ACCLIMATING YOUR PET FOR AIR TRAVEL
GETTING YOUR PET READY TO TRAVEL BY AIR AND ACCLIMATING THEM TO THE CRATE
In our experience with pet shipping, one of the best things you can do for your pet prior to their travel is to allow them time to become acclimated to their travel crate in advance. This will certainly help ease any anxiety they may experience during their travel.
Step one is making sure you have the correct travel crate size for your pet.
Click HERE for our measuring guide to determine the correct size crate for your dog. We recommend the 28x21x22 crate size for cats.
HERE ARE A FEW TRAINING TIPS TO HELP YOUR PET BECOME ACCLIMATED TO THEIR CRATE PRIOR TO TRAVEL
Start early if possible and be patient! The first step for acclimating your dog to their crate is to let your dog explore the crate by placing toys and treats inside. Make sure it’s inviting with a comfortable bed/blanket. We recommend starting with an “open door policy” with the crate set up and the door removed or secured in an open position. If you have an especially anxious or nervous dog, you can remove the top (on plastic crates) and just use the bottom half to start out. Place the crate in a room where most of the family spends time in.
After your dog has had a chance to spend some time in the open crate bottom, put the lid back on and encourage them to go inside with food, treats or toys. Offer treats and meals inside the crate to encourage your dog to be in the crate and associate it with a positive experience. You can start with the food bowl at the door of the crate while they stand outside to eat and with each feeding, place the bowl a little further inside the crate each time.
Once your dog seems to feel good about being inside the crate, you can add the door back and practice short intervals of time with the door closed.
Always use positive reinforcement with treats or affection and be sure to comfort and reassure him. Practice by running quick errands. Once your dog feels comfortable in their crate, you can try loading the crate in the car and riding around town. Bring treats with you so you can reward your dog. Remember this is just like teaching your pet a new trick.
With cats, we suggest leaving the crate with the door open or removed and place it in a room your cat enjoys and go about your business. Be sure to place a nice bed or blanket in it or even some fresh catnip. Cats are normally curious and they love to climb into things to play, explore or hide when startled. Leave it there for a good week or two. If you do not see your cat in the crate or are just not sure if he is indeed going into it, leave a few of his favorite snacks in it and check later to see if they are gone.
If your cat is still not spending time in it you can camouflage the crate by draping a small blanket over it just leaving the doorway exposed.
Once your cat starts to spend more time in the crate, the next step is a short car ride. Your cat may never learn to love this experience but with time, they will become acclimated and less stressed during their relocation flight.
Once your pet is acclimated to their crate, this will certainly help to alleviate any stress during their air travel. The cargo hold of the aircraft is climate controlled and pressurized and once the flight departs, it is dark and quiet and pets will find it easy to nap in their crate.