Flying on a plane can be stressful for humans, but unlike humans, we can’t explain to our dogs that their uncomfortable experiences won’t last forever. Keeping your dog calm while flying can be tricky unless you plan and prepare ahead of time.
Whether you have a small dog that can stay on your lap or a big pup that needs more space, use these tips to keep your pet relaxed.
1. Carrier Train Your Dog
Depending on your dog’s breed, they may not be used to staying in a carrier. If you place your pup in a carrier only when they go to the vet, they’ll associate it with an awful experience, which will cause them a lot of anxiety.
Try to get your dog used to their carrier months before their first flight to prevent loud barking, anxious pacing, and bathroom accidents during your trip.
2. Add Cosy Items to Their Carrier
Since your dog will likely stay in their carrier for the remainder of the trip, they may want a reminder of home to get them through the flight. Add items that smell like you or your home. For example, loose clean socks, blankets, sweaters, toys, and stuffed animals will reassure them that they are safe and protected. Familiar smells will also make your pup feel more relaxed.
3. Consider Sedatives or CBD
Let’s say you came upon this article because you don’t have the time to prepare your dog for the flight. In this case, we recommend using vet-prescribed sedatives or CBD treats available on HonestPaws.com to induce calmness and/or sleep.
You still need to use either treatment at least a week before to ensure they don’t experience any side effects or nervousness.
4. Tire Your Dog Out With Exercise
About 2 hours before the flight, take your dog for a long walk, so they are more inclined to sleep during the flight. You won’t want your dog exhausted, as that may stress your pup out more if they need to sleep in an unfamiliar place.
If your dog is lagging behind you during their walk but not panting or laying down, they are tired and stimulated enough to stay calm.
5. Don’t Give Them Too Much Food or Water
Do your best not to feed your dog in the eight hours previous to flying. If your dog is small enough to use a pee pad, you can get away with 2-hours, but bigger dogs will get skittish if they drink water close to your flight.
The amount of food and water you withhold is determined by your pup’s size and the length of the flight, but always keep some kibble and H20 for the plane.
6. Use a Calming Voice and Cuddle the Carrier
While it’s likely, you already use a calming voice when you speak to your pup, try and keep that tone regardless of how embarrassed you become from their barking or whining. Try to pay attention to your pup’s needs at all times by placing a hand on their carrier, looking them in the eye, and showering them with compliments. Be sure to pet them regularly and offer treats.
7. Book a Window Seat
The window seat offers fewer disturbances for both you and your pup as they won’t have to experience constant movement and rustling between the aisles. Keep in mind that most airlines only allow a set number of dogs per flight, so book early to get a seat.
Window seats can also provide a much-needed distraction to your pet because they can watch the sky roll by.
8. Stay Calm During the Flight
Your furry friend can feel when you’re stressed, angry, or scared, so try to stay calm during the flight to help your dog stay relaxed. If you’re afraid of flying, speak to your doctor about anti-anxiety medication that can help you feel less anxious for your and your dog’s wellbeing.