Activities For Dogs On A Plane

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Introduction

Travelling with your pet is a wonderful idea, but in order to get to some far away vacay destinations, you may need to take a plane. There are many pet-friendly airlines, but travelling by plane with your dog will always be a bit challenging, as there are rules and regulations that must be followed. For example, your pet will have to be able to fit in their carrier underneath your seat in order to be allowed to travel in the cabin, and will not be allowed out until you have exited the aircraft. In order to make the flight a pleasant experience for you and your pet, there are a few steps to follow. For example, do not feed your dog the morning of the flight, and take away their water a few hours before takeoff. Take your pup for a long walk to tire them out before the flight, make sure that your pet has lots of toys with them in their carrier, and maybe even an old shirt that smells like you to help them feel safe. Be prepared that the temperature in the plane can vary drastically, so you should pack a blanket or a cooling mat in your dog’s carrier, as the cabin floor can get very hot or cold. But even with all of these suggestions, pets may feel uncomfortable on their first flight. Here are several activities that you can do with your pet to keep them comfortable and occupied while you are in the air.

Human Snack Dispenser

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
15 min
Items needed
Treats
Water/Ice Cubes
Carrier
Activity description

Since you have not fed your pet the day of the flight, they will be hungry. A good way to keep them occupied while you are flying is to open the carrier a crack so that you can fit a few fingers through, and feed them a single treat or piece of kibble at a time. You don’t want to fill them up, but getting small amounts of food at a time will get your dog to relax and stay quiet, as well as feel closer to you. Using ice cubes or dipping your finger in some water and letting your dog lick it off is also a good idea. Your dog may get stressed if they are not familiar with flying, and keeping them hydrated with small amounts of water would is definitely necessary. Again, the goal is not to give them so much that they need to go to the bathroom but to keep them distracted.

Step
1
Open the carrier a crack
You are not permitted to open the carrier completely during the flight, and you don’t want to accidentally let your pet loose. Slowly and carefully open a small crack that allows you to reach your dog. If they seem stressed and are trying to escape, it is best to close the carrier until they have calmed down.
Step
2
Get treats or water
Before you get settled in on the plane you should make sure that you have easy access to your baggie of dog food. After all, you don’t want to make your dog even more nervous by causing a commotion trying to get the treats. As mentioned, a glass of water or ice cubes also works well for this activity.
Step
3
Feed the hound!
Slowly feed your dog one piece of kibble or one ice cube at a time. This helps ease their hunger a bit and also keeps them occupied during the flight. Another bonus of this activity is that it will make your dog feel safe and closer to you. Again, don’t feed them too much because you don’t want a potty accident in the plane!
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Treat Filled Toys

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Any Day
Cheap
Easy
30 min
Items needed
Treats
Rubber Toy
Activity description
This activity is similar to the one above, but instead of hand feeding your pooch, you could prepare a toy stuffed with treats before you leave. This trick is often used for dog’s who are left at home in a crate, and works great on the plane too. For dogs who are nervous and very attached to their humans, they may prefer to have you feed them, as they will have contact with you and will feel safer. However, for dogs who are a bit more experienced flyers or are braver than most, they may be content with a toy filled with treats. The perks of this option are that you will not be disturbing your pet, and they can choose to sleep if they want without you interrupting them, but can still snack if they want to. It is also a good idea in the case of larger dogs who need to travel in the cargo hold.
Step
1
Choose the toy
For this activity, you will need a toy that has room to put treats inside of it. There are several brands and designs of toys that can work. A toy made from durable rubber is best, as your dog may want to chew on it but should not be able to destroy and eat pieces of it during the flight. You will also need some of your dog’s favorite treats, or some peanut butter also works well.
Step
2
Prepare before the flight
It is best to prepare your dog’s snack toy a day or so before the flight. Put a few treats inside of the toy, and add a bit of water. If you don’t want to use treats or want to prepare a few toys, use peanut butter instead of the treats. It is a dog safe food, and most pooches love it! Next, leave the toy in the fridge for a few hours or a day, until the peanut butter or water has frozen the treats into place.
Step
3
In plane snack!
Leave the toy in your dog’s carrier, or give it to them during takeoff. Your dog should be occupied by licking the treat and trying to get the treats or peanut butter. As it melts, it will give your dog both water and food, which will keep their stomach happy while you are in the air.
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Nap Time

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Any Day
Free
Easy
60 min
Items needed
Blanket
Old Shirt
Carrier
Activity description

If all goes well on the flight, the best thing for your dog to do is sleep. It is the easiest way to pass the time, for both pet and owner. You can occasionally check on your dog by looking or sticking your hand inside the carrier, but as long as your dog is quiet and happy try to not interfere with them. To help your dog sleep, you should make sure that they get lots of exercise before the flight in order to tire them out. Placing an old shirt, shoe or their favorite toy or blanket that smells like you and your home in the crate may help your dog feel safer and can make it easier for them to sleep.

Step
1
Go for a run
This, of course, has to be done before boarding the plane. The morning of or at least a few hours before the flight you should take your dog for a jog, or a really long walk. Making them physically tired will help them stay calm and relaxed, and should help them be able to nap on the plane.
Step
2
Make a cozy bed
Before you board the plane for flight, you should make sure that your dog’s crate is comfortable for them. Take into consideration the temperatures the day of your flight, and consider packing a warm blanket in your dog’s carrier if it is cold out. If it is supposed to be hot, place a thin blanket at the bottom of the crate but try to not pack anything that would cause your dog to overheat.
Step
3
Dream above the clouds
After you are all settled in on the plane, it is time for you and your dog to sleep! The noise of the plane’s engine might also help your dog to sleep. If it is a bit chilly in the cabin, you could place a thin blanket over your dog’s carrier to make it darker and keep them from being distracted by what is going on around them.
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More Fun Ideas...

Toys Galore!

It is a good idea to pack several of your dog’s favorite toys in their crate. Keep in mind that the goal is to give your dog something to do during the flight. Tying toys to the sides of the crate, freezing them with water and peanut butter, or buying new toys and bones that your dog has never seen before should keep them happy while you are flying.

Crate Training

This activity is not done during the flight but instead something that you must do weeks before your trip! When you purchase your dog’s carrier, it is a very good idea to slowly get your dog used to being inside the crate, teaching them that it is a safe place, and not somewhere that they should not want to be.

Conclusion

Going on vacation with your dog should be a fun experience and should be the least stressful for you and your dog as possible. The best way to make the flight enjoyable is to prepare and double check everything before you leave. If you follow the tips and activities mentioned above, you should have a fun and quiet travelling day, and your pet will too! It will most likely be a stressful situation for any dog the first time, but as long as you stay calm and don’t panic, your dog will learn to enjoy travelling. Remember that your dog can sense your emotions and will feel safe and calm as long as you do.