Relocating to a new home, especially in a populated city like London, is a challenge in itself. When you are juggling multiple pets, there is the additional task of ensuring they handle the move well. Not all animals enjoy change, and you may need to put in extra effort to make your new place feel like home.
There is also the issue with logistics. Can your car accommodate all your pets? Can you safely transport them? Do you know how to calm them down during high-stress situations? There are too many questions you have to address before you even consider scheduling your moving day.
Before you plan your move, assess the needs of your pets. If you have the same type of animal, it is fairly straightforward. The needs of 2-3 dogs or cats should be the same. The only thing you need to plan around is their personal quirks. For example, Pepper might like blueberries and Spot might like cheese. At the end of the day, treats make them happy. It becomes tricky when you have different kinds of pets.
You can have a dog and a cat or a dog and a guinea pig, and suddenly the formula changes. Every pet has their own needs, and trying to stay on top of all of them without neglecting one can be tough. When this is the case, block off a day and do your research. Come up with an organised list for each pest.
While you might be very experienced with day-to-day care, you need to learn one more important aspect of owning a pet: travelling with them. You need to know how to help them travel for long periods and how to adapt to a new home. Admittedly, some pets are easier than others. However, with a bit of patience and work, you should be able to bring the whole family with you, no matter where you go in the UK.
Take note of possible stress triggers, calming products and methods, ideal carrier size, and nausea treatments. You can make a Venn diagram and see if anything overlaps. For example, the treatment for motion-sickness in dogs and cats are the same--keep your vehicle well-ventilated, give them smaller meals, and have anti-nausea medicine on hand. Having a comprehensive list makes it easier for you to plan with multiple pets in mind.
Assess your new London home before setting a moving date. Check if any issues need to be addressed like holes in the walls, gaps in the fence. It is easier to have them sorted out early on, instead of getting your work done with your pets all settled.
The holes and gaps on walls can make it easy for your pet to slip through. If you have a guinea pig, hamster, or gerbil, those holes in the wall can become a problem. Patch them the best you can so you don’t have to worry about your pet going AWOL.
The same goes for your fence. Dogs tend to be homeward bound. You don’t want to lose them in a new neighbourhood, so repair these gaps and block off other possible exits.
You may also want to check the cleanliness of the house. Scents tend to linger and can have a host of information. Pets that are sensitive to smells can get affected by them, especially when the pet of the previous owner was in distress. A deep carpet clean should get rid of any residual traces.
On your moving day, pack a bag with all of your essentials from toys, treats, and backup medication. You can also keep your pet’s belongings with you in the same car, so you can have them settled in before you unpack your other items.
Most pets are sensitive to loud noises and strangers. To avoid unnecessary stress, keep them in an area where they can get a bit of peace and quiet, far from the disarray caused by moving. You wouldn’t want them to be anxious this early on, especially with the pending car ride.
Most people find themselves stretched thin even without the added responsibility of multiple pets. Acknowledge that you can only do so much on your own and hire help. A removals company in London provides full support when you move. They can assist you every step of the way from the acquisition of packaging materials to packing and disassembling your furniture to lifting heavy boxes and organising them in your new home.
A removals company means that you don’t have to split your attention between your move and your pets. They also come with a lot of extra muscle so you don’t run yourself ragged with the move and it can go according to schedule.
If you plan on being more present with the move, you can hire a pet sitter. A pet sitter can give your animals the love and attention they deserve. Animals are very intuitive, and they can sense the frustration and stress from you. While these feelings are common during relocation, they do not inspire security in your pets, and this can make them more vulnerable during the car trip.
With a pet sitter, their routines will not be disrupted. Again, this establishes a feeling of security. They also help distract your pets. When they are focused on play, they won’t have time to see and process the changes that are going on behind the scenes. And lastly, they can keep your pets out of harm’s way.
No matter how careful your removals team are, your new house will be too chaotic for your pets. The mover’s limited vision when carrying bulky items might prevent them from seeing your pet and can injure them. The stacks of boxes and bins can also be a possible falling hazard. With pets who are fond of climbing like cats, ferrets, and chinchillas, these stacks may look like a fun challenge. A pet sitter can prevent these accidents from happening.
The most common form of travel when moving with pets is by car. When you are transporting multiple animals, you need to be smart with your space. Avoid bringing additional personal items with you to keep the backseat as empty as possible.
You can bring an overnight bag and pack your pet’s items in the truck of your car, and leave the rest to your removals service. If you happen to have a lot of belongings (hamster and chinchilla cages and play areas tend to be very big) you can ask for a larger van to ensure everything fits well.
If you have a dog, you can look for a dog seat belt or car harness to keep them secure during the drive. However, if they are crate-trained, it might be best to keep them in there. Besides dogs, the rest of your pets from cats to hamsters are best kept in a carrier. It ensures that they are nice and stable with the drive’s sudden stops and swerves. Try to make these spaces as comfortable as possible with their favourite toy, water bottle, and any item that has your scent.
For your small pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, and the like, you can pad their wire carrier with soft fleece or fabric. Place their cage in a cool and shaded area. If you are travelling during the day, you can get blinders, or cover their cage with a gauzy cloth to block the harsh sunlight.
For fish, you can keep them in a container with a lot of water and air. You can keep them in a bucket or a plastic bag. When you pack up your aquarium plants, keep them in bags with the original tank water. You might also want to save 80% of that water and use it again when you move to your new place because it can help your fish acclimatise.
Most pets can enjoy the move when the car is well-ventilated. If your pet thrives in warmer or cooler temperatures, make the adjustments accordingly. If you have animals on opposite ends of the spectrum, you can look into alternative arrangements like having a portable fan or electric heating pad.
Generally, most pets get stressed with loud sounds and sudden movements, so keep your music soft and drive carefully. After the 2 hour mark, take a short break and let them stretch their legs. If you can, let them run around and give them a little treat, it can significantly boost their mood.
If they are struggling with the car ride, you can use the anti-nausea medication prescribed by the vet. Visit your vet before you move and explain your concerns. They can have more targeted treatments for their motion-sickness. Remember, do not medicate your pets without having a proper consultation.
When you reach your new home, the space for your pet comes first! Set up the litter box, fill up the fish tank, drop off their toys--these steps can help them understand that this is now home. It can take them days up to weeks before they get over the stress from the move.
They may not follow the same habits and routines for a while. That is completely normal. Even dogs that usually adapt well can be affected by the move. They can pee indoors and forget their usual cues. The best thing to do is to follow the old routine and give them plenty of positive reinforcement. You should also give your pets the time and space to get to know the new house. For dogs and cats, you can give them a tour to guide them through their new environment.
Having multiple pets means double the work, but it can ultimately be very rewarding. As extensions of our families, it is best to avoid rehoming pets when it is possible to bring them along. With enough TLC, your pets will soon learn to love your new home!
Meanwhile, if you think we can help you make things easier for your pets, give us a call at 020 7720 1132 or reach out to us here!