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The All Important Travel Box

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When the time comes to relocate your family and pet from the UAE to... wherever in the world, your pet's travel box is the single most important thing to consider in making your pet's trip safe, comfortable and cost effective. But beware! Not all travel boxes are created equal, whether pre-manufactured plastic ones or custom-built wooden.

Whatever type of pet you have - dog, cat, bird, bunny, hamster... they must always travel in a box that conforms to the IATA standards (www.iata.org). On the most basic level (though by no means exhaustively!), your travel box should: 

  • be made of strong materials, especially for some very strong breeds of dog;
  • have adequate and safe ventilation;
  • be big enough for your pet to comfortably stand up, lie down and turn around... all with ease.

If you're getting a box custom-built and made of wood (as opposed to plywood), also beware that for countries such as USA, UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and those in the European Union, if there is even a little bit of wood used to build that box, then the entire box must be heat-treated and bear an official stamp confirming this has been done.

As for size... phew! That's a whole conversation in itself! For cats, it's fairly straightforward; in most cases a VariKennel Type A. However, it can indeed get tricky when it comes to dogs, what with their many types and sizes (both the dogs and the boxes!). Typically, the height and length of your dog will determine the size of box you should purchase; it must allow him or her to stand up without ducking his head and to lie down and stretch to his full body length without being cramped. Take a look here for LOTS more detail:  http://www.dkc.ae/what-we-do/global-relocations-travel-boxes.php. And be aware that getting the wrong travel box can have financial implications in the form of inflated airfreight charges (too big a box) or rejected shipments (too small a box or not built well enough).

Finally, instead of introducing your pet to his or her travel box only at the time of travel, let her get used to it for several weeks prior to the journey (even longer wouldn’t hurt). Let her explore it and test it out without ever being forced. Try putting her favorite blanket or toy inside and even the occasional treat. Slowly, in almost all cases, she'll become very used to being inside the box - even comfortable enough to sleep inside it, even if you shut the door for short periods of time. Eventually, perhaps even quickly, you’ll be able to put her inside whenever needed and without undue anxiety for either of you.

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