As we continue to contend with travel restrictions thanks to Covid, many of us are turning to thoughts of summer road trips. Rather than hopping on a plane to travel abroad, we’re instead getting ready to pack up tents and trailers and head across the country.
And of course we’re taking our pups with us! Now, if you’re traveling with a raw fed dog, this may create a different level of planning compared to a dog who eats kibble – but it’s not a big deal. A little careful planning and a few simple tips can make a raw fed road trip a breeze.
Tips for Traveling with a Raw Fed Dog
Planning on traveling with a raw fed dog? Use these tips to make food prep and storage easy!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
Before you do anything else, plan out how much food you’ll need for the entire time you’ll be traveling. 2 days or 20, you want to make sure you’ve got everything covered. This will also impact how you pack. It’s never a bad idea to account for extra travel time as well, just in case.
2. Pick Your Cooler
Of course, any cooler will do, but some are definitely easier (and more convenient) than others.
- A regular plastic freezer, chosen based on the size you’ll need for the food you’re taking along, will do just fine. Remember, one with wheels will be easier to cart around.
- Camping somewhere you can plug in? Consider a cooler you can plug in, sort of like a mini-fridge!
- Can’t plug in but know you’ll be stopped for long periods of time? Consider a solar powdered cooler!
3. Freeze the Food Beforehand
If the food is frozen, it will keep longer. And, frozen food acts as ice, which maximizes space and means you don’t need to pack as much ice.
If you already buy and give your dog frozen commercial raw, that’s easy. Depending on the size of the containers, you can easily just pack them as they are, or you might want to section them into portions, just to make things a little more hassle-free on the road. For example, if your pre-made raw comes in 4 pound containers, and your dog eats a pound a day, you’ve got to worry about defrosting a 4 pound container and then keeping the defrosted 3 pounds cold.
If you make your dog’s food, get a big batch going and portion it into meal size/day size servings. Plastic freezer bags, although not great for the environment, are probably the easiest way to go. Put the food into the bag, push all the food to the bottom of the bag, remove any air pockets, then seal it.
4. Packing the Cooler
When packing the cooler, be methodical. Pack vertically, instead of lengthwise, as you can pack more food into a space using this method and you can view all food portions at a glance. Each layer can be good for a day or two, and then put a thin layer of ice cubes on top of each layer.
Most coolers are colder at the bottom, so the bottom portions will stay frozen longer. Still, just make sure that, as you use up your stores of frozen food you’re replacing it with a little ice so that the other food doesn’t go to waste.
5. Buying/Making on the Road?
If you’re traveling with a raw fed dog for an extended period of time, it might be worth it to consider taking a few days’ worth of food with you, and then resupplying along the road. If you buy commercial raw, find out where along the route sells your chosen brand. If you make your dog’s food, reach out to reputable suppliers for ingredients and go from there. This way, you won’t need to worry about keeping a month’s worth of food in a cooler in the trunk (that’s a lot, and you run the risk of spoilage).
Traveling with a Raw Food Dog: Other Advice
Here are a few other tips to make traveling with a raw fed dog simple:
- If you’re visiting friends or family along the way, ask them if you can use their freeze while you’re there. That way you can give the cooler a good clean out and keep food cold while you’re replenishing the ice. It’s always good to ask ahead of time so that they can make room in the freezer if necessary.
- Make sure you have the means to clean bowls. We clean our dogs’ bowls after every meal, and this might be harder on the road. Keep a few bowls on hand so you can always have a fresh one in between cleanings, and give them all a wash whenever you have a chance.
- Not keen on the prospect of trying to keep all that raw food cold? Consider freeze dried or dehydrated raw that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Just to avoid any potential tummy upsets, introduce this new food a few days prior to help your dog adjust. Also, since freeze dried or dehydrated food won’t have the same moisture content your pup is used to, make sure they have access to plenty of fresh clean water.
- Bones! Raw, meaty bones can be used as a meal replacement, and they might be easier to find along the route. Of course you don’t want to be replacing a meal with a bone every day, but they’re good in a pinch. New to raw bones? Read this next!
This summer, don’t let that raw food spoil your travel plans! Traveling with a raw fed dog is easy! Have fun and be safe.
The Veterinarious team is made up of pet owners, pet lovers, and pet experts from around the globe! We’ve banded together to create a community of like-minded pet people to give you the latest research and health advice for your beloved beast!