The pet transport process can directly impact the mental health of your pet. Even in the best-case care scenario, the process of traveling a great distance from one location to the next is stressful for a pet. Mental health of pets is less researched than human mental health. Pet communication is entirely nonverbal, and thus they cannot communicate their emotions and needs in the same way that people can. It is up to pet owners to apply vigilance in selecting a pet transport care company whose staff are knowledgeable about pet mental health as well as skilled in providing for pet safety and physical needs. In this article, we’ll discuss how to evaluate pet transport companies for their capabilities in caring for pet mental health needs, as well as how to accommodate for the needs of pets who have experienced trauma with lasting mental health impacts.
One Traumatic Event Makes All the Difference
Pet mental health is fragile. The mental health of a pet can be dramatically impacted by just one significant event in the pet’s life. This is why rescue pets or adopted pets require extra attentive care and specifically accommodated home environments to account for their mental health needs. If they have had a traumatic event prior to rescue or adoption, they may not be able to successfully socialize with animals or humans who have even a slight resemblance to any human or animal who was present during the event. Pet mental health of animals transported from a breeder to their forever home can also be impacted in this manner, if something happens during their journey. Furthermore, it doesn’t take an intentionally mean or abusive act to cause this type of lasting damage to pet mental health. Pets are sensitive to situations where they feel neglected or abandoned even if this was not the intent of the caregiver. For example, on a long trip a caregiver who is otherwise skilled at providing for the safety and hygiene needs of the traveling pet may skip a cleaning or feeding due to excess traffic or lack of time during a rest stop break. This skipped care time can have similar effects on pet mental health as a more dramatic instance of neglect or abandonment, especially due to the increased stress factors present when traveling a long way in an unfamiliar environment with no familiar adults.
Pets Are Nonverbal Communicators
Pets cannot verbally communicate their needs and emotions. They require an adult to read their nonverbal cues and respond accordingly to fulfill their individual safety, health, and emotional needs. This means that pet mental health is extra sensitive to the actions of adults in their lives. Pets need humans around them who will pay attention to their subtle communication behaviors and consistently respond accordingly. This also means that pets may not be able to communicate past trauma or trauma that may have occurred during the transport process with their owner, increasing the need for owners to make a careful choice when evaluating potential pet transport companies.
Repair Possibilities Are Limited
Unfortunately, a pet who has experienced trauma will likely demonstrate lasting impacts. These impacts will be present in their general attitude as well as their behavioral repertoire. They may even have chronic conditions associated with their trauma such as depression and anxiety. A pet has more limited options for coping and processing trauma than a human. Pet mental health hinges on the ability of their owner and caregivers to make responsive, informed decisions in advance to prevent traumatic events before they can cause long-term damage.
How to Ensure Pet Mental Health Needs Are Met
The best approach to care for pet mental health is prevention. As a pet owner, your gut feeling may be to do everything in your power to provide security for your pet’s mental health, as well as safety and physical health needs, when you are not able to be with them at every second. In a long-distance transport situation, BCPT can assuage your stress by meeting the holistic needs of your pet and ensuring they will return to you with all of their emotional capacities intact. BCPT will never miss a scheduled cleaning or feeding, and in fact will take extra time whenever possible to provide loving attention and extra comfort to your pet during their journey. Furthermore, if your pet experienced trauma at some point in the past that has had lasting impacts, BCPT staff are highly trained and skilled in caring for a diverse range of pet mental health needs. For more information on pet mental health and how to prevent traumatic travel experiences and ensure positive ones, contact BCPT today.