Homemade Dog Food On the Road


I’ve been traveling full-time for nearly four years now (my four year anniversary is only a couple weeks away) and the whole time I’ve been on the road, my pint-sized, trusty pooch has been by my side. She’s gone running down Mexican beaches and slept under my chair in French cafes. She’s slept through probably over a hundred train, plane, or bus rides. She’s biked across France and walked to the top of several Swiss Alps. And in all she’s been to something like 16 countries in the process.

Luna biking across France

One of the most common questions I get when I mention that I travel with my dog is this:

How do you find dog food on the road?

The simple answer? I make it.

When I first started traveling, I bought and carried dog food, but Luna has a lot of allergies, some of which are food related, and after trying everything I could think of to eliminate them, I decided the only way forward was to start making her food from scratch.

So I spoke to my vet in Switzerland and we came up with a plan. We started with a few simple ingredients and slowly began adding more things and trying other ingredients to see what she had allergic reactions to and what she didn’t.

Very quickly I discovered that she’s allergic to chicken (and eggs) and grains and that she does really well with things like fish and lean ground beef.

And so the basic recipe I follow on the road, honed over many attempts to find things she likes and is not allergic to, is this:

Luna’s Road Trip Dog Food
Ground beef or tuna (depending what is easily available and affordable in whatever country we’re in)
Veggies (carrots, red peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and other veggies that are okay for dogs, depending on what is available where we are)
Pumpkin (when available)

It’s important to note that if I’m switching Luna from tuna to beef (or vice versa), I do so slowly, adding a little beef to the normal tuna meal and increasing beef and decreasing tuna over the course of a week or so. It’s also important to note that the reason I include pumpkin when I can is that it helps keep dogs digestively regular.

Finally, if you decide to make your dog’s food at any point, check in with your vet about portions and nutritional requirements. Luna’s diet is one I’ve worked on with my own vet, but I’m sure there are different recommendations for different dogs.

Luna in Spain

P.S. You can follow Luna’s adventures over at my travel blog if you’re so inclined.

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  1. fabulous! We have been making Montecristo’s food from the get go. Knowing we would travel all over the world it just made sense. he’s sensitive to chicken (not allergic but sensitive)so we are cautious there. We also add things we would not eat to his food like bone meal and organ meats like heart or liver. Where we differ I think dramatically from your amazing approach is that Monte eats whatever we are having. As in it’s not a set recipe. If we are having cod with green beans and sweet potato … then that is what he is having (with his extra’s including Omega oils for dogs). If we are having a Pho for dinner, I will take out some of the edamame, chicken, seaweed noodles and that is what he is having. His meals change every single day. He doesn’t have the runs, he’s adapted to never having two meals the same. Sometimes all we can find is a tuna sandwich at the airport and well… after making sure there is no onion in it… that is what he will have. This method makes life on the road very easy and was the goal. Our vet would like to say it’s no good and sell us the expensive food that their clinic sells but she can’t argue with the results. He’s crazy fit and never sick so … we figure we must be doing something right.

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