Pet Behaviour Tips for Travelling Pets from Animal Behaviourist, Dr Jo Righetti

Dr Jo Righetti and her pup Chilli relaxing in the park

Interpreting our beloved pet’s behaviour can sometimes be a puzzling challenge for the untrained and until our dogs are able to talk to us, (fingers crossed for soon), it’s best to rely on advice from professionals. Dr Jo Righetti is one of Australia’s leading pet behaviourists and has been providing pet lovers with insightful professional advice on their pets for over 20 years.

With Dr Jo Righetti joining us as a sponsor for the Jetpets Companion Animal Rescue Awards 2018 we thought it would be a great opportunity to ask Dr Jo Righetti if she had any tips or advice for those wanting to travel with their beloved pets.

  1. Relaxing your pet

Many pet owners report that when they are experiencing stress, often their pet will pick up on it and alter their behaviour. To ensure that your pet doesn’t take on your stress try to eliminate situations that cause you stress when at home with your pet.

Dr Righetti:

“Pets may pick up on your stress, so try to remain as calm as you can when travelling or preparing to travel. Make written lists and tick them off as you complete them. Double check your pet’s travel arrangements in the lead up to the day of departure. Check their ID. If you are confident in your pet’s arrangements, then you can relax and begin to enjoy your travel.”

  1. Avoid sedation

You might think sedating your pet during transit could avoid anxiety or stress but in fact sedating your pet can lead to serious problems arising during travel. When a pet is sedated they are more likely to have breathing interference or a reaction to the medication. Sedation also results in pets not being able to drink water provided in their crate leading to dehydration risks.

Dr Righetti:

“Most pets do not require to be tranquilized during travel. If you have an anxious pet, discuss with your veterinarian ways to relax your pet without tranquilizers.”

  1. Crate train before travel

Our pets can be more susceptible to stress and anxiety when placed in an unfamiliar situation such as a travel crate. You can show your pet that there is nothing to fear by spending some time crate training your dog. Jetpets can bring your travel crate to your door in the weeks prior travel to give you the time you need to acclimatise your pet to the pet travel crate.

Dr Righetti:

“Make your pet’s crate as pleasant as possible by introducing your pet to it in a gradual, positive way. Allow your pet to enter the crate on their own, enticing them with taste treats or a favourite toy. Place their bed or a blanket in there too. Each time they go into the crate, extend the time they spend there. Begin to close the door, taking care not to frighten your pet and, again, extend the time they spend in their crate.”

 

Watch our step by step crate training video

  1. Introduce new stimulus slowly

Many of our clients use our services when they are moving interstate or internationally, often for a job or life change. Sometimes this can lead to a pet becoming uneasy in their new surroundings. Slow it down and introduce new environments or a new home to your pet gradually. This can lead to your pet becoming more comfortable in their new surroundings.

Dr Righetti:

“When pets have anxiety or stress about any aspect of life, the best way to deal with this is through desensitisation. This means gradual and controlled introductions to the frightening stimulus. If your pet is moving to an area without a garden, for instance, then get them used to new ways of exercising prior to this change. If you have to set up a new home, then you may find it beneficial to board your pet for a few days or have them stay with a friend, while you sort out your living arrangements. Then you can bring your pet into their new but more familiar area where they have their bed, blankets toys and food dishes. And, of course, the most important thing in your pet’s life is you! Stay as calm as you can. Keep your pet’s routines the same.”

  1. Saying goodbye and saying hello

Saying goodbye to our pets to go to work can sometimes be difficult but what about if it is for a few days or even weeks? The trick here is to make it part of your pet’s routine well beforehand to avoid the puppy tears.

Dr Righetti:

“Say goodbye matter-of-factly to your pet. Practice beforehand if this is hard. Put your pet in their crate, say goodbye and quickly walk away. If your pet has had this done a hundred times before, they will not react. Plus, you can give them a treat to occupy them and make it positive. When you say hello, it’s difficult not to go over the top but this can create anxiety in your pet. So, keep calm and ensure you pet is healthy on your reunion and is safe when you let them explore.”

Dr Jo is the founder of one of Australia’s most trusted dog behaviour websites petproblemsolved.com.au

Doctor Jo Righetti is the founder of the fantastic pet resource petproblemsolved.com.au. With loads of professional advice and information on pet behaviour its your number one resource for any pet problems you may need solved.

*major airports in Australia

Jetpets Transports First Full-Size Sea Turtle

Jetpets assists in Olive Ridley Sea Turtle rehabilitation program
Jetpets assists in Olive Ridley Sea Turtle rehabilitation program

Jetpets are no stranger to servicing unique animal transportation needs and when we were recently contacted by Sydney’s Sea Life aquarium we were excited to learn that we would be transporting a female Sea Turtle named, “Extra Virgin”.

You might be wondering, “Why such a strange name for a turtle?”, so please allow me to explain.

“Extra Virgin” is a member of the Olive Ridley species of marine turtles. The species are known by their olive-green hue…hence the comedic nickname.

According to the World Wildlife Federation’s (WWF) website the Olive Ridley turtle’s status is considered “vulnerable”. This is due to several reasons including how fragile their breeding cycle is, with hatchling turtles returning to the same place they were born to lay their own eggs once the reach maturity. As these hatchling locations are so specific and infrequent, any damage or change to their environment could adversely affect the entire species. The turtles are also impacted by plastic rubbish, commercial fishing practices, poaching and water pollution.

Extra Virgin will return to the ocean after she completes her rehabilitation period
Extra Virgin will return to the ocean after she completes her rehabilitation period

With such precious cargo in our care it was imperative that we pulled out all the stops to ensure that Extra Virgin reached her destination safely.

Through consultation we were able to assist in preparing Extra Virgin’s travel crate to make it more comfortable during her flight to QLD. We also liaised with the airlines to ensure that she spent no unnecessary time in crate.

Extra Virgin was being transported to undertake rehabilitation for a minor injury at her new home at Sealife on the Sunshine coast. Once she has fully recovered she will be released back into the wild to re-join the rest of her species.

Extra Virgin Is placed in to her rehabilitation tank after her journey
Extra Virgin Is placed in to her rehabilitation tank after her journey

special mention also needs to go to Jetpets’ Pet Handler Kellie, who did a fantastic job of picking up Extra Virgin and getting her safely to the rehabilitation tank to begin her recovery.

If you would like to visit Sealife on the Sunshine coast you can visit their website here to get all the details.

African Painted Dogs

There’s some new dogs in town at Tasmania Zoo in Launceston and things are going to get wild. Two brothers Dwama and Kondo and a female, Inda have arrived recently from Perth Zoo courtesy of Jetpets. African Wild Dogs or Painted Dogs as they are sometimes called are one of the world’s most critically endangered mammal species on earth.

“Our team have informed me that they travelled well, safely and have since settled into their Tassie home”, said Perth Zoo’s Danielle Henry.

For generations humans have hunted the dogs believing them to be vermin while domestic animals have passed on disease like rabies which have decimated the population in Africa. The species, once numbered close to 500,000 and spread across 40 countries, have unfortunately now dwindled to 5000. Which is why the work being done at Perth Zoo and Tasmania Zoo is so important.

The dogs are a fascinating species displaying keen hunting instincts akin to a SWAT team, being able to lay traps and ambushes for their intended prey or chase them down over vast distances. Their signature mottled coat gives them incredible camouflage amongst the shady clumps of trees and grasses while the patterns signify individuals, with no two dogs having the same pattern distribution. Their satellite like ears are able to pinpoint sounds of animals changing direction which helps the pack track their prey despite not being able to see them through the thick brush.

While the three new additions to Tasmania won’t be a part of a breeding program, by performing this interstate transport these three individuals from Perth Zoo it will free up more space and resources for new individuals to be raised while also raising awareness of this important and incredible species.

“Perth Zoo champions the cause of African Painted Dogs. Our curator set up and runs an NGO Painted Dog Conservation Inc. which aims to protects these dogs in the wild. Amongst other activities he employs locals who conduct anti-poaching patrols and snare removal from the African landscape which causes the painful deaths of many Painted Dogs” said Danielle Henry.

If you would like to see this amazing species and learn more about the conservation effort you can visit Tasmania Zoo’s website to arrange a visit or if you would like to donate to Perth Zoo’s conservation efforts you can do so by visiting their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jetpets assists in the establishment of new Cheetah Breeding Program in Sydney

Recently Jetpets had the pleasure of assisting in the relocation of two female Cheetah from South Africa to their new home at the Wild Animal Encounter Conservation Centre in Hawkesbury, north of Sydney. The Cheetah sisters, Ziva and Zane are joining a brand new conservation breeding program for Cheetah being established at Wild Animal Encounters.


With less than 7000 Cheetah remaining on earth, captive breeding programs are vitally important as insurance populations to safe guard against extinction of species such as Cheetah.

The success of the Cheetah Breeding Program in Sydney rests in the very capable hands of Wild Animal Encounter’s company Director, Ben Britton who you may recognise as the host of Australia’s Nat Geo Wild program.

Ben’s name has become synonymous with exotic wildlife education and throughout his 20-year career Ben has starred in several documentaries and television programs aimed at educating the public on animal behaviour and conservation.

“I’d like to thank Jetpets, and in particular the Sydney team for their assistance with this project. The Cheetah have arrived safe and sound, and both animals are out exploring their new environment…”, said Ben.

Wild Animal Encounters is not government funded and they rely heavily on donations and the support of the public to continue their important work promoting conservation both in Sydney and in Botswana, where they have been working for over 10 years to conserve wild cat populations. Private tours of their Conservation Centre in Sydney offer the unique opportunity to meet these amazing creatures while supporting the important work Wild Animal Encounters does.

We wish Ziva and Zane the very best as they explore their new environment and we will endeavour to check in with them in the future to bring you any updates.

For a limited time, you can meet Ziva and Zane, just visit www.wildanimalencounters.com.au for more details.

Jetpets Assists in Chimpanzee Breeding Program

On the remote western edge of Africa, in the country of Sierra Leone, lies a great belt of tropical rainforest home to some of the worlds most unique and beautiful animals, Chimpanzees. Due to significant pressure from the illegal bush meat trade, rising human populations and deforestation, these populations are under threat.

Monarto Zoo in South Australia is working directly with the Jane Goodall Institute and the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Centre to combat the threats to this amazing population. Monarto Zoo’s Chimpanzee breeding program was recently bolstered by the addition of two new females from Taronga Zoo in Sydney.

Hannah and Lani were transported by Jetpets last month to join their new brothers and sister at Monarto Zoo and they are settling in, in their own unique ways.

Hannah was initially nervous in meeting her new troop but quickly overcame her social anxiety to settle in to a mothering role.

“They are doing really well and have settled in better than we could ever imagine. Hannah is just amazing with Enzi (our 2 ½ year old male chimp). She can be seen at times carrying him around, and he really likes her a lot. Our alpha male Tsosti has taken a liking to Hanna and is supportive of her in any disputes”, said Monarto Zoo’s Team Leader Althea Guinsberg.

While the playful and social, Lani, has taken to grooming her new-found friends after sitting back and observing for a while.

“Lani is doing well; in the beginning she was not happy and that affected her appetite, but this did not take long to change and soon she was foraging with the troop. She gets on well with our one adult female Galatea and the two have some great grooming sessions. Gombe, one of our males, also loves grooming with Lani and they get on really well”, said Althea.

With Chimpanzees being classified as an endangered species with approximately 150,000 to 300,000 chimps remaining in the wild it’s never been a better time to support the conservation work being done by Monarto Zoo and their partners. If you would like to donate and assist in the important work they do, you can do so by visiting this link or if you are in South Australia stop by Monarto Zoo for the ultimate chimpanzee experience.

Emotional reunion for couple sailing the Pacific Ocean

At Jetpets we pride ourselves on being able to transport any animal to any location in the world, so when the captain of the yacht “Sailing Nandji”, Jared Laver contacted us to reunite both himself and his partner, Bonita with their beloved Whippet Marley, we jumped at the chance.

The challenge however was that Jared and his partner were currently sailing around the Solomon Islands on their yacht and Marley was travelling from Australia to meet with them.

While the decision to leave Marley behind in Australia for the first length of their voyage was unavoidable the pair were determined to be reunited with their travel buddy Marley somewhere along the way despite the challenges that this would pose but Bonita said it best when she said, “If you want to travel fast you go alone, If you want to travel far…you go together”.

Initially they had planned to arrange Marley’s travel themselves but after realising how complicated the requirements were, Marley’s veterinarian recommended they contact Jetpets to ensure that the important paperwork was completed correctly by the experts as an incorrect form could lead to a very expensive problem.

“If any of the paperwork was incorrect or if we made one mistake then Marley could be sent straight back”, said Jared Laver.

So Jetpets set to work making all the unique arrangements for importation in to the Solomon Islands as well as the specific vet work that was needed prior to travelling. Our pet travel consultant was made aware of the unique circumstances and was able to communicate with Jared and Bonita via email from their yacht in the Solomon sea, making the entire process possible.

With the pet travel arrangements all made, and triple checked we informed Jared and Bonita when Marley would arrive, and the pair excitedly made their way to the little airport to be reunited with Marley. Although they experienced flight delays the pair were successfully reunited with Marley later that day and little Marley was so happy to see them, wagging his tail so vigorously he was almost drumming inside the pet travel crate.

It’s easy to see the strength of the bond shared between these three world travellers and to be a part of their reunion is just one of the many rewarding reasons we do what we do. Please click through and watch the entire episode on their YouTube channel you won’t regret it, and make sure you have a box of tissues handy, it’s a bit of a tear jerker.

Rusty The Hitchhiking Terrier Returns Home

The cheeky hitchhiking terrier, Rusty, who hitched a 1,500-kilometre ride on a truck from his home in Goondiwindi, Queensland, to Snowtown in South Australia has captured the hearts of the nation.

Rusty The Hitchhiking Terrier Returns Home with Jetpets

Rusty’s adventure began after he decided to go looking for his family while they were away on a short holiday. Somewhere along the way Rusty decided to stowaway on a truck driven by Paul McDowell and his wife Heather Reid, and when they discovered him they decided to take him with them until they could identify and get in touch with his owners.

After his owner Laura was made aware of Rusty’s incredible journey she put out a call on social media to see if anyone could assist in getting Rusty back home. As the industry leader in pet transport we jumped at the chance to see Rusty reunited with his family and offered to transport him home free of charge.

In order to get the little guy home safely we pulled out all the stops by donating a state of the art pet travel crate complete with a stay dry fleece matt and plenty of room to stretch his legs.

With the arrangements made to get him home the story began to circulate online and soon almost every news station in the country was calling to get the scoop on Rusty, as the well wishes poured in on social media from all over the world.

Rusty’s surrogate family believe Rusty was sent to them to help them get over the grief of recently losing their family dog, who was stuck by a car on New Year Eve but were delighted that Rusty would be reunited with his family once again.

“I will miss him though, he’s been great company for our five-month old French mastiff and a distraction following the loss of our other dog in an accident just days before Rusty turned up”, said Heather.

Rusty’s journey home began with a few cuddles before he boarded his flight from Adelaide to Brisbane after which he enjoyed the comforts of a stopover at our transit lounge to stretch his legs and have a meal before his 4-hour road transport back to Goondiwindi.

“He was very relaxed and quiet the whole way in the air-conditioned van and only started barking when I drove in to the driveway, so he got a bit excited then”, said pet handler Deb Duce.

“It’s really nice to have him back, the kids have missed him and we’re very excited to have him back”, said owner Laura Scudamore.

We were also amazed to discover that this is not the first time little Rusty had gone on a solo trip away from home too. In 2016 Rusty was found in Chinchilla, more than 200 kilometres from Goondiwindi. With a children’s book in the works from his previous adventure the author will have to add a few extra chapters after Rusty’s recent adventure.

In any case if Rusty decides to get itchy feet and contract the travel bug again you can be sure we will be there to get this adventurous dog home safe and sound once again.

Watch Rusty’s Happy Reunion Now.

Rusty The Hitchhiking Terrier Returns Home with Jetpets

The Shoe Fits for Little Sprinter

 

Little Sprinter is fast becoming a hero in his home state of Hawaii after undertaking his service horse training.

You may remember back in July earlier this year, Jetpets and Pet Express had the pleasure of assisting a special little horse to fly from the windy city of Chicago to the beautiful beaches of Maui in Hawaii.

Little Sprinter’s owner Christine Higgins was so thankful for the wonderful service and care given to her new companion that she reached out to us personally to thank us for our involvement.

“My little guy arrived in wonderful condition. His eyes were bright and he was relaxed and calm. The trip couldn’t have gone any better!”, said Christine.

Pet Express’s Adrienne communicated with Christine throughout the travel process even getting him out of his custom built  travel crate and taking him for a walk during his time at our San Francisco transit lounge.

You see Sprinter wasn’t just any miniature horse, Sprinter was purchased by Christine to become a “service horse”. Christine had earlier been diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a form of arthritis that primarily affects the spine and joints causing inflammation that can lead to severe and chronic pain. In addition to this Christine was also diagnosed with Lupus, which affects the immune system, forcing the bodies immune system to mistakenly attack healthy tissue.

These two conditions, combined with other significant ailments, resulted in Christine having to reduce the physical intensity of her day to day life. Christine knew that she would need some assistance to keep mobile and a companion to keep a positive attitude through this considerable life challenge.

Little Sprinter began his service horse training immediately with the aim being that he could provide support to Christine when she travelled to the shops, attended doctors’ appointments and extra stability around the home. Jetpets have kept in close contact with Christine and recently Christine expressed a concern that Little Sprinter was having trouble keeping his balance on the hard wood floors inside her home and asked if it was possible for us to assist.

Jetpets committed to help Christine and Little Sprinter by sponsoring special rubber shoes for Sprinter to wear which would allow him extra grip while indoors and provide better stability to Christine.

Sprinter with his Jetpets sponsored, rubber shoes which enable him to assist Christine indoors.

While Sprinter will no doubt improve the quality of life for Christine’s whole family, Christine wishes to share Sprinters inspirational story with others.

“He loads up in the back of my SUV with a ramp. It is my goal to visit nursing homes and hospitals with Sprinter as a therapy horse. I know he will provide so much joy and so many smiles to people struggling like I am”, said Christine.

While Sprinter has his work cut out for him assisting Christine and her family and his local community, it’s not all work for the miniature horse. Sprinter gets plenty of time to play in the small paddock next to Christine’s house. His playful personality coming through when playing with his favourite toy, a red yoga ball, which he pushes around the paddock, leaning on it until he falls over only to get up and do it all over again.

It’s not all hard work for Sprinter the service horse. Here he is trying on his Halloween outfit.

“He’s quickly becoming my best friend. He’s so sweet and kind. He stays at my side”, said Christine. Although Christine mentioned he also plays up sometimes, “At this point he may be on Santa’s naughty list though!”, she jokes.

Jetpets wishes Christine, the Higgins family and Little Sprinter all the very best as they continue to battle Christine’s conditions. We know Little Sprinter will do a fantastic job of looking after her during the festive season and into the next year.

If you are interested in following Christine and Little Sprinters adventures, you can do so on his Facebook page which by the way is the most adorable animal page we have seen all year.

Jetpets assists in the relocation of Australia’s first breeding pair of Caracal cats

Recently Jetpets had the pleasure of assisting in the relocation of two Caracals from South Africa to their new home at the Wild Animal Encounter Conservation Centre in Hawkesbury, North of Sydney. The Caracals, Kato and Kaia are the only two Caracals currently on display in Australia and it’s hoped the unrelated pair will breed once they reach maturity in the next 12-18 months.

Picture : NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

The success of the first ever Caracal breeding program in Australia rests in the very capable hands of Wild Animal Encounter’s company director, Ben Britton who you may recognise as the host of Australia’s Nat Geo Wild program.

Ben’s name has become synonymous with exotic wildlife education and throughout his 20-year career Ben has starred in several documentaries and television programs aimed at educating the public on animal behaviour and conservation.

“The Caracals have arrived safe and sound here and both animals are out exploring their new environment…We had a great reaction when they heard their first kookaburra this morning”, said Ben.

Caracal’s are known for their impressive ears which have the signature tufts of dark coloured hair on the points. The ears are manipulated by twenty muscles which enable the cats to locate prey animal sounds with startling accuracy. The Caracal’s paws are also specifically designed for stealth allowing them to get closer to prey animals which gives them a much higher chance of success when hunting birds or and small prey animals.

Wild Animal Encounters is not government funded and they rely heavily on donations and the support of the public to continue their important work promoting conservation. Private tours and animal encounters offer the unique opportunity to meet these amazing creatures while supporting the important work Wild Animal Encounters does.

We wish Kato and Kaia the very best as they explore their new environment and we will endeavour to check in with them in the future to bring you any updates. If you would like to book a tour to meet Kato and Kaia you can do so at www.wildanimalencounters.com.au

Picture : NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mark and Mya On the Adventure of a Lifetime

Dynamic adventure duo Mark and Mya are undertaking the adventure of a lifetime trekking through Canada and the United States.

What’s more amazing than travelling the world with your best friend? Travelling the world with your best friend, who also happens to be your dog! That’s exactly what adventure seekers Mark and his white Shepard Mya are doing with the help of Jetpets.

Mark’s love of the outdoors grew from a strong influence from his grandfather at an early age and when Mark received Mya at the age of 8 weeks old they immediately formed an inseparable bond.

Mya quickly became right at home joining Mark on his many outdoors adventures snowboarding, skiing and mountain biking; running alongside Mark as he traversed the unique landscapes of Australia.

As many adventure seekers do, Mark began to look for his next adventure but couldn’t stand the idea of leaving his best friend behind.

“I chose to get her, I chose to make her my family so I’m responsible for her and it wouldn’t be responsible of me to leave her behind”, said Mark.

 

Mark and Mya in the ski resort town of Whistler, in the province of British Columbia, Canada

Inspired by the likes of Kelly Lund and Loki the wolf dog, Mark wanted to undertake a lengthy trip travelling through Canada and America and share the experience on social media with those who dreamed of one day doing the same.

Mark contacted Jetpets in July with the hope of arranging pet travel for Mya, which we were only too happy to assist with. Mark was delighted to receive his pet travel crate months before he was due to depart, which gave Mya plenty of time to become familiar and comfortable with the crate for her long-distance pet transport.

Mark and Mya even came to visit us here at our Melbourne head office before they left to meet with our staff and finalise some details with his pet travel consultant.

Arriving safe and sound in Vancouver in mid-November, the pair have set off on the first leg of their journey where they will spend the first 3 months traversing some of Canada’s most beautiful snow-capped landscapes.

Mark and Mya visiting with Jetpets staff at our Tullamarine head office in Melbourne

With Mya travelling alongside Mark as he skis and boards his way across the snow, Mya had to be fitted for special doggy snow shoes to ensure she didn’t sink down too far in the heavy snow. While their adventure is only in it’s early stages the dynamic duo is already capturing the imagination of adventure seekers all over the globe, with well wishes pouring in to their social media pages on a daily basis.

Mark and Mya even attracted the attention of the local newspaper with their inspiring story last week, as they continue to inform the public on the benefits of pet travel.

Jetpets would like to wish Mark and Mya the very best as they share the adventure of a lifetime and we will continue to bring you exclusive updates as they continue their amazing journey across Canada’s most picturesque country side.

If you would like to keep up with Mark and Mya’s adventures on social media you can follow their accounts on Facebook here and Instagram here