The Effect of Transportation on Puppy Welfare From Commercial Breeding Kennels to a Distributor – CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP
Puppies from commercial breeding kennels (CBKs) are transported by ground from their facilities of origin to a distributor at approximately 8 weeks of age, which is a sensitive period in dogs’ early development. Experiencing high levels of fear and stress during this transition potentially jeopardizes their short- and long-term welfare. However, no research has explored the effect of transportation on puppy welfare. Therefore, we tested 383 puppies at 12 CBKs and again approximately 48 h after transportation to a distributor. We measured puppies’ behaviors in isolation and during a stranger-approach test, and conducted a physical health assessment. Feces were also collected from each litter and from one focal puppy per litter for insight into their stress response, immune function, and presence of intestinal parasites. Overall, puppies were physically healthy before and after transportation. However, behavioral and physiological findings suggest puppies experienced an increase in distress after transportation. Results also suggest that puppies may have solicited more contact from an unfamiliar person as a coping strategy following an acute stressor after transportation. Future studies should investigate risk factors associated with transportation protocols and identify interventions to help optimize puppy welfare during this transition.
Romaniuk, A.C., Diana, A., Barnard, S., Weller, J.E., Espinosa, U.B., Dangoudoubiyam, S., Shreyer, T., Arnott, G., Croney, C. (2022). The effect of transportation on puppy welfare from commercial breeding kennels to a distributor. Animals 12, 3379. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12233379View Resource
Topic(s): Behavior, Breeder Resource, Developmental Stages, Puppy Development