Introducing New Home to my anxious pet
Traveling with a pet can be daunting, especially the first time you both leave home. Whether you are driving or flying, travel can be either stressful or it can be fun and exciting. Wouldn’t it be nice if your pet understood what was going on and did not shadow you looking unsure and anxious as soon as you pull out your suitcase?
Preparing your cat or dog for traveling is one of the most important things you can do to help them get through it. As for you, your worries about their welfare should subside a bit knowing that you have properly prepared them for the experience.
Getting good equipment like pet carriers for smaller pets and pet crates for larger pets to keep them safe is so important. Safety comes first and a carrier or crate that falls apart means your pet can escape which is never good.
The focus here will be how to mentally prepare your pet for traveling, whether by car or air. This preparation is crucial to lessen the stress that your pet may feel on travel day.
There are two major reasons why your dog or cat may be anxious when traveling. First, you are removing them from their known environment in which they have explored and feel comfortable. Second, and especially when flying, they will be separated from you during this time and cannot draw support from your presence. There are ways that you can address both of these fears before hitting the road, but it will take some time.
INTRODUCING THE NEW HOME
Once you have received your carrier or crate, put it in a place where it is easily accessible and as close to where you and your pet spend your day as possible. Take time to introduce the crate or carrier. Keep all access available; zippers open and flaps up and only use the bottom half of the crate.
Put a pet pad, favourite toys and a treat or two inside the crate. Also, include a “used” t-shirt or towel of yours so that your pet will smell your scent when in the carrier or crate. Personalize the crate or carrier to them and make it their second home – their safe place.
Spend time each day encouraging your pet to venture inside the carrier or crate. Feed them there if room permits. Encourage them to sleep in their carrier or crate by putting their bedding in it if room allows. Remember that conditioning your dog or cat for traveling involves rewarding them for good behaviour, so treats and attention at every step of the way are crucial for success.
Don’t get discouraged if your pet is slow to take to its new home. Remember that your pet learns also from your body language. Stay upbeat and try various methods to encourage them to stay inside the crate.
When some level of comfort is achieved, then put the top half of the crate and the door on, but leave the door open. Note if their willingness changes. More time and attention may be needed at this point.
Traveling itself can be fun, but it becomes even more enjoyable when you have such wonderful travel companions as pets you own. Once you decide to take them on a trip with you, you start realizing the problems you might face. You want to make sure that nothing goes wrong during your vacation, as your greatest focus should be is to relax and not worry about anything and prepare for everything.