Hiking & Backpacking Trail Food For Dogs

Hiking & Backpacking Trail Food For Dogs

Food on the trail? It’s important to take food for your dog if you are going on long hike. You need to replenish your dog’s energy and strength. Extra protein is great for your dog.

There are several trail food options for your dog if you are out doing a day hike or multi-day, backpacking trip. We give you an overview of each option.

You’ll need to try different options to see what works for you and your dog. It’s also important to try things on a shorter hike before going on a long one. You don’t want to be surprised if your dog has an adverse reaction to what he eats.


HOW MUCH FOOD DOES YOUR DOG NEED?

 

We are not veterinarians or food nutritionists, so we don’t provide specific recommendations and amounts of food required for your dog. Every dog has different nutritional needs, so please consult your vet.

Find out from your own vet how many calories your dog needs on a daily basis and while hiking. Use the information your vet provides as a baseline and adjust from there. You can mix and match any treats and food so long as it totals up to your total calorie goal.

If your dog is very active, he will need more food. A good rule of thumb is to give about 25% more kibble than your dog’s normal meal for hiking, however, for a lengthy backpacking trip your dog may need 50%-100% more food. It all really depends on how much you hike and in what conditions. Use your best judgement by observing your dog on shorter hikes over time. Keep your vet in the loop so they can best advise you further.

Erin Tuveson’s dog, No Shame, needed about twice the amount of calories per day while hiking the Appalachian Trail! That’s a lot more than most people think is enough for their dog.


HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR DOG NEEDS FOOD?

 

A sure sign to tell if your dog needs more food is if he becomes sluggish, if you can feel his ribs, or if he loses weight over time. Unfortunately, It takes time, close observation and experimentation with food to tell for sure. Keep a journal of how long and difficult your hike is and how much you are feeding your dog. Start with shorter hikes and apply whatever you learn to longer hikes.

Consult your vet at all times. They may give you recommendations on better dog foods to meet your dog’s nutritional and caloric needs. Dandruff or scratching, dry coat, loose stool, stomach problems and repeated refusal to eat food are all indications that it’s time to change your dog’s food.

If you are trying a new brand of food or treat, give your dog a little at a time to try. Mix in old food with new food. Over time, gradually increase how much new food you put in until you transition over completely off your dog’s old food. Give your dog a little bit of a treat and wait at least half a day before giving him more.


IS YOUR DOG STILL HUNGRY?

 

As long as your dog is at his idea weight over time he should be fine. That should be your gage for how much you need to feed your dog – not a longing puppy dog stare to get your food! You may want to break up your dog’s meals up into more frequent dog meals. This is helpful if your dog has a tendency anyway to gulp down his food all at once too fast.

If you are heading out on the trail in the morning, bring your dog’s food with you and give him a little at a time while out on the trail. Going out with a full stomach can lead to stomach aches and uncomfortable hike anyway.

Don’t forget that drinking water is just as important as giving your dog the right amount of food. Read our article How Much Water for Hiking & Backpacking With Your Dog? to learn more about carrying and drinking water with your dog on a multi-day hiking or backpacking trip.


ENERGY BARS & TREATS

 

If you run and hike with your dog on the trail, energy bars are perfect. You really don’t want to carry so much bulk while you are moving around a lot. Many energy bars can actually be supplemented as an entire meal for your dog. They can be broken up into smaller pieces as well.

Steer clear of store bought dog biscuits and regular treats. These don’t provide nearly as much nutritional value as energy bars.

Read our article Best Energy Bars For Dogs to find specific food recommendations for your trail dog.

Sometimes your dog still wants a tasty morsel. You can always bring along a few! At least you’ll have room for it if you carry energy bars with you.


KIBBLE

 

For a short day hike, bring along some extra kibble (just your dog’s normal fare) as a snack. Start with about 1/3 the daily amount of your dog’s daily intake of dry kibble.

For a very long hike, you will want to feed your dog a meat-based kibble that provides more calories, protein, and less grain.

Ideally, you want to find the right type of kibble that doesn’t end up with you carrying so much extra weight and bulk. Many specialty dog store carry better brands of kibble.

You could also consider feeding your dog puppy kibble which often comes with more calories and nutritional content then adult kibble or adding in supplements such as peanut butter or oil to your dog’s food.


FREEZE DRIED FOOD

 

If you normally feed your dog raw food, this may be the best alternative to bring while on a multi-day hike. In the freeze-drying process, food is not cooked and still looks like what it does with water inside. Read the ingredients of the food that you buy to make sure that there are no artificial additives. Make sure it also has a AAFCO statement which states that food is “complete and balanced.”

Dogs loves the taste of freeze-dried food, so they can be used as a tasty treat.
Freeze dried meats are expensive, but could mean carrying up to a half less kibble and a lot less weight. Freeze dried foods generally contain better ingredients and made directly from raw foods. Cooked foods often have depleted nutrients.

Freeze dried food can be given without adding water, but some brands suggest that you add water to rehydrate the food.


DEHYDRATED FOOD

 

Dehydrated food is processed by cooking at very low heat until water evaporates.

It takes 2-3 times longer to rehydrate dehydrated food than freeze-dried food. Once dehydrated food is hydrated, it can grow 3-5 times in size.

Like freeze dried food, dehydrated food can be expensive. You also need to wait to have boiled water before you can heat up the food, and then some additional time for the food to cool. Add that to food you need to cook yourself and your dog will be begging for something to eat. To tie him over, give him a bone or treat while you prepare the food.

It’s probably best for you to carry the dehydrated food if your dog loves to romp around in the water. If the food gets wet, your dog will have to eat it or it will spoil.

 

Well there you have it! There’s quite a lot of dog food options. Choosing the right kind of food depends greatly on your dog’s preferences, dog’s nutritional needs, how much you want to carry with you, and activity level.

What do you bring for your dog to eat while on the trail?


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Best Energy Bars For Dogs – Pawtivity Picks

We love learning about the latest doggy stuff out there because we all want the best for our furry friends! Each week we cover the fun, novel, essential, and new products for dogs in our Pawtivity Picks Series.

This week we looked for energy bars to take out on the trail with our dogs. Energy bars are a compact, portable, and slim source of food for your dog. They are much easier to carry around than kibble and bowl. No more crushed or wet kibble! An unopened bar package won’t get spoiled and wet if you are on a trail near water or doing water sports.

Products Covered: Energy Bars

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.


WHAT ARE ENERGY BARS FOR DOGS?

 

Energy bars for dogs are short-term energy boosters or meal replacement solutions designed specifically for active dogs. Bars are high in calories so it’s not something you want to give your dog if he’s not active. Bars are also idea for travel rather than the main source of your dog’s daily meal.

Ask your vet for their opinion on which energy bars are best for your dog and activity level. You should also ask them about any known allergies. We can’t recommend a best energy bar for your specific dog. It just depends on his activity level, health, nutritional needs, and calorie requirement.

With all food, give your dog a small sample to try first before heading outdoors. If your dog gets an upset stomach or other adverse reaction from the energy bar, at least you’ll know in advance and be able to consult further with your vet. Don’t forget to try different flavors to keep meal time more interesting for your dog!

Even the best food manufacturers announce food recalls. Always check the FDA’s list for recalls periodically to make sure you are not giving your dog something from the list. Another great source for dog food is Dog Food Advisor.


ENERGY BARS FOR DOGS

 

TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar

TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar* is a popular choice among hikers and backpackers. It’s a complete meal for your dog, meaning, you can give your dog one of these bars in place of his meal! Depending on how much your dog eats, it means not having to carry around kibble and a bowl! And dogs really do love the taste of these. They just do! Flavors come in bacon and peanut butter.

Each bar is 2.2 oz, 250 calories and made from US sourced, human grade, all-natural grain-free ingredients. Bars also come in multipacks for a total of 4.4 oz and 500 calories. Bars can be kept for up to 2 years or up to the ‘best by’ date on the package.

Food is suitable for sensitive stomachs and approved by a lot of picky eaters. Bars are scored and can be broken into pieces easily by hand or given throughout the day as a treat.

If you look at the Nutritional Analysis, bars contain 18% crude protein and 20% crude fat to help sustain energy. Top 5 ingredients are all natural: chickpea flour, whey protein isolate, oil blend (safflower, coconut) organic tapioca solids, and proprietary vitamin and mineral blend.

According to Embrace Pet Insurance, dogs need about 25-30 calories per pound to maintain their weight. For a 50 pound dog, this is roughly 1250 daily calories or 625 per meal twice a day. That means as a meal replacement you may need to give your dog a 4.4 oz package for each meal and perhaps top it off with something else, such as peanut butter. This is important to keep in mind as it’s a very rough estimate of how much food you have to bring for your dog.

WHY WE LOVE: We love this because dogs love this! We also love how this can be used as a ultra-light, compact meal for your dog, perfect for that backpacking and day hiking trip.

Take me to the TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar*now.

 

Zuke’s Power Bones

Zuke’s Power Bones* are a favorite among day hikers. Zuke’s already carries a wide array of treats, that dogs simply love.

With real meat listed as the #1 ingredient and the fact that dog’s love the taste of these treats, getting these treats is a no-brainer. Power Bones comes in 4 flavors; Beef, Chicken, Chicken & Rice, and Peanut Butter.

Power Bones contains about 12% crude protein and 7% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are meat, ground oats, ground barley, ground rice, and maple syrup. Other ingredients are all natural and include a combination of fruits, vegetables, spices, and preservatives. These treats come in chewy, bite sized chunks about an inch long.

WHY WE LOVE: Zuke’s Power Bones are the prefect little treat for a day hike. We love giving tiny doses of energy (and love) to our dogs while out on the trail.

Amazon currently has an add-on special* on the beef flavor for $5.44 as of May 2018. That’s a really good price. Better take advantage of the awesome deal!!

Take me to Zuke’s Power Bones* now.

 

Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar

We look to hunters for advice on energy bars. The Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar* is new to us, but a staple for many hunting, sporting, and guard dogs. It’s compact and packaged for ultimate portability at any outdoor event, show, or during intense training exercises.

This 400g bar can be broken up into 8 smaller pieces. According to the manufacturer, 100-200g (2-4 small pieces) is enough for a 55 pound dog! That’s a small dose of energy! It will take about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for the energy bar to take effect.

 

The Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar contains 25% crude protein and 59% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are fish meal, lard, vegetable fat, grape sugar, and corn. Additional vitamins and minerals have been added to the bar.

A bonus in these treats is that these bars don’t freeze. You can use them in the winter without getting a hard block to give your dog! It’s also packaged so no need to package your own food.

This product is made by Henne Pet Food of Denmark and originally designed for dogsled teams.

WHY WE LOVE: This bar is one small, mighty compact dose of energy for your active dog!

As of May 2018, there is an extra 5% coupon*.

Take me to the Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar* now.

 

Out Bar

The Out Bar is handcrafted in batches by The Great Outdogs. It’s a compact meal replacement for dogs that need a good boost of energy. The bar comes in three flavors; herring, lamb and turkey.

Each piece can be broken up into 4 smaller pieces. A 50 pound dog will need about 3.5 bars per day.

The Out Bar contains 23-28% crude protein and 16-23% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are animal protein (herring, lamb / lamb liver, turkey / turkey liver), buckwheat flour, green lentils, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. This may vary slightly based on flavor of the bar. Bars are grain-free, do not contain artificial preservatives, and have added vitamins and minerals. Ingredients are source from North America.

WHY WE LOVE: We love that this bar is handcrafted with quality ingredients.

Take me to the Out Bar now.

 

What energy bars do you get for your dog? For what activity?

Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.


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Make Your Dog Homemade Treats

Make Homemade Treats

Love to cook? Whip up something scrumptious for your dog to eat! What recipe did you use and would you recommend to others?

Take a photo of your yummy creation! What did you put inside?

 

Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Cooking, Food, Recipe, Treat, Snack