Traveling While Feeding a Raw Food Diet
22 August, 2017
By Kimberly Gauthier, Dog Nutrition Blogger for Keep the Tail Wagging
Whether we are traveling with our dogs, traveling without our dogs and hiring a pet sitter, going for a day trip with our dogs, or taking our dogs for a long walk – all of these “trips” have changed since I became a raw feeder.
Traveling with our dogs
We’ve only taken one trip with the dogs and that was when we were a two-dog household. At the time, we fed kibble (the horror!!!) so food for the dogs wasn’t a concern. Today, if we were to travel with the dogs, I would pack freeze-dried raw dog food or dehydrated (not raw) dog food.
- Traveling with frozen raw food can be a challenge if you’re not sure you’ll have a freezer big enough to store the correct amount of food for your stay.
- Traveling with frozen raw can be a challenge if you’re unable to keep the cooler cold enough to keep the raw food frozen.
- Traveling with frozen raw takes a lot of room in the car if you have big dogs like I do – we have four dogs that weigh between 60-75 pounds and eat approximately 4 pounds of raw per day.
Traveling with freeze-dried raw or dehydrated dog food is a lot easier because you don’t have to worry about keeping the food frozen, you don’t have to stress if the freezer will be big enough at your destination and it takes up less space in the car (assuming you’re on a road trip).
For dogs that have a sensitivity to changing foods, i.e., going from DIY raw to a commercial freeze-dried raw, I suggest incorporating the freeze-dried raw food into your dog’s diet at least a month before the trip, alternating it with DIY.
Traveling without our dogs
Most of our traveling is without our dogs. We hire a pet sitter to stay with our dogs while we’re away, giving them a quick introduction to feeding a raw diet. We make it easier by preparing daily meals for each dog, including any supplements each dog needs, for while we’re away. Each container is labeled clearly with the dog’s name and if it is the AM or PM meal.
Whether our pet sitter is new to raw or experienced in feeding raw, feeding our dogs will be easy – just transfer the contents of the container to each dog’s dish and feed.
Going for a day trip with the dogs
Food isn’t an issue when we take the dogs on a day trip; it’s the treats that become important.
Since becoming a raw feeder, I have become very cautious about what my dogs eat and that includes dog treats. On a day trip, I will bring high value dog treats (protein treats are the most valued in our house) and plenty of water. The treats make it easier to manage multiple dogs and they allow us to incorporate some training into our day trip, which keeps the dogs engaged.
By sticking with healthy treats, I don’t have to worry about stomach upset later.
Going on a long walk with the dogs
A long walk is similar to a day trip; I bring high value treats and plenty of water. When walking the dogs, especially when I have more than two dogs, I prefer training treats because they’re small and easy to juggle along with dog leashes.
Each walk is an opportunity to train my dogs and I need to be fast when marking and reinforcing the behavior I want to see. If I have treats that I need to break in or become messy, it makes training a drag for all of us as I’m trying to make bite sized treats on the fly.
Traveling with or without our dogs isn’t a challenge when we plan ahead.
About the Author: Kimberly Gauthier is the Dog Nutrition Blogger and Pet Food Nutrition Specialist behind Keep the Tail Wagging, a blog about raw feeding and dog nutrition. Kimberly and her boyfriend are raising two sets of littermates in the Pacific Northwest where they enjoy a property with plenty of room to run and explore.