How to keep a dog calm on a flight

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grey dog sleeping on white fluffy blanket

If you are planning on flying with your dog, you have probably been researching what you will need, where to go, and what activities to do when you arrive. However, you don’t want to forget about the flight itself! 

Flying can be stressful for us, let alone our four-legged friends who have never seen a plane before – but don’t worry, at TailWings, we are pet travel specialists and have created a handy list of tips for how to keep your dog calm during the flight.

Get them used to their travel crate

The first step to prepping your dog for flying is to get them used to the crate that they’ll be travelling in. Depending on your dog’s temperament and age, this process can take a good few weeks, so it’s important that you start it long before you are due to fly. 

Leave their IATA-compliant dog crate open at home so that they can investigate it on their own terms, and don’t force them into the crate as this will only make them resent it! The more they investigate the crate, the lower the likelihood of them kicking up a fuss on the big day. It also gives the crate a chance to begin smelling like home, giving your dog that extra comfort during the journey.

Time their food and water appropriately

A dog that needs a toilet but can’t go is going to be agitated, irritable, and the opposite of calm! This is why it is important to not feed your dog too close to the flight time. It is recommended to avoid feeding your pup for at least 6 hours prior to the flight, and then make it a light meal. 

It is important to keep your dog hydrated, and they will have access to a super absorbent pad during the journey, however, if your dog is not good with puppy pads then keep this in mind and make sure you take them for a toilet as close to the journey as possible! They will have access to water during the journey.

Try a dog calming mist on their bedding

When it comes to flying with a dog, there are a lot of miracle products that claim to solve every issue… and whilst some of these are great, some are full of false claims. Make sure when choosing a dog calming mist that you do your research and choose one that is safe for flying. If you are unsure, always talk to your vet.

It is not recommended to give your dog any calming medication or sedatives when flying as these can be affected by rising altitude pressure, increasing the risk of respiratory and cardiovascular problems.

Home comforts in their crate

Flying with your dog means that they are going to be in a new environment that is busier and more hectic than their chilled-out home life. Along with this comes new smells, and this can be overwhelming for a dog as they have such sensitive noses. A great way to calm your pup is to place a towel or a t-shirt that smells like you in their crate!

Remember, your dog cannot have any toys during the journey as these can be a choking hazard.

Walkies before the flight

A tired-out dog is going to be much more relaxed and may even nap for the plane journey! Make sure you take your dog for a nice long walk before TailWings come to pick them up, or as close to the flight time as possible. This will give your dog a chance to stretch its legs and go to the toilet before the journey begins. 

Mental stimulation is just as important, especially for preventing boredom in your dog, so make sure you let them do lots of sniffing during the walk or take a ball and play a game of fetch!

We hope these tips help you when it comes to flying with your dog and makes the journey as smooth as possible for both you and your furry friend. At TailWings we are pet travel specialists who are here to help with every aspect of international pet travel, so for further advice or to find out what other services we offer please get in touch with our friendly team who will be happy to help.

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