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Steve Dale Tips for Pet Air Travel


It’s one thing if your pet is small enough to fit into a carrier for airplane travel. Traveling in cargo is another matter all together, unless it is something you really need to do (for example, you’re moving from one side of the country to another).Pet expert Steve Dale offers tips on air travel for pets over holidays

Watch here, as I talk here about plane travel.

Pet travel in cargo should best be avoided

Pet travel in cargo should best be avoided

I agree with the ASPCA general recommendation against pets traveling in the cargo hold. I understand, sometimes you need to do what you need to do. Yes, most of the time, pets arrive safely. Still, if we’re only talking about a trip to granny’s for Christmas, if you can’t walk or travel by car – leave the pet(s) home, unless the pet is small enough to travel in a carrier on a plane in the passenger area.

For carrier travel, key is first adjusting your pet to the carrier. If your pet is anxious in the carrier, use Adaptil (a pheromone product for dogs) or Feliway (a pheromone product for cats) to help pets feel more comfortable in their own surroundings.

What a little Feliway can do

What a little Feliway can do

As a training tool, use Solliquin (a natural product that reduces stress/anxiety) for all pets. Even pets that don’t appear to be stressed might be, and that’s why these products are a do-no-harm, no-lose idea which I endorse.

Practice, practice, practice…obviously you can’t take practice plane flights, but you can insure that at least your pet is content to be inside the carrier.

Acclimate your pet by leaving the carrier out all the time, and periodically dropping treats inside it. Soon, begin to feed your pet from the carrier.

For many pets, particularly those stressed out, an anti-anxiety medication might be the best idea; see your veterinarian at least weeks before the trip.

Insure your pet has needed vaccinations. You may also consider the vaccine for the dog flu, which in some parts of the country is a real concern. Reminder after the initial dog flu injection, a booster is required about three weeks later.

I am not endorsing this idea

I am not endorsing this idea

Also, just as it’s best not to pack your own medications to bring on board (in case of lost luggage), the same is true for the pets’ meds.

Learn more about holiday pet safety, and dealing with pet fear, anxiety and stress around the holidays HERE.


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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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