Lifting and carrying pets
As dog walkers, sitters and groomers we have to take care of our backs, struggling to lift large or overweight pets into a car or the bath can do serious damage, not just to our health but our ability to earn a living. Injuring your back can mean weeks off work and if you are a self-employed pet care entrepreneur that can spell disaster. Learning to lift and carry the correct way will help you avoid these problems. Here are The Pet Business Academy’s top 5 tips for lifting safely.
1. Know your clients
Think about which clients are due in this week, and check your client’s file. Always include the size and weight of the pet in your records. If you know a pet is large, anything over 15kg, you should get help. If you work alone ask the client to help lift the pet into the car or bath or consider buying a ramp for the pet to use. If its your first visit to the pet, assess their weight before lifting, if in doubt ask the client to help you the first time.
2. Plan: think about your destination before you leave
Take a moment to think about how you will lift the pet and where you are going before you start. You don’t want to be trying to clear the back seat or the table while you have the pet in your arms. Planning ahead will avoid any jarring, awkward moments. Clear the path you need.
If you are lifting a pet with the help of the client or a colleague then remember the front of a pet is heavier than the back, so choose the strongest of you to lift the front. Lift where possible with someone of roughly the same height as you. Make sure you have both agreed the route to take in advance, and who is “in charge” of the lift, i.e. who says when to lift and when to put down.
4. Handling the Pet
Be aware that most pets are not familiar with being picked up and moved, they may feel uneasy and resist. Try to make the process as quick and stress-free as possible for the pet. Hold the dog close to your body. You are a much more stable lifter if you’re not reaching for the dog a large distance between you and the dog can cause strain on your back .Keep the pet close to your body as you lift, you will be stronger and more stable. Place your hands around the front and rear.
5 tips to successful and safe lifting:
- Keep your feet shoulder width apart and flat on the floor, so you are stable – make sure you have flat shoes on!
- Take short steps.
- Keep your core tight, hold your stomach muscles in, your shoulders back, and your eyes looking straight ahead. This will help strengthen your back and keep you in a strong lifting position.
- Keep your spine straight and bend your knees when you raise the pet up or lower the pet to the ground. Don’t use your back, use your legs to power the lift, let them do all the work for you.
- Practice lifting using these tips before your lift the pet. You may look a bit silly but its worth it!
5. Prevention is better than cure
Make sure you take care of your back and try to think about maintaining good posture wherever you are. Take regular exercise that helps your back, core and legs: yoga or pilates are great options. Keeping strong will help you when you come to lift. If you need a little extra support then try a back support, this can help train you into having better posture.
Pet Business Entrepreneurs – the World’s pets need you…
So take care of yourselves!