Air travel isn’t exactly the most comfortable mode of transportation for humans even if it is the fastest. Things are even worse for our pets. As a pet owner, you try as hard as you can to make sure that your dog isn’t subjected to uncomfortable situations like air travel. Unforunately, it may be inevitable when you have to travel with your pet and there is no alternative. In this case, the best way to travel is with a dog in your backpack.
5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Calm During a Flight
1. Keep Yourself Calm
If your dog is going to stay with you in your seat, you must remain calm throughout the flight. When you are anxious or agitated, your dog will sense it and will have difficulty staying calm. Dogs are experts when it comes to observing and understanding body language. Do whatever it takes to keep anxiety at bay before the flight. If you do everything you’re supposed to do before the flight and get to the airport early, you will feel less anxious when the flight finally starts.
2. Buy a Good Dog Carrier
If you have a small dog that can stay with you on your seat, make sure to buy a carry you can put on your lap throughout the journey. It should not be too big or too small. There should be enough space inside for your dog to turn and sleep when necessary. Make sure that the carrier is soft, form, and breathable. The dog should be able to hear your voice even when you don’t open the carrier. In the United States, all airport-approved soft side carriers for pets must be 18 inches long x 11 inches wide x 11 inches high maximum. If the carrier is bigger than this, you will not be allowed to hold it during the trip.
3. Test the Carrier Before the Trip
You can’t just put your dog in a carrier on the day of your trip and expect everything to go well. If your pet has never stayed in a carrier before, it will not be comfortable staying in one during a flight. So, you must train the pet to stay in a carrier for weeks or months before you travel. Don’t expect that the pet will get used to the carrier overnight. Start small by keeping it inside for a few minutes and increasing the time to a few hours. When you’re leaving the house, but the dog in the carrier and take it along for a drive. This will help the dog get used to feeling motion in a carrier. When it is time to travel on an airplane, things will be much easier for your pet.
4. Use a Calming Collar
If you can’t get the dog to stay calm, consider using an anxiety collar or thundershirt. Make sure that you consult your vet before you use any external accessory or chemical to keep your dog calm. If your vet is satisfied that the collar will not cause any harm or lead to side effects. Just like the carrier, you should also test the anxiety collar before the trip to get a feel of your pet’s reaction.
5. Don’t Use Sedatives
Some pet owners think they can keep their dogs calm by administering sedatives during or right before the trip. This is a wrong move that can have serious or fatal implications. Studies have shown that sedatives cause unpredictable respiratory side effects on high altitudes. Also, if the dog wakes up along the way, it may be disoriented and unable to stay calm. This increases the risk of injury for the dog, the owner, and everyone on the plane if the dog gets loose. If you must use sedatives on your dog, ask your vet for recommendations.
It is difficult to leave your dog with a local kanel or pay a sitter to watch it when you’re going on a long trip. Sometimes, however, this might be the best option for your dog. If you must travel with your dog, make sure that the dog is as comfortable as possible and it isn’t going to be put at unnecessary risk.