Jun 26, 2015 at 3:34 am #1330215Dan MagdoffBPL Member
@highsierraguyLocale: Northern California
Not sure if this is posted in the right section or not….
For those of you that bring your K9 companions along on backpacking trips, what food do you bring? At home I feed my dogs regular dry food, but last summer when I brought ONE of my dogs on a week trip with me, his food weighed more than all my food, and took up a ton of space. He carries his own pack, but he cant carry all his food…way too much weight. This summer we are bringing all FOUR of our dogs on a week trip with us….I can even begin to imagine how much all their food would weigh, and how much space it would take up.
I was look at The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated dog food. Any thoughts on that?
WHat do others do?
DanJun 26, 2015 at 8:52 am #2210225Randy NelsonBPL Member
I do bring their regular kibble. At home I do split a small can of wet food between them but kibble only only on the trail. I mostly only take my male and he's about 80 lbs. His pack weight for 1 week is right around 8 lbs. I like to keep his pack weight at about 10% although my vet says 15% is OK. Remember that's just the starting weight and their packs get lighter much faster than ours since it's mostly just food. To add some variety I bring a few gravy packets along and add some water and gravy to his kibble. He loves that. I also spoil him rotten on trips. He gets something at every food stop (and his own bed in the motel) and I share my food with him on the trai. So technically, I'm carrying some of his weight but not very much. He makes it up to me by carrying a beer in each side of his pack on weekenders. :) That's how we do it.
I think it was Bob M. who uses the dehydrated kibble and likes it. I was considering it but it's pretty pricey and I never change my dog's food suddenly so I'd have to buy enough for the trip and some to gradually switch over and back. Regular kibble works fine for us but it does seem like a good option.
You probably already do this but I also double bag the food in ziplocks to keep it dry as my dog loves the water. I use regular sandwich bags for each pre-portioned amount for meals and keep those inside 2 gallon ziplocks, one for each side of the pack.
Have fun on the trip!Jun 26, 2015 at 9:29 am #2210237Ben H.BPL Member
@bzhayesLocale: No. Alabama
I don't have a dog :( … so take my answer with a grain of salt, but…
I have heard of people who backpack with there dogs preferring the higher caloric density food they buy from there vet, however they give it to them all the time. I don't think it is a good idea to completely change their diet for a backpacking trip. If you share a tent with them it could have real dire consequences for you. You could look into slowly transitioning them to the higher density food over a month prior to the trip. This would also be an excellent discussion to have with your vet.Jun 26, 2015 at 10:00 am #2210247
I once did two back-to-back week-long trips with my dog. I slowly transitioned her over to some super-premium calorie-dense kibble. It saved some weight and bulk (not a lot) and she did well. I never tried the freeze-dried stuff, but that looks interesting.
I normally pack about 50% more food than normal for my dog. I carry it all – she doesn't wear a pack anymore. At 45lbs, her food load is manageable for me. One time, I tried bringing peanut butter for the extra calories for my dog. She threw that up at night (luckily onto her foam pad!). Maybe it was the altitude (almost 10,000 ft), but I now avoid sudden diet changes like that. Perhaps your dogs would do better, but I'd hate to have 4 large, sick dogs with me.Jun 26, 2015 at 12:57 pm #2210280David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
I'll ask an Iditarod dog musher or two. PM me in a week if I forget. They have this all dialed in – lower cost stuff in the off season, then one food for training, and then a food for running the 1000-mile race. They have the same issues – light weight, yeah, but also digestibility during high-exertion days.
I too would transition in advance. I do transition to and from salmon while fishing in the summer. But over a few days (4-6 meals) works fine for me. 100-0, 75-25, 50-50, 25-75. Something like that avoids irregularity and runny stools that happen if I switch her diet abruptly.
And when going to salmon or table scraps, I always include some of her regular kibble. Then I can go back to 100% kibble instantly.Jun 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm #2210403
So I weighed my dog's normal kibble: approx 4.0 oz/cup
The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food says 10lbs of food has 40 cups (dry), so also 4oz/cup
Based on their feeding recommendations, it looks like my dog would require the same amount of food per day. So it does not look like using the dehydrated dog food would save any weight or volume (which kind of makes sense since kibble is already dry)Jun 26, 2015 at 9:46 pm #2210415Randy NelsonBPL Member
"They have this all dialed in – lower cost stuff in the off season, then one food for training, and then a food for running the 1000-mile race. "
So for a week they can just get the running food and divide by 10. :)
Coincidentally David, my vet closes during the Iditarod so he can go up and work it. He loves doing it.Jun 27, 2015 at 9:51 am #2210470
Interesting comments and "food" for thought.
But I'm into the whole weights and measures thing so I could not resist checking my dog's regular kibble — Pedigree Adult — versus the Honest Kitchen 'Love' (beef version) dehydrated stuff.
I was rather surprised that exactly 4oz by weight of each one occupied exactly 1 cup each by volume. Very handy!
Folks will have to search out their own dry kibble stats, but I finally was able to track down the caloric content of each. Pedigree Adult is reported to supply 290 calories (kcal) per cup while Honest Kitchen 'Love' is reported at 514 cal per cup.
Obviously one could indeed carry a significantly smaller volume/weight (290/514 = 0.564) of HK dehydrated, volume and weight reductions being pretty much identical in this instance.
EDIT to add: Acknowledged… caloric content is just one aspect of the picture. I'll leave it to anyone interested to also check out the ingredients, sourcing and quality, etc. And none of this discounts the points made above about digestive requirements and transitioning, etc, etc.Jun 27, 2015 at 10:23 am #2210475
Good point, Bob, I forgot about caloric density
My dog's normal kibble (Grandma Mae's) reportedly contains 474 cal/cup. Although they also claim 1 cup weighs 4.5 oz vs my measured 4.0 oz. So by number of calories, the dehydrated dog food might save me 8-10% in weight/volume, or about 6 oz in my case for a week-long trip. For a larger dog and multiple dogs (and depending on the dog's normal food, as you point out), that could be a big weight/volume savingsJun 27, 2015 at 10:35 am #2210478
Grandma's website indicates 370 cal/cup for adult kibble, so better than Pedigree. Looks like quality stuff from the ingredient details provided.
EDit: John, my apologies for my hasty mis-read… you are correct as indicated on the website 3700 kcal/kg which works out to 474 cal per 4.5oz (cup). Darn good for a kibble.Jun 28, 2015 at 4:21 am #2210654
@Randy… which gravy packets do you find best?
Great idea because my boy is starting to get bored with the same flavor all the time. At home I add some fat and other steak trimmings that I keep in the freezer.Oct 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm #2231496Dave PSpectator
There's lots of performance kibbles on the market. I have posted about it on a blog at a request of a friend from South Carolina for her hiking group. But generally, kibbles north of 4 000 kCal/kg will be 30% protein, 20% fat. Lots of people don't like going more than 30% protein because of associated kidney and bladder problems. So, what you want is one that goes up in the fat content. If needed, a lot of performance-driven people add butter, heavy cream, bear fat, lard and so on to the kibbles. If you want calorie-dense dog-food, then look at sled-dog companies like Redpaw, Dr. Tim's, Inukshuk, Kenetic, Kobuk, Annamaet et al. Hunting dog fantatics like Purina and Victor. But remember, not to buy off the shelf stuff. The kind of kibbles they use have to be ordered in. Companies like Diamond and Black Gold, I am not really sure how they calculated the calorie because while dogs, particularly sprinters like Eurohounds and Greyhounds, do benefit from glycogen storage and favour a higher-carb diet, dogs in general, don't really do well on high-carb kibbles.Oct 12, 2015 at 12:26 am #2231547monkeySpectator
@monkeyseeLocale: Up a tree
Our dogs are fed raw in everyday life, always a choice of meat (pretty much everything from cow tripe to rabbit and venison including bones) mixed with quantity of soaked rolled oats, fresh veggies and a choice of oil. Fresh fruit as treats in between meals, and dried potato fish cakes. Kibble as reward treats (so we can afford a high quality one by Lilly's Kitchen). I found on this diet I dont have to change many things to adjust to trail. We carry rolled oats, oils, dried veggies and dried fruit for people and dogs. For the first dinner and following breakfast we bring fresh meat to mix with the rest. The second day dinner instead of meat we mix in kibble, and day 3 too, and day 4 breakfast. On day 4 after lunch we'd normally pop in a small village for food re-supply, and dogs get fresh meat for dinner again and day 5 breakfast. Day 5 dinner is kibble substitute and day 6 and day 7 breakfast. Fresh meat at dinner day 7 upon returning home. Dried fish cakes for snacks throughout. Overall the differences are on the hike the dogs eat a bit more kibble, a bit more fish cakes than usual, and they get occasional nut or two, and a touch of honey in their food, and they don't get bones. So far it has worked well, their poop stays nice and firm as always :) The carry weight is manageable too though it helps that the dogs are small to medium size.Nov 11, 2015 at 6:13 pm #2237558Josh GeorgeBPL Member
Are the two bags that look like they have been chopped the dehydrated food or do you run your Kibble through a processor? I'm curious if there would be any benefit to "blending" hard kibble with some fats/protien? I would assume that this would also help with the packing akwardness (from the way it looks in the photos). Like most have said, mine carries about 10-15% extra food in her packs, I just mix it with some water when she eats to aid digestion.Nov 12, 2015 at 6:31 am #2237643
Hi, Joshua The dehydrated stuff comes like that. Reconstituted with water it makes a green mush. Actually, since that was written he got pretty bored with it, so I looked for a high-quality kibble with more caloric density and settled upon "Taste of the Wild", which is supplemented (variously) with bacon fat, leftover toast, rice, steak trimmings, ham, chicken jerky, etc, as available. Also, the gravy packets as mentioned above, although the McCormick gravies don't reconstitute as quickly as I'd like so I'm still working on the gravy option and how best to manage single-serving mixing… Yep, my boy definitely gets about 15% extra when we're hiking all day. And even more as the weather gets colder.Nov 12, 2015 at 1:01 pm #2237760Josh GeorgeBPL Member
O nice, thanks! That sounds like a pretty great recipe, I might have to take some of and modify it to work for us. After doing some more research last night, I found TurboPup bars. Anyone have any experience with them? Looks like they would be a pretty good commercially availiable option. Review: http://www.allgoodsk9adventures.com/#!tips.c1yzjNov 12, 2015 at 1:10 pm #2237764Diane PinkersBPL Member
@dipinkLocale: Western Washington
Whenever I think of long-distance hikers with dogs, I think of Allgood and Trauma. I know that on Allgood's website he has mentioned feeding dogs on the trail, but has Trauma ever weighed in on his blog?Nov 12, 2015 at 10:13 pm #2237906D MBPL Member
@farwalkerLocale: What, ME worry?
In his book " Ultralight Survival Kit", page nine through fifteen how he cares for and feeds Yoni.Nov 13, 2015 at 4:55 am #2237933Kevin BabioneBPL Member
Bob's dog, Cyrus, also often gets some supplemental snacks from Bob's hiking partners. It's often said on this site that the lightest thing is that which you don't carry. Cyrus is the master of this! On our last hike with Cyrus one of us (Brian – you know who you are) even packed a separate snack bag of treats for Cyrus! I just shared my beef jerky…Nov 13, 2015 at 5:45 am #2237936
Kevin, as you know, Cyrus is hard to resist when he sits there politely and looks at you with those doleful brown eyes. He loves hiking with you guys. He's the consummate moocher and you guys are the consummate enablers, lol!Nov 15, 2015 at 10:58 pm #2238375Nick SmolinskeBPL Member
@smoLocale: Rogue Panda Designs
One option would be to slowly add fat to your dog's meals while at home to transition into a high fat diet. When on the trail, just add oil or butter to the kibble. I add extra fat to my own meals when hiking, why not to the dog's? As long as you transition somewhat there shouldn't be any side effects, unless dogs don't burn fat as well as humans do (which I doubt is the case).Dec 9, 2015 at 2:28 pm #3369641Kenneth JacobsBPL Member
We feed our dog The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated dog food. We are actually transitioned him from Blue. I will say that he is much more active (for being 11 years old) and in a much more cooperative mood than when he was eating the Blue. He’s still a grumpy old man, but has been dramatically less stubborn/defiant. Another thing noted is that he doesn’t poop as much. I attribute this to his body actually absorbing more of the food (aka – less undigested filler). Additionally, The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated food is REAL food. Smells like a veggie and/or potato soup mix, and actually tastes decent…just needs salt for my taste….yes, I ate some of it…
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