It's one of our most frequently asked questions; "How can I prepare my dog/cat for the journey?". Normally, a relocation for a rescue from Thailand will be the longest journey of their lives, and ensuring your pet is as stress-free as possible for the journey means he will arrive happy, healthy, and ready to decompress in a comfy bed after the journey.
We have flown with hundreds of dogs and cats from Thailand to destinations all over the globe, and have picked up a few pro-tips along the way that we know will help you and your pet with the long journey ahead.
1. Get them used to the crate.
- For at least 1 week pre-departure, ensure your dog has every meal (and lots of treat!) inside his crate.
- Give him filled marrow bones as a relaxing treat while in the crate.
- For the first few days, leave the crate door open while your dog is inside. Then gradually build up the amount of time your dog is inside the crate with the door locked. 15-minute increases for every feed is ideal, but monitor your pup and ensure you take him out if he becomes distressed.
2. Teach them how to drink
- One of the hardest things for dogs and cats to do during the flight is to use the airline water bottles that are attached to the crate for the journey. It’s really important that your dog stays hydrated while en-route.
- Introduce the water bottle, empty, to your dog when he is calm and you have his full attention, and smear a small amount of xylitol-free peanut butter or liquid cheese on the nozzle of the bottle. Repeat this regularly throughout the day so your dog knows that to get the treat, he must lick the nozzle.
- When you feel your dog is comfortable with doing this, fill the water bottle with something delicious, such as chicken stock or similar, and present it to your dog to lick. Hopefully, when he realises that each lick equals yummy chicken water, he will be able to finish the water bottle in no time!
- When he is confident doing this, replace the chicken stock with plain water as you can be confident that he will now drink from the water bottle.
3. Add stinky shirts
- It sounds weird, but it works to reduce your pet's anxiety. You are his home and his comfort, so if he feels close to you during the journey, he is likely to feel a lot less stressed.
- Avoid adding toys that can be chewed apart or choked on - your dog will be secured in his crate so we don’t want him to choke on anything, or eat something he shouldn’t due to stress.
- For cats, adding a small cardboard box for your cat to sit in, and lining this with your dirty shirts, seems to work wonders for most cats to reduce anxiety during travel.