Backpacking with your Dog: The Honest Kitchen Dehydrated Dog Food Review

If you are looking for an option for feeding your dog on trail, keep reading for a Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food review. Before Toby and I started our 900 mile trek on the Appalachian Trail, I knew I had a lot more planning to do than solo human hikers. The logistics of bringing a dog along changes thru hikes a lot, especially when it comes to food. Here’s a post on thru hiking with a dog.

In the planning stages I was definitely overwhelmed by the options. Thankfully, I came across Bookie and her pooch No Shame. She convinced me to go with The Honest Kitchen pretty early on. Bottom line: it’s an expensive option, but high quality. I spent $340 on 68 lbs of food that lasted us 3 months. Hiking with a dog is expensive, see a breakdown of cost here. This dehydrated food is worth the peace of mind and light weight.

Down to the nitty gritty.

Nutrition

I love that The Honest Kitchen lives up to their name with human grade ingredients. They only put organic ingredients in their food to boot. You can also choose grain or grain free options. I have no problem with grain when there are high activity levels, so Toby ate the Free Range Chicken Organic Wheat Blend (usually less expensive than the grain free option). Check out this comparison of The Honest Kitchen’s Dehydrated Chicken dog food options (grain versus grain free):

Both free-range chicken recipes are fairly comparable!

When you open the package you’ll see a green powder. The food dehydrates within minutes, so your dog doesn’t have to wait for dinner. Technically, you can give your dog the powder without re-hydrating it, but after a long day of strenuous work, the water keeps them hydrated and healthy. The last thing I’d want to do at night is eat a powdery paste that soaks up all the liquid in my stomach!

Don’t freak out when you add water, the result is not visually appealing, but your dog will love it! I loved to brag that Toby was eating better than I was on trail.

Weight

Regardless of how “ultra-light” you decide to try and go, food is a constant factor! Most humans plan for a rule of thumb of 2 lbs of human food per day. What is the rule of thumb for dogs? Well, it depends! You should absolutely calculate how much food your dog will need on the trail. As a baseline Toby’s calorie requirements increased from an average of 1100 calories up to 2100 calories.

At the end of the day, you save about 30-40% of dog food weight by using dehydrated dog food. This meant that each day of food for Toby weighed about 1 lb (instead of 1.4 lbs). I am one of those evil dog owners that makes their dog carry a backpack (he loved it). However, he never carried more than 4-5 days of dog food at a time in his pack. We were rarely out on the trail for periods of time longer than 4-5 days, however if we did stay out I would carry any extra food.

Logistics

Planning ahead for dog food is key. The last thing you want is to run out on trail and be forced to share your ramen!

I ordered The Honest Kitchen in bulk and had friends mail packages with my food along the way. This sounds expensive but when you factor in the cost of dog food purchased in trail towns, the cost is very comparable if not cheaper. Here’s some more information on mail drops.

On trail with The Honest Kitchen dog food

I feed Toby twice a day on trail. Breakfast and dinner align well, when we like to take our time and enjoy a nice meal that isn’t rushed. Based on my nutrition calculations for Toby, each meal was 2 cups of The Honest Kitchen pre-measured into plastic baggies.

Toby gets about 2-3 cups of water for each meal. I can’t stress enough how great this is for your dog’s hydration. I never worry about him not drinking enough water when he consumes 4-6 cups of water with meals.

Test out how your pooch likes this dehydrated food before you hit the trail with a smaller box. It is more expensive, but the cost is worth your dog’s health. A healthy dog on trail will make or break your thru hiking experience!

Have you used The Honest Kitchen? If so, provide your own thoughts on this The Honest Kitchen dehydrated dog food review in the comments below. Happy hiking!

1 Comment
  1. […] – switch food if you are going to earlier rather than later. Toby switched to the Honest Kitchen about 4 months before we hit the trail. After that, I knew how his stomach handled the food and […]

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