If your pet has to travel in the cargo hold of a plane, it can be a stressful time for you and your pet. There are a few things that you can do to help that pet overcome anxiety and travel safely.
First of all, you need to decide whether it is appropriate for your pet to travel in a cargo hold because not all pets are suited to travelling here.
For instance, Dolichocephalic dog breeds, those with long noses, are more suited to travelling in a cargo hold than brachycephalic dogs, who have a short nose. The latter breed has a harder time regulating their temperature and can find it more difficult to breathe. A travel organisation who specialises in airplane travel will know many useful details to help before and after transit too.
Flying in the Right Season
If at all possible be sure to travel with your pet during spring or autumn, when the temperature’s not too hot or too cold. For some flights your pet may be on the tarmac along with the luggage for an extended period of time until it is loaded.
If it’s too hot or it is too cold then your pet is going to be at an increased risk of getting stressed and anxious.
Also, choose a non-stop flight if at all possible because changing planes is extraordinarily stressful for pets and subject to additional risks with extra stops.
Purchase a Quality Travel Kennel
Make sure to purchase an appropriate kennel for your pet and allow at least two weeks for your pet to get accustomed to it by leaving it open, putting some of their bedding inside of it.
Add some treats and praise your pet for using the kennel so they have a very positive experience and are willing to step in and stay inside for the duration of the flight.
This alone is going to help reduce their stress if they’re used to it and they know that it’s their safe space.
Get a kennel that’s a bigger sized kennel as Airline regulations require that your pet should be able to stand up, turn around and lie down in their kennel.
Also, make sure the kennel you choose has adequate ventilation. A kennel with metal fixtures instead of plastic is preferable because airline cargo staff tend to be a little rough when handling luggage and if the kennel has a plastic piece and it gets broken then your pet can get loose and that could be disastrous.
To increase the safety of the kennel purchase some zip ties and then tie everything closed including the door.
All kennels that travel are required to have directional stickers and “Live Animal” stickers on them. It also is a good idea to affix a plastic sleeve with your pet’s information to the side of the kennel including your pet’s name, your address, your phone number and any health or behavioural issues.
Hydration is really important for pets. During the flight, your pet will get dehydrated so get a big water bowl that will comfortably fit into the kennel and can be affixed to the side.
Fill the water bowl up and put it in your freezer overnight so when you catch your flight, there’s no spilling of water and the water will last longer.
While you will be served drinks and refreshments during the flight, no one will get to your pet until you reach your destination.
Get Your Pet Flight-Ready
Pets can get understandably nervous and anxious when carried away into an aircraft and left on their own for several hours.
Other than exceptional circumstances, most airlines do not permit sedating pets which are being transported because sedation can increase the risk of respiratory and heart problems.
However, it is permissible to use natural alternatives to combat anxiety and stress. For instance, HomeoPet Travel Anxiety is very safe and has specific ingredients to calm your pet and help with motion sickness and anxiety during travel.
HomeoPet Travel Anxiety is not a sedative or tranquiliser and can easily be administered in liquid form, days before travel and then placed on their bedding during the flight for prolonged effect.