With more actors moving to London in pursuit of their dream career, many wonder how to make this transfer efficiently. For some – depending on the location you’re moving from – the process can become a little daunting. Moving with a dog, cat or other pets is very possible, but it has to be done right.
Trying to make a move to London with pets will require good planning and some research. Many rental properties do not accept pets; pet friendly rentals in London are limited and tend to get snapped up pretty quickly.
Check out this step-by-step guide on how to make the transition to London much smoother for both you and your pet. If you’re a pet owner and have something to add, or a question to ask, you can share that in the comments.
How to Move to London With Pets
1. Make sure you add a ‘pets allowed’ filter
To save yourself some time, use proper search filters when looking for pet friendly rentals in London. For a specialist service, use websites like “Lets with Pets” who connect pet-friendly landlords with pet owners looking to rent. The property pool is smaller, but you automatically filter out all the properties that will be unavailable to you and your pet.
Using Zoopla gives you the option to add ‘pets’ and ‘shared accommodation’ filters. Adding shared accommodation will help broaden your search and increase the number of properties available to you.
However, if you are thinking that you would definitely like to share with others, try using SpareRoom website. It’s free to join, unlike many of the others and you can pay an optional fee to contact ‘early bird’ listings.
What I like about SpareRoom it is that you can see early bird listings with a standard membership so you only need to pay if you see a place or people you really like the sound of. SpareRoom has a filter for ‘pets allowed’ and you can also add ‘buddy up.’
‘Buddy up’ is where you want to basically start from scratch by getting a group of people together to rent an entire property rather than move into an existing one. Adding the ‘buddy up’ gives you more options when you have pets because you can find pet lovers and share a home based on your common interest and also means you can look at different properties such as larger ones that you wouldn’t be able to afford on your own.
2. Consider living on the outskirts
Another thing to keep in mind is that London is really expensive, especially trendy areas like Islington and up-and-coming areas like East Dulwich and Brockley. For example, a 2 bedroom property in Angel (Google Maps) that allows pets is likely to set you back around £2,000 per month before bills.
You can pretty much halve that cost by moving somewhere on the outskirts of these places though, like Ladywell (Google Maps) and Crofton Park (Google Maps) areas, where the average cost of a 2 bedroom rental is around £1,000 per month before bills.
In fact, these areas have more green space than the trendier spots of Islington in North London and East Dulwich in South London. Additionally, the renovation of Model Market in Lewisham where StreetFeastLondon.com hold one of its street food festivals suggests that this area too is on the rise.
3. Choose areas with access to green space
Depending on what kind of pet you have, green space might be important to you. For example, if you’re moving with a dog it’s likely you will want access to a park. If you have a cat that roams outdoors, you’re also going to want to look for places that are more residential and places that are on quieter streets.
It’s really important to do your research in this area. Always search for the property using the map and see what’s nearby. To check out the streets, use Street-view on Google Maps to get a physical feel for the location but also make you sure you know what’s around the area.
For example, if there’s a school nearby it might be that parents use your road as a cut through on the school run making it busier and riskier for your cat.
4. Find out about local vets
Once you have found potential properties (and people to share with if that’s what you want to do) it’s time to check out the availability and quality of veterinary care in the area.
Many vets do not open at the weekends so it’s important to know what emergency care service local vets are linked to and how easy it is for you to get your pet there. This is probably more important to pet owners with animals who have ongoing health needs.
Prices of veterinary surgeries vary substantially in London and cost is not necessarily reflective of care. For example, Vets4Pets (often situated within its mother company, pet store PetsAtHome) are much cheaper than independent vets and offer great healthcare packages. Plus they are open on weekends during normal trading hours and do not charge extra fees. Some vets operating emergency vet care at weekends charge £200 just for the consultation.
5. Join local walking groups
If you are moving with a dog, especially one that likes to socialize and might miss his or her friends from back home, you might want to try joining a walking group. Whilst many dog walkers group informally at different parks, many of us are also active on ‘breed’ and ‘mix breed’ groups online as well as local dog walking forums.
Dog walking forums could be a great place to meet people, even before you move to London, or specific area of London, to get tips on local parks. For example, some dog parks are good at certain times of the day and others are good for certain activities.
In my area, we have a little recreation ground that I only go to in the morning between 8.30-9.30 on weekdays because it’s when a group of other small, playful dogs also go to the park. Any other time and it’s too small and very dull. Check out Facebook and Meetup.com for potential groups.
Pet-Friendly Areas to Consider
Below, I’m going to give you a few pet friendly areas in London to consider in two different price ranges.
Budget Areas: Ladywell, Catford and Crofton Park.
It’s much cheaper to rent in south-east London than North but further than that, these areas are cheaper than neighbouring Crystal Palace and East Dulwich.
However, they have quite a lot of parks like Hilly Fields Park that also has a decent café and Ladywell Fields that runs along the River Ravensbourne. You’re also only short bus rides from the trendy London spots.
This area is literally the lap of luxury and if you’re on a budget, it’s not even worth a look-in. But if you’re able to spare the cash, Hampstead Heath is a beautiful place to walk and a highly dog-friendly area.
These areas have miles and miles of off-the lead walking and people are generally friendly, even to outsiders just nipping up for a day trip for their pampered pooch.
Consider looking at LondonDogForum.co.uk website for helpful advice if you’re moving with a dog. They have plenty of tips and information on dog-friendly bars in London, cafes and restaurants, and a lot more.
Final Tips Before You Pack and Move
Make sure your pet is prepared for travel.
Before you even consider packing those bags, make sure your pet meets all the requirements for travel, particularly where you are moving to London from overseas.
Check out the UK government information on pet travel. This is very important, because you need to be aware of these rules and regulations.
Also, remember that if your pet is anxious when travelling, make sure you consult your vet for remedies and do some practice in the crate to get your pet used to the space they might be travelling in.
Make sure you have good quality pet travel equipment.
You may not know this, but a lot of pet travel equipment has never been properly tested for travel.
Make sure you do your research into the best and safest travel equipment for your pet based on the kind of transport you will be using. For example, there are airline approved dog crates for travel, which is one of the most important things you’ll need to take care of.