One of the problems facing those of us who do a lot of traveling with our gun dogs is what we euphemistically call “gastro-intestinal distress.” Anyone who’s been forced to clean out a dog box or kennel while on the road knows exactly what I’m talking about. Dogs–and their bowels–are creatures of habit, and when that habit is interrupted by changes in routine, diet, and even drinking water, bad things can happen. It happened to me a couple times last year and it was no fun. And since I’m on the road this week for the Kansas prairie chicken opener, the thought of canine cha-cha-cha is heavy on my mind…

That’s why I’m trying out a product from Purina called Fortiflora. It’s a nutritional supplement for dogs designed to help alleviate gastro-intestinal issues caused by the stress of travel, diet changes, etc. The benefits of probiotics for humans are currently getting a lot of attention, and that’s basically what Fortiflora is: a probiotic treatment for dogs. All you do is sprinkle one packet of Fortiflora over your dog’s food each day. Or, if you’re going on a hunt or a trip, start giving your dog Fortiflora a week or so before leaving, for the duration and for a few days after you get back.

I’ve been giving it to my dog for about a week now in anticipation of this trip, and while I can’t see any marked change in her stools, I will say that the stuff must taste good, because she wolfs down her food much faster with it’s sprinkled over it. The real test, however, will come when I load her up and get a couple hundred miles down the road. Will I end up holding my nose with one hand and spraying out the kennel with the other, or will things pass smoothly, so to speak?

I’ll let you know, but in the meantime I’m curious: what do you do to help prepare your dog for a hunting road trip? Any tips or secrets?