Friday, 3 July 2015

Gear Review: K9 Natural Freeze Dried Raw Food

How to Choose a Dog Food

There are many things to consider when choosing the best dog food for your dog. The quality of the ingredients, how the food needs to be stored, and cost all impact the decision. The choice is not made any easier by looking at the various types of dog food out there - kibbles, wet foods, raw foods, or home-made diet options abound.

I am not qualified to talk about the "best" dog food for any particular dog. Sites like Dog Food Advisor have already been set up to cover this in detail. Your vet may also be a good source of advice. Instead, I will be talking about how this dog food performs specifically for a camping situation.

When selecting a dog food for tramping trips I consider the factors listed above, as well as the foods density (how much space does 100g of food take up), and its calorie content (how many Calories per cup or per kg). This also makes price comparisons between foods easier, as you can consider the price of each food on a calorific basis. Have you ever heard people say that more expensive dog foods are better value because you feed less? It's true - sometimes.

Calories are important when travelling. All dogs, even if they merely follow in their humans footsteps, will burn more energy while walking all day, and camping at night. As well as increased exercise (except for perhaps some working dogs) they will also expend more energy keeping warm. You can expect your dogs calorific requirements to go up by 25-50% depending on where you are going and how much exercise your dog gets on a daily basis. We usually increase calories by 25%.

Another consideration is choosing a food that your dog can adjust to easily. Sometimes changing a food can produce loose stools, which is exactly what you DON'T want to be dealing with away from home. For this reason I suggest testing out a food before you travel with it. Most pet food companies will send you a sample sized pack to try free of charge, but if you have a larger dog it may only be 1-2 meals worth.

K9 Natural Freeze Dried Dog Food

Freeze dried K9 Natural has been a staple for us for tramping trips for a while now. It is made in New Zealand, consisting mainly of meat products with a little fruits and vegetables, and green lipped mussels. We use the Beef or Lamb flavours because they have a higher calorie content than the rest of the range (Beef - 4792 Kcal/kg, 76Kcal/dollar and Lamb - 4713 Kcal/kg, 75Kcal/dollar). For the rest of the review I will be focusing on the Lamb flavour, because that's what I had in my cupboard for photos, although the two flavours are very similar in calorie content and density.

K9 Natural requires rehydration before it is eaten, this is a bit of a hassle with more than one dog, as we usually only take one dog bowl for both dogs food and water. Although, the rehydration requirement comes in handy when you can add extra water to rehydrate your dog, without having to carry extra "bait" to encourage your dog to drink.

Both dogs are keen to eat it up, and the bowls are licked clean afterwards. There is very little 'waste', which indicates this is a good quality food with few fillers, and less volume of this makes it easier to pack out if required.

Here is what it looks like straight out of the bag.

100g of Freeze Dried K9 Natural. This is a Glad Snack sized bag. Pen for scale.

After rehydration. Unlike freeze dried food for people, K9 Natural doesn't change shape or size upon rehydration.

K9 Natural suggest that you can switch to their dog food by "Simply [not feeding] your dog for a 12 hour period then start feeding solely K9 Natural." although I would test this before you get out in the bush. You can also switch more gradually, by feeding more K9 Natural at each meal and decreasing the amount of your dogs regular food over 7-10 days until the dog is eating purely K9 Natural, although this is less practical for tramping.

To get the legal stuff out of the way: I am not paid to write this, I gain no benefit from lying about how good a product is. Some of these pet food suppliers might have sent me free samples, but I will always disclose this (K9 Natural didn't). If they sent me free samples, they will probably send them to you too, just ask!
All prices are from the K9 Natural website

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