DOGS – MANUAL HANDLING
Good animal handling skills prevent yourself and others from being injured.
Good animal handling skills reduce stress for the animal.
1. Where possible wash hands, wear protective gloves, especially if you have been handling other animals, not to cross contaminate open wounds.
2. Area safe?
(i) Tripping Hazards
(ii) Chemical or other spillages
(iii) Other animal hazards
3. Never put your face near the pet, even if it’s your pet, this isn’t normal circumstances, and may stress the animal more.
4. Don’t move in or crowd your pet, this may distress the animal more.
5. Concentrate on the animal you are handling without being distracted by other activities
6. Always be prepared to protect yourself or move away quickly in the event an animal becomes aggressive unexpectedly.
7. Never be afraid to ask for help.
There might be a time we might have to restrain an animal.
1. The first rule to keep in mind when handling any kind of animal is that the least restraint is often the best restraint.
(i) This does not mean that you give up your control, just that you use as little restraint as necessary while maintaining control of the situation. Every animal and every situation is different so there are no hard and fast rules as to what method works best in which situation.
2. Crouch down so that you are on their level. Do not sit on the ground as you will be unable to move away or protect yourself if necessary
3. Avoid direct eye contact but maintain safe visual contact with the animal
4. Talk in soothing tones. Avoid high-pitched, excited talk
5. Try patting your leg or the ground, motioning the animal towards you
Types of restraints
1. Leash – The most common tool used to handle animals in the clinic is the leash. Placed around a dog’s neck it normally controls even the largest dog. In the event a dog refuses to cooperate with a leash – carry him. Some dogs have never seen a leash and will freeze up to the sensation around a sensitive area like the neck. Leashes can be abused; never drag or strangle an animal with a leash; if the animal starts to struggle, pulling and jerking away from you, she is probably not leash trained. Pause and let the dog calm down and try again after reassuring her. Sometimes a quick tug on the leash will encourage a fearful dog to walk. If the dog refuses to walk, apply a muzzle (if necessary) and carrying your pet.
2. Your hand – A very effective form of restraint, your hands are sensitive to the amount of pressure that is being exerted on the animal and can be quickly modified to the situation. Hands can be used to gently stroke a dog or to firmly grasp a struggling cat. Although hands can be the most versatile, they are also the most vulnerable to injury. Recognizing when they would not be effective is very important.
3. Towels – A towel or blanket is a very useful tool for cats and small dogs. A towel can be used to decrease an animal’s arousal by covering the head and body and can help protect from sharp claws.
4. Muzzels – Muzzles are used when a snappy or potentially aggressive dog must be handled. There are nylon muzzles and plastic basket available. A leash or strip of rolled gauze can be used as a temporary muzzle. Because dogs often try to remove a muzzle, it is important that the muzzle be placed securely. A weak or poorly made muzzle may lead to a false sense of security and the possibility of being bitten. Even with a securely placed muzzle, appropriate handling must be used to prevent injury from an animal who resists.
IF IN DOUBT, DON’T MOVE YOUR PET UNLESS YOU HAVE NO CHOICE, PROTECT YOURSELF AT ALTIMES, WATCH YOUR BACK AND MANUAL HANDLING, AND NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP.
SOMETIMES THE ONLY OPTION WE MIGHT HAVE IS SEEK ADVICE AND HELP FROM VET.