Pet Travel Tips, As Pet Travel Is Reaches Record Numbers


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Maybe because it’s a post pandemic need or maybe it’s a positive economic indicator, for whatever the reason, U.S. travel is up as at least as 40 percent this year compared to last year, according to Forbes. And according to the American Pet Products association, 78 of pet parents plan to travel with their four-leggeds this summer. Some airlines have also loosened restrictions for pet travel.

Air Travel

Different airlines have different rules, all who accept reservations for pets do charge a fee. If the dog is too large to fit into a carrier that slides under the seat in front, animal welfare groups all agree that flying in the cargo hold should only be a last resort.

If you must travel by air, try for direct flights. The best choice is a flight that departs early in the morning so the plane isn’t likely sitting on the tarmac for hours in midday sun.  For pets likely to be anxious (that’s most of them), do seek out veterinary advance before flying.

And know in advance where “airport relief areas” are located, and be ready for inevitable delays.

Here are the pet travel pages for DeltaAmerican AirlinesUnitedJetBlueSouthwest, and Alaska Airways. (If your dog is a trained service animal, then a totally different set of regulations will apply.) Also, airlines typically require a health certificate—issued by an accredited veterinarian.

Car Travel

How the pet travels varies on the size of the pet and comfort level. For certain, cats should be in carriers. Even for tabbies who enjoy the ride, sudden stops can launch them right onto the front window or fall to the ground to the gas or break pedal.

Sleepypod carriers have been crash tested, and are particularly cozy. But these days there are about as many carrier and pet seat choices as there are dog breeds, or so it seems. Sleepypod Air choices, can be buckled in and are supported by Fear Free. Indeed it’s dangerous for dogs to travel in the bed or the back of pick-up trucks (and it’s illegal in some states).

Make frequent potty stops – even if you typically make allow the dog relief at home every five or six hours do so more often while on the road, it’s also a matter of stretching their legs allow them to sniff.

When you stop for a snack, and can’t take the dog indoors – opt for drive ups. Don’t ever leave pets alone in the car. For starters dogs do die in hot cars. So far, this season, at least 38 dogs have died in hot cars according to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals. Each of these deaths could have been avoided. What’s more, dogs and cats are sometimes stolen from cars.

Setting Up for Success

Some pets love road trips. Others aren’t so keen about the idea. It’s a bit time consuming but there is a way to use behavior modification to get a pet accustomed to car rides. Step number one is to ensure that if a carrier is involved, the dog or cat doesn’t mind being inside it.

Use a pheromone product or a nutraceutical, like Zylkene, which is hydrolyzed milk protein, to lower anxiety from day one.  Take the dog down to the car, and toss a ball or a favorite toy literally through the back seat. So the dog runs through the car for fun.

After this, feed your pet – so the car is ultimately associated with food.

When the pet is totally comfortable, turn on the engine travel down the driveway, then down the block, then tour the neighborhood. For dogs, drive to a destination, such as a dog park or a pet store. Always, when returning home, a meal happens. If the pet appears stressed, you’ve gone too fast, so slow down the process.

If your pet gets sick in the car, the cause may be anxiety (which you’re working on dispelling) or motion sickness, or both.A veterinarian can offer a suitable prescription.

Consider playing music to soothe your pet’s soul. There is specific music made for pets purpose, or classical music can do the trick as well.

If you’ve seen TikTok videos suggesting that consoling your pet makes matters worse, don’t believe it. Don’t overdo it with drama, but gentle petting and talking to the dog or cat can help to relax. If your cat begins to purr, great – but be aware that sometimes anxious cats  purr to express their fretfulness.

For All Pets Traveling

Ensure your pet is microchipped, and you’re registered with the provider. After all, if the pet does get lost and is found a scanner can read your contact information. But it has to be there (and up to date). Of course, remember any medications your pet requires.

In the Chicago area, on Daytime Chicago on WGN-TV on Monday, July 8 after 10 am to talk about pet travel