We recently went on a rare vacation without the boys. It was our unofficial delayed honeymoon – and while of course we had a wonderful time, we are big fans of traveling with the dogs whenever possible. This past weekend we had the opportunity to spend a long weekend in Killington, Vermont and stay with my sister and brother-in-law and their adorable pooch, Mia. Our boys Harley and Charlie were welcome guests as well, so of course I was pretty excited.
“We’re going on a road trip, we’re going on a road trip, we’re going on a road trip” – sung on repeat for most of the day last Thursday.
Imagine living with me…I think even the dogs wish I was wearing a muzzle.
Sometimes when we tell people that we like to travel with the dogs, they look at us like we are crazy. It’s the same look I give one of my colleagues when she describes driving her 4 children to Disney every summer, I don’t know how she does it!
In reality, taking dogs places is both easy and rewarding. The trick is to be prepared and plan ahead.
True Confession: I am a packing procrastinator. I am NEVER planned nor prepared. Life is BUSY!
So you might be wondering how does a procrastinating packer manage two big dogs who also eat raw? Well, that’s a good question..
As you may already know, we made the transition to Natures Variety Instinct Raw Diet several months ago. We have seen phenomenal results including: fluffy healthy coat, increased energy, no major allergy attacks, and solid BM’s! With such a good thing going, you can see why being consistent is so important to us.
Luckily, the Instinct diet is designed to be flexible, with many types of feeding options and formulations. Over the past few months we have tried several of them (Kibble, Kibble + Raw Boost, Kibble + Raw Bites) and as advertised, the boys have tolerated changing between them very well.
While at home, we love to feed the Grain free kibble with Frozen Raw Bites; however, like we shared in an earlier post, feeding frozen raw may not work all the time. In our case we were traveling to Vermont to stay in a cabin that belongs to my Brother-In-Laws family.
Here is what we were working with….a 6 hour drive, a cooler of perishable items going with us, and a full size refrigerator and freezer once we arrived.
- Pack Kibble + Raw Bites: This was not a viable option for us. Take a look in the cooler, there was no room!
- Pack Kibble and purchase Raw Bites once we arrive at our final destination: After a quick scan of the Natures Variety Store Locator, we realized that there was a store in the town over from where we were staying that carried frozen raw bites. This is a real benefit to choosing Natures Variety over some other options. It is widely carried by healthy pet stores all over the country! We stopped in, checked it out, and even made an unrelated purchase for the pups!
- Pack Kibble with Raw Boost: This was definitely the easiest option. It feels great to be able to still incorporate some raw into the dogs diet, while maintaining the convenience of kibble. What we will often do is just pick up a small 12 lb bag to take with us. Though they are slightly more expensive ($3.70/lb vs. $4.33/lb) it is convenient and allows us to simply carry the food in its original packaging (with a zipper seal).
…and the winner is, Option 3
It was just soooo… easy. In our frantic moments before leaving we stopped at Pet$aver Superstore, grabbed a 12lb bag as well as a handy scoop/clip, and were on our way! This was the perfect solution for us this time. It didn’t matter that we were slightly unprepared, I could still feel good knowing that my “lazy” option was not skimping at all on nutrition.
We considered Option 2, going so far as visiting the local pet store after we arrived, but decided against this option because we had more food than we needed and didn’t think we would make it through the raw bites during our time in Vermont. However, we really loved that picking up the frozen raw in a fairly secluded town was even an option!
Though we had already tested the Instinct Kibble with Raw Boost before, the dogs seemed thrilled to see the pieces of freeze dried raw back again! Feeding 3 Dogs was no big deal. Our newly acquired Clip-Scoop was ready for the task! A quick measure, some puppy pleading, and separate corners did the trick!
What else did we bring?
Well for the dogs other needs, I have a pretty good system set up. In fact I typically leave a bag packed at all times that contains most if not all of these things…
- Bowls: Two bowl inserts, easy light weight, and dishwasher safe!
- Pet Wipes: for those unexpected messes.
- Flea & Tick Wipes: Its “bug spray” for dogs. A quick wipe down before any outdoor adventures keeps lots of flying insects away!
- Waste Bags: Well, you know… Cleaning up after you dogs is really important!
- Treats: When you want your puppy or old dog to listen, it helps to come with treats. Treat of choice this time: Good Reasons, Charlie’s Cheddar Chomps
- 30 Ft. Leash: You never know what kind of situation you might encounter. We like to have our “training leash” so that the boys can be safe if they are near a road, or if we have to take them out late at night.
- A few of our favorite things: We always grab a couple of the most popular toys from home. We find it’s a good idea to have a variety…a couple of plush toys, a ball, and something to keep their mouths occupied when you need some time!
So what did we do on vacation?
All my planning and preparation (HA) paid off. We had a great weekend full of doggie fun! Check out a couple of sneak peak photos of our Vermont Adventure!!
Exploring Killington: We even got a picture with a GIANT Golden friend!
Hiking: We found creeks and ran around like puppies! The boys were spoiled with a large yard on vacation and Charlie was sure to ask for a Frisbee throw (or 5) every time he went out!
Lazy Mornings: Hanging around with the people (and dogs) that we love.
Patrolling the Property: The boys kept a watchful eye on the enemy and even neutralized the threat…
Swimming: An impromptu stop on our way home. We thought it would be great to let them stretch their sea (pond) legs and splash around! It worked, they pretty much didn’t move until we got home!
Be sure to come back soon and see more photos of our Vermont vacation adventures!!
You don’t have to be a crazy planner in order to make feeding a healthy raw diet to your pet a reality. Coming from the queen of procrastination, I found that despite a lack of advance planning, I had so many options for having continuity in the boys’ diet. I loved that the “lazy” option was so healthy and good for them, but I also had the option of feeding Frozen Raw Bites, because they are carried across the country! As time progresses we are finding that feeding raw truly can fit into any lifestyle!
Like I said before, the real key to a smooth travel experience is being prepared and planning ahead. In my case juggling my full time career as a school psychologist and pet blogger, life is busy and even with the best intentions, it’s not always an option. For me, my best way to be prepared is to PLAN on not having enough time to get ready. Creating a bag that has a lot of the necessities packed and paying a little more (~$.60/lb) for the on-the-go, 12lb bag of food are my keys to sanity
What travel tricks do you have? If you feed a raw diet, what do you do while on vacation?