Fear of Flying? Help Your Dog Keep Calm While Traveling by Plane

Posted by Tiffany Brenner

Tammy Hunter, a vet with VCA Animal Hospital, shared some wise advice for pet parents who want to take their dogs along on a flight. Dr. Hunter said that successful flights with pets start long before the departure time. 

As the first steps:

  • Acquire a pet carrier weeks or even months before a trip to help your dog feel acquainted with it.
  • First, leave it open and accessible. Pad the floor and add a toy to tempt your pet to use it as a shelter and bed.
  • Offer your pet a treat as a reward for going inside, and take some practice runs with your dog inside the carrier as you make short trips in a car to run errands.
  • If those errands include a trip to a dog park or a stop for treats, your dog should learn to associate the pet carrier with a rewarding journey. 

Be aware that your pet carrier will have to travel through baggage screening, and you'll need to take your pet through the screening device that people use. You should have your dog harnessed and the leash firmly in hand. Prepare in advance by getting your dog used to this harness when you go for walks. 

Plan to calm a stressed or excited pet on a long journey 

For most dogs, a trip to an airport and then aboard an airplane will rapidly introduce them to entirely new environments with lots of strange sounds, smells, and people. Even typically calm and well-mannered dogs can react with alarm. 

Like some people, dogs might need extra support to remain cool in busy airports and planes. For instance: 

  • Swaddling shirts like the Thundershirt originally promoted their effectiveness at calming dogs during loud storms or fireworks displays. They can also provide comfort during other stressful situations. Just acquaint the dog with the accessory in advance. 
  • Pheromone calming collars emit scents that dogs may associate with relaxation and goodwill. They tend to work better after a few days and don't work for all dogs. Put the collar on your pet several days before the trip to gauge its effectiveness. 

Of course, happiness starts on the inside. Sometimes, pets may need medication or supplements to help them relax. Vets might even prescribe sedative drugs, but many pet parents prefer gentler and more natural remedies. 

Many of the same natural supplements that people take to help them relax may also offer a safe way to comfort stressed dogs. Some examples include hemp, chamomile, valerian root, and l-tryptophan. Considered generally safe for dogs, these plant-based remedies and amino acids offer peace of mind for many pets. 

Buy dog calming supplements

For a tasty way to help calm your pup try Chillout Bites, a supplement that's scientifically formulated to promote lower stress levels in dogs. It combines vitamins and herbal remedies in a chicken-flavored bite that your dog will love.

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