Therapy dogs have worn many hats over the years, from visiting with the elderly to lying down with sick or injured patients to brighten their spirits. Recently, airports have jumped on the therapy dog bandwagon and are starting to employ calm dog breeds to help de?-stress passengers before flights.USA Today reported that Mineta San Jose International Airport in California has 13 teams of volunteer handlers and pooches that patrol terminals
a few hours each day throughout the week. The K-9 Crew visits with passengers to ease anxieties about traveling through the air. The dogs include a variety of calm dog breeds, such as Cocker Spaniels, Rottweilers, Golden Retrievers and Mini Schnauzers.Every canine on the team is certified by Therapy Dogs International, which tests potential therapy pooches on factors like obedience and willingness to be approached in noisy environments, such as airports. Handlers also go through security clearances before joining the team.Following the program's success at SJC, roughly 27 airports have brought therapy dogs into their facilities, including Miami International Airport, San Antonio International Airport and Will Rogers World Airport. Even Los Angeles International Airport launched its own Pets Unstressing Passengers program on April 15, 2013, with 31 dogs wearing red vests that indicate "Pet Me" to patrons.A fear of flying and canceled or delayed flights can raise people's stress levels, but with pooches by their sides these situations might be more manageable. Especially when you're traveling with your furry friend in tow.Keeping your dog relaxed in flight
Whether your pooch belongs to one of the calm dog breeds or not, preparing Fido for a long flight can be very challenging for owners. Pooches often experience their own levels of travel-induced stress. The airport and entire experience might be completely new to your canine and it's important to make sure they're prepared for the endeavor.According to VCA Hospitals, travel requirements for pets will vary between airlines and destinations
. What's acceptable at your departure city might be entirely different from where you arrive. If your pooch is small, they can most likely be brought on board in a carrier that fits underneath your seat. Breeds like Shih Tzu's and Yorkies are able to stay with their owners during the flight.But keeping your dog relaxed
during flights can be stressful, as you don't have a way of knowing how he'll react to the travel experience. Pet Travel Blog recommended placing the carrier in your lap
so it faces the window, blocking your dog's view of the passengers. You can also hug him tightly during the trip to console him if he starts whimpering.Prior to taking the trip, check out PetPlus
for any supplements or accessories that could make flying with your dog easier.