We love to travel, and our pups love to join us! As we plan our journeys, packing essentials for our furry friends is as important as packing our own swimsuits and headlamps (depending on what kind of travel you’re doing)!
The heart of these doggie necessities? Dog food – we all gotta eat! While it's a must-have, it's not exactly travel-friendly, is it? The bulk, the weight, the storage – all conspire to make this critical item a real pain during travels with our canine companions. Fear not, fellow adventurers!
We're about to dive into the best ways to travel with dog food without compromising your pet's nutrition or your convenience.
Choosing the Right Type of Dog Food for Travel: Which Makes Sense?
Let's start with some Dog Food 101. Your go-to options are generally going to be dry food, wet food, or dehydrated food. Each comes with its own pros and cons.
Dry food like kibble is a popular choice for its affordability, easy availability, and long shelf life. On the flip side, it's bulky, super heavy, and needs additional containers for storage, making it less than ideal for travel.
If you’re traveling with your dog in an RV and have plenty of space, this may not be an issue. But if space and weight matters, dry kibble can be tough to make work.
Wet food may appeal to picky eaters with its high moisture content. However, the sheer number of wet food containers needed for even just a few days on the road can be inconvenient for even the smallest pups. Plus, a pack of wet food gets heavy fast!
Which makes our top pick for travel dehydrated dog food, as it stands out as the clear winner for on-the-go pups. It's lightweight, compact, and a breeze to prepare – just add water!
The only downsides are that dehydrated dog food tends to be a bit pricier than kibble (although it’s usually more nutritionally dense) and may be less available in stores, depending on where your travels take you. Therefore, it's wise to stock up before your trip.
Dehydrated Dog Food: Why It’s A Great Travel Option
Dehydrated dog food isn't just great for travel – it's downright fantastic! If you’re used to camping or backpacking you may be familiar with dehydrated foods as an easy-to-make option for your own food. So of course, the benefits are similar for your dog.
The process of gentle dehydration means that all you need to do is add warm water and voila—you have a nutritious meal that’s ready in just 3 minutes. This method of compact nutrition means that a 2lb box of dehydrated food makes 8lbs of homemade food, which can feed a 30lb dog for 8 days.
The Honest Kitchen makes a line of dehydrated foods in a variety of protein, grain-inclusive and grain-free options. They also have limited ingredient dehydrated food recipes for pups with food sensitivities – so there’s options for nearly every pet’s needs! Not only are their recipes 100% human grade, but they’re also made with whole food ingredients and free of fillers like corn, wheat and soy.
You're not just saving space and reducing weight, but also feeding your pet a nutritious meal made with minimally-processed, whole food ingredients. It's convenience and health all rolled into one!
Practical Hacks for Traveling with Pet Food
Here's where we move from what to pack to how to pack it.
Sealable, reusable bags are perfect for portioning and storage. Opt for collapsible bowls and measuring cups for feeding and water – they're real space savers!
You’ll even find some travel packs for dogs designed to hold all your pup’s necessities, from toys, treats, poop bags, and dog food in one travel kit.
This is definitely the way to go if you’re road tripping with your dog and will be making frequent stops at hotels where you’ll be loading and unloading your pup’s gear each night. Having all your dog’s necessities in one pack makes organizing and managing your trunk so much easier.
Trust me – trying to dig out your dog’s puzzle toys from the backseat of your car at a Red Roof Inn at 11pm is not anyone’s idea of a good time!
And, as always, you’ll want to store food in a cool, dry place to maintain its freshness. Travel dog food storage bags, with their anti-bacterial lining, can be particularly handy to keep food fresher for longer, whether you’re tent camping or doing van-life with your pup.
It's also smart to carry a little extra food for emergencies or unexpected delays because the one rule of travel is that things don't always go as planned!
Air Travel with Dog Food: What You Need to Know
For those taking to the skies, note that TSA allows solid pet food (dry, wet, or dehydrated) in both checked bags and carry-on. But remember, these can eat up your luggage weight capacity.
These days, an added 10 or 20 lbs can incur quite the upcharge, so make sure you know your luggage’s weight limits before you try to drag a 25lb bag of dog food on board.
Here's another reason why dehydrated dog food shines, as it's a fraction of the weight of those giant bags of kibble!
If you're flying with your dog internationally, the rules might change, so do your research beforehand. Regardless of where you're flying, pack your dog food in clear plastic bags and label them appropriately for smooth security checks.
Traveling with dog food boils down to the right choice (Hello, dehydrated dog food!), smart packing, and a pinch of pre-travel research, especially for air travel.
Just a little planning can lead to a smooth journey with your four-legged travel buddy. We hope this guide helps you hit the road with ease and your pup's favorite meals!