2018 Holiday Guide: How To Keep Your Raw Fed Dog Safe And Happy
It’s happened to all of us.
You’ve spent all morning packing your things in the car, making sure your house is tidy, and getting your dog on their leash and ready to go. You finally get in the car and head out to your extended family’s (or friend’s) house to celebrate the holidays….and then you remember.
“I forgot the dog’s raw food! What do I do?”
Feeding your dog fresh, whole foods is so rewarding long-term. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with some challenges in the short-term. Like traveling.
Luckily, with a bit of preparation and planning, this holiday season with your raw fed dog can be stress-free, safe, and enjoyable. Here’s our top 3 tips for making the 2018 holidays the very best for your pup.
Tip #1: Prepare To Travel With Raw Food
By far, one of the most challenging parts of being a #rawfed dog parent is finding a safe, convenient way to travel with raw food. The very best thing you can do is prepare, prepare, prepare.
Due to the fact that stores may have different hours during the holiday season (or might even close up shop close to Christmas), it’s vital to make sure that you have enough raw food to get your dog through the holidays. Stocking up now can save a headache later!
Example meal prepping chart for Bones & Co. food if you are planning to travel for 1 week with a 20-pound dog:
Transporting Raw Food
If you are traveling to a place that sells the brand of raw food you need, just double check that the store closest to your destination will be open when you arrive!
If you are traveling to a place that does not sell the brand of raw food your dog is used to, you have to prepare to travel with raw food. Keeping your food at 0 °F is the best course of action to ensure that the safety of the raw food is not compromised. Find a high-quality portable cooler that can keep your raw food, supplements, and bones at this temperature when traveling by airplane or car. Note: your pup’s raw food will be good for 3-4 days as long as it’s kept at refrigeration level of 40°F or below.
When traveling for multiple days, be sure you know your cooler’s limits with ice melt and have a plan to empty and refill ice in order to keep the raw meat at a safe temperature.
Did you know? You can travel with your dog’s raw food on an airplane if you prepare correctly. Check out this article about traveling with raw food on airplanes.
Feeding Your Pup While On The Road
We recommend feeding your dog before you travel and when you arrive so that you don’t have to worry about dethawing meat while on the road.
If you are traveling for multiple days, we recommend having one cooler that can function as a freezer (0 °F or below) and one cooler that can function as a refrigerator (40°F or below) for dethawing. Be sure to have a portable bowl on hand and a way to clean the bowl if you are planning on traveling on the road for multiple days.
If you’re curious what treat options you have while en route to your destination, consider a freeze-dried raw treat. Freeze-dried food can be kept at room temperature so you won’t have to worry about this food going bad. Keeping these treats on hand for a long day on the road is a good way to keep your pup entertained and rewarded without compromising their safety.
Paws up for Paws for Change!
YOU made a pledge for dog well-being this holiday, & we donated $1 to paws for change non-profit. Thank you!
Tip #2: keep your dog away from holiday hazards
The holidays present a unique challenge for pet parents trying to keep pups safe, warm, and happy.
It’s easy to get distracted with all the things that the holidays bring: people, food, and activities. But where does your pup fit into this plan? With a little bit of thought, you can keep your dog happy and safe with ease:
Have a Christmas tree plan. An energetic dog right next to a large tree filled with breakable things? Sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Some pet parents choose to abstain from a tree altogether while some keep the tree is a part of the house where the dog doesn’t go. Whatever works for you…just make sure you give it some thought! Get creative: here are some Pinterest ideas for creating a safety gate for your tree to keep the ornaments in and dogs out.
Keep your puppy warm. Depending on where you are, December can be quite chilly. Dogs can get too cold, especially if they are smaller or don’t have a protective coat. Consider purchasing a warm coat to have on-hand in case it gets too cold.
“In general, cold temperatures should not become a problem for most dogs until they fall below 45° F, at which point some cold-averse dogs might begin to feel uncomfortable. When temperatures fall below 32° F, owners of small breed dogs, dogs with thin coats, and/or very young, old or sick dogs should pay close attention to their pet’s well-being. Once temperatures drop under 20° F, all owners need to be aware that their dogs could potentially develop cold-associated health problems like hypothermia and frostbite.” (source)
Feed puppy-appropriate food. It’s so easy to be tempted to give your dog a big helping of stuffing, especially when they are looking at you with those puppy eyes. Feeding your dog too much inappropriate food (or having family and friends feeding your dog too much) can be a hazard for dogs. If you’re like us, you want some quality control over what’s going in your dog’s bowl. Consider getting a bandana like this one to let everyone know what you expect…even when you’re not looking.
Give your dog plenty of exercise. This is no different than any other time of the year, but make sure that you pup is still getting the attention they deserve, even during the holidays. Dogs that don’t get exercise are more likely to get into things they shouldn’t and have destructive, anxious behaviors. Take the time to exercise your pup especially during the holidays!
Have a safe place for your puppy to go. Dogs need personal space too! Some dogs like having a corner, den, or kennel that they can go to get some R&R when everything else is a little crazy. If your dog has anxiety, make sure to pay attention to how they are reacting to all the new smells, sights, sounds, and people around them to keep them happy and safe.
Tip #3: Include Your Pup During christmas dinner
Now, this one might be a no-brainer.
Have a plan to allow your puppy to join in on the fun! When everyone else is eating, it can be a real bummer to see your dog sad and excluded.
An awesome idea is giving your dog some frozen Beef Bone Broth (pictured right). This will keep them lickin’ away at a healthy treat while the rest of the family is enjoying their meal. If it’s warm inside, a cold treat might just do the trick.
Another great idea is to keep a raw bone on hand and give it to your pup right as everyone else is about to eat. See our guide on feeding raw bones to make sure that this is an enjoyable and safe activity.
Happy Pawlidays From Bones & Co.
What makes the holiday season the best? Surprise…it’s dogs. It’s always the dogs.
We don’t know about you, but we’re excited to snuggle up with our pups and spend some intentional time with family and friends. We’re so excited to take the time to show gratitude to those who have supported us most. Which just happens to be our furry best friends.
Cheers to this Christmas time with our pups and many more in the future. From our #rawfed family to yours, we wish you the best holiday season surrounded by love and DOGS!
Have specific questions about your dog’s health? While B&C cannot give medical advice, we recommend seeking advice from a Holistic Veterinarian for your best furry friend (BFF). B&C is here to be a resource for you while you learn more about raw food, Keto, and dog nutrition!