Traveling can be stressful for everyone and this includes your pets.
Unfortunately, it is often a necessity and this can mean putting your beloved pet into a carrier for the journey.
Whether you’re taking a long plane ride or taking a short car ride to the vet’s office, being enclosed in a carrier can make your pet unhappy and stressed.
That’s why it is important to know how to calm your pet when they’re in a carrier.
We always want our pets to be as happy and unstressed as possible so keeping them calm when they’re in a carrier is important.
In this article, we have several hints and tips to help you keep your pet calm when it’s in a carrier. Whether you are traveling with a cat or a dog, we have some tips to help you.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents:
- Before You Travel
- During Your Travel
- Final Thoughts
Before You Travel
Many of the steps you can take to keep your pet calm in a carrier start before your travel begins. Let’s take a look at some of these.
Train Your Pet
One of the quickest ways to ensure that your pet becomes stressed in a carrier is to put your pet into the carrier without first exposing them to it.
Carriers can be stressful for even the calmest pets due to how enclosed they are and the motion of being carried.
This is why it’s best to take the time before the carrier is needed to expose your pet to it.
You can begin by leaving the carrier somewhere in the home that the pet associates with positive thoughts. For example, place it somewhere near their food dish or bed.
Let the pet investigate it as much as they want to without the need for them to get inside.
Once they’re used to the carrier, you can start encouraging them to go inside by offering treats. You don’t need to shut the door at first. Simply let them come in and out as they please.
The more comfortable your pet is with the carrier before the traveling starts, the more comfortable they will be as you travel.
Make Sure You Have Plenty Of Time
If you’re traveling with a pet, make sure that you give yourself plenty of time to get ready and make your journey.
Don’t rush your pet into the carrier and don’t handle it roughly because you’re short on time and are having to rush.
Try to stay relaxed and give your pet enough time to become comfortable in the carrier before you have to move it.
During Your Travel
Unfortunately, no amount of preparation can ensure that your pet will remain calm while it is in a carrier.
That’s why we’ve also included some hints and tips for while your pet is in the carrier itself.
Make Sure You Are Aware Of The Signs Of Distress
Some signs of distress are pretty obvious. If your pet is crying and shivering, then you can be sure that they are distressed and need calming.
However, when they first begin to show distress, the signs may be less obvious.
If your pet begins moving around too much or excessively yawns and licks, this can mean they need calming. The sooner you recognize their distress, the quicker you can help them.
Bring A Comfort Object
If your pet has a favorite toy or blanket, bring it with you. Having a familiar object that brings your pet comfort will help them remain calm while they are in the carrier.
The positive associations that come with the favored object will ease some of their distress and anxiety.
If possible, keep the object in the carrier with them but if it is too large you can keep it separate and hand it over when needed.
Consider Swaddling Your Pet
Many pets can benefit from being swaddled. Consider getting your pet an anxiety vest as these will make your pet feel safer.
They act in a similar manner to weighted blankets for humans. The additional weight and closeness of the clothing make pets feel comfortable and can reduce anxiety.
You can have similar effects by using tight vests or shirts. This often works better for dogs than for cats, as many cats won’t tolerate wearing any clothing at all!
Remain Calm Yourself
Pets can often pick up the vibes and feelings of their owners, so if you are feeling stressed during the journey, your pet will begin to feel stressed as well.
If you’re traveling to the vet with your beloved pet and are worried about what the vet may find, try to remain as calm and relaxed as you can.
If you’re a poor flier and are becoming nervous about your flight, your pet may recognize this as well.
Try to speak to your pet while they’re in the carrier with an even and happy tone. Even if you’re nervous and stressed in your own right, don’t let this show.
Give Your Pet Treats
You can help keep your pet distracted and entertained during the journey by offering them treats.
Long-lasting treats are especially good for this so, for example, consider giving your dog a bone or other treat that will take them to gnaw at.
If there is enough room in the carrier once your pet is inside, you can give them enrichment toys as well.
Change What the Pet Can See
Some pets will prefer to have a view of where they are going as they’re in the carrier.
If possible, position the carrier so that the pet can see out of a window and watch the scenery pass by.
Open a window and allow a fresh breeze and interesting scents to enter your car.
However, other pets will not enjoy the breeze or watching the scenery pass by.
If your pet appears to be getting distressed then you should put a blanket over the carrier so that they can’t see out.
This can calm many pets but just ensure that the blanket does not block the airflow.
If you’re driving, consider taking frequent breaks. Pets can suffer from motion sickness in the same way that humans can and this can be a great source of distress to pets.
Although it will make your journey take longer, taking breaks and slowing down can be of great benefit to stressed pets.
See Your Vet
If none of these tips help, then speak with your vet.
There are some calming products and supplements that can help prevent your pet from getting stressed and your vet will have the best knowledge of which supplements are best for your pet.
Some pets will benefit from certain scents that mimic natural pheromones, for example.
In this article, we listed several hints and tips that will help you calm your pet when it’s in a carrier.
Some of the tips begin before the journey does, but many of them will help your pet if they become distressed during the journey.
We hope that following these hints and tips will help keep your pet calm and ensure they have a pleasant experience in their carrier.