Are Dogs Traumatized by Flying?

Are Dogs Traumatized by Flying?

There are some people who cannot imagine flying – they don’t like the heights or the fact that they are closed in a metal tube for a long time, they don’t like confined spaces, or are simply scared of the unknown, if they haven’t ever flown before. 

Once you put everything on paper like this, you can easily assume that dogs and other animals that are flying are also going to experience the same as the people do, so you might end up wondering whether they feel some level of fear of flying or not?

Dogs can be easily traumatized by flying because they are scared of unfamiliar places. Flying in the cargo compartment can be especially scary for the dogs. If it is possible, always choose that the dog travels with you in the cabin, where you can comfort him and give him treats. This way, flying will be less stressful for the dog. 

To learn how exactly dogs can be scared on flights, and what is so traumatizing for them, stick with us while we explain everything in the article that follows. 

How Stressful Is Flying for Dogs in Cabins?

Are Dogs Traumatized by Flying?

Dogs are very used to the comfort of places they know and they are familiar with, just like people. This means that they like to know their surroundings, and only if they know it, can they relax and enjoy their space. 

Flying with dogs can be a traumatic experience for them, mostly because you are changing the environment they are used to. Altitude and the change of pressure can have an impact on the dog – they are not able to understand what is going on, nor they can find the right way to level out the pressure difference they are feeling in their ears (just like humans do). 

Depending on the size of the dog, it can travel in the cargo space, or it can go with you to the passenger cabin. Traveling in the cargo space does not mean that the dog will be flying surrounded by suitcases, because that part of the aircraft is usually not pressurized, meaning that there is no normal airflow. 

Instead of that, there is a special part in the cargo area that is meant for the transport of live animals such as dogs, cats, and other pets and animals, which is pressurized and imitates the same conditions the passengers in the cabin are experiencing. 

This can be very stressful for the dogs, especially if they are flying the first time. They are pushed beyond their comfort zone, and there is no familiar face to comfort them. That is why it is not recommended to fly dogs in the cargo if they are too attached to you. 

On the other hand, the passenger cabin is less stressful for dogs, because they are surrounded by people, and they have you as a company. At least they have a face that is familiar and that will reassure them that everything is okay. 

Are Dogs Traumatized by Flying?

Are Dogs Traumatized by Flying?

As you can see from the aforementioned facts, the dogs can be very traumatized by flying, especially if it is in their nature to get scared easily. If your dog is big in size and not allowed in the passenger cabin, most likely it will have to travel in the cargo.

Traveling in the cargo, with no human touch, and the owner away can be very traumatic for the dogs, especially if the environment is new and that is the first time you are being separated from your dog. 

The dogs may feel like you have abandoned them, and this can leave consequences on them. Even though they will be reunited with you after the flight is finished, they don’t know that, and there is no way to reassure them that they will be fine. 

If they are flying with you in the cabin, you have more room to handle the situation more effectively and less pain for the dog. The issue here is that some airlines require the dog to travel in the animal transporter. 

If you have a dog that cannot stay still in the transporter, you will most likely have issues on the flight, especially if the flight is long. This will create another form of a stressful situation for the dog, that will not be easily managed afterward, even though you are constantly with the dog.

On the other hand, if they don’t mind traveling in the transporter, they will most likely have no issues flying – they will be with a person they know the whole time. The only issue they might experience is the discomfort of the change in air pressure. 

Do Dogs Get Scared on Flights?

Dogs can easily get scared on flights. There are so many factors that scare them – one of them is the fact that everything is new and unfamiliar to them. As already explained, dogs like when they know where they are and when they are familiar with the space. 

The noise of the engines can also scare the dogs, because it is something new they haven’t heard before, and it can be really upsetting to them, especially when they realize that the noise is not going off during the flight. 

Being closed in the transporter can also scare the dog, so make sure to open it whenever you can, and if you have a chance, even remove the dog from the transporter. If you are seated next to the people that absolutely love animals, they will most likely have nothing against you holding the dog – they might even play with him!

As already said, the biggest issue happens when the dogs are traveling in the cargo. In that situation the dogs are unavoidably going to feel some level of fear, so make sure to comfort them once you land, and give them their favorite treats. 

To help the dog overcome the fear, make sure to bring his favorite toy, and his favorite treats you will give him every now and then – to remind him that he behaved so great during the flight. This way the dogs will connect the flying to something pleasant and will manage their fear over time.

Gui Hadlich

Hey there, I'm Gui! These are my 2 good pals Ozzy and Luna. I've gone through the headache of figuring out what to do when either traveling with them or leaving them behind, and I know it can be a pain. I created Pets Travel Guide to make your life a bit easier when you love your pet but also love to travel!

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