Going on a trip with your dog? Take this convenient travel food along for the ride.
Healthy, convenient nutrition is also important for your dog. There are lots of good quality packaged foods and treats you can take on your travels, but those who prepare their dogs’ food from scratch might find themselves wondering how they can bring that home cooking along with them.
The following recipes are easy to make and will help ensure your canine companion has energy to spare during your whole trip, whether you’re going across the country or to a local campground.
Keep it simple supper
This recipe is based on National Research Council guidelines and contains 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat. It makes enough food for one day for a 50-pound dog. It’s very versatile, and ideal if you’re traveling in an RV or other vehicle with a kitchenette, and/or can shop along the way for fresh ingredients.
Choose a protein:
•4 cooked eggs
•1 ½ cups of fish (e.g. canned wild salmon or tuna)
•1 ½ cups cooked ground meat (e.g. chicken, turkey, beef or bison)
Choose a carbohydrate:
•3 cups cooked whole brown rice
•3 cups cooked pearl barley
•3 cups cooked sweet potato (canned sweet potato makes meal prep even simpler)
•4 ½ cups cooked oatmeal
When preparing whole grains, use 1 cup of grain and 3 cups of filtered water. When preparing rice flakes, cook in ¾ cup of filtered water for 3 minutes. Once you’ve chosen and cooked a carbohydrate, add your choice of protein, ¼ to ½ cup puréed fruits or vegetables, the brighter the better, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Doggone great granola
This and the following two treat recipes can be made at home before you leave, and packed for travel.
1/4 cup hemp seed butter or almond butter
1/4 cup apple butter, made with whole apples and apple juice
1/3 cup local honey
4 cups granola with no added sugar or salt (an example of a simple granola is one that contains only rolled oats, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and nothing else)
2 tablespoons almond meal
3 tablespoons fruit oil (e.g. blueberry, cranberry or pumpkin) or vegetable oil
1/4 cup carob powder
1/2 cup unsweetened dehydrated shredded coconut
1/4 cup wild dried blueberries
1/4 cup unsweetened unsulphured dried cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Try to use organic products whenever possible. Heat the hemp and apple butters and the honey in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Quickly add the remaining ingredients and combine well. Turn out mixture into a greased 9”x13” Pyrex dish, flatten with a spatula, and cut into squares using a sharp knife.
Cool completely – to speed the process put the dish in the fridge. Then wrap squares in waxed paper; for freezing, wrap once more in tinfoil or Saran wrap. Granola bars are perfect for the road and the trail.
As an alternative, you can make crunchy granola for you and your dog. Simply line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, turn out your granola mixture on the cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated 200ºF oven for an hour.
Bottom line oatmeal treats
These treats are calming to the gastrointestinal system and contain ingredients that can help alleviate motion sickness.
4 cups whole oat flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon carob powder
3 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon of ginger (if your dog experiences motion sickness; a 500mg capsule of ginger is perfect, or try ginger snaps or crystallized ginger)
Try to use organic products whenever possible. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the applesauce, mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lightly sprinkle with flour, then roll out the dough to ¼” thickness. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, score the dough to make treats of any size and shape you want. Place in the oven. Turn on the oven to 350ºF. Once the oven is up to temperature, turn it down to 175ºF and leave the treats to slowly bake for two hours, or until they are bone hard. Remove from the oven and cool completely before storing in a cookie jar or Ziploc bag.
Crossing the border?
If your travels will take you over the U.S.–Canada border, you need to be aware of which foods you can safely take, and which ones might cause problems. What can I bring into Canada ? Every traveler entering Canada must declare all food, plants, animals and related products because they could affect Canada’s animals, plants and natural habitats.
Canada has complex requirements, restrictions and limits for the importation of meat, eggs, dairy products, honey, fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. Items that do not pose a risk are returned to travelers and can be brought into the country. Rules and restrictions can change from day to day, so it’s a good idea to check Canada’s Be Aware and Declare website at beaware.gc.ca.
What can I bring into the U.S.?
Many fruits and vegetables are prohibited from entering the United States. Every fruit and vegetable must be declared to a Customs Border Patrol officer and presented for inspection. If you can prove the produce has been grown in Canada, you may be okay, but why not leave the stress behind and make your purchases once you’ve crossed the border?
Canned goods are generally admissible when imported for personal use. Dairy items such as milk, yogurt and butter may be admissible, but this is subject to change if there’s a disease outbreak. This applies to eggs as well. Take your Parmesan and cheddar, but leave behind any soft curd cheeses, like feta. Fish is fine, but leave the chicken.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has the final say about what may be admitted into the United States. For more information, check out their website at usda. gov/wps/portal/usdahome. You can also visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website at cbp.gov.
Suzi Beber has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award.