4 Tips for easier dog relocations:
We often write about planning for moves that include your pets. Most of the information out there has to do with rules and regulations that will allow your pet to travel safely around the world. Which countries have quarantines? What vaccinations are required? Where and when should the veterinarian health certificates be issued? What sized crate to buy for airline approval? etc.
But some people are so concerned with the details of dog relocations that they sometimes forget about the most important part, which is your dog. How can we make your dog’s experience a bit less stressful? How do we put your dog first? Here is how…
- Teaching your dog to love his crate is something you can start months before your dog’s relocation. The more comfortable your dog is in his crate, the more comfortable he’ll be during his travels.
We suggest you start with some games so your dog is comfortable going in and out of his crate. Then keep your dog in his crate for a few minutes at a time while you are still home, rewarding very often. As your dog begins to enjoy his time in his crate you can ask him to sleep in his crate during the night or for a few hours while you run errands. You can also put the crate in the car and have your dog ride in it. Short rides first and then a bit longer. Like this, when the time comes for your pet’s relocation, your dog will be ready to get in his crate without fuss and be comfortable knowing it’s his spot.
2. While some exercise before travel is recommended, making your dog run a marathon before their flight is not recommended. Too much exercise will mean your pup will need to hydrate quite a bit which might leave him with a full bladder for his flight.
The best idea is to have a nice walk several hours before so your dog gets to relieve himself, come back and offer some water. Then, once you are getting ready to put the dog in his crate for departure, allow one last potty break so he can be more comfortable during his flight.
3. Feeding a dog that’s going to travel can be tricky. Especially if the dog’s flight will be longer than 3 hours. We suggest a light meal 4 to 6 hours before travel. You don’t want a dog with a belly full of food before traveling since it can make your dog uncomfortable. If your flight is shorter than 3 hours an empty stomach is the way to go. If your dog tends to get car sick then he’ll be happier on an empty stomach, even if the flight is a bit longer. If you already know your pup gets motion sickness you might want to contact your veterinarian and ask about a motion sickness medication before your dog’s relocation. There are several medications out there and we’ve had great success with them and our traveling dogs.
4. Dog sedation before travel was once very popular but it is no longer allowed by most airlines. Most veterinarians agree that the risks of sedation outweigh the benefits for most dogs. Sedation lowers the dog’s blood pressure and it can drop below what is optimal when you add the altitude at which a plane flies. Dogs that have been sedated can have a hard time adjusting to the physical needs of travel, like balancing inside a crate that is moving. So unless it is absolutely necessary and recommended by your veterinarian we suggest you skip sedation.
As you plan your pet’s relocation keep these things in mind to ensure not only your pet’s safety, but also, his overall well-being. A pet who is used to at least some of the demands of travel will be much calmer and comfortable during transit.