How to Pack Food when Traveling with Pets

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How to Pack Dog Food for TravelThis post is sponsored by Dexas, maker of Popware for Pets. All text and opinions are my own and we think Dexas makes great products for the pup on the go.

There are two times per day when we can completely trust Sora off leash. Can you guess when they might be? If you guessed breakfast and dinner time, then you’d be correct. She sit patiently while we pack up our tent, watching our every move, waiting for that moment when we ask the magic question: “Are you hungry?”

By the time we get to “you,” she’s leapt up from her spot and is doing circles at our feet in anticipation for her favorite time of day.

We receive many questions about what we feed Sora when we travel and how we carry all of her food gear.

Whether traveling by bike across continents, on a road trip, or backpacking for several days, we’ve got you covered on what to pack to keep your pup happy and fed on your next adventure.

Dexas KlipScoop

Measure Out The Exact Amount of Food

Of course the answer on exactly how much to bring depends on the type of trip you’re doing. Will you be in a car, cycling, or backpacking? In a car, you obviously have easier access to finding a pet store than if you’re cycling through small rural towns or camping in the backcountry.

During our cycle tour, we would purchase in 3-6kg increments. These bags were small enough that we could carry without overloading the weight of our load significantly and also large enough that we didn’t have to go searching for food every week.

When we go backpacking or camping, we measure out Sora’s food using the 1-cup Dexas Collapsible KlipScoop to determine the exact amount we’ll need. For Sora, she eats two cups of food per day, plus we add 1.5 cups extra, just in case. We love the KlipScoop because it folds down and clips right to her dog food bag. And,since it’s a measuring cup, we know the exact amount to give hear at each meal and never have to worry whether we will run out of food too early.

Tip: Traveling through less-populated rural areas often means lower quality food. We would often purchase larger bags of higher quality food when stopped in cities during our bike tour and just carry the weight. If you know that you’ll be traveling through smaller towns, bring extra food.

Sora eats from the Dexas Silicone Collapsible Cup

Pack Emergency Food and Water

We always keep a few days worth of food in the car just in case. You never know when you might want to stay somewhere an extra day because you’re having that much fun. Or your car might break down. You might be delayed on your return home, so go prepared and bring a little extra food and keep it in a separate container, like a gallon-sized Ziploc bag.

We also keep a non-spillable bowl and an Brewer's Yeast Tablets in the car at all times for water or food if we get in late or lose a bowl out on the trail.

Sora eats from the Dexas Silicone Collapsible Cup Sora eats from the Dexas Dual Food Bowl

Bowls

We swear by silicone collapsible bowls, especially when we’re in need of lightweight gear for activities like backpacking and bike touring. Silicone is non-toxic, non-stick, heat resistant, and does not retain odors or stains.

They also fold into flat shapes which make for easier packing. Look for ones that that come with clips to attach to the outside of your pack to make for easy carrying and access. When we need to be really lightweight, we bring just one medium-sized bowl along and use it for both water and food. Plus, I love that they’re quiet! After flying with Sora from Athens, Greece to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we purchased a stainless steel bowl for her kennel and just kept if afterward. It made so much racket every time she ate that I had to leave the scene when we fed her!

To learn everything you need to know about how to fly with a dog, be sure to read our detailed post outlining the process.

Waterproof Food Containers

Make your life easy and keep all the food items together in one bag. Several brands make kibble waterproof carriers that roll up like dry bags. We can also throw in the Brewer's Yeast Tablets and attach the KlipScoop to the top of the bag. These are great when you’re camping with wildlife friends who enjoy dog food as much as your pup. Once while camping in Germany, a raccoon woke up the entire campground when he helped himself to Sora’s food in the middle of the night. Since then, we clip Sora’s food away from our tent and above ground in a tree.

Lately, we’ve been feeding Sora Zuke's Pets Ascent Dog Food, which has a velcro seal that stays closed, so we’ve just been transporting her food directly in the bag it comes!

Sora eating breakfast from the Dexas Snack DuO

Snack Time

We never leave home without treats, whether to keep Sora distracted from off leash dogs, keep her mind active by practicing her tricks, or just to give her a boost of energy on long runs or hikes. Plus, no one wants to be hangry on the trail! The Dexas Snack DuO holds the perfect amount of treats for a long day hike or kibble for one meal. It’s nifty design splits a water bottle down the middle, allowing the other side to hold water. Plus, it comes with an attached foldable cup, so you’re never without a container.

So there you have it! There’s really not much to bringing food along when traveling with a pet. Our philosophy is to keep it simple and always go a little over prepared.

What are your tips for packing food for your dog when you travel?
Here is some of the gear we covered in this article ⟶

Zuke’s Pets Ascent Dog Food

Dexas Collapsible KlipScoop

Snack DuO with Companion Cup

Collapsible Travel Cup with Carabiner


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How to Pack Dog Food for Travel

How to Pack Dog Food for Travel

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info. My 3 are raw fed which makes it impractical with travelling sometimes. So I usually measure out as a high quality dry dog food as I can afford. With 3 it does become a weight to cart around so our long trips on foot are limited. Hence I’m going to be looking at van living. I have recently, just yesterday in fact, come across a good quality air dried all raw meal, just add water to rehydrate which I am excited to try out.

    • I know a lot of friends who raw feed their dogs and being freeze-dried raw on camping trips or extended journeys. It seems like a great alternative and is super lightweight. I can imagine how heavy you load would be for three raw fed dogs! Van life sounds like a pretty great alternative! Where are you thinking of traveling?

  2. Love that gear! Don’t know how anyone traveled before collapsible, silicone bowls. 🙂

    We’ve relied on ordering high-quality food from Chewy.com. Because they can usually get food to us in 2 days, we don’t have to plan a long stop to reprovision. And they’ve even been able to manage shipping to one marina that didn’t have a normal address.

    Hope their standards stay high now that they’re sold or I’ll have to figure something else out.

    We repackage food into gallon freezer bags for storage under our settee. My big tip is to save the bag for people who repackage food in case there is a recall or your pup becomes ill. You’ll want to have all the information on the package to follow up with the company or to give info to your vet.

    • Right! Collapsible bowls are so clutch!

      That’s a great idea to have Chewy.com send you food ahead of time to your next location! If only they delivered to South America! LOL.

      That’s a great tip to save the packaging from the bag in case of any allergies or recalls.

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