How to introduce a Travel Cage to your pet
A Travel Cage for your travelling pet – Part 1.
You may think putting your pet into a Travel Cage may be straightforward and have no effect on your pet however have you ever taken the time to think about how you would feel if you were immediately placed into a small, somewhat cramped box with no conception of what is happening? Emotions I would imagine some of us to go through would be extreme stress and frightfulness. These same feelings and emotions you would feel would also be felt by our pets so it is important to take into consideration some small tips that could help better improve the transition and emotions of your pet inside a Travel Carrier.
How to choose the right travel cage – and size
Firstly, ensure you have the correct size carrier for your pet. IATA regulation states that your animal inside should have a minimum of 10cm of space from all angles of when the pet is standing/lying inside. Also, take into consideration that if your pet is relaxed, they should be able to stretch out those long legs of theirs without any obstruction. To get the correct dimensions, you should take the pets Length x Width x Height.
Click here to read more about how to measure the right size cage for your dog.
Click here to read more about how to measure the right size cage for your cat.
When first purchasing a crate, think about the future and what it holds. An advantage of buying an IATA regulation-met Travel Carrier means that you have a Travel Carrier for your pet to travel up and down to the vet or other, as well as the Travel Carrier needed to proceed with a relocation, should that arise later on down the road. Placing a small, thin cushion or towel is a great way to ensure your pet inside is comfortable however keep in mind that a thick towel or cushion will add to the height of the animal, bringing it past the minimum required 10cm of space above.
Introducing the travel cage
Allow the animal to get used to the Travel Carrier in his or her own time. Dogs generally will show more curiosity than cats, however, leaving the carrier with the door open in the living room allows the pet to observe the carrier as they please. When the pet gets used to the sight of the carrier, they will become a little more relaxed with it in its environment as well as acceptant, slowly walking around and going in and out.
Putting objects such as toys in the travel cage may seem like a good idea but keep in mind it could pose a risk or a choking hazard. It is highly advisable not to put in these toys and other things such as bones during long haul journeys as we won’t always have our eyes on the carriers. Especially when animals are travelling to different countries via airplane. Consider removing the pet’s collar to keep it feeling relaxed and free, along with completely ruling out any possibility of a strangling hazard.
Keep a positive attitude and energy when putting animals into their travel cages. Animals will pick up on the energy of the person putting them into their carrier so be confident and speak positively. If you shut the door and stare through the carrier, putting on a sad voice as if you felt sorry for him or her, it would just make the animal more anxious and nervous. For first time travelling animals, try shutting the door for 5 minutes, walking away and keep focused on yourself. Once 5 minutes pass, come back and open the door, remaining positive and with good energy. Praise your animal for doing well and repeat these steps throughout the day to slowly get your animal use to its new surroundings.
For those with anxious dogs, exercise the dog beforehand and have him burn off energy, so when he is placed inside the carrier he can relax and may have more of an initiative to relax and be calm. Make sure though that you have access to water for the pet, if he has been playing beforehand. It is essential for ALL animals inside cages to have access to water when needed. The picture below is an example of an attachment that can be used to provide water. A tip would be to fill it up with water a few hours before your expected departure time and freeze it. Once placed inside, the ice will slowly defrost allowing access to water for your pet.