A Comprehensive Guide For Moving With Pets in the UK

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 Your old EU pet passport is no longer valid.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

It isn’t easy to find a pet-friendly flat since they are always in short supply, especially in major cities and towns. Pets can introduce a lot of wear and tear in your home, and noise arguments can be difficult to mediate. Most rentals simply do away with pets to keep the peace. When there is a house or apartment that 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 as their home for a couple of 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. Our partner company like WhatStorage can cater your storage needs. 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

If you plan on transporting your pet via car, ideally, they should be crate-trained and well-seasoned travellers. The crate is meant to be a safe space in every way possible. If they aren’t accustomed to being in carriers, then the next best thing is familiarising them with the vehicle. 

For a couple of weeks, use classical conditioning techniques to improve their experience with the car. Start it off by introducing them to your vehicle and plan a part of their activities around it. You need to break the idea that car rides are exclusively for visiting the vet or pet groomers. Let them explore the back seat area. You can also take them on short drives to slowly improve their tolerance.

On your moving day, make sure that you have a spacious carrier for your pet. If they don’t enjoy the crate, you can look into pet seat belts/ harnesses as well. Leave their favourite comfort item in the back seat to keep them company, and this can be their favourite chew toy or old blanket. People are encouraged to leave a personal item like a shirt or anything that has their scent to help keep your pet calm. 

Young puppies, old dogs, and most cats are susceptible to motion sickness. To help them manage their nausea and anxiety, keep the vehicle well-ventilated, and avoid playing loud music. If you have pets that tend to be skittish like hamsters, avoid leaving them under direct sunlight. You can either add blinds to the side windows or cover their carrier with a dark cloth.

If you are worried about vomiting, feed them light meals two hours before the trip. You can supplement that with a treat now and then. Keep them well-hydrated and frequently stop for breaks. Don’t be afraid to get them out of the cage. This small bit of freedom can help them endure the rest of the move better. Give them treats regularly and keep them well-hydrated. If they exhibit signs of nausea or anxiety, pull over and soothe them. When they are calm, give them the medication according to your vet’s instructions. 

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. 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 with pets can be very stressful for everyone involved. There are too many variables, and you can only do so much. The best way to stay on top of it is by meticulously planning your moving process and asking for help when you need it. 

Compare Removal Companies Quotes

Get quotes quickly and easily from a removals near you.