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Do Dogs Get Jet Lag?
Whether you’re taking your dog on a cross-country road trip or flying them to meet family for the holidays, it’s important to be prepared for how travel can affect their health – including the possibility of jet lag.
But what is pet jet lag? Can dogs and cats even get it?
Here’s everything you need to know about pet jet lag and how to help your furry friend adjust to a new time zone:
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Do dogs get jet lag?
Yes, dogs do get jet lag after a long-haul flight. Flying is not always easy for pets due to unfamiliar surroundings, and this can cause them to feel off during the flight. Symptoms of jet lag in dogs include being overly sleepy, waking up at odd hours, becoming disoriented, being lethargic and showing signs of separation anxiety.
Jet lag in dogs is caused by changes in the circadian rhythm, which is the regular wake and sleep pattern that follows a 24-hour cycle. To minimize jet lag effects, you should gradually adjust your pet’s routine to the new time zone before the flight, and encourage his comfort in his new spot by adding familiar items from home.
Do animals get jetlag?
Yes, animals do get jet lag. Jet lag is a modern-day disorder that temporarily affects a person or animal’s sleep-wake cycle, and it occurs after long flights where a person or animal crosses different time zones. Animals such as cats and dogs tend to shake off the effects of jet lag faster while hens and monkeys may take longer to recover due to their circadian rhythm being more similar to humans. It results in jet lag-like symptoms and both owner and the pet lose sleep.
What are the symptoms of pet jet lag?
The symptoms of pet jet lag can include
- fatigue or lethargy,
- disorientation, reduced energy and concentration,
- an inability to sleep or excessive sleepiness,
- separation anxiety,
- waking up at odd hours expecting to have a meal,
- an upset stomach,
In cats, symptoms may also include strongly reduced appetite and disorientation. When jet lag symptoms last for more than 48 to 72 hours, it is best to take your pet to the vet in case something else may be at play.
How does travel affect dogs?
Traveling can be a stressful experience for dogs, especially when the journey involves a long-haul flight or a significant time difference. Changes in air pressure, cabin temperature, loud noises, bright lights, and restricted movement can all cause a pet to feel disoriented and anxious.
To minimize the effects of jet lag, pet owners could providing extra comfort items such as familiar toys and blankets can help dogs feel more relaxed during travel.
Ultimately, though, it’s important for pet owners to understand that travel can be a stressful and disorienting experience for their four-legged companions, and make sure to take steps to ensure their pet’s safety and comfort. Even driving long distances may cause jat leg in humans and also for pups.
How to avoid jet lag in your dog?
Step 1: Understand pet jet lag
Pet jet lag is a phenomenon that occurs when pets are transported across time zones, just like humans do. It is caused by a disruption in their normal circadian rhythm, which is the natural cycle of day and night that influences their sleeping and feeding patterns. Symptoms of pet jet lag may include restlessness, lethargy, disorientation, and difficulty sleeping.
To prevent pet jet lag, it’s important to begin adjusting your pet’s routine to the new time zone before the flight. Start by
- shifting their feeding and sleeping times a few days before the flight, by about half an hour earlier or later each day. This will help them adjust to the new time zone more gradually.
- provide plenty of water to keep your pet hydrated and exercise them before the flight and at the destination.
- letting your pet spend some time in the sun can also help reduce the symptoms of jet lag.
Step 2: Pick a suitable travel insurance policy
Traveling across time zones can be disorienting for humans and animals alike, and dogs may experience jet lag just like their owners! To ensure that your pup is kept safe and happy during the journey, it is important to have travel insurance for dogs when flying across time zones.
Travel insurance can provide
- protection for unexpected medical costs
- help cover expenses if unforeseen events cause your trip to be cancelled.
- provide reimbursement for veterinary fees if your pet is injured while traveling.
Step 3: Plan diet
Avoid giving your dog a taste of the local cuisine to avoid an upset stomach. Instead, pack some of your dog’s food from home so they can have the familiar tastes and help with their adjustment.
- Ensure your dog has plenty of fresh water. This will help with tight muscles, fatigue, constipation, and build up their energy levels.
- Give dinner before boarding an overnight flight, or as soon as possible during the day. Avoid overdoing the liquid intake.
Step 4: Preparing for the return to totally zonked
Preparing your dog for jet lag when returning from a trip can seem daunting, but if you follow a few simple steps, you and your pup can beat jet lag and get back to the business of enjoying your home.
- Get moving. Exercise is key to helping your pup’s circadian rhythms adjust. Take them on a walk, a jog, or even a swim.
- Soak in some vitamin D. Take your pup out for regular doses of sunshine, both in the morning and in the evening.
- Take naps. If your pup is showing signs of fatigue, try to have a 30 minute power nap. This will help them rest and reset.
- Try to keep them awake. Much like humans, dogs will benefit from forcing themselves onto their new country’s schedule. Try not to disturb them too much, as they need their rest, but try to keep them awake a little bit longer.
- Avoid and resist. Avoid overstimulation and resist the urge to give in to fatigue. Stick to a regular schedule and plan activities that will help keep both of you on track.
- Try a weighted blanket. Weighted blankets have been shown to help dogs and cats relieve their stress and anxiety as it mimics the feeling of being hugged and calm them.
By following these simple steps, you can help your pup beat jet lag and get back to enjoying your home.
Step 5: Explore the environment
Exploring the environment can help avoid jet lag in a dog by familiarizing them with their new surroundings and teaching them to adjust to their new environment.
For example, when traveling with a dog, it is important to let them sniff around their new environment, as this will help them become more comfortable and less anxious.
Listening to their needs can be beneficial in helping them adjust and providing them with a sense of security. Having fun and relaxing with your dog can be an important way to build trust and connection with your pet.
Step 6: Hydrate regularly
How often should you hydrate your dog to avoid jet lag?
- Make sure your dog has access to fresh water at all times. This will help to keep their energy levels up and help relax their muscles so they are less prone to fatigue and will help with constipation.
- Keep their water bowl full. Experts recommend giving your dog enough water to stay hydrated, especially when traveling.
- Set your phone and watch to the destination time as soon as you board the plane. This will help you adjust to the time change more quickly.
Do cats get jet lag?
Yes, cats can experience jet lag, just like humans and dogs do. Although cats have an easier time with time changes due to their ability to nap all day, they still have a daily rhythm for eating and sleeping that is impacted by day and night. This can lead to jet lag symptoms, such as fatigue, decreased energy, disorientation, and reduced appetite.
Cats can adjust more easily to a longer day when traveling to the west, as opposed to a shorter day. Therefore, it is important to take steps to reduce jet lag symptoms, such as shifting sleeping and eating patterns and walking periodically.
How do you know if your pet has jet lag?
How do you know if your pet has jet lag?
- Monitor your pet’s behavior closely after you arrive. Look for signs of jet lag such as fatigue, dehydration, sore muscles, and difficulty adjusting to the new environment.
- Feed your pet a small meal if they seem hungry, but avoid overfeeding as this could upset their stomach.
- Take your pet out for some exercise and expose them to the sun. This will help them adjust to the environment faster.
How stressful is flying for dogs?
Flying with a dog can be a very stressful experience, as it brings them into a new environment away from the familiarity of their home. Elderly dogs, as well as those with health or behavioral issues, can find it especially upsetting, as they must face loud noises, bright lights, thousands of people, a dizzying array of new smells, changes in air pressure and cabin temperature.
To ensure a stress-free experience, consider your dog’s ability to participate in the activities you have planned once you arrive and whether or not they will be alone inside all day. Unless absolutely necessary, it is probably best to leave your pet at home with a trusted friend or family member.
If you do decide to fly with your pet, consult a veterinarian about food, water, exercise, and medication ahead of time. Additionally, look for non-stop flights with no transfers, and avoid traveling during holiday periods when airports are busier than normal.
After a flight, be mindful of your dog’s need for rest to help them recover from the experience. Flying can be a stressful experience for dogs, but with the right preparation, it can be more manageable.
How do long-distance travels affect pets?
Long-distance travels can have a significant effect on pets, causing them to suffer from jet lag. Jet lag occurs when the animal’s circadian rhythm is disrupted due to changes in air pressure, loud noises, bright lights and restricted movement during the flight. Pets should be exposed to light therapy, hydrated and taken for a walk to help them adjust their circadian rhythm.