Traveling with your pet can be a wonderful experience for both of you. However, many times the trip can get off to a bad start if your pet is not used to spending time in the pet carrier. All too often you may get everything ready for your trip, and even choose an excellent airline-approved pet carrier for your dog or cat, but when it comes time to travel, you wait until you’re at the airport to put your pet into the carrier for the first time. When that happens your pet is likely to balk at being put in the carrier and he may try to escape or even spend the trip howling his displeasure. That’s not a very good way to start your trip together.
Letting Your Pet Become Accustomed To the Carrier
You can avoid problems at the airport and on the plane when you put your pet in the pet carrier by letting your pet get used to the carrier several months before you plan to travel. The best way to go about doing this is to make the pet carrier a normal part of your home from the time you purchase it. Open the carrier up and place it somewhere in your home where your pet will be sure to see it. Make it inviting for your pet by placing some treats and toys inside. Leave the top open so your pet can go in and out as he likes. When your pet starts going into the pet carrier you should praise him and give him some treats as a reward to let him know that he’s doing something good. You should continue this kind of positive reinforcement whenever you see your pet using the carrier. Let him know that the carrier is a safe place for him to spend time. If he wants to curl up and sleep in the carrier, let him. As your pet gets used to the new carrier it will help him adapt for his trip later.
After your pet has become comfortable spending time in the pet carrier you can zip it closed and spend some time carrying it around the house with your pet inside. This will help your pet get used to being carried in the carrier, as he will be at the airport and on the plane. Make sure you praise your pet and give him a reward when you let him out of the carrier. You can follow this practice up by putting your pet in the carrier and taking him for a car ride. This will help him get used to traveling in the pet carrier and to the feeling of motion. When you use the pet carrier in the car you should be sure to use the seatbelt safety straps. This will help keep your pet safer. Remember to praise your dog on these trips and reward him with treats when you release him from the pet carrier. Your pet is learning that it’s fun to travel in the pet carrier and there will be rewards when the trip is over. Everything your pet is learning will help the trip go more smoothly when you go to the airport and get on the plane.
Pets usually learn very quickly that there is nothing to be afraid of when you put them in the pet carrier and that you will be right beside them on the trip. They learn that the pet carrier means a trip and most pets like that idea. Your pet may start hopping in the carrier every chance he gets, trying to get you to take him with you!
If you are planning to travel with your pet, take the time to slowly introduce him to your airline-approved pet carrier several months before your trip. This will prevent any problems at the airport or on the plane. Most pets love to travel in their pet carrier once they have been properly prepared in advance.