Travelling pets & dealing with stress

Bon voyage!

When you own a pet, you would never consider leaving it behind if you move abroad.  However you don’t want to cause any stress to your beloved friend either.  There are different factors to stress when travelling with your pet.

Pet stress due to pet owners

Ask yourself who is actually stressed, your pet or yourself?

Pets can sense when something isn’t right and when you are worried, they become worried.  As humans, their stress may show in various ways.  Some pets become uneasy or aggressive, some pets stop eating, other can come up with a dermatitis.

Note that tranquilizers and sedatives are forbidden for pets flying out of France.  Not only is a tranquilised or sedated pet more prone to be scared as it doesn’t have the ability to move as freely as it is used to.  In this case your pet might unnecessarily feel the need to defend itself and become aggressive.  But also, tranquilizers or sedatives can be dangerous for your pet’s health when exposed to increased altitudes.  So forget this as a solution!

As hard as it might seem you need to prevent your own stress to reflect on your pet.  In some cases the way out of this may be to hand over your pet to a professional pet shipper before your departure.  Some people even do this before they start boxing things up.

Pet stress due to not being prepared (travel crate/food/toilet)

It’s not all the owners fault.  A pet can become stressed once it is time to fly.  Here are a few tips on how to avoid this and prepare your pet as best as possible for his flight.

Being confined in a travel crate can be a stress to some pets who have never been before.  So purchase your pets travel crate in advance and set it up, without the door, in your pets’ usual space in the house and containing its usual bedding.  Your pet will learn gradually to go there for some peace and rest.  Some pets will live to love their travel crate if they are properly introduced.

It is best that your pet doesn’t have a full stomach when it’s flying.  If it’s a late night flight, feed a little less than usually and early in the morning, so it has time to digest and do its business.

Doing their business is a particular stress factor when pets fly as we train our pets to do their business outside. So some pets will become stressed if they are desperate for the toilet and have to go during the flight in their clean cage.  It is therefore best to take your pet on a nice walk before departure time, this will relax the pet before his time in the transport cage and also allow your pet to go to the toilet.  On long flights it is expected that your pet will have to go even if it was walked properly and in this case the best solution is having an ultra-absorbent & non-slip mat in the bottom of its cage, keeping your pet dry and comfortable during the rest of its trip!

Finally when the time comes to hand over your pet for its flight, the best thing to do is act as if you were going to the shops for 5 minutes and say “see you soon”.

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