5 Ways To Keep Your Pet Calm While Traveling
Published on: August 30, 2016 | Author: Starwood Animal Transport
You adore your dog. Or your cat. You can’t imaging leaving home without them. No wonder more and more pet owners are taking their pets along when they go on vacation, as well as when they move. But traveling with pets can be a tricky business. Often it’s a toss-up who suffers more from pet travel stress – you or your four-legged love.Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to keep Miss Kitty or Duncan the Dog calm while traveling.
#1: Think Zen: project calm yourself
If you ignore everything else you read here, don’t ignore this. Your cat may think she’s the leader of her universe, but pets actually take cues from you. If you’re concerned, worried, stressed-out, or apologetic, Kitty and Duncan will pick up on it and reflect it right back. Now everyone’s suffering from pet travel stress. Instead, be positive and upbeat about their upcoming travel, and your pets will handle everything better.
#2: Plan ahead
Why add to everyone’s stress by leaving important details to the last minute? Organize yourself early, then you’ll be able to smoothly move through your to-do list, proudly (and calmly) checking things off. No worries, all is under control.
If you’re moving house, especially to a foreign country, early preparation is critical. You’ll need to learn pet import rules and local pet etiquette expectations. Every country has its own set of requirements for bring your cat or dog with you (see #3 below). Every airline has different pet policies -- if cats and dogs can fly with them, and where within the plane. You’ll need to make advance reservations for Miss Kitty or Duncan, whether they will ride with you in the cabin or in the plane’s cargo hold.
And speaking of riding, pets traveling by plane must be in an airline-approved carrier. The sooner you acquire the carrier so your cat or dog can get used to it, the better. Introduce it to them as a fun new place to sniff, play or snooze, and let them work up to being inside with the door closed. Traveling in their own “home” will be much less stressful.
#3. Act normal
Routine is comforting to pets. And they have outstanding change detectors. So amid the inevitable changes of preparing for vacation or the outright chaos of an international move, Miss Kitty or Duncan the Dog will automatically feel anxious. What’s going on around here? Where’s my stuff? Am I being abandoned?
You can allay their fears (and avoid acting out that comes from worry) by maintaining daily routines. That includes where and when you feed your pet, where they sleep, etc. Don’t neglect play time – in fact, it’s a good idea to spend more time with your pet, to reassure them you’ll still together, in spite of change. Pack their belongings last, and take along a favorite toy in your luggage. That way, they’ll have something familiar in their new surroundings. (Don’t put that toy in their travel crate, that’s not allowed.)
#4. Visit the vet
You’ll be more relaxed knowing your pet is health enough for travel. And if you’re headed out of the country, you’ll need documentation – perhaps several different documents – attesting to your pet’s health. It can take weeks or months to gather all this – a key reason planning ahead is so important.
By the way, if your pet takes medicine for a chronic condition, take along enough to cover your travel time. Once you arrive, you be able to get whatever medications your cat or dog needs, even if you’re headed to another country. Pet love and vet clinics are global.
And speaking of medications, sedatives and tranquilizers are not allowed for pets traveling by plane. Pets are most comfortable when they have their wits about them, and drugs can actually harm your pet. You can talk with your vet about safe calming products.
#5. Try to remain calm
The only way you can pull off Tip #1 above – projecting calm – is to actually be relaxed yourself. We understand that you have a lot on your mind, especially if your potential pet travel stress is due to an international move. You have to be fully prepared, and timing is everything. But be sure to take “time outs” as needed to keep your personal sanity and perspective.
There’s one sure way to relax: call us before you become frazzled. Starwood has teams of experienced pet travel experts in the United Kingdom and the United States. We’ve worked for many years with airlines and countries in every corner of the world. We know the rules. And who is the most pet-friendly. In short, we can handle every detail of your pet’s trip. Ahhhhhhh. That’s more like it. No pet travel stress in your family.
Subscribe to the Blog
Enjoy our content? Get them sent to your inbox!