Diets tend to go out the window during the holiday season, even for dogs. KAREN GOLDRICK has good food some tips for those travelling with canines.
After a few camping trips with my dog, I am starting to work out the best way to organise feeding her. Usually she is on a home prepared diet, made up of fresh raw meat, ground vegetables, raw meaty bones, organ meat, oils and nutritional supplements. Although we are loaded up to the gills when camping, and do in fact have a (plastic) kitchen sink, there is definitely no space for a vegetable grinder, extra pills, and especially not enough fridge space to keep raw meat and bones fresh.
The first rule is to keep it simple. The food you carry with you has to keep fresh, store easily, and not take up too much space, or be too heavy.
Dry food is ideal because it can be stored in a sealed container. Many bags of dry food are self-sealing, or can be rolled and sealed with clip. Because it is a concentrated source of calories, you don’t need to bring a large volume of food with you. It is usually easier to store and carry a packet of dry food than cans or packs of meat.
If your dog cannot eat dry food, then many good quality wet foods are sold in single serve sachets, which again are easy to store and do not require to be kept after opening. Another option, which helps reduce food waste, is to feed your dog some of your leftovers. Cooked meats and vegetables are OK for most dogs to eat. If your dog is used to homemade food this can work well, but there are some things to be aware of. Avoid the following:
- excessive garlic
- processed meats like ham
- macadamia nuts
- sultanas or raisins
- very spicy foods
- cooked bones
- Excessively fatty foods which are more likely to cause tummy upsets
If you prefer to feed raw meat, then you can purchase it in advance and package it in vacuum sealed packs for prolonged storage. Vacuum packs can be stored in the camp fridge, and take up less space. Your butcher can do this for you, and can advise as to the storage times and conditions for different types of meat. You can then combine the meat with vegetables you are cooking for yourself.
Do not leave uneaten dog food out, because it will be a magnet for scavengers, or insects. Food bowls once used should be cleaned, wrapped in newspaper and stored away.
Your dog may be on a special diet, so you can speak with your vet about any changes you can make to help with travelling. For dental care while travelling, raw bones may not be practical. There are commercial dental sticks available. I have used organic beef tendons or pizzles.
Which ever way you decide to feed your pet while travelling, always change their diet slowly the week before you travel, to get any “adjustment tummy upsets” out of the way and make sure your dog will actually eat the holiday food.
Carry Probiotics with you if you need to deal with bowel problems on the road. And make sure you include enough fresh drinking water for both you and your canine.
Karen Goldrick is a veterinarian at All Natural Pet Care, Russell Lea NSW www.naturalvet.com.au
Pictured: Mac is a mini dachshund, 18 months old. He’s obsessed with his ball and is adored – equally obsessively – by his parents Doug and Crystal MacDougall of Sydney.
Make your pet a star by sharing your holiday snap with Time to Roam: [email protected]