A Comprehensive Guide For Moving With Pets in the UK

moving with pets

Most pet owners consider their dog, cat, or ferret as an extension of their family. After all, there are too many memories cuddling next to your furry friend. It is only right that they make the trip with you to your new home. When you are moving house, a responsible pet owner should always do a bit of research to ensure that your pet is happy, healthy, and safe.

Your Move Depends On Your Pet 

40% of the population in the UK are pet owners, which is further broken down to 23% for dogs, 16% for cats, 1% for rabbits, and 41% for others. The majority can have anything that ranges from amphibians and reptiles to birds and fish.

Since the UK has various pet animals, you need to plan with their needs in mind. You cannot expect to transport tropical fish and snakes the same way you would with dogs or cats. If you have an international move, all the more you have to look into the specific requirements for your pet. Considering the preparations that you have to make when moving with pets, it is best to start your preparation early. 

Ideally, it would be best if you got to work 2-4 months before your actual moving day. There is a lot to take care of, from finding a pet-friendly flat and starting car training to fixing anti-rabies paperwork and selling old pet items. It can be very overwhelming to accomplish everything within weeks before the move. So it would help if you got a head start.  

Moving Abroad With Your Pet

The cost of owning a dog or a cat can be quite expensive. From maintenance, to vaccinations, and vet check-ups, moving with your pets also requires budget. Making an international move is challenging in itself, how much more when you are bringing your pet with you? It is important to be aware of the paperwork necessary for your dog, cat, or ferret since the processing time may vary.

[cta removals-search]

It may seem like a lot of work now, but would you want to leave them behind at the end of the day? Your furry friend can be your much-needed emotional support, especially when you are in a new country. Here is a brief overview of the work that goes into moving with your pet overseas: 

EU Country

Ever since Brexit, travelling with pets is undergoing changes, and it won’t be settled until January 2021. Your old EU pet passport is no longer valid. At the moment, we are at a standstill with 3 possible outcomes. The UK will either be an Unlisted, Part 1 Listed, or Part 2 Listed country. Depending on their decision, either of the 3 scenarios can happen: 


When the UK is an unlisted country, you would need to get them microchipped for easy tracking. Your pet’s microchip should cost around £10 to £15. You must have the microchip first before doing the following steps. If you do not have your pet microchipped before the rabies vaccine, it doesn’t count. 

After you have the microchip, your pet needs to be vaccinated with anti-rabies, and their blood sample must be tested at an EU-approved lab. After you receive the results, you need to wait for 3 months before travelling with your pet. You should have your animal health certificate and the lab’s test results with the endorsement of your local veterinarian.

When the UK is unlisted, you have a minimum of 4 months to sort everything after getting them vaccinated: 

30 days until you can get a blood sample

1-14 days for the lab results

3 months until your pet can travel

This timeline only works assuming the test-results are favourable. When they aren’t, you have to wait a couple more months. To guarantee the best results, always follow up with an anti-rabies booster once in a while. 

Part 1 Listed

When the UK becomes a Part 1 Listed country, it is fairly similar to the previous one with minor modifications. For example, you will still need a pet passport. If you had one pre-Brexit, you need to apply for the new version, which takes the changes into account. Remember that your pet passport is only valid when you keep up with your anti-rabies vaccinations. 

Your pet passport may take 1 day, 21 days, or 28 days to process. The time varies depending on your pet’s anti-rabies vaccination. Your pet passport can cost around £150 to £250. When your pet passport is ready to go, you can proceed with your move! 

Part 2 Listed

If the UK becomes a Part 2 Listed country, you will still need your dog, cat, or ferret microchipped to follow the Pet Travel Scheme. Before you can travel with your pet, you need to have an animal health certificate that details their vaccinations. Part 2 Listed countries only get a temporary pass, so you need your pet’s paperwork done every time you travel.

Additional Notes

The pet passport is exclusive for dogs, cats, and ferrets since they are the most common animal companions. The council has a strict endangered animal policy, so your exotic pet may not be allowed in an EU country. You might be able to bring other domestic animals, though they may require special paperwork. 

You can bring a maximum of 5 pets when travelling to the EU. The only exception is for animals that are more than 6 mos old and competitions, exhibitions, etc. only. If not, you need to follow their rules and get an import permit.

Some countries in the EU may require additional procedures. Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, and Malta require all dogs to have a tapeworm treatment (Echinococcus multilocularis). The treatment should be done within the 5 days before your move. Like all other treatments, you need to get an animal health certificate as proof. 

Non-EU Country

If you are planning on moving to a non-EU country, you need to consult the Pet Travel Scheme and your new home’s particular requirements. These tend to vary, so it is best to consult their website instead.

Considerations for Guide Pets

When you are travelling abroad with a pet, they are required to be in a carrier and kept in a separate area. The only time your pet can join you is when they are for guidance and assistance. Simply supply the paperwork to prove their training and your assistance dog can stay with you on the plane, train, or ship.

How To Prep For Moves With Pets

There are many aspects of the move that can be considered stressful for your pets. From the wild circus of packing to the complications when travelling, your pet is bound to feel upset. And who wouldn’t?

They won’t understand the purpose of the move. The many explanations of why Town A is better than City B or why you need to go to County C from Village D will be lost on them. However, animals are very intuitive and resilient. They will slowly adapt to it over time. 

Sort Their Paperwork

The most time-consuming part when moving with pets is the paperwork. Domestic moves do not require anything, but moving abroad does. With the global effort to keep rabies and other diseases down, countries strictly enforce these rules. Having the tests done may take time, so make sure you tick this off first. 

Find A Pet-Friendly Place

Finding a pet-friendly flat is difficult since it is always in short supply, especially in major cities and towns. Pets can introduce a lot of wear and tear in your home, making noise arguments difficult to mediate. Most rentals do away with pets to keep the peace. When a house or apartment allows pets, you need to stake your claim immediately since those tend to go fast. 

Once you get a place, make sure that your home is secure. If you have a garden or terrace, make sure the fences and railing are in good condition. You can also check the locks on the side doors to minimise the exits for your pet. 

When your dog or cat is in a new environment, they may not consider it their home for a few weeks. During this period, they may try to escape to your old house. If you just made a cross-country trip, it can be costly to have them out and about. So make it a point to do your repairs and renovation before you move. 

Visit Your Vet

One last visit to your local vet is always a great idea. You can have a check-up and get a copy of your pet’s medical files. It might not be necessary, but it can be a valuable reference for the future.

You can also take this chance to bring up your move. Dogs and cats can experience motion sickness, while hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and chinchillas can have intense anxiety while travelling. As much as you want to avoid medication, it helps have anti-nausea or anti-anxiety medicine on hand with a proper prescription. An anxious pet may end up vomiting or defecating throughout the trip. Their stress can link to long-term health problems, so it is best to manage it the best you can.

Maintain Their Routine

The weeks leading up to your move, your pet can sense the changes during your moving process. If you adopted your pet, this may trigger trauma and induce separation anxiety. Even pets that grew up with you can begin to feel insecure. 

While you are visiting open houses and packing boxes, your pet’s routine is waylaid. If you miss their daily walk or playtime, it can aggravate the situation. You need to be able to maintain their routine. From mealtime to playtime, there should be no deviation with their schedule. By doing so, you are making them feel loved and secure. 

If you find yourself at your wit’s end with juggling the tasks required for your move, recruit a couple of family members or friends to help you watch your pet. On days where you find yourself particularly busy, you need someone to keep an eye on your pet’s routine. 

Hire Extra Assistance

You can hire extra assistance to ensure your dog, cat, or ferret is successfully distracted on your moving day. You can keep them isolated from the work by hiring a pet-sitter to play with them in a separate room while you take care of loading your van. 

You can also look into keeping them in a boarding kennel overnight, while you are at the last stretch of your move. When your dog or cat is in the same room while you pack, they may interfere with your work or get into an accident with everything lying around. Them being in a separate space is better for them and you.

If you cannot bear the idea of being separated from your pet, you could hire a removal firm or Man and Van company. A moving service can get to work packing and transporting your belongings for you. From supplying packing materials to driving a loaded van, moving house is easy when you have professional movers on your side.

If you are interested in hiring a removal company or a man with a van, you can visit WhatRemovals for a comprehensive list of UK services. You can leave the relocating work with us while you keep your dog or cat company. When you can give them the attention they need before the move, you have better chances of having a vomit and poop-free drive.

While most UK residents prefer to transport their pets on their own, there are exceptions. When you are not in the position to do so, you can consider pet relocation services instead. Pet transport companies can help you bring your furry friend to your new home. With their expertise, they can handle most of your pet’s car travel woes. 

How To Care For Your Pet During Car Rides

When you are considering moving pets, planning is crucial. If you’re moving with a pet or multiple pets, be it a cat, dog, turtle, lizard, frog, or toad, you’ll want to make sure they’re comfortable for the journey. Especially when it comes to moving house with a cat in the UK, or moving with a dog over a long distance, it’s important to familiarise them with their new surroundings in advance.

One of the best tips for moving with pets is to ensure that they are comfortable during the ride. This often involves using things like crates, toys, and blankets. To make them feel at home, prepare plenty of their usual food and water, and ensure they have something familiar in their carrier, such as their bedding or favourite toy.

For a couple of weeks before the house move, try to gradually get them used to the new conditions. Introduce them to the vehicle or moving truck, making sure it’s pet-friendly. It could be a great option to make this a fun experience, perhaps by taking them on short, enjoyable drives that don’t end at the vets.

On your moving day, ensure you have all the right documentation for your pet. Use a spacious carrier, and if your pet doesn’t enjoy the crate, consider options such as pet seat belts or harnesses. Don’t forget to attach an ID tag to their collar, as the new territory can be confusing and they might get lost.

Young puppies, old dogs, and most cats are susceptible to motion sickness, so make sure to prepare for this case. To help manage their nausea and anxiety, keep the vehicle well-ventilated and avoid playing loud music. Keep them well-hydrated and stop frequently for breaks.

How To Deal With Changes In Your Pet’s Behaviour

When you are in your new home, you may notice that your pet is acting out. They may be disregarding the rules you painstakingly taught them like peeing indoors, destroying items, and refusing to play so you’ll have to stick with that cleaning schedule. For pets like a hamster, you may find them shaking in a corner. While the behaviour might be worrying, it is normal. Moving, for pets, is not easy. They need the time to adjust to their new surrounding area. The best thing you can do is to be patient and enforce your old routine. Within a couple of weeks, your pet, no matter what species they are, will be well-adjusted. 

The key thing is introducing your new place as home. Set up their spot first. If you have a cat, unpack the litter tray, for your dog set down your bowl, and for the guinea pig, take them out of their small pet carrier. As soon as you enter your new place, make them feel like it is home. For the first few weeks, give them their much-needed attention. Next thing you know it, they will be back to normal. 

Moving House With Your Pet Fish

Below, you will find a step-by-step guide on moving house with your pet fish.

Step 1: Make Sure You Have All The Necessary Equipment And Supplies

Before you even think about packing your fish tank, you will need to make sure that you have all of the necessary equipment and supplies. The last thing you want, after all, is to be without any of the necessary tools when it comes time to pack up your fish tank.

Some items you will need are:

  • Transport Containers for Your Fish – This can be anything from plastic bags to an insulated polystyrene fish transport container.
  • Plastic containers – You will also want containers for the fish tank’s ventilation system and decor. A bucket for the fish tank water is also a good idea.
  • Aquarium Gravel – This can help to keep your fish tank clean during transport.
  • Fish Net – A good quality net is necessary to catch and transfer your fish into their transport container. One or two nets will do.
  • Aquarium Thermometer – You will need a thermometer to ensure that your fish do not get too hot or cold during transport.
  • Aquarium Water Conditioner – This is necessary to remove chlorine and chloramine from your aquarium water. It is important to use a water conditioner that is made for transporting fish.
  • A Siphon Hose – This is necessary for removing water from your fish tank.

You will also want regular packing supplies like bubble wrap, packing paper, rubber bands, and tape. Depending on your particular fish type, you may also need other equipment, such as a battery-powered air pump and airline tubing.

Step 2: Take Out The Fish From The Tank

Before anything else, you must remember to stop feeding your fish 24 hours before the big move. This will help to reduce the amount of waste produced during transport.

Once you have stopped feeding your fish, it is time to take them out of their tank. This can be done by using a net. Gently scoop up your fish and place them in a transport container filled with water from the tank. This will help keep them calm and reduce the amount of stress they experience.

If you are transporting a large number of fish, you can use a bucket to scoop up water from the tank and place it in transport containers. This will help to keep the fish cool during transport.

Make sure the fish can breathe, whether it be plastic fish bags or something else. If there is not enough air in the container, you can use an air pump to help them breathe.

After taking out the fish, you will also want to take out any decoration or gravel from the fish tank. You may put figurines and artificial plants directly into a plastic container, while it is important to place living plants in a plastic bag with water or in damp paper towel. This will help keep them alive until you can replant them in your new tank.

Once everything has been taken out of the tank, you will want to take out as much of the remaining water into a water bucket or other container. You will need to take this with you and use it when you set up your tank in the new home.

Step 3: Drain And Clean The Fish Tank

Now it is time to clean your fish tank. This can be done by using a siphon hose. First, if there is still leftover water, drain it out with a siphon hose. Once it is drained, use the hose to clean the sides and bottom of the tank. Be sure to remove any algae or dirt that may be on it.

If you are using tap water to clean your fish tank, you will want to add a water conditioner to it before doing so. This will help to remove any hard water residue, as well as chlorine or chloramine from the water.

Once your fish tank is clean, it is time to pack it up.

Step 4: Pack The Fish Tank

Now it is time to pack your fish tank. This can be done by using packing paper and bubble wrap. First, wrap the packing paper around the tank. Then, use bubble wrap to cover the tank and help protect it during transport. Secure everything in place with rubber bands and tape.

Step 5: Transport The Fish Tank

Now it is time to transport your fish tank. This can be done by using a fish tank carrier or a sturdy cardboard box. If you are using a fish tank carrier, read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

If you are using a cardboard box, make sure it is strong enough to hold the weight of the fish tank. Cut a hole in the top of the box for the air pump hose to come out. Tape the box shut, and you are ready to go.

When transporting your fish tank, be sure to keep it in an upright position at all times. This will help to prevent any leaks from happening. If you are hiring a man with a van when moving home, be sure to let the driver know that you have a fish tank and ask them to take care of it during transport.

Step 6: Set Up The Fish Tank In The New Home

Once you have arrived at your new home, it is time to set up your fish tank. Before anything else, however, you must make sure your fish tank does not have any cracks or leaks. If it does, the tank must be repaired before you can proceed.

Once the fish tank is in good condition, it is time to set up the tank. You will first want to place the tank in its permanent location and then fill it with water. Add some water from your old tank to help the new tank cycle.

Once the tank has cycled, it is time to add your fish. If you are not sure how to do this, consult a local pet shop or an aquarium expert.

Once the tank is full of water, you can add your fish. If you are using a transport container, slowly pour the water from the container into the tank. Be sure to do this slowly so as not to stress the fish.

If you are using a cardboard box, cut a small hole in the top of the box and then place the hose from the air pump into it. Turn on the air pump and let it run for a few minutes. This will help oxygenate the water and help your fish adjust to their new home.

Now it is time to add your decorations and plants. Be sure to place the plants in the correct location, according to the type of plant. You will also want to add any figurines or other decorations that you may want.

Once everything is in place, it is time to let your fish adjust to their new home. This can take a few days, so be patient.

Step 7: Maintain The Fish Tank In The New Home

Now that your fish tank is set up in the new home, it is important to maintain it regularly. This includes cleaning the tank, changing the water, and feeding the fish.

Final Thoughts

Indeed, moving with pets, whether you’re moving house with a cat in the UK, moving with a dog, or relocating with a different pet such as a turtle, lizard, frog, or toad, can be quite a challenge. But just as with a long-distance house move for humans, pets moving can be managed efficiently with a blend of patience, order, and plenty of advance planning.

One of the main things to remember when moving with a pet is that, akin to their human counterparts, pets require adequate time to adapt to their new surroundings. This includes getting used to their new territory, understanding where their food and water will be placed, and where their favourite toys now reside. In some cases, you may need to provide your pet with something comforting from the old house, such as bedding or a chew toy, to help them feel more secure.

It’s also crucial to keep their physical health in mind. A trip to the vets in advance can provide necessary information on how best to manage the move, especially if you’re moving with a pet prone to motion sickness. Consider taking along your pet’s favourite food for the journey, as a treat can often help calm their nerves.

Moreover, ensure your pet is identifiable with an ID tag and collar, in case they explore their new environment a little too enthusiastically. Being prepared for all eventualities is a big part of moving with pets.

Remember to document the journey through photography or create a transparent gif as a cute memento of your pet’s big move. If you’re moving with a pet to a new condo, your association might even provide advice on helping your pet settle in.

Consider your options such as truck rental and pet-friendly moving companies to alleviate some of the stresses of the move. This is where prior planning comes in. Lastly, as you settle into your new home, shower your pet with lots of love and patience. Moving can be a stressful experience for pets, but with your care and comfort, they will soon learn to love their new home just as much as you do.

In conclusion, pets moving can certainly be a challenging process, but with the right preparation, some understanding, and a dose of patience, the transition can be made smoother for everyone involved.

Compare Man with Van Companies Quotes

Get quotes quickly and easily from a removals near you.