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.

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Saving Frankie

On the 15th of September this year a dog in extremely poor health wandered in to a yard in Geraldton, WA. The unnamed dog had no identification and was severely malnourished, neglected and injured. The stray dog had a gentle and loving nature, despite her obvious distress, and help was sought out to identify the dog on Facebook.


The dog was too ill to be impounded and required immediate medical attention and nutritional care. The dog remained in veterinary care with Chapman Animal Hospital during her impoundment time but unfortunately nobody came to collect her, so the team at Geraldton Dog Rescue stepped in to try to rehome her.

Geraldton Dog Rescue took the dog to Sanford Veterinary Clinic to complete a health assessment and it was discovered that “Francesca” or Frankie for short, (as named by the attending vet), had a grade five heart murmur. As there was no option for adoption for dogs with significant medical issues, Frankie was placed in palliative care. Despite knowing that Frankie’s time was limited, her capacity to love and be loved was not.

The team at Sandford’s reviewed and discussed Frankie’s case over and over to try to identify every possible diagnosis or cause and build a medical history to send to Murdoch University.

Frankie was reviewed by the team at The Small Animal Hospital at Murdoch University where they discovered something odd. Seeking confirmation of their unusual findings the Murdoch University team contacted the University of Sydney who provided preliminary confirmation that Frankie had an extremely rare heart condition known as Cor Triatriatum Dexter (a condition resulting in extra atrial chambers in the heart).

If Frankie could make it to Sydney by early November, corrective surgery could be performed. With no way to feasibly afford to get Frankie from one side of the country to the other in the required time, Frankie’s carers contacted Tarsha Andrews at Pet Rescue to see if there was anything that could be done to help save poor Frankie’s life.Tarsha then reached out to Pet Rescue’s animal transport partner, Jetpets, to arrange for Frankie’s return trip from Sydney, as she was booked on to Virgin as passenger cargo for her trip to Sydney.

Frankie is now home with her new family and is loving life with a new furry best friend to play with as well as a loving and supporting home to live in.

Frankie’s story is one of triumph over adversity and an example of what can happen when individuals and organisations work together to make a difference for one animal, whom will now go on to make a difference in the lives of everyone she meets.
Frankie’s new family wishes to thank each, and every person and organisation involved in saving Frankie’s life. We couldn’t be prouder to have been involved and we wish Frankie the very best as she continues to brighten the lives of those around her.

Our Rescue Partnership With Virgin Australia Cargo

In August, Virgin Australia Cargo announced a new partnership with Jetpets to unite rescue pets with new, loving homes across Australia.

For the first time, Jetpets and Virgin Australia Cargo come together to fly pets in need of care across Australia, breaking down distance and travel barriers. Jetpets has had long serving relationships with the animal welfare organisations that are the current beneficiaries of the free travel allocations.

Under this partnership, the first flight took place in August, when Pet Rescue united Lallee the Rough Collie (a Lassie Dog) with her new owners in Sydney where she can look forward to being a very much loved and permanent member of the family. Thanks to this new partnership and the kindness of adopter and foster families around Australia, the future for Lallee, and other rescue dogs like her, is bright.

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Since announcing this partnership we have been overwhelmed with positive messages of support. Pet lovers of Australia are certainly very passionate, as are we. Whilst we are not in the position to provide free travel to every rescue pet we do offer discounted services to all rescue organisations. You can call a Pet Travel Consultant to find out more, Australia Wide: 1300 668 309.

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We Love Rescue Pets!

Dave and SaharaAre you, or someone you know, thinking about bringing a new pet into the family? We get it, falling in love with a pet is easy (trust us, we fall in love every day!) However, adding a furry friend to your family is an incredibly important decision, and should never be taken lightly. Dogs, cats and small animals are of course living beings that require a considerable amount of time, money and commitment — over 15 years worth in many cases.

However, if you have made the important (and well considered) decision to welcome a new furry family member, get ready for a wonderful experience!

When selecting a pet, there are a number of different options available, but we believe adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organisation should always be the first port of call. Not only will you be giving a beautiful animal a second chance at a happy life, but the shelter or rescue organisation will also have a number of different breeds available, (including pure-breds in many cases,) as well as pets at all different stages of life, not just kittens and puppies. This means that the shelter or rescue organisation will be able to work with you to select the perfect pet to suit your family and lifestyle.

BScreen Shot 2015-01-15 at 9.15.22 pmut why are we so passionate about adopting a rescue animal? It’s always been a cause close to our hearts, but became all the more important when we met our Animal Ambassador, Sahara.

Sahara is an amazing little Koolie Kelpie Cross that was saved from death row by Victorian Dog Rescue. She was found abandoned and mistreated, wandering around the bush in Mildura in country Victoria. Without a home to go to, she was taken to the pound. The day before she was due to be put down, she was rescued and has since lived with Jetpets Pet Handler, Dave Higgins just outside of Melbourne.

As soon as we met Sahara, we fell in love and knew we had to join with her and Dave in raising awareness for rescue animals. In December 2012, Sahara travelled around Australia doing just that, on her ‘Tour de Woof’ which you can view here.

Jetpets currently have strong partnerships with organisations such as Pet Rescue and Australian Working Dog Rescue and happily help facilitate the transport of these amazing animals to their ‘fur-ever’ homes wherever we can.