Our dog is a big baby. He is afraid of certain noises including the lawn mower and hates thunderstorms. He's never flown before and we are worried about how he will be on the plane with the sound of the engines.
Is there any medicine he can take to help him cope?
We often receive questions about pet anxiety during travel and would be happy to offer a few suggestions to help your dog enjoy a safe and low-stress trip.
First, sedation is not allowed but some pet owners try natural remedies (like herbal products). You can check with your vet to see if they have any suggestions and then try using the anxiety aid before you travel to see how your dog reacts (in other words don't wait until travel day to try something new).
Really, the most important and effective thing to do is help your pet acclimate to his travel crate. By keeping the kennel out in a common area of the house and encouraging your dog to eat, sleep and play in and around it, it becomes a normal part of his life and he will begin to see it as a safe place. This will help his mood immensely on travel day, as even if the noise and activity of travel are potentially scary, he'll find comfort in the familiarity of his travel kennel.
The cargo area of the plane is pressure and temperature controlled and not brightly lit, and many people believe this is more likely to calm pets down rather than inspire them to feel more anxious (think about how the droning sound of an engine might make you sleepy). Some of our clients like to do "practice runs" as well, where they will take car rides with their pet in their kennel so they get used to the feeling of moving around.
Hopefully this helps you get started, Maureen! In our experience the reality of pet travel is far less scary than it first seems. Contact us if you're interested in hiring some assistance, and for further peace of mind, read a few pet travel stories from our recent clients.
Pet Travel Question Details:
Number of Pets: 1
Pet Type: Dog
Pet Breed: German Shepard/Collie mix
To: Pennsylvania, United States