Tips & Advice

How to Keep Your Dog Calm on Flights

Flights are stressful – unless you are hopping on a private jet. But while you can easily endure all the stress that comes with flying, your dog usually has a harder time doing so. So what to do if don’t intend on leaving your pup behind? It’s quite simple: help your pooch stay calm and stress-free during the flight. How? Let’s find out!

Things to Know Before Flying with Your Dog

Before we go into the tips which can help your dog stay relaxed in the cabin, there are few things you should know about flying with a dog.

Know the rules

You need to be aware that there are rules when it comes to the size of pets permitted in the cabin of an airplane. Pets are only flight-worthy if they fit under seats on a plane. However, space isn’t exactly the same everywhere. And it will depend on the airline you fly with and the plain you will be boarding as to what size dogs are permitted.

If you are the owner of a small dog breed, you’re in luck, because your dog will most likely be allowed on most flights. But if your dog isn’t exactly small, I am sorry but your pup will most likely not be allowed on board. Fortunately, there are dog hotels and sitters that offer to take care of your pup while you’re away.

Airlines also require the use of pet carriers if you intend on having your dog in-cabin with you. It will limit the luggage you are permitted to have on board. So you will have to compromise your own comfort to be able to bring your pup on board an airplane.

Your dog’s personality

Some dogs are more susceptible to stress than others. If your dog tends to have anxiety attacks often, having it on a flight with you might be a bad idea.

Can you pay the price?

Having your dog on a flight with you also comes with a price tag. Your ticket doesn’t cover your furry friend. Regardless of where the dog is placed in the airplane, you will have to pay extra for your pup. The only positive is that different airlines have different prices for taking pets with you. But the fact remains that you will have to make preparations if you are going to fly with your pet. So if you are not ready for that commitment better allow your pooch have a breather in a nice doggy resort or allow him to hang out with your family or friends.

Tips to Ensure Your Dog Stays Calm All-Flight Long

Comfy works wonders

The best way to help your dog remain calm on a flight is through comfort. Using the right pet carrier here is key. Because if your dog feels cozy and comfy in his carrier, he won’t feel as stressed.

Also keep your dog preoccupied all through the flight, if possible. Toys that will hold your pup’s interest will do the trick which is why chew toys are probably your best bet.

Plan ahead

To avoid any last-minute issues always plan ahead. Speak to your preferred airline about having your dog in the airplane cabin with you. Find out their restrictions and ask them for ways how you could make the flight easier on you and your pup.

Don’t forget his essentials

Just like you don’t travel without certain items, the same applies to your dog. A document from your vet regarding the state of health of your pooch might prove helpful in certain circumstances. Also, you might want to take along your pup’s favorite blanket which will help him feel more at home and at peace.

Dietary intake counts

Excretion is a normal process in every living thing including your dog’s. And food and water intake will increase the chances of your dog needing to poo, pee or both during the flight. But you don’t want your dog dehydrated either, so what do you do? Ice cubes hold the answer. They have proved helpful in situations like this. Giving your pets frozen pellets of water not only keeps him busy, it puts a peg on his water intake and the need to pee. Also, there are meals that make your dog’s stomach mushy so avoid feeding those to your pup before a flight. This improves his condition aboard the plane and reduces the possibility of unpleasant accidents happening.

Yes, long walks could help

A hyperactive dog is more likely to become agitated when on board a plane. Want to make your dog less active before a flight? A long walk is just what you need. However, for that to happen the walk has to be longer than your furry friend is used to. With that excess energy out of the way, your dog should be sleepy and less restless during a flying. And therefore also calmer.

Utilize opportunities

Sometimes, your plane has to stop for reasons known to only the cabin crew. Make the most of such an opportunity. If your dog really has to go, then have your pup do so in the airport vicinity. Most airports usually have an area where animals can expel waste without constraints. This will, however, depend on how long the break in between flights is. And if you are not sure that you will make it back to the plane in time, better not risk it.

Avoid drug-induced calm

Don’t even consider putting your dog to sleep artificially before your flight. This will only complicate the situation. What’s worse it could cause the deterioration of your pooch’s health. And the risk of such happening goes higher with age.

Ideally, you should know enough of your dog’s behavior and habits to figure out what will keep him calm during a flight.

Expand his comfort zone

Having your dog get acquainted with a pet carrier days or weeks before your flight will help him be comfortable when the need for him to stay in a carrier for an extended period of time will arise. Car trips and occasional movements with your dog in a carrier should do the trick.

Frequent visit to airports or places of setting in the company of your dog should also help your dog get familiar with the attributes of these areas such as the noise and different smells. This will go a long way in helping him remain calm during a flight.

Pheromone to the rescue

Supplementing pheromone might be a viable approach in calming your dog’s anxiety while on a flight. There are pheromone collars and sprays created just for this purpose. It’s your call which you opt for. Just make sure you try out the product beforehand to know what your dog’s reaction to the product will be.

Don’t ignore the cabin crew

Lastly, your relationship with the flight attendants will dictate how enjoyable or unpleasant the flying experience for you and your dog will be. So treat them with respect and listen to them and their advice, and they will help you and your furry friend enjoy his flight that much more.

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