Turn Your Pup Into a World-Class Air-Traveler

Flying may not be the dog park or a delicious bone, but there are ways to make your dog get better at it!

  Flying can cause anxiety for the most seasoned traveler — the long lines, security, and boarding the plane — add a dog into the mix, and it’s a full on panic attack if your pet is upset and ill-prepared.   Whether your pet is accompanying you in the cabin or flying on its own below, there are many ways to help prepare them and make them more comfortable for air travel.   Your pet’s health is our priority at the Vet Set, both on the ground and in the air! Join us in today’s post as we explore air travel for your pooch.

Pet Flying Tips

  Everyone loves the idea of taking their beloved pup on a plane to discover a new destination, and with the right steps, you can turn this dream into a reality! We’ll explore travel tips for flying with your dog and when they fly underneath the plane — read all about it below!  

In-Cabin Travel

  First things first when it comes to in-cabin travel with your pooch…   Invest in a comfortable and airline approved carrier.   Folks, this is crucial. There are many pet carriers on the market that are cute and stylish, but if they don’t meet the airlines requirements, you will not be able to fly. So, let’s look more closely into pet carrier requirements.   Size and weight - The first thing to check into is, does your dog even meet the requirements to fly in-cabin? Generally pets can be no larger than 18 inches long from their nose to the base of the tail and can't exceed 12 pounds. The exact size and weight requirements do vary with each airline, so always double check before you book your ticket.   Pet Carrier Requirements - Your pet travel carrier must be able to fit under the seat in front of you and they need to include the following:  
  • A soft- or hard-bodied pet carrier
  • Must contain your whole pet (their head cannot stick out)
  • Waterproof bottom
  • Ventilation
  • Zippers for security (no snaps)
  Required carrier dimensions are as follows:  
  • Hard-bodied - 17.5 inches long X 12 inches wide X 7.5 inches high
  • Soft-bodied - 18 inches long X 11 inches wide X 11 inches high
  And now for the inside scoop on traveling with your pet!   Book a direct flight - The less transitions you have, the less travel hiccups such as flight delays you’ll encounter.   Check their comfort level before the flight - If your dog has never been on a plane or gone for a longer car ride, you may want to test this out. Take your dog out for a long car ride — hello, weekend getaway — and see how they stand up. Do they get motion sickness, or do they seem overly stressed? If there are any issues, you can address them and help get them more prepared to fly in the interim.   Cultivate crate love - If your dog is not crate-trained this can be a big adjustment, but if done properly, dogs can come to find their crate as a safe space and being in it can help reduce any travel anxiety. Make their crate a space that they love — give them treats in their crate and keep their favorite toys in there so they naturally gravitate towards it at home, thus enjoy it more when traveling. Putting a t-shirt or blanket with your scent in their crate can also help them calm and quell any anxiety.   Provide in-flight entertainment - Pack their absolute favorite toys for the flight, even the high-value ones. This will keep them entertained, happy, and less likely to be vocal with any barks or whimpering.   Take an airport trip beforehand - Taking your dog to the airport before your actual scheduled flight is a great way to desensitize them to all the travel hustle and bustle — they’ll become better adapted to the sounds and smells.   Check in early - If you go with the rule of giving yourself two hours for domestic travel and three hours for international. If you’re traveling with a dog, add an hour. It’s important to give yourself time to get situated and take your dog out one last time before a flight.   Use puppy pads - If you’re on a longer flight, line there crate with puppy pads and always pack extra in case of an emergency. If the flight attendants have to handle any waste, be sure to thank them with a generous tip or gift card.  

Pet Cargo Travel

  Pets traveling as cargo are beneath the plane cabin and have additional requirements and considerations for happy and healthy travel.  

Pet Crate Requirements

It is required that your dog is able to stand, lie down, and turn around comfortably in their crate. The floor of the crate should be solid and leakproof. The top of the crate should also be solid, and ventilation should run along the sides.   The ventilation must be along two sides for domestic flights and four sides for international flights.     The crate must also have spring-loaded locking pins to secure the dog. Many airlines also ask that dog owners further secure the doors with cables or bungee cords on all four corners.   A collapsible crate is not allowed.   “Live Animal” stickers must be placed on the top and sides of the crate.   Easy identification is required on the outside of the crate with your dog’s name and your contact information.   The crate must have food and water bowls attached to the front door and must be refillable from outside the crate. Food can be attached to the top of the crate for easy access.   The crate must be composed of metal, rigid plastics, solid wood/plywood, fiberglass, or metal mesh.     

Pro Tips for Cargo Travel

  Place a leash and collar to the top of the crate. Tape all of your pet’s health information to the top of the crate (secured in a plastic bag). Prep the crate to accommodate any temperature swings. If your dog is sensitive to temperature swings, pack their crate accordingly. In cold weather, include extra blankets and stuffed animals they can snuggle up with. In hot temperatures, pack enough for their comfort, but not so much that they become overheated.   When you’re prepared, traveling with your pet can be a positive experience, and having them by your side for your adventures makes it worth it. While we’ve given important guidelines, always check with your airline before your flight to ensure that you’ve met all of their pet travel requirements.  

To learn more about traveling with your dog or for more information on requirements, connect with us today!

     

How To Keep Your Dog Calm During Travel

Both car and air travel can induce anxiety for pets and it’s important to help get them through it.

  Traveling with your furry friend may be exciting for you but it can riddle them with anxiety, so if they struggle with travel, there are natural remedies to help calm their systems.   The Vet Set supports your dog in every facet of their health — physical and emotional — which makes it crucial to help them work through and cope with triggering events such as travel. Follow along today and pick up some of the best natural remedies to ease the stress of doggy travel.

Travel Anxiety in Dogs

  Dogs have travel anxiety just like humans, but we know how to identify and treat the signs and symptoms, so how do you know your dog is suffering?   Possible signs include:  
  • Pacing
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Overwhelmed
  • Excessive salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Urination
  • Defecation
  • Excessively vocal
  • Aggression
  • Not eating
If you spot these signs there are plenty of natural remedies to calm their systems and help them relax during travel.  

Herbal Remedies

  There are a handful of herbs that help your dog chill out in stressful situations, so always check with your vet before giving yours something new.   Valerian   This herb works well for people and for dogs! It provides a sedative effect to help quell anxiety in dogs. Valerian comes in a variety of forms such as tinctures and capsules. Talk to your vet about how to dose this herb.   Passionflower   This is a supportive herb that is wonderful for highly stressed out dogs, and it is recommended to give your dog right before you board the plane. This herb keeps all the happy neurotransmitters (norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine) intact which promotes a calm, happy, and improved mood.   Chamomile   This a gentle, yet effective herb. Not only does it soothe upset dog tummies but it helps them remain calm.   CBD   CBD is for dogs too! Many dog owners are giving their pets CBD to improve the effects of anxiety. The Vet Set recommends Canna-Pet. Find more information here.     Rescue Remedy   This is a homeopathic formulation that helps calm dogs in stressful environments. It has a combination of plants and botanics to aid your pet.     Essential Oils   Rubbing essentials on your pet before a flight offers superb anxiety support and keeps them calm.   The best practice, assuming your dog won’t try and lick them off, is to use a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, etc and mix in a couple drops of the following essential oils:   Lavender - This herb goes straight to work on your dog’s nervous system to help relieve anxiety.  
  • Frankincense - This is derived from resin from the Boswellia tree and improves anxiety.
 
  • Neroli - Not that your dog cares, but neroli smells divine and help pups chill and relax.
 
  • Lemon balm - This herb is uplifting and soothing, leaving your dog in a tranquil state.
 
  • Vetiver - This herb has an earth scent and is a grass native to India. There have even been studies on rats showing that vetiver oil functions similarly to anti-anxiety medications.
  Other Methods Beyond herbs and essential oils there a few more things to try to help your dog stay calm.   Compression shirts - These types of shirts function in the same way baby swaddles do — they hug the dog closely, providing a sense of comfort and security. They have an anxiety-reducing effect that applies constant, yet gentle pressure around the torso area.   Acupressure and/or Massage   Acupressure applies pressure to points along the body that correspond with different systems and using specific points can be effective in helping your pooch deal with stress and anxiety.   Massage is also another great way to help your dog relax before a flight — even a good belly rub will help do the trick!   If you’re looking for a more natural solution to help prevent or aid your dog’s anxiety before travel, there are many amazing herbs, essential oils, products, and alternative modalities to help combat their nerves.   Before embarking on any new supplements or methods, connect with your vet to ensure they’re safe for your furry best friend!  

To learn more about our alternative vet services or to schedule an appointment, reach out to our Carroll Gardens vet clinic today!

     

Tips for Taking Your Cat on a Road Trip

Thinking about taking your cat on a road trip? Dr. Eva recently contributed some helpful tips to Popsugar Pets! See link below: http://www.popsugar.com/pets/How-Prepare-Cat-Car-Ride-39849701 photo credit: Flickr user Sharonhahndarlin  

Flying With Your Pets - Safety and Health Certificates

     With the holidays upon us it’s time to start thinking about what we’re going to do with our fuzzy family members as we head out to travel to friends and family.  Traveling during the winter months with our pets by car, air, or even sea can bring some undue stressors to our dogs and cats.  It’s The Vet Set’s goal to abate those hazards and stress with some education and planning.  We’re going to divide this series into two sections – Travel by Air and Travel by Car.

Travel by Air

It’s no small decision to decide to fly with your pet.  Whether you have your pet in the cabin with you or below in cargo there are many things that could expose your pet to stress and potential dangers.  Pets with flat or smooshed faces (the medical term is bracycephalic and includes bulldogs, pugs, boxers, and Persian cats) are at higher risk for breathing problems and temperature fluctuations.  Flying these pets in cargo can be life threatening. Small dogs and cadogsinplanets should be flown in the cabin with you.  Check with your airline to see if they allow pets in the cabin and their size restrictions.  Some airlines only allow a set number of pet reservations per flight – so make your booking early!  There are also airline specific regulations on the type of carrier your pet must be transported in requiring you to research which carrier is allowed. Your pet’s carrier will need to go through security just like your regular baggage.  You will need to take your pet out of the carrier and hold her or request a private screening room where your pet can be securely removed and contained with you while the carrier is screened.  The Vet Set recommends having a secure harness with attached ID tags regardless of what method you use.  Give yourself lots of extra time so you’re not stressed!

The Question To Sedate

Sedation for your pet is a controversial topic for airline travel.  In some instances when the pet is flying with you in the cabin I will recommend sedation.  For the vast majority of pets flying in cargo I do not recommend sedation because if there was an emergency nobody would be there to monitor your pet.  You can

catsuitcasetry natural remedies such as Rescue Remedy or Feliway for cats to help reduce anxiety.  Training your pet to become familiar with her carrier or crate starting a month ahead of time is the best solution. The Vet Set recommends withholding food starting 6 hours prior to the flight.  If your pet is flying cargo add ice cubes to the dish to allow them to melt over time.  A large water bowl will just spill creating a messy environment for your pet.  For dogs traveling in the cabin more and more airports are creating pet areas for your pet to relieve themselves and to have a little water.  Again, wait to feed your pet a full meal until you have arrived.

Flying Pets In Cargo Safety Tips

IF you must travel with your pet in cargo please read the following carefully.  Winter and the holidays are an especially difficult time of the year with extreme weather, excessive amounts of baggage, and the propensity for delays.  Again, if you don’t need to fly with your pet in cargo, please don’t. The following is advice for flying with your pets in cargo from The Humane Society of the United States.  Follow these tips to increase the chances for a safe flight..
  • Use direct flights. You will avoid the mistakes that occur during airline transfers and possible delays in getting your pet off the plane.
  • Always travel on the same flight as your pet.Ask the airline if you can watch your pet being loaded into the cargo hold and unloaded.
  • When you board the plane, notify the captainand at least one flight attendant that your pet is traveling in the cargo hold. If the captain knows that pets are on board, he or she may take special precautions.
  • Don't ever ship brachycephalic animals such as Pekingese dogs, bulldogs or Persian cats in the cargo holds.
  • If traveling during the summer or winter months, choose flights that will accommodate the temperature extremes. Early morning or late evening flights are better in the summer; afternoon flights are better in the winter.
  • Fit your pet with a collar that can't get caught in carrier doors.Affix two pieces of identification on the collar: a permanent ID with your name and home address and telephone number, and a temporary travel ID with the address and telephone number where you or a contact person can be reached.
  • Affix a travel label to the carrieron which you've written your name, permanent address and telephone number, final destination, and where you or a contact person can be reached as soon as the flight arrives.
  • Make sure that your pet's nails have been clippedto protect against them getting hooked in the carrier's door, holes, and other crevices.
  • Give your pet at least a month before your flight to become familiar with the travel carrier. This will minimize his stress during travel.
  • Do not give your pet tranquilizers unless they are prescribed by your veterinarian. Make sure your veterinarian understands that the prescription is for air travel.
  • Do not feed your pet for four to six hours before the trip.However, you can give him small amounts of water. If possible, put ice cubes in the water tray attached to the inside of your pet's crate or kennel. (A full water bowl will only spill and cause discomfort.)
  • Try not to fly with your pet during busy travel times such as holidays and the summer. Your pet is more likely to undergo rough handling during hectic travel periods.
  • Carry a current photograph of your pet. If your pet is lost during the trip, a photograph will make it much easier for airline employees to search effectively.
  • When you arrive at your destination, open the carrier as soon as you are in a safe place and examine your pet.If anything seems wrong, take your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Get the results of the examination in writing, including the date and time.

Health Certificates

Most airlines require your pet to be examined by a USDA Accredited veterinarian and have a health certificate issued.  An USDA Accredited veterinarian is a licensed veterinarian that has gone through additional training and certification to ensure the animal health and welfare of animals traveling in the United States and abroad.  The veterinarians at The Vet Set have completed all training and maintain their accreditation meaning we can provide the APHIS 7001 health certificate you need to fly with your pet.  If you are flying internationally The Vet Set will work with the local USDA veterinarian at large to help with the paperwork and certifications needed as dictated by each country.  The Vet Set will help your jet setting pet get to her destination.

If You See Something, Say Something

If you’re traveling and you see mishandling of a pet report it right away to the manager of the area including time, place, and any photos you can submit.  Twitter and Facebook are other forums you can use to quickly get the attention of the airline.  Even if it’s not your pet you could be preventing a tragedy for that animal.  We all need to lookout for those who can’t lookout for themselves. Travel safe, and have a great holiday season!

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