If every household in the UK moved tomorrow, 3.2 million of them would be moving house with a pet.
Having cats and dogs can add to the complexity of moving homes.
Although having a loyal pet at your side also helps relieves the worst tension, like when the removal company doesn’t turn up, or your mortgage arrives right on time, to the wrong solicitor.
They bring down your blood pressure, but it’s still an uneasy time for you as a pet parent. Throwing their routine into chaos will affect their happiness and wellbeing. It’s your task to restore calm, preserve their security and settle their nerves, even between addresses. But it comes at a cost.
Depending on the logistics of your move, the cost could be nominal. However, unexpected delays will raise the bill.
If your move takes one week, you would need to budget approximately £1,700 to move house with a large dog or a cat. If the move takes longer or you have multiple pets, your budget would increase to accommodate kennel or hotel costs. The cost falls if you were to move in one day.
In 2022, CompareMyMove, announced that removal companies and post redirection alone cost £1,224.99. But it didn’t account for how much it costs to move a pet.
So, how big should your pet move budget be? We’ve done the research so you don’t have to. If you’re moving house with a dog or cat, use this checklist to plan and budget for moving home with a pet.
|Budget: Moving home with a large dog|
|Average price removals firm (according to Zoopla)||£1,380|
|Average cost vet check up||£55|
|Anxiety coat for a large dog||£33|
|Adaptil Transport Spray||£25.92|
|Average cost to update microchip||£14|
|One week kennel costs||£120|
|Budget: Moving home with a cat|
|Average price of removals firm (according to Zoopla)||£1,380|
|Average cost of vet check up||£55|
|Shaded cat carrier||£50|
|Adaptil transport spray||£25.92|
|Feliway plug in||£22.59|
|Average cost to update microchip||£14|
|One week cattery costs||£125|
#1 Register with a new vet
When you get your pet on the books at a new vet's practice, it won’t normally cost you a penny. There are a few considerations that may add to your bill in the long-term however:
Shop around to find competitive pricing at a reputable vet. Before it’s packed away into the depths of a moving box, dig out your pet insurance policy and check the yearly claim limit. If your new vet is charging a premium price point, you’ll reach the maximum claim limit far quicker if your pet becomes unwell, than if you plump for a more affordable, but still reliable, practice. Check out our average cost of claims so you can benchmark your new vet’s pricing structure.
In lieu of a registration fee, some practices will require your pet to attend a chargeable check-up or consultation appointment. According to Confused.com, it can cost between £50 to £60 to see a vet for a standard consultation. It’s an opportunity to establish the general health of your pet before they get a place on the books. Consultation appointments are covered by pet insurance, but will need to be worth the value of your excess or more if you wish to claim them.
#2 Stock up on stress relief products and treats
The house is upside down in the few days ahead of your move. Most of their safe spaces and comforts are packed away. It will unsettle them. Investing in anti-stress products may foster a sense of security and calm.
“Effective and safe anxiety products have clinical, statistical and significant studies behind them,” explains Dr. Kirsten Ronngren, ManyPets expert vet. “Ahead of your move, speak to your vet about which anti-stress products are suitable for your pet. It’s likely they will recommend Adaptil for dogs, Feliway for cats, and Zylkene, which is suitable for both. These three brands back up their claims with data, and they’re products you can trust.
“There is a risk of a combined effect if you use several calming products at once, which could over-sedate your pet. Pick one medicinal and stick with it.
“If you spray Adaptil in your car, on your dog’s blanket and in your new house, that’s not too much - that’s what it’s meant to be used for. If you’re calming your cat with Feliway, spray it in multiple places - their bedding, the blanket in their basket, and on a towel that’s draped over the carrier. You could also put a diffuser in your new house next to the litter tray.
“I don’t recommend essential oils to pet parents because many of them are toxic to animals, causing respiratory issues, and upset stomachs. Some come in a roller ball and diffuser, both pose risks of ingestion, so check the packaging and ingredients of every product before you buy them.”
If you have time, experiment with the anti-anxiety products before your moving day. You might also want to investigate:
Anxiety coats that snuggle a dog’s pressure points. This anti anxiety dog coat from from Zen Pet available in Extra Small (£28), Small (£28), Medium (£29), Large (£33), Extra Large (£33)
A shaded cat carrier, large enough for a prolonged, comfortable trip. Pick a plush one up for under £50.
For targeted serenity in specific areas such as their blankets and bedding in the car), the Feliway Classic Spray costs between £10-£20 depending on the product size
To reduce trembling, panting and restlessness, try Adaptil Transport, another spray, this time for dogs, you can use in the car
Bulk buy treats so you can reward calm and composed behaviour. Stress and anxiety gives dogs and cats upset stomachs, so now isn’t the time for treat experiments. Plump for tried and tested comfort foods that make them happy.
Prepare an overnight bag packed with brushes, teddies and blankets, the items they know and love, to have to hand if they become unsettled.
Make sure you have your pet’s medication and documentation stored safely with all your important documents and items, like passports and phone chargers, so they’re to hand if your pet becomes unwell.
#3 Update their microchip
When your pet was microchipped, they were matched to your contact details, including your address. Updating your pet’s address on the microchip means if they get lost in the move, or the weeks that follow, they can be swiftly reunited with you.
It’s your responsibility to update the microchip details, not your vet’s, so contact the manufacturer to update your information. You’re likely to be charged for the update. The BlueCross says that microchip databases charge between £6 to £20 to alter a dog’s microchip details.
#4 Update your pet insurance
It shouldn't cost you anything to change the address on your pet insurance, unless your provider charges an admin fee, however your provider may need to change your premium based on your new address.
As an example, if you moved with your dog from Scotland to Greater London you would pay £192.48 more per year for your dog insurance.
In 2021, ManyPets’ dog insurance premiums were on average cheapest in Scotland at £381.37, and most expensive in Greater London, at £573.85. If you’re insured with ManyPets, a premium increase is likely to fall within this range, if it rises at all, but it does depend on the breed of dog you have, its claims history, and where you live.
You have a couple of options about when to update your policy details:
Tell your insurer your new address as soon as you’re into your new home
Contact your insurer when you have a moving date and advise when you need the policy to be revised
To update your ManyPets policy, contact us over the phone, 0345 340 4090, or using our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The moving day: Find a place for your dog and cat to stay
Not everyone moves in one day, and not everyone has local friends and family to care for a pet. If you’re keeping your dogs and cats close by on moving day, through choice or necessity, you need to budget for pet-friendly removals, places to shelter, eat and exercise in while the solicitors finalise the sale and you can enter the property.
Book a pet-friendly removal company
Removal companies generate quotes based on:
The number of bedrooms your property has
Where you currently live in the UK and the going rate
The distance you need to travel
Whether you require a packing service
The day you move on, as Fridays are the most popular moving day, they tend to be more expensive
According to research by Zoopla in 2022, those considerations give you a sprawling price bracket, which could be as low as £420 or as high as £1,800.
Whether you have a cat or dog should not any additional cost to your removal quote. In November 2022, we spoke to 11 removal firms around the UK. Only one of them would take a larger deposit if you had a pet, but none of them thought moving with a pet would add an additional cost to the move.
Removals companies will work carefully around your pet, but they need visibility of your needs. All the removal firms we spoke to said they needed to know in advance whether your pets would be in the house on moving day. When you gather quotes:
Notify them that your dog or cat will be in the house on your moving day.
Tell them which room is designated as their safe place. This will be a relatively empty room that the removers won’t need access to.
Advise them not to leave doors and windows open during the move.
If any members of the removal team have allergies, it allows the firm to rotate them onto another move, or inform them to bring anti-histamines or any other allergy medication to help keep everyone safe.
If you book an extra set of hands for the day, a ‘man with a van’ rather than a removals firm, it will be far cheaper. However, you must be prescriptive about your needs and vigilant of your pet’s safety. Enquire about their experience moving pets and what level of insurance they have.
Never allow your pet to be loaded into the van with your possessions, even if the removal company think they are helping you or doing you a favour.
Rule 57 of the highway code says: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs or other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you, or themselves if you stop quickly. A seat belt harness, pet carrier, dog cage or dog guard are ways of restraining animals in cars.”
If your pet is unsecured in the van and accidentally injured or killed, you will not only be heartbroken but you won’t be covered by the accidental injuries and death clauses in your pet insurance policy.
Book a kennel or cattery for overnight house moves
If you’re moving house with a dog, explore kennel facilities in your new area. The Good Kennel Guide, a kennel listing website for all borders that meet the standards required by the Animal Licensing (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) Regulations 2018, suggests that a kennel typically charges:
£15 per night
£120 per week
£225 per fortnight
According to research by Cat In A Flat,the cost of cattery boarding is between £10 and £25 per night. Alternatively, you could find a cat sitter who is happy to take pets into their home while you get the move sorted out.
The price will fluctuate depending on:
The quality of the care and the experience of the kennel, cattery or sitter
The going rate of pet care in your area of the UK, covering staff wages and utilities
The volume of unit space
The quality and standard of the unit
Before you plump for a provider, read the reviews and if possible, take a tour of the kennel and cattery.
Your pet will need to be up to date with its vaccinations, and that too could add an unexpected dimension to your moving home budget.
ManyPets discovered that you could spend between £24 and £71 for a booster without kennel cough, and between £42 and £116 for a booster with kennel cough.
Moving house with a cat: Myth busting with Dr. Kirsten
Dr. Kirsten, is it true that you must keep cats indoors for two weeks after you move?
I do usually recommend keeping a cat indoors for a few days, then doing leash walks or supervised time outdoors together for the first week or two just so cats can acclimate to the new area. The goal is to decrease the likelihood they'll get lost or not be able to find their way home.
And, what about the urban legend of slathering a cat’s paws in peanut butter? Will it really make them stop in their tracks and observe their new environment?
No way! Cats are extremely observant and literally any time they go anywhere they are pulling data and cues from their environment about how they should react. There’s no need to put peanut butter on your cat’s paws.
How to find a pet-friendly hotel when you’re moving home
If you’re staying overnight ahead of a move, but you want to keep your dog with you, book a pet friendly-hotel.
According to the HomeOwners Alliance, the most popular moving day is a Friday. When we checked popular hotel marketplace, Booking.com, for a pet-friendly overnight stay in the UK on Thursday 16th - Friday 17th November 2023, we found 3,705 properties available to book:
61 hotels cost between £0-£50 per night
1,304 hotels cost between £50-£100 per night
1,846 hotels cost £100-£150 per night
1,323 hotels cost £150-£200 per night
1,436 hotels cost more than £200 per night
If you wanted flexibility surrounding your moving date, adding free cancellation only marginally reduced your options. There are 3,186 pet-friendly hotels were available to book on the same date, with free cancellation.
If there are several weeks between moving out and getting the keys for your new home, you could budget for a pet-friendly short-term rental. You might need to pay a higher deposit, or a separate fee, to cover damage and cleaning costs if you have any accidents during your stay.
Find a pet-friendly restaurant, pub or cafe while you’re waiting to move in
The easiest way to find out if your furry friend is welcome indoors under the table, is to give the shop a call and read the reviews. But there are helpful listing sites, such as Dog Friendly, that has recommendations for almost 2,500 places to eat if you’re bringing the dog along.
It’s useful to know ahead of time if the cafe is happy to provide dog bowls, and biscuits, or whether you need to bring travel crockery and supplies. Collapsible pet bowls are usually under £5.
Take a glance over the menu too and make sure that as well as it being pet-friendly, it’s budget-friendly too.
Make a map of places to exercise your dog
Highlight dog parks, indoor off-lead play parks, agility parks, nature reserves, museums and even dog-friendly gyms - anywhere to let your pet shake off the stress of the day.
Some dog-friendly spots will have an entry fee, so do your research and keep aside some of your budget for the day out.
It gives you chance to get to grips with the local etiquette and meet your new community. For example, find a beach that welcomes dogs and let your puppy flop around in the sand. Meanwhile, you can you make new friends with other dog walkers.
On the day of your move
The home removal tornado has landed. Movers are making a dent in the back-breaking task of ousting your stuff from one abode and settling it into another.
You and your pet are safely out of the way, shielding from the stress. Let’s get on the road, but do a final check to make sure you have everything you need in your pet’s moving bag:
Documentation, such as insurance paperwork, breed and pedigree paperwork, adoption paperwork, vaccination details, and heath paperwork from the vet
Treasured possessions, including teddies and toys
Calming medication and and anti-anxiety sprays and plug-ins
Collapsible bowls, utensils and crockery, plus treats and food enough to last the day
Micro towels, brushes, wet wipes and tangle spray because you never know what’s going to happen on a walk
Their beds and blankets, so you can get them snuggled up at a second’s notice
Moving house with a dog: Tiffin’s story
“Tiffin is our ten-month-old cockalier dog, she’s half cocker and half cavalier. She was born on 1st December and she’s very small and sweet. Aside from her puppy home to our home, she had never moved before. But she is well-travelled! She’s happy to jump in her crate for weekend getaways!
“We moved from a one-bed flat in Kennington to a terraced house in Greenwich, so the environment is completely different to what she’s used to. There are a lot more stairs! Tiffin’s cosey spot is in a musty armchair left by the previous owner and she’ll happily sit there all day.
“On the day of the move, Tiffin went to daycare while we moved. We had to wait overnight to get the keys, and by 3pm the next day, we were in.
“Tiffin had to grin and bear it with us while we waited. She sat in the car and wandered around looking for local cafes. In hindsight, we should have found daycare in Greenwich, but we discovered that most daycares are fully booked well in advance, for multiple regular days, so unless we had been very organised, it wouldn’t have been possible.
“Once we were in the new house, it was really easy to update my policy. I’m insured with ManyPets - I logged into My Account, sent customer services an email and changed my address. The premium didn’t change between the two addresses either.
“Tiffin’s health and behaviour was somewhat affected by the move. Just before we moved, Tiffin had an upset tummy, which was treated with probiotics and an anti-sickness jab by our vet. The symptoms had worsened by the time we arrived in Greenwich, so our new vet did more tests.
“They suspected it was a parasite, but the results came back clear and eventually, Tiffin started to feel better. I think the timing of the illness is interesting. Perhaps she was picking up on the stress of the move. Her house training also regressed. But again, she’s improved as we’ve settled into the house. We’ve been really flexible about establishing those habits again, just to make sure Tiffin is happy and settled.
“Since moving house, Tiffin’s separation anxiety has become more pronounced. I am in the house more frequently working from home, and I’m not popping out to the gym or shops as frequently as I was in Kennington. She is never apart from me, so she is more sensitive when I leave her, but she is steadily improving as time goes on.”