and not be frightened of it when it appears on moving day.
During your move
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your pet is safe during a transition to a new home is to leave your pet with a trusted friend or family member, so that they aren’t in the way when the movers arrive. If your pet knows this person really well, then that’s an added bonus. Whether you leave your pet at another person’s house for the day or overnight while you unpack and organise your new space, be sure to also take your pet’s bed, favourite toys and snacks for some comfort and reassurance.
If it isn’t possible to leave your pet with a friend or family member, then ensure that your pet is secured in a carrier or crate when in transit between houses. Leaving a pet in a quiet room, with a water bowl, bed and toys is a good way to ensure your pet doesn’t run through the house and accidently get injured by a large piece of furniture being moved.
There is also the option of pet daycare for the days leading up to and including the move. Some centres even provide pick-up and drop-off services if they’re nearby. This will ensure your pet is safe and having fun while you’re managing the move.
Settling into your new home
Making your pet feel safe and comfortable in new surroundings is paramount when moving house. While you may be tempted to replace your pet’s bedding and toys when you move, it’s best to keep old beds and chew toys so they have something familiar to comfort them.
Giving your pet plenty of time to explore their new home and backyard is a good way to ensure the transition is a positive one. Give your dog or cat ample time to trot around, sniff and explore. If your dog can interact with others via the front fence of your new place, then a little training may be required to make sure your pet isn’t a risk to the community.
Keeping your routine the same during a move is a good way to signal to your pet that while your environment may have changed, life hasn’t. If your dog is walked every morning at 6am, then keep that routine going on moving day and beyond. If your cat is fed at 6pm on the dot, then keep that going in your new house.
If your pet is displaying signs of anxiety (like excessive barking or yowling, licking, or heavy panting) then speak to your vet about ways to settle your pet. There are many ways to help alleviate anxiety, from custom-made toys to medication.