Regardless of your next upland hunting destination, traveling can be stressful for a dog. By doing your homework and planning ahead, you can help ensure your dog’s safety and comfort while on the road. Follow these tips from pro trainers Tom Dokken, Ronnie Smith, and George Hickox, along with road warriors Steve Snell of Gun Dog Supply and Ted Gartner of Garmin, to help simplify your journey.
Meal Prep for Your Dog
If you’re on a weeklong trip in remote areas, the odds of finding a quality performance dog food, such as Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula, may be challenging. Preportion your dog’s food so you have an ample supply. You’ll likely feed your dog slightly more than usual during a multiday hunt, so be sure to pack extra. A good rule of thumb to gauge a dog’s food consumption is one pound of food per dog per day.
Bring Your Own Water
A change in water source, especially going from hard to soft water, can upset your bird dog’s GI system, increasing his or her risk of diarrhea, which can potentially cause dehydration and overheating. Bring several gallons of water from home as a consistent source, or use bottled water while traveling.
Build an Insurance Policy
Research veterinarians who can treat hardworking bird dogs that are located every couple of hundred miles along your planned route and near your final destination(s). You should also look for 24/7 emergency veterinary clinics if you’ll be traveling at night. Put all names and contact information in your phone, and also keep them noted in a handy place, such as inside your first-aid kit.
Stock Up on First-Aid Essentials
Canine first aid is crucial when you’re far from a veterinarian. Brush up on your basic knowledge of performing first aid and replenish your kit with these supplies: absorbent gauze pads, elastic bandages, tape, tweezers, thermometer, antiseptic, antibiotic ointment, antihistamine, saline solution, and any veterinarian-prescribed or recommended medications.
Don’t Skimp on Stake Outs
Bring enough tie-out cables and stakes for as many dogs as you’re traveling with so that in case of emergency, such as a vehicle breakdown, your dogs are secure while you tend to the situation at hand.
Boost Your Dog’s Immunity
Traveling can cause stress that can affect a bird dog’s immune system. To help support your dog’s immune system health, keep a supply of Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diets FortiFlora canine probiotic supplement handy. Prescribed by veterinarians, FortiFlora contains a special strain of probiotic that works to restore normal intestinal microflora. After consulting with your veterinarian, consider starting FortiFlora a few days before leaving on a trip to increase levels of beneficial bacteria and promote a strong immune system, and continue administering it a few days after arriving at your destination.