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Moving Tips for Pet Owners Relocating to the UK

Published on: January 23, 2023  |  Author: Starwood Pet Travel

dog lounging on a bed

Getting settled into a new home can be lots of fun, even though it’s definitely a lot of work, too. You get to decide how to arrange the furniture in your new space. Where to hang your pictures, and which cabinet should hold the coffee cups. When your family includes a pet, you also have to decide where their stuff should go. And that decision is a bigger deal than you might think.

Relocating overseas is stressful, especially for dogs and cats. At least you had some idea of what to expect when you learned you were moving to the UK. Pets don’t know what to think. There are several steps you can take to help your pet prepare for a move, but even so, they will worry. Moving in is your chance to show them that all is well – or will be soon. How can you do that?

Make the space your own

First, do a pet-proofing reconnaissance tour of your new digs. Whether it’s a flat in London or a cottage on the moors, you want to be sure your pet will be safe and secure. Look for potential hazards and hide-holes. Particularly if you have a cat or a very small dog, it’s all too easy for exploring pets to get hurt or stuck somewhere. And you certainly don’t want them to escape!

Once you’re sure they will be secure, help them claim their new space by unpacking their belongings right away. Set up their food and water station (and/or litter box) immediately, in similar locations to how things were before - if that’s possible. Pull out their favorite bed so they have a familiar, cozy place to rest and watch you unpack. Toys and treats will help them settle in, too.

If you have a dog, they will have to go outside at some point. Identify where you want them to do their business, then leash them up and take them directly there. Be consistent so they learn where the proper spot is.

You can’t stay home forever

One of the best ways to adjust after a major relocation is to get out there and start making new friends. That goes for your pet as well as you. Note that, while England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland may be similar to the US in many ways, you’re still in for some surprising culture shocks. But the more you explore, the faster you’ll get the hang of things and start to feel right at home.

If you have a dog, join a social dog walking group or two. There are lots of great groups you can check out, in cities and towns throughout the UK. If you have a cat (or moggy, as many Brits call them), you can find social meetup groups for cat lovers as well.

Keep their identification current

Your pet will need new tags that show your UK contact information. And, even though they have a microchip, you’ll need to re-register them with a British directory. We also recommend you register your pet with Global Pet Register. GPR is the only microchip registry that operates internationally, so if you and your pet travel outside the UK and become separated, anyone will still be able to find your contact information.

Make it all about your pet

Yes, you have a lot on your mind. Unpacking, getting your personal life organized, figuring out how to get around and where to shop. But your pet needs and deserves your attention to feel reassured. So as you go about your moving tasks, let your pet participate as much as possible. And set aside time to focus entirely on them. Playing, walking, cuddling, and just hanging out on the couch (wherever you decided to put it) will do more than anything else to help your pet settle in comfortably.

Before you know it you’ll discover that you and your pet have both become bona fide Brits.

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