Whether your pet is a first-time vacationer or a seasoned traveler, preparing your faithful, furry companion for pet travel does not have to be a chore but can be an enjoyable experience for both of you. With careful planning and preparation, your fears and concerns about your pet during travel can be minimized and both you and your four-legged friend can be comfortable and stress-free during the entire trip.
Both cats and dogs can remain safe and comfortable travelling on an airline and many of the measures for preparing each are the same. It is important that your pet get a clean bill of health from the veterinarian and find out about any health risks that may be encountered at your destination. Your pet should also bet in good overall physical shape as this can also make your pet more comfortable while travelling. Acclimate your pet to car travel and the airline. Your pet still needs to ride in the car to get to the airport and making a few dry runs to and from the airport can get your pet accustomed to not only the car but the airport as well.
With regards to a carrier, select a carrier that is just the right size for your pet. For cats, the carrier needs to be large enough so that your cat can lie down or stretch but not too large so that it can be jostled in it. For dogs, make the carrier so that your dog considers the carrier its “bedroom” and condition them to like it. For both cats and dogs, place extra padding in the carrier so it is soft and plush. Also, placing a piece of your clothing, a towel or your pet’s favorite blanket will help to make your pet feel more at home in the carrier. Cats in particular like blankets with their own scent on them while dogs like chew toys in which they are interested. You can also try a luxury pet carrier which ensures the comfort and safety of your pet. These are made with ultra-plush foam and enable your pet to have as much space as possible for a comfortable airline trip.
On the day of your trip, get to the airport early. For dogs, this enables them to sniff around a dog park, if the airport has one. It also helps to engage your dog in some activity or walk before leaving for the airport as your dog will then be ready for a long nap and can sleep through a great deal of the travel time.
Cats do not need as much time ahead of a flight as do dogs but it is still important that you do not carry your cat with you through the X-ray machine. While on board the flight, stay calm and relaxed as your cat will follow your actions. Soothe your cat if it get agitated by petting it through the zippered opening in the carrier.
Pets are an important part of the family and if they are to be included on the next family vacation, make it an enjoyable experience for everyone by planning and preparing every step along the way to ensure your pet has a safe and stress-free trip.