Reducing Travel Stress in Show Dogs
Travel is not rest for dogs. Taking steps to ensure dogs’ comfort and reduce travel stress can help make a road trip to a dog show more manageable. Here are tips to consider for a more pleasant journey.
Introduce puppies to travel by taking them on short rides in your travel vehicle. Familiarize young dogs with things they will encounter at a dog show by getting them used to being around other dogs and new places and acquainting them with the procedure. Practice also helps to identify dogs that don’t travel well and devise strategies to ease their stress.
Take a Timeout
After six to eight hours of travel, a dog needs to recover from bouncing in a vehicle. Dogs also need to air out. If you use an X-pen, it should have enough room for a dog to stand comfortably, air out and move to the other side. An X-pen should be used temporarily and should not touch the vehicle or nearby dogs. In the summer, be sure the X-pen is in a cool, shady location that is quiet to help reduce stress. Dogs should be familiar with an X-pen before traveling.
Keep Dogs Hydrated
Dehydration can occur after multiple days of travel combined with dog shows. In extreme heat, cold and humidity, water turnover increases several times. Some dogs will have problems consuming enough water, so you should monitor their hydration. Encourage dogs to drink by soaking their food with water to create a light soup, giving ice cubes, and baiting water with low-sodium chicken broth. Giving frequent small amounts of water are better than a large volume. Be careful to avoid dehydration because it takes a lot of time to hydrate a dehydrated dog.
Fight Bugs with Healthy Immunity
Dog shows often bring together dogs from around the country that carry bacteria and viruses and thus create a “petri dish” of bugs. To help promote a healthy immune system, dogs can be given Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements FortiFlora Canine Nutritional Supplement. FortiFlora contains a probiotic proven to promote intestinal health and balance, Enterococcus faecium SF68®. FortiFlora has been shown to be safe, stable and effective in restoring normal intestinal health and balance and may help nutritionally manage diarrhea from stressful situations.
A Good Night’s Rest
Importantly, find a quiet place to rest your dogs for the night. If your dogs will sleep in kennels in your vehicle, you should park in an area free of distractions and away from other vehicles. Find a spot that will maximize rest and minimize stress. Make sure your dogs have soft, dry bedding so they rest comfortably.