Crating Pets for Travel: Five Easy Tips
Crating pets for travel is inevitable. Crate training your dog or puppy is vital if you ever plan to travel. Dog owners who aren’t familiar with its benefits may think that training your dog to use a crate or a pen is unkind to them, but nothing can be further from the truth. Wild dogs naturally seek out small enclosed dens for their homes. Providing a properly-equipped dog pen and teaching your dog how to use it is like giving them a home all their own. It’s quite similar to building your dog a doghouse, but indoors.
Crate training is commonly used to housebreak dogs. A dog will never foul its own den if it can help it. But there are many other benefits as well. Once a dog is crate-trained, they can remain locked inside their pen for a few hours while you go to the store, and with time you can extend this to a whole weekend. Taking your dog to the vet becomes a breeze rather than a nightmare. Just help them into their crate and take them along.
Dogs who have their own space that they can see out of have a much lower chance of separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a common mental ailment for dogs who don’t have their own independent space. This leads to a dog that is frightened easily and will always want to be around you.
Traveling with your dog throws a few curve-balls into travel. Crating pets for travel takes some getting used to emotionally and approaching it smartly. Much like you would feel uncomfortable leaving your house without your keys and wallet, a crate-trained dog will feel a lot of anxiety being away from their space for a long period.
Here are some tips to make your dog happier when going on a long trip:
Tip 1: Size your carrier appropriately
Whatever pen or dog crate you have, it must be large enough so your pet can turn around comfortably and they need to be able to see out of it. The size of your dog will determine the crate size. Some pet stores will rent progressively larger crates for puppies until they reach full size, and you can ask for travel-appropriate crates. For large breeds, you’ll want to invest in rather than a crate. If you don’t have the strength to carry your dog plus the crate, then you’ll never be able to take your dog traveling. Dog pens are collapsible and most dogs aren’t going to feel separation anxiety traveling in a car with your family.
Tip 2: Air travel
Thousands of dogs fly safely every day. During the flight, your dog won’t have access to food, water, and won’t want to use the restroom. If hopping on an airline with your pet, try and take non-stop flights. If traveling long distance and have a flight change, make sure you have the option to get off the plane long enough for your pet to take a potty break and a quick walk. Check out our Pet Relief areas for all the airports. Keep plenty of comfort toys in the crate. Be wary of flying with older dogs, who may need water sooner than you think.
Tip 3: Get a checkup before you go
Have a vet check your pet about a week and a half before your trip for any hidden medical issues. This gives your vet enough time to run any tests that might be necessary. It also gives you enough time to change plans or get used to a medication schedule before the trip. You don’t want your pet getting sick during your trip!
Tip 4: Contact your carrier to see what accommodations and rules they have
Certain types of travel such as on ships and trains have special rooms for animals. Your pet may even be able to get a little pampering on a long trip if you choose the right carrier. Conversely, some carriers only allow crates of a certain size, or certain crate types. Please refer to our Pet Policies on the Vacation Pet Friendly’s Airline Information page. You don’t want to be caught with a nasty surprise at check-in!
Tip 5: Crate train your dog before you travel
Just before you go on a trip is not the time to begin trying to crate train your dog. Crate training can take several weeks depending on the breed of dog and the training methods. Make your dog thoroughly happy with their crate before attempting travel. Upsetting your dog’s environment during training will cause great anxiety for them.
Preparing your dog for travel does require some preparation, but once your dog is crate-trained most of the battle is over. If you follow the tips you’ve just read, you’ll be well on your way to having plenty of trips with your furry friend no matter which method you choose. A trained dog is a happy dog!