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@Purina Better with Pets Summit – Pets, Stress, and My Allergies #PurinaPartner

Better with Pets Summit -
Written by Rachel Phelps


Last month I was invited to the Purina Better with Pets Summit in NYC. This is an amazing event where the top pet experts all converge together to discuss topics about pets. This year, the focus was on emotional wellness and the bond between people and pets. To catch up, make sure to read part one of this article – Better with Pets Summit – and check out this video. Hint, I’m in it  at the end… hehehe.

Today I want to share more with you about what I learned in the panel session Stress, Our Pets, and Us moderated by my pal Dr. Marty Becker and panelists Ragen McGowan, Heather Lewis, and Tony Buffington.

This panel was very timely because at the time I was actually quite stressed out. I wasn’t feeling well due to my allergy issues and we learned the hard way that a Benadryl has the opposite effect on me than most other dogs – it stressed me out making me hyper and anxious. Needless to say, this made Mom totally stressed out as well trying to handle me. Fortunately, she quickly applied these five tips the panelists provided for situations like this (see, Mom is a quick learner … hehehe).

Better with Pets Summit - PrestonSpeaks.comTips to Handle Pet Stress

  1. Provide food puzzles to stimulate our cognitive ability and provide good stress – I LOVE puzzles and I must say I am an expert at them! Mom created a puzzle for me at the summit. They had couches around the area with pillows so Mom hid treats under them and told me to find the treats. I was quickly able to redirect my stress to my quest for treats.
  2. Exercise – When we are stressed, take us out for a walk to burn some energy. During breaks at the summit Mom took me on several walks around the neighborhood. I had no idea that Brooklyn was so charming with many neighborhood stores. This really helped me calm down so I was able to take a few naps while the panels were going on.
  3. Keep a routine – This one is so important for us pets and helps us keep our stress levels down. Mom is very particular about this when we travel. As soon as we get to a new hotel room, my bowls and food mat come out and are placed in the bathroom before anything else is unpacked and I am fed dinner. This gives me a lot of comfort because I know where my food and water is at all times.
  4. Let us have downtime – Mom is really protective of my downtime when I travel, attend events, and make appearances. At the summit she found a quiet hallway away from the event and we spent some time just sitting down away from everyone else so I could take a break and de-stress.
  5. Love us – This is my favorite tip. When I get stressed out, Mom lets me sit in her lap and she pets me, hugs me, and just loves on me. We want to feel safe and this is the perfect way for you humans to help us feel that way. Mom really showed me love at the summit … to the point she couldn’t even take notes of the presentation because I was in her lap getting a belly rub – oops!

Better with Pets Summit - PrestonSpeaks.comMy out of character stress levels showed Mom that I needed to see a vet as soon as I returned to Kentucky. This is what started the process for me to get tested for allergies and get allergy shots. Now, I am feeling so much better. So I guess you can say I probably got more out of the panel on Pets, Us, and Stress than anyone else in the room …. because I got healthy again!

I want to thank Purina for inviting me to an amazing experience and I’m sorry if I wasn’t my normal everyday happy self. I promise next year I’ll be as well behaved as a Westie can be … hehehe.

Your Pal,





Disclosure: Purina invited me to their “Better with Pets Summit.” This post, as well as the trip, was sponsored by Purina but all thoughts and opinions are my own.



About the author

Rachel Phelps

Rachel Phelps, “America’s Pet Parent,” is an award-winning writer, photographer, and certified dog trainer. She keeps busy managing the career of her Internet celebrity dog Preston from Preston Speaks. Her three Westies — who think they are mini-humans — and three cats rule the house. To learn more about Rachel go to: Rachel Phelps Website

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