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Keeping a Pet Calm and Stress-Free when Travelling

  • Last updated on January 24, 2012

1. Accustom the pet to the flight kennel

Getting the pet accustomed to the flight kennel long before the trip allows for a more relaxed, comfortable and safe flight. Please see the steps provided in the flight kennel section to help guide the process.

2. Planning the Trip

There are ways to plan the trip to keep the pet as relaxed and comfortable as possible. First, consider the outside temperature. Even though the cargo hold is air-conditioned, the pet will still go outside during loading and unloading. When transporting in warmer temperatures, plan arrival and departure times when it’s cooler outside, so overnight or very early in the morning. Similarly, in cold temperatures, plan arrival and departure times in the middle of the day when it’s warmer outside.   

Second, try to book direct flights or at least flights with the fewest connections.  The shorter the trip and the fewer the takeoffs, landings and changes in air pressure, the better.  

Third, choose a pet friendly airline that follows USDA guidelines, and provides pets with the love, care, safety and attention.

3. Herbal Remedies

Herbal remedies are a fantastic alternative to sedation as they are specifically formulated to calm an anxious pet. They have a biophysical effect so the pet may experience side effects if mixed with other medications, or used improperly. Always consult with a veterinarian before administering. They can be found in most health food stores.

Valerian root

Valerian root helps to decrease stress by decreasing blood pressure, heart rate and hypertension. In doing so, it calms the nerves and an upset stomach, and can decrease aggressive, restless, or fearful behaviour. It can be used as a strong but gentle muscle relaxant to ease peristaltic contractions. Evidence suggests that valerian root also acts as a hypnotic.

Ginger

Ginger is wonderful at easing nausea, especially due to motion sickness.  

Mint

Mint aids with digestion, relaxing an upset stomach, and calming any nervousness. 

Nutmeg 

Nutmeg helps with diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and intestinal gas.

4. Flower Essences

Flower essences effect the pet’s emotions, unlike herbs, which stimulate the biochemistry. They provide an immediate calming effect in stressful situations. Bach® Flower Remedies are highly recommended. The Rescue® Pet is made of the flower extracts: Clematic, Cherry Plum, the Star of Bethlehem, Impatiens, and Rock Rose. The remedy is administered by adding 4 drops to the pet’s mouth, food, or water. It can also be rubbed on the paw, nose, or ear. The best method is that which ensures the animal will receive the correct dosage. 

5. Pheromonatherapy

Pheromonatherapy is a natural solution to relieving stress in cats and dogs. 

It involves the use of a synthetic copy of animal pheromones. The pheromones are sprayed inside the flight kennel, and taken in through the pet’s nasal passage to produce a calming effect on the part of the brain that is connected to the behaviors and emotions. As a result, it helps to comfort and reassure a pet while they cope with a stressful situation. It creates a feeling of security a pet would experience when being in a familiar environment. 

For cats, the product Feliway® is sprayed on the walls of the flight kennel 15 minutes before adding the pet. For Dogs, the product Dog Appeasing Pheromone® is sprayed on a bandana prior to securing it around the pet’s neck. 

The events involved when transporting a pet can be very stressful. Luckily there are several approaches to calming an anxious pet that so there is no resorting to the dangerous method of sedation.

Notes:

My pet’s reaction to stress includes:

  Crying

  Howling

  Drooling

  Trembling

  Vomiting

  Flatulence

  Constipation

  Diarrhea

 

 

Remedies

I have tried

Successful!

Valerian Root

 

 

Ginger

 

 

Mint

 

 

Nutmeg

 

 

Flower Essences

 

 

Pheromonatherapy