Safe handling and transportation
The first rule to keep in mind when handling any kind of animal is that the least restraint is often the best restraint.
Preplanning will help to reduce stress and anxiety – related health problems. Human beings have been transporting animals for centuries and in the beginning, before the industrial revolution and the advent of mechanical travel, it was animals that were used to transport other animals.
Herding methods such as the European Transhumance, with horseback riders moving herds of horses and cattle across the Pyrenees, transported most animals. But also, via droving-moving herds of sheep from the highlands to the lowlands of Scotland or the herds of Reindeer transported across the Steppes by Mongolian ponies.
Horses and ponies, donkeys and mules have always been the most commonly used animal for transportation. In ancient times carts or carriages would transport caged animals, to market, circuses, in travelling zoos etc. In these modern times, transportation of animals has become commonplace and there are many different methods and vehicles, or equipment used these days.
Whatever the reason for transporting a living creature, the welfare and safety of the animals in your care are of paramount importance. For this reason, there are many legal obligations and guidelines to help.
Rules & Regulations of Importation & Quarantine of Companion Pets
DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) is a government department which legislates the rules and regulations relating to the responsibility of taking care of the natural environment. The department is also responsible for policies relating to food production, wildlife, animal welfare, agriculture and fisheries.
There are legal obligations described in the Welfare of Animals Order (1994).
We use classical conditioning to help dogs “get used to” something. Classical conditioning uses desensitisation and counter conditioning.
It helps dogs get used to something by changing their emotional response to the stimulus. If a dog already has a fear of going in a vehicle or is known to become unwell on journeys, it is vital to carry out desensitisation and counter conditioning before travelling with them.
A dog that is fearful of being in a vehicle and vocalises, salivates, trembles etc should have a training plan prepared. Great care must be taken if dogs are to be transported in hot weather; dogs (and most other mammals) have an inability to sweat and therefore relies on evaporating water from a panting tongue to cool them down.
Dogs are very susceptible to overheating and dehydrating and must never be left alone in the vehicle. Air conditioning and ventilation are essential.
The RSPCA receives about 6,000 calls a year concerning dogs left in cars in hot weather. Even on cooler days, the temperature can quickly rise over 40 degrees in a very short period of time and it is therefore importante to never leave an animal of any kind in a vehicle, even if the windows are open.
The Animal Welfare Act of 2006 states it is an offence to cause an animal to suffer whether by an action or failure to act. Police and authorised council officers have the powers to break into a vehicle in which an animal is suffering. A close watch over the dog being transported should be kept in order to recognise signs of stress.