Happy Fur Friday!
Today I want to talk about something kind of weird, but also very near and dear to my heart.
Pet food while traveling!
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Sounds a little weird, right? Well since learning about pet nutrition I have become mildly obsessed with what my fur babies eat. Both of our furs are (at least partially) raw fed. Yep! It’s possible to feed raw on the road! It definitely isn’t easy but we’ve made it work!
But before I go any further, are you familiar with feeding raw? You may or may not have heard about it, but it is exactly like it sounds, feeding your pets raw food. Wow! This can be done by using pre-made frozen patties and sliders, freeze dried raw food, or whole raw. Someday I will write a lengthy post about the different types and it’s various benefits, but for now I’ll just give you a few of the reasons we choose to feed this way.
Now that we’re all caught up, how do I make raw feeding work on the road?
Well, first off, having a good cooler is extremely important. Our freezer is pretty small and usually full of food for us. We have this Cabela’s cooler, the 40 qt, and LOVE it! It keeps things frozen longer than any other cooler we’ve used, has a way to lock it shut, plus it’s a certified bear box so we can lock it and leave it outside instead of taking up space in the house.
Second, research where you’re going and which places carry what you need. And make sure they keep your preferred food in stock! I learned this the hard way. Rad Cat’s website named a store that carries them but really they only special order it. So that week Mr. Rodgers had to eat something different. Oops!
For Buddy, we rotate through different brands of frozen and honestly, a lot of it depends on what is available. But we only buy brands we know and trust. These are our favorites: Tuckers, Stella and Chewy’s, and Primal. We use the same brands for freeze dried, as well as K9 Natural.
Tucker’s is all sourced in the US and Canada. They have a high meat content, 95%, and most of their flavors have pumpkin for fiber and healthy digestion. I also love that each patty is individually wrapped. No more freezer burn, pieces stuck together, or touching raw meat more than you have to!
Stella and Chewy’s uses a process call HPP, or high-pressure processing, on their meats. This basically kills any bacteria present using extremely high pressure under water (like bottom of the ocean pressure) instead of cooking. This is a great company for someone who wants to feed raw but is worried about bacteria. *Side note: bacteria is generally not an issue for dogs and cats. They have digestive systems designed for it. More to come on that later.* S&C is also very high in meat content, 90-95% but they do use a synthetic vitamin pack if that is something you’re concerned about.
Primal is all natural. They do not use synthetic vitamins, instead, using apple cider vinegar, kelp, oils, and clay to name a few. They also do HPP but only on their poultry. Meat content varies by flavor and is lower than S&C, although Buddy seems to prefer this brand usually.
K9 Natural is a New Zealand based company. They use high quality, human grade meat and produce, and is the only raw pet food company approved to import into the US. New Zealand is known for higher food standards than most of the world so this is reassuring for me. They also include green tripe in their food which is great for digestion! And surprising since it comes all the way from New Zealand, K9N is fairly budget friendly.
We try to only feed freeze dried if we are unable to get frozen since its more expensive, and I believe frozen is better for our furs anyway. On the road, we’ve been pretty lucky finding their food, but in Cottonwood it’s pretty hard to come by. That’s also where the cooler comes in handy, we can stock up when we go into the “big city” and keep it frozen until we need it.
On top of his raw food, Buddy also gets the occasional raw bone for healthy teeth and as a special treat.
Mr. Rodgers is a little more difficult than Buddy. He has never really taken to the raw diet since he doesn’t like changing food. Cats are pickier than dogs and I have been working with him for almost 2 years. And he is FINALLY on the raw train! I guess I just had to find the right food. He eats a little Orijen or Fromm kibble and Rad Cat Raw.
Rad Cat is fruit, vegetable, and grain free, 96% meat and organs, and 100% natural! They use hormone and antibiotic free meats and do HPP on their poultry. It is a true carnivore diet and the fact that Mr. Rodgers is absolutely crazy about it sold me. Unfortunately, Rad Cat is fairly expensive for our budget, but man does he love it! I know it’s the best thing for him so even if it means we have to cut back somewhere else, I am happy to feed it to him.
He also gets a little Orijen or Fromm kibble currently, but I hope to completely cut that out in the next couple months. He’s just a little more difficult to transition than Buddy is.
Feeding this way is definitely more expensive and more difficult at times than feeding kibble, but it’s worth it knowing I’m doing the best I can for them. It’s my job to ensure they live a healthy, happy life and I take it very seriously. I hope this showed you that even on the road you can continue to feed raw. And if you’ve never tried it before I encourage you to give it a try! Most retailers will give you samples if you ask, also, their websites usually do too!