It’s amazing to think that around 77% of travelers surveyed by Tripit said that pets are included when making holiday plans. Around 94% said they planned on traveling during their vacation time, but were concerned about an easier way to travel with pets. While Wrapsit, is a lightweight, comfy crating option for families on the go, when including dogs in travel plans we know that there are many other considerations. One that is especially important... the food your dog eats while on holidays.
When they are at home, owners find it easy to feed Fido a tried-and-tested regimen, which may be a little out of whack when the family is on vacation in another state or abroad. One of the main problems with foods is their potential allergenic effects on dogs. In this post, we discuss the nature of dog food allergies and highlight the way they are normally treated.
What is a dog food allergy?
It is important to differentiate dog food allergies from intolerances. While an authentic allergen is often a protein that triggers an adverse response in the immune system, an intolerance means that certain products just aren’t tolerated well, often resulting in digestive issues such as soft stool. Often, intolerances occur because foods have too much or too little fiber, or because they have ingredients (like lactose) that your dog cannot digest well.
Allergies can be inherited, meaning that a dog is more likely to have a specific allergy if his parents have it. Dogs from any breed can be allergic to specific ingredients, so once your veterinarian suspects an allergy or intolerance, the gold standard strategy is to feed your dog an elimination diet.
Your vet might recommend feeding your pooch just two ingredients to start off with - for instance, ground chicken and rice. Typically, a starting diet will contain one carbohydrate and one protein. Slowly, you will begin to add more ingredients, taking note of any negative symptoms in your dog.
Common signs of food allergies
Signs and symptoms to watch out for include itching, hot spots, scaly or oily skin, discharge from the eyes, hair loss, or infections of the skin or ears. Some unlucky pooches will have both skin and gastrointestinal issues (such as vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain).
Rarer symptoms of allergies include nasal discharge, secondary UTIs, weight loss, or respiratory issues. Sometimes, GI issues are related to inflammatory bowel disease or other diseases, so these symptoms should be taken seriously and referred to a veterinarian.
Avoiding allergies and intolerances while on vacation
Owners can sometimes make the mistake of feeding dogs leftovers and other ‘on the go’ foods while vacationing. It is vital to bring a food you know you can trust, especially if your dog is already allergic to one or more foods. Keep it simple by placing individual doggie meals into ziplock bags if your dog eats dried food. When flying, it may be safer to stock up on commercially sealed, sample-sized bags of your preferred dried food to avoid confiscation at the airport check-in.
If you are feeding him the raw food diet, consider a freeze-dried raw food. This is the probably the most convenient way to feed raw as there are many options available on the market today. Stella and Chewy's even has single serving sized patties - easy to pack and pretty simple to re-hydrate in most locations! If you are strictly "fresh is best", plan well in advance and make sure that you pick a hotel or resort that has a kitchen (so you can freely prepare your dog’s meals) and nearby access to a supermarket or markets, to source the ingredients you need.
Your dog may have quite a sturdy digestive system, but as much as possible, your pet's diet should be kept consistent throughout your vacation to reduce the chances of intolerances and digestive upset. If your dog already has known allergies, don’t rely on store-bought dog foods that may have new ingredients your dog is allergic to. Stick to the same brand you know and trust and remember to keep all your dog’s bowls spic and span, to stop him from developing an infection.