Adventure Nutrition for Dogs: Snacks for Hiking With Your Dog
Just like adventurous people, adventurous dogs need next-level fuel. Whether your dog is joining you for a mountain biking trip, a fly fishing weekend, or an all-day hike, it’s smart to really think about his nutrition for the day.
Even if your dog is used to going all day between meals (like most dogs who are just fed twice a day), the extra calorie expenditure on long hiking days means that extra food is a good idea!
This is especially true if your dog is working really hard or it’s wet or cold outside.
There are a few different approaches to hiking snacks for your dog:
Approach #1: Extra Kibble
Let’s be honest. Some days, it’s just easier to give your dog an extra scoop of his breakfast or dinner to ensure he’s got the calories to power through the day.
I often put some extra kibble into my adventure belt or my dog’s backpack so that he can have a light snack on the road. Kibble is also a crucial tool in helping keep my dog’s off-leash obedience snappy and reliable!
Keep in mind that kibble can be dehydrating, so bring extra water for your pup. Avoid using low-quality kibbles that are full of fillers.
Approach #2: High-Powered Fuel
More and more people are feeding their dogs raw diets, home-cooked diets, or other non-traditional diets that are much more high-powered than your average kibble. While excellent kibble options exist, many people prefer to feed their dogs non-kibble foods.
I personally feed my dog home-prepared raw food. I actually prefer the ease of brands like NomNomNow, but they don’t ship to Costa Rica. Even if they did, we move locations every few weeks and it’s just too risky to have delayed or lost shipments!
This approach is more focused on giving your dog higher-quality food for all meals, rather than bringing along adventure-specific treats. Feeding your dog a fresher diet seems intuitively better. I’ve noticed that Barley has cleaner teeth, fresher breath, less gas, and a glossier coat since switching to raw. Even better, his gait and energy seem smoother on all-day adventures.
Your dog may just need fewer snacks and less pampering if his diet is better. Talk to your vet and do your research, especially if you’re considering homemade food. Balancing the nutrients isn’t easy!
Approach #3: Adventure Snacks
My favorite option is pairing a high-quality fresh diet (see above) with some adventure snacks. I’d rather not pack ground beef or turkey’s necks in on the trail, so my raw-fed dog needs another option for hiking snacks.
Rather than bringing along plan old kibble, I like bringing along some tasty jerky treats for my dog. Both NomNomNow and Farm Hounds produce really excellent jerky treats. I slip a couple into my hip belt, and we’re off!
Though you certainly could get some Beggin’ Strips or other grocery store dog jerky, I’d much rather support these companies. Farm Hounds focuses on high-quality jerky, organs, and more. Best of all, they’re focused on small farmers with sustainable practices. Similarly, NomNomNow makes single-ingredient beef or chicken jerky treats that are cooked in their own facilities.
Whatever approach you take, be sure that your dog is getting well-fueled with some extra calories for your upcoming expeditions!