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The Picky Pooch: Shipping raw dog food

If your dog has a sensitive stomach, consider shipping his special food to your vacation destination!

My friend told me that her dog was a very picky eater and she had a very sensitive stomach. Whenever they traveled it was horrible because she would always become ill. They didn’t know what it was – stress or any number of things. However, after extensive trial and error, they found something she liked: raw food!! Which you can find in most health food stores or online. Go figure!! So one day, as they were preparing to travel, she bought some of her raw food, frozen in packets, and sent a couple of packets to two places they would soon be visiting. Sounds easy, right? It took hours. This is for the “what it’s worth department.”

She called FedEx’s 800 number and asked them to walk her through the procedure for shipping stuff with dry ice (she decided to use dry ice rather than a gel pack, because she wanted the food to stay seriously frozen – gel packs will keep food very cold, but not quite frozen). They told her to buy the food and the dry ice and take both to a FedEx office, which would handle the rest, including providing her with an insulated shipping box.

Sadly, the main FedEx office had no idea what the 800 number folks were talking about. They then told her that FedEx doesn’t have insulated boxes and that you cannot use a box with the name “FedEx” on it if you are shipping something with dry ice.

Research the type of packing materials you will need in advance.

The concept was good, though, and here’s what she ended up doing. She looked in the yellow pages for a local company that sold insulated boxes – or you could call a company that sells dry ice, and ask them for a recommendation. She then bought the smallest feasible box, to cut down on shipping costs. FedEx wants no more than a kilo of dry ice, which turns out to be a chunk measuring about 8″x5″x2″ – not huge. She bought her dry ice at a grocery store that had a seafood department, and brought it, the frozen food, and her insulated box to FedEx. She called ahead of time, and made sure the FedEx office she was going to accept dry ice packages. They gave her a special label to put on the side, and she filled out the normal domestic shipping form.

If you should ever decide to try this, be sure to call the recipient and tell them the package is on its way, so they can arrange to receive it and sling the food into their freezer right away.

Even though this may seem crazy, after I spoke to a few other clients/friends, they were very intrigued. More people than I realized have issues with dogs with sensitive stomachs, which is accelerated when traveling. I found this to be very informative and extremely intriguing and I hope do too!

Joanne McCullough is the owner of McCullough Pet Sitting, a pet-sitting service for the Cape May area.