There’s a lot to think about when packing for a road trip, especially when our four-legged mates are joining us. You can reference our general checklist HERE, but when it comes to their dog food supplies, there’s some extra dog food tips to consider.
Take along sufficient dog food supplies
Firstly, make sure you take enough of their food away with you to last the trip. Or, if you are heading off on an extended holiday, know where you can stock up on your usual brand along the way, particularly if they are on a special, medical or raw food diet. If your dog is on a raw food diet and you can’t quite fit it all in, then Big Dog Pet Foods also have a nutritious Freeze Dried option as a handy back-up that can be stored in the cupboard.
The road trip
Before heading off on a long car trip, especially if your dog gets motion sickness or nausea, don’t feed them too much before you go. Give them plenty of water, but just a little bit of food. You can check out my tips for helping dogs with anxiety or motion sickness HERE to help too.
If you feed your dog a raw food diet, the Big Dog frozen patties are a great option as they are compact and convenient and can be stored in an iced esky until you reach your destination. For more dog food tips and how a raw food diet can benefit your dog click here.
One of the benefits of feeding your dog a raw food diet is that your dog will produce smaller stools so less mess to clean up along the way, and also less of those stinky outputs our pooches can often bestow on us in the car or caravan after eating.
Transitioning to new food
Remember, it’s important that if you are running low and look like you will be running out of dog food supplies, that you gradually transition them across to any new food or brands over 7-10 days, (i.e.: starting with introducing small amounts of the new food with the previous food, then slowly increasing the new and decreasing the old), to avoid stomach upsets, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Food hygiene and safety
Whilst this is important for any wet food diet, it is particularly important if feeding your dog raw food, not to leave it out for a long time – whether at home or on holiday.
– Don’t leave their food in direct sunlight.
– Keep their bowls raised up high to avoid ants and other bugs getting to it.
– Always keep bowls clean and always check our pets have enough water.
How to avoid creating a fussy eater
When on holiday, or in strange surroundings, your dog might take a few days to settle down before it starts wolfing down its food again. It’s important not to encourage them to become a fussy eater though in this scenario, or in general, which is something many owners do.
If your dog is not eating or is being fussy, again particularly with a wet or raw food diet, if after 5-10 minutes they still aren’t interested, put it away in the fridge and bring it back out in the evening (if fed in the morning) and vice versa.
Often owners play a role in creating or reinforcing a fussy eater. This generally happens when their dog isn’t eating the food they put out and so they start to worry and begin to give their dogs some other morsels of food or treats to entice them to eat. This is simply teaching your dog that if they don’t eat the food they are given, and if they wait long enough, you are going to cave in and give them something even better.
By inadvertently reinforcing this behaviour in your dog, you start to create a fussy eater as your dog starts to train YOU on what they will or won’t eat.
Remember, a dog will not starve if they don’t eat for a day. In fact, some Vets and other pet health experts recommend fasting your dog for a day here and there. My dog Darcy can be quite the fussy eater at times if I allow him to, and I did find myself trying to compensate with giving him other food just to get him to eat.
Now, I simply put his Big Dog out for him in the evening and if he doesn’t eat it after a while, it goes back in the fridge. I take it out again in the morning and he’ll eat it if he’s hungry.
And, if he doesn’t and is looking at the treat cupboard, I hold firm, put it back in the fridge until dinner time, where guaranteed he then tucks in and is none the wiser that I have just won that battle of the wills!
To find out more about the Big Dog frozen patties or Little Bites for travel, and other dog food tips, visit the Big Dog website.
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.