What Food Do We Serve? and Why We Say “Don’t Send Us Your Dog Food”By Phil Schools
For years, we tried to gently talk customers out of sending their own dog food. In this post, I will explain why we don’t want your dog food and why we are now, as of Fall 2021, banning customer dog food, except for medical issues.
Some people make meals at home and put the meals in individually wrapped plastic bags. This is quite touching and sweet. I admire the devotion and understand the concerns. But… let’s think about this again.
Here are the problems with customers sending dog food:
- Home food dogs sometimes lose weight. Sometimes the dog prefers to eat our food. Sometimes a dog comes to camp and has to eat the same old food from home and isn’t happy about it. The neighboring dog in the next area seems to have something yummier, and then the dog with home food will pine away. This can lead to weight loss.
- Home food dogs don’t get to play as much. When the customers send their dogs with food, the dog has to come in and get ready to eat while the other play. When we get ready to feed them, they are out and about, exploring, playing, and having a nice time. We pull the home food dogs out first, and put them somewhere alone (a kennel) or something, and get them all lined up to eat. Meanwhile, the camp food dogs are still out playing. I have often walked past a lovely, nice home food dog, who gives me sad “why can’t I go out and play” eyes and I have to just keep walking… The dog wants to play, but we need to get them ready and isolated.
- Storage and logistics are difficult for us. Here we have to have systems for tracking and storing food – and we do – but I often think… why? Is this food really so much better that we have to have a spreadsheet with food lists and containers crowding up the washroom and office space?
- Waste. When we have multiple varieties of food, and some amount does not get eaten, it’s a problem. We can’t really give it to another dog later, as we aren’t sure about the ingredients, allergies, or problems.
- We want the flexibility to feed different items if they reject certain combinations. That way we can keep their weight up.
What we serve at camp (updated November 2023):
Our distinctive “camp chow,” reminiscent of the meals served at summer camps, is automatically included in the cost of every stay. In 2023, we are providing Purina Pro Plan Kibble (All Ages Sport Performance 30/20 Salmon & Rice Formula) and Purina One Wet Food (Tender Cuts in Gravy with Real Beef & Bison), accompanied by a specially formulated canned pumpkin for dogs transitioning to a new diet. This combination has proven effective, and most dogs genuinely enjoy it. We always keep a few options of Kibble on hand for dogs with specific allergies, if your dog has food allergies note that in your reservation and we will provide them with an option that accommodates their needs.
For dogs with a more discerning palette, you now have the option to enhance your dog’s mealtime experience at camp by including our Premium Hudson Valley Farm-to-Bowl Chef Made Food for Dogs when booking your reservation, for an additional daily charge. This offers a convenient alternative to sending your own food. Additionally, you can arrange for some to be delivered home for your dog while you’re at it.