Trip

How to make your dog more comfortable in her carrier

For most pet owners, the initial thought of being thrilled that you can take your pet along with you in-cabin on the flight is almost immediately followed by visions of a nightmare scenario – fearing how disastrous that endeavor might actually be. Going through security gates and check in process can hold anxiety if traveling without a pet. Trying to imagine all the usual issues while finagling a pet can be a daunting thought to say the least. Then there are the worries about getting that pet carrier neatly and snugly under the seat in front of you in a manner that is both comfortable for the pet and not offensive to other passengers. Lastly, there’s that tendency for the pet to be particularly squirmy and anxious when the plane is on the runway taxying for takeoff. The solution can be found by making the carrier as comfortable as possible. Let’s discuss how.

Make the Carrier a Friendly Place

The worst scenario is springing a carrier on the pet for the first time on the day of travel. Since the pet can’t ride on the owner’s lap, the carrier needs to substitute as the next best thing. The noises, movement and experiences on the plane will naturally be a very unsettling experience for the little critter. Every step should be taken to make that all important carrier a familiar and reassuring place to be. To the degree possible, the carrier should have a positive affiliation to the pet as a new travel home.

Making the Carrier Familiar

Using the pet carrier on the day of a scheduled flight should be one among many experiences the dog has already had in his/her carrier. It will make the carrier all that more alluring if it is associated with places that are favorites and experiences that the pet adores – like taking her to a favorite store and getting extra dog treats or an outing to an off-the-leash park. To add positive associations, try tossing favorite treats into the carrier, taking opportunities to give her special loves and tickles while inside the carrier and making certain to include the carrier in game time. Making the carrier a non-threatening and safe place to be will make it a calming factor on the day of travel.

Soft, Comforting Smells, Tastes & Textures

Dog in-cabin, flightBeyond getting the carrier to be a source of comfort and connection, the items inside the carrier can also increase comfort and lessen anxiety. Any toys or favorite items can serve as a distraction to help curb the canine’s nerves. If the pet is a chewer, be certain to provide a rawhide bone or favorite item to chew. Smells can also be crucial. Since the pet will be on the floor in the seat in front of the owner, a soft garment- even a worn-out t-shirt that smells like the owner can reassure the pet. And in the absence of the owner’s arms, sneaking a few fingers inside the pet carrier to give the critter a few reassuring strokes will go a long way to calm anxious nerves.

Preparations on the Day of Travel

Make certain to give the dog a long walk before you leave for the airport. If you want to give an extra measure for relaxation, consider a spritz of lavender spray. You might also consider other sprays to relax your pet during flight (Comfort Zone with DAP or Rescue Remedy Pet). Quite often, the dog is anxious just before takeoff. Once in flight, most dogs become calm and fall asleep.

Getting to the Destination Safely

Leaving an animal alone in a house while the family takes a vacation, could be atrocious. However, taking the animal along can also bring up safety hazards. Therefore, preparing the car and pet for the journey, will ensure safety for all within the car.

Things to Pack in the Car

A person would not forget to pack their toothbrush; the same should go for the essentials for pets. As a general rule, bring the following:

Dog food should be inside a safe travel container. The Container Store offers the Pet Travel-Tainer. Have water readily available. Petsmart offers the e.g. Top Paw Travel Pet Water Bottle in 11 and 22-ounce selections.

Toys are a comfort and time-consuming activity for the pet. Make sure to pack multiple toys to keep the dog happy.

Line the area in which the pet will be traveling in. Chewy.com offers the K&H Pet Products Economy Cargo Cover for Sports Utility Vehicles.

If the pet is going to be riding in the backseat so that luggage can go in the backend, using something similar to a car seat saver, will keep seats from pet hair.

Have a blanket that the animal enjoys as well, to make the ride seem more like home.

Safety Restraints

Loose objects in a car become projectiles when the breaks must be pressed quickly. If the animal is not inside of a carrier, then they need to have a seatbelt or harness on, to properly guard them.

Seat-belts – Using a harness and the car’s seat-belt system, can keep any size dog from going through the window, thrashing about or moving freely. Clickit Utility has been crash-tested and proven to be top of the line of harnesses. However, the best option to get the family pet safely to the destination is a crate.

Safety Tips and Tricks

  • Do not let the pet roam around in the car.
  • The front seat is for humans only.
  • All hands, feet, tails and heads must be inside of the car at all times.
  • Take multiple rest stops. The general rule is that a rest stop is needed, every two hours.
  • Never leave the pet alone in a car. The temperature inside of a vehicle rises quickly. High temperatures can cause dehydration, heatstroke and death.
  • Be prepared for motion sickness and other illnesses along the way.
  • Talk to the veterinarian before leaving; they can assist with preparing a first aid kit with needed medicines.

Take a few test drives before the long haul. The first test should be no more than thirty minutes long. While on the test drive, watch the pets’ behavior, this will be the first line of defense for sickness, anxiety and hyperactivity.

Remember, when traveling, the important thing is to get there safely. Being prepared for the worst can give the pet owner, peace of mind. Plan out what to bring on the trip and recheck to make sure everything is packed the day of the trip.

Treating Travel Anxiety and Car Sickness in Dogs

Traveling has been known to make many people sick; dogs are no different. Anxiety and carsickness happen when the dog is not familiar with their surroundings. Anxiety and carsickness can cause trauma to the family pet if not watched and treated immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety and Carsickness

Knowing how the dog acts, can help its owner realize that something is wrong with them. Watch the dog for any of the following symptoms when traveling:

  • Uncontrollable urination or diarrhea
  • Becomes lethargic or seems to have no ability to move
  • Drooling more than normal
  • Dry heaving or vomiting
  • Pacing and whining
  • Becomes agitated
  • Panting uncontrollably
  • Trembling, even when talked to
  • Tail tucked beneath legs
  • Biting on their legs or tail
  • Out of control behavior

Stop the vehicle as soon as possible after these signs and symptoms start to happen. Making the animal ride for longer than needed will result in a worsening of conditions.

Preventing Anxiety and Carsickness

Training a dog is vital to keeping anxiety and carsickness away. Starting with small steps, teach the animal to enjoy the car ride. The first thing to do is, start by letting the dog roam the car while it is parked. Let the dog freely sniff and search in the back seat or the back end, this will allow for getting acclimated. Do not forget to praise the dog, this allows them to know how well they are doing. Reinforcing good behavior while sitting in the car with a treat, will help the dog realize they are doing a good thing.

After the dog has gotten used to the car, bring in a towel, bowl of food and water as well as the dog’s favorite chew toy. Bringing these items will make the dog feel safe whenever trips are taken. Once all of those items are in the car, put a dog harness on with the seat belt and go for a short drive. The first trip should be somewhere the dog can run afterward.

Backup Plan

Unfortunately, there are times when calming down the pet is hard to without some assistance. The best method to try first is the homeopathic path. Using lavender oil has a calming effect that is used on babies to make them sleep. Rubbing lavender oil on the forehead area lightly while talking to the dog calms them down quickly. More information about homeopathic remedies is located at Dog Naturally. While medicine is highly discouraged, it could be the only route left to take. Speak with a veterinarian about the way the dog acts and the options that can be taken to keep anxiety and carsickness at bay.

Remember, making the animal get into the car without letting them explore can cause problems with their system, causing sickness. Be patient with the dog and treat them as if they are a child, praising them for good behavior. Do not forget to bring along things from home to comfort them.

Top Tips for Traveling on an Airplane

Traveling can be hard at times, especially if bringing a pet along for the trip. However, planning for the trip can enable smooth sailing along the way. Never leave the house without planning in-depth, how every person including pets will be getting to the final destination.

Tips for Planning the Trip

 

A Unique Way to Fly

Flying with animals can be tricky; however, airlines and the federal agencies that govern the airways, have set rules and regulations to help streamline the process. Keeping to the laws, can ensure that pets are safely transported through the air.

Each airline may set their rules and regulations within reason. Some airlines have even gone as far as setting up frequent pet flyer programs.

Flyer Programs

Jetpaws from JetBlue gives frequent flyers, 300 points per trip that never expire. Virgin Atlantic rewards pets by giving frequent flyers, 1,000 points that help build up to free international flights. Although Continental only gives one point per dollar spent on a pet flying in cargo space, they give customers the ability to track their pet in real time.

Airlines

The best policy when booking a flight is to call the airline. It is inadvisable to go in blindly, because of the fees and certain restrictions each carrier has set. Below are a few examples of how different the charges can be.
AirTran was bought out by Southwest Airlines. However, they still have their rules for flying with pets that differ from Southwest. Animals are not allowed in the cargo area. The carrier for the pet must be able to fit under the seat, and the animal must not be sick. There is a pet and carrier weight restriction of 40 pounds or less and the fee for the animal is $65 for one-way.

Allegiant – If flying within the mainland of the United States, pets may ride in the cabin with the passenger. Pets are not allowed out of the carrier, and there is a $100 fee for each way.

American Airlines – Each aircraft has its policy, however if a pet is allowed to ride in the cabin, it must be a small pet. The pet must be at least eight weeks old, be sickness free and in a carrier. A charge of $125 for carry-on pets will apply.

Delta – Depending upon the location, a pet to carry on, will cost between $75 and $250. Not all countries are permitted to have a pet in the cabin of the flight.

jetBlue – The pet may ride in the cabin, as long as, the pet carrier and pet does not exceed 20 pounds. There is a $100 one-way fee that is non-refundable.

Southwest – When traveling within the United States, pets may ride in the cabin, but they must be a small cat or dog. There is a $95 one-way fee for all pets.

Remember, call ahead to make sure pets are allowed, get all of the pertinent details so that planning the family vacation can be done without problems. Do not forget to sign up for frequent flyer miles and use them. Lastly, do not hesitate to ask for special accommodations when it comes to a service animal.

Taking a Trip to Canada with Your Dog

Traveling can be a rewarding experience, especially with the animals along for the ride. Canada is a vast country with beautiful destinations and wonderful entertainment. Pet-friendly areas can make the journey to Canada special. Although, certain steps and precautions should be handled before going on the trip.

Crossing the Border

Just as a human needs a passport and proper vaccinations, so does the pet. In general, the dog will need to have a rabies vaccination certificate in English or French, identification of what type of animal it is, date of immunization, trade name, the serial number of licensed vaccine and duration of immunity. The pet will also need a medical certification of health, stating the pet is healthy and has no diseases.

Once at the border, be prepared to show proper papers and to go through an inspection. There are two fees associated with the inspection:

Therefore, if bringing in pet food, be sure that it follows regulations. The Health of Animals Regulations has set the following standards:

Another thing that is wise to know, is the restricted breed list. Ontario and Toronto, Canada does not allow: Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Terriers.

Suggestions of Great Places to Stay in Canada

A family vacation is unique when traveling with a pet. Canada offers many hotels and attractions that are pet-friendly. The country in whole tries to accommodate a family with pets, so that the vacation is enjoyable.

Nova Scotia – Offers multiple hotels that are pet-friendly and two wonderful pets welcomed attractions. Point Pleasant Park is an “off the leash” park, where the pets get to roam freely, while the family gets to enjoy the views of the ocean. When the family is ready to eat, bring the pet along and eat at The Foggy Goggle. They allow pets on the patio as well as provide chew toys.

British Columbia – Another magnificent destination is Victoria. This city has 47 hotels, 12 attractions and 10 restaurants that are pet-friendly. High End Dog, a bakery, which caters to dogs is one stop not to miss on the family adventures. Take a hike at Admiralty Point, which is an easy hiking trail that takes an hour and a half to finish.

Alberta – Offers many attractions for pets throughout the area. For dogs that like to run freely, The Oxbows Off Leash Dog Park, is one of many parks to scour.

No matter where the family decides to head off to in Canada, there are plenty of adventures waiting. More information for a pet-friendly trip to Canada can be found at PetFriendly.ca. Just remember to take care of the necessary items like rabies certification and pet kits before heading out of town. Lastly, do not forget to test to make sure the pet can handle the long distance trip.