As the day of your pet’s departure nears, you can experience mixed emotions – including worry and excitement. Many healthy pets handle airline travel just fine when cared for and transported the proper way. At WorldCare Pet Transport, all arrangements are made with your pet’s safety and comfort as our FIRST priority. Here are some ways that you can prepare for the day that your pet travels.
Put the carrier, preferably with the top portion removed, in an area that is most enjoyable to your pet (i.e., by his favorite window or a place that your family spends the most time in). Allow your pet to gradually sniff around the inside of the carrier (with the top off) and allow him to use it as a nice and comfortable pet bed with his favorite toys inside. It is important not to force your pet inside if he will only go in halfway or has any hesitation. Speak to your pet in a kind, soft voice and let him go in under his own terms. Throw a few of his favorite treats inside to encourage him. If your pet still experiences hesitation and anxiety, begin by feeding him his meals right next to the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. Remember to be patient, this process can take several hours or several days.
Next, begin feeding your pet inside of his travel crate. As he begins to adjust to the crate, begin pushing his food bowl farther back so that your pet is fully inside of his crate while he is eating.
Once your pet is comfortable and is using the bottom of the carrier as his own personal space, begin by assembling the rest of his travel carrier and put the top lid back on. Do not place the door on yet. Allow your pet to move in and out of his travel carrier freely and adjust to the more enclosed space. Continue to feed him his meals in his travel crate carrier with the door off.
Next, put the gated door on the travel carrier and begin feeding him his meals inside of the crate and with the crate door closed. As soon as your pet is finished eating, immediately let him out of the carrier.
Once your pet is comfortable eating his meals inside of his carrier with no fears or anxiety begin confining him to his travel carrier for short periods of time while you’re home. Praise your pet each time he enters the carrier and continue to encourage him with his favorite treats. Repeat this step over and over for the next several days before his important transport. Do not use the travel carrier as a punishment or time-out zone for your pet. Remember, we want your pet to associate the carrier with good feelings!
World-renowned dog behavior specialist, Cesar Millan, suggests taking the time to acclimate your pet to the carrier by placing it on the floor of the car so the pet can feel the vibration as it will on a plane. Mr. Millan also recommends using lavender oil as an “association scent” to help the pet relax on the plane. At feeding times and before walks, place a drop of the oil on your hands and let your dog pick up the scent. Once on board, “the positive association will allow him to calm down and remain relaxed,” Mr. Millan explained. Finally, Mr. Millan said, take your dog for an extra-long walk or run to help drain his energy before the flight. “The more tired he is,” Mr. Millan said, “the more likely he will be to sleep and relax during the flight.”
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