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How to move house with your pets


REMOVALS COMPANY, Robinsons International and UK veterinary charity, the Peoples Dispensary for Sick Animals, (PDSA) have combined to compile some sound advice for people who are moving home and how to cope with moving their pets:

• Make sure your pets are identifiable in case they get lost en route or before they have settled into their new home. Dogs, cats and many other animals, including birds, can be microchipped. Dogs, even if microchipped, should always wear a collar and identity tag with the owner’s name, and address clearly marked on it when in a public place.

• In the days before the move, keep to your pet’s usual routine as much as possible.

• Keep pets in a quiet room with their bedding and favourite toys while your belongings are taken out of the house. Secure the door and hang a “Do not open - pets in here” sign.

• Talk to your vet about ways to make the journey less stressful for pets who suffer from severe travel sickness or anxiety in a car. NEVER leave pets of any kind in a car as the car can quickly become very hot.

• Don’t pack all of your pet’s food in the removals van. If it’s a long journey, you may need to
stop and feed them. Ensure that the cat’s litter tray is easily accessible and schedule in walks on the lead for your dog en route. Make sure that plenty of water is available for your pet at all times.

• When moving your cat (or small dog), use a secure basket. Leave the carrier around for a few days before your move, so the pet becomes used to the sight and smell of it. Put your pet inside the basket before the removal men arrive.

• Guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits and other small mammals are best transported in well-ventilated, chew-proof containers. Make sure they have plenty of water in a spill-proof container, a little food and lots of bedding, and that the container is well ventilated.

• Small birds travel best in a well-ventilated box, with subdued lighting. If your bird is travelling in its own cage, take out anything that might become dislodged.

• If your journey time will be under two hours, you can put fish in a large freezer bag containing water from the aquarium. When you have put your fish in the bag, carefully twist it shut, making sure there is about one third water to two-thirds air). Make sure that the bag is held securely in the car so that it cannot roll around. Some aquarists use Styrofoam boxes, to avoid fluctuating temperatures and to help the fish relax by keeping them in the dark – your local aquarist will be able to advise you about this.

• If you are transporting fish on a longer journey, keep them in the aquarium. Carefully drain
some of the water out of the tank, allowing enough water for the largest fish to swim freely. Take out ornaments and plants and keep them in separate boxes or water filled bags. Put the tank in a secure place in the car, such as on the floor, but make sure that nothing can fall on or into it.

• As they are very sensitive to stress, check on fish frequently as you travel and try to make the journey as short as possible. It is advisable to speak to your veterinary surgeon or local aquarist for further tips and advice on transporting fish.

• When in the car, secure larger dogs with a car safety harness and keep smaller pets in a pet carrier securely fitted to the seat or in the foot-well. Do not put pet carriers in the removal van or the boot of your car and never let your dog put its head out of the car window.

• As soon as you arrive at your new home put your pet in a secure and quiet room with their familiar bedding and toys, and provide them with food and water. Make sure that doors and windows are shut and fireplaces blocked to prevent cats from escaping.

• Keep cats inside for the first two or three weeks to give them time to learn the geography of the new home and to become accustomed to the smells. When you are ready to let it out accompany your cat into the garden. Let it explore for a little while before calling it in for food. Repeat the exercise several times, allowing it to go a little further and for a bit longer each time. You may want to start this process by using a cat harness and lead so you can control your cat’s first few trips outdoors.

• Ask the occupants of your old house to call you if your cat turns up on their doorstep. Your old neighbours and new house owner mustn’t give the cat any attention or food. In this way your cat will begin to recognise the new house, rather than the old one, as its source of food and shelter.

• Keep dogs on a lead when you take them out in the garden for the first few days and check your boundary fencing to make sure that it is secure and free from any gaps before letting your dog run free.

• As you settle in to your new home, remember to walk your dogs regularly to help them adjust to their new surroundings. Give both cats and dogs sufficient, but not excessive, amounts of food and attention. A regular routine will help during the adjustment period and small frequent meals will give you more contact with them in the first few weeks, helping them relax.

• If you wish to move your pet overseas, contact worldwide pet relocation specialists. Inform your removals company well in advance. For more information, it is also worthwhile contacting DEFRA and the Animal Reception Area at Heathrow (HARC).
With thanks to www.ukpets.co.uk