The Husky Squad in the Mont Blanc Region in France 🇫🇷
Traveling to Europe With Dogs
In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be writing a blog about traveling to Europe with dogs. Now that we’re back, although prematurely, I’m opening up our Husky Squad Travel Journal with you. To enjoy and benefit from this blog the most, I recommend you to watch the videos I include here for you.
HUSKY SQUAD TRAVEL JOURNAL
In this vlog, we spill the beans why we went to Europe with the Husky Squad in the first place, what we loved about Europe for our dogs, and the reasons why we had to come back to the USA. This video has journal style, raw personal footage from our travels which we’ve not shared before.
OUR 10 MONTH ITINERARY IN EUROPE
Portes Du Soleil, Switzerland
Central Valeis, Switzerland
Mont Blanc Region, France
FEEDING OUR DOGS RAW IN EUROPE
Although we knew it would be difficult to feed the squad raw food during our travels in Europe, we were absolutely adamant to make it happen. As many of you already know, we switched to Raw food when our Kimahri was diagnosed with cancer. There would be no chance we would go back to kibble and risk her life. Laziness and excuses were not an option for me. As we cover in this blog each region we visited, we’ll include the Raw food options we found during our travels. Had we stayed in Europe longer, I’m positive we could have found more options. During this entire trip, we followed our own Kibble to Raw Course methods and you can learn everything about switching your dog to raw food in the Kibble to Raw Online Course, no matter where you live in the world.
YOUR DOG COULD BE EATING LIKE THIS
...and it's easier than you think!
SWISS ALPS WITH DOGS🇨🇭
Spending time in the Alps with the Squad was one of our absolute favorite experiences. The Swiss Alps are not only one of the most beautifully kept and accessible nature regions we’ve ever been to, it’s also extremely dog friendly to hike and have adventures with your furry kids. Two incredible months flew by as we hiked the majestic European Alps, watched stunning sunsets from our little chalet, and lived a dream we never wanted to wake up from. We left our hearts scattered across the mountains, peaceful dreamy villages, and we hope someday to have a little old chalet to come back to as often as possible.
Rent a chalet with a beautiful view for at least a couple of weeks. You’ll create once in a lifetime amazing memories together. Ride gondolas, trains, go hiking, and enjoy the many rustic Swiss dining options in the mountain villages of the region. We’d avoid staying directly in touristy regions like Zermat, but definitely visit for a day!
Raw Food for Dogs in Switzerland
After trying some commercial raw food chubs from the local pet food store, we realized the Squad’s tummies were not happy with the idea. Instead we went back to the basics and started feeding the Squad human grade, intact, whole, pre-frozen sardines and anchovies which we found in the large mega COOP supermarkets all over Switzerland. These small fish were LIFESAVING for the squad. They do very well on oily fish, and given that we were only there for a while, we were comfortable with feeding the Squad these two oily fish varieties as their primary protein source.
During this time in Switzerland, we also tried pre-frozen human grade raw chicken from COOP, but we unfortunately realized that Tidus is extremely allergic to chicken. Interestingly, we hardly ever gave them chicken before. In our Kibble to Raw Course we go over in detail how you can make sure you’re feeding the right primary protein sources for your pups.
As we were getting ready to leave Switzerland, we found a lot of amazing raw food options which can be ordered in bulk online. Purchasing online raw food orders seems to be the most common and best way to go in Switzerland!
MONT BLANC REGION WITH THE HUSKY SQUAD🇫🇷
Our only regret about this region is that we did not have enough time to explore its majestic landscape. The trails are abundant, dog friendly, and the villages are full of French charm. We could not get enough of the hikes there, and this is when we began falling in love with French culture and people.
Rent a little chalet or cottage anywhere in the region and put your hiking boots to good use. Hiking poles are extremely helpful! The trails are steep and unforgiving, but the majestic beauty of this region will reward you with the most stunning visuals. You’ll be glad you burned a decent amount of calories on the trails, so you can indulge in the incredibly delicious french eatery scene and feel a little less guilty about it.
Raw Food for Dogs in Mont Blanc Region
I’ll be honest, we had a challenging time finding a variety of quality raw food in local pet food stores in the region. Thank goodness we found a few new protein sources in a local pet food store for the Squad. We chose a raw frozen blend of Rabbit and Duck by a brand named Nova Canis . The Squad seemed ok on it, but intuitively I kept it to a minimum of about 30% of their diet. Switzerland was not too far of a drive, so we hopped back to buy fish there every few weeks. There are many amazing options to order Raw food online in France, but our freezer was too tiny to go that route. A typical family freezer would have been perfect.
VISITING CROATIA WITH OUR DOGS 🇭🇷
We spent a total of three months in Croatia and created incredible memories there. Overall, Croatia was very dog friendly, and we hardly ever saw a “no dogs” sign.
Our first month was in a little village named Tuhelj. It was a great month for us to wind down after our adventures in the alps, and thank goodness the snake that bit Tidus in the garden was non-poisonous. This area is known to have horned Vipers, and this snake bite experience was probably one of the scariest times of our lives! We loved the countryside, the culture and people, and we really enjoyed visiting Old Town Zagreb with the Squad on a warm summer night. Needless to say, the Squad were immediate superstars in town. We were amazed when we were invited to eat in restaurants together. Absolutely pleasantly surprised!
How we’d do this region differently:
Next time, we’d rather rent a cottage right north of Zagreb nearby the hiking trails. This would give us fantastic daily hikes, amazing cultural experiences in Old Town Zagreb, and nearby National Parks to venture out for the day.
A little sleepy, dreamy village near the coast. Experiencing this region was like going back in time where we spent a month with close friends and fellow couple travelers Gretchen and Gustavo. We enjoyed amazing meals together in our cottage, delicious fresh made cheese from our hosts’ sheep ranch, and visiting the dreamy coastal villages of Novigrad and Rovinj. Our daily walks with the Squad consisted of country roads and playing in open peaceful meadows surrounded by olive orchards. We absolutely loved visiting the hilltop fortress village of Motovun and the surrounding hiking trails. If you love truffles, Istra is the place to be during autumn to enjoy all of its amazing delicacies. Truffle everything!
What we suggest:
Ideally, we should have stayed in Motovun for at least two weeks to enjoy the village and the surrounding mountains for hiking. It’s an unforgettable place! After that, we should have moved on to stay either in Rovinj, or Novigrad to enjoy the coastal dreamy villages. The tough part about staying on the coast would be finding hiking trails and getting the Squad’s physical activity needs met.
The magic of Split is difficult to describe. Although the Balken sea beckons thousands of tourists during the summer to enjoy the clear blue warm waters and endless islands, we’re so glad to have visited during the month of November. We had some wild stormy days, but we loved the off season, and the freedom to take the Squad all over old town without too many tourists. The Squad also appreciated the milder climate. We took daily hikes walking in Marjan Forest Park in the morning, and evening sunset walks on the beautiful Marina right by our little apartment. The food in Split was out of this world!
Favorite Restaurants in Split
Konoba Fetivi: Incredible SeaFood Platter and Sage Dessert liquor served up by a kind and warm father and son team. We miss their hospitality so much!
Corto Maltese Freestyle Food: Eclectic delicious eats with an ambience we’ll never forget
Bokeria Kitchen and Wine Bar: Where we ate for Jc’s birthday. What a special treat and modern eclectic ambience. The food was absolutely delicious. I’m so glad I chose this restaurant for his birthday.
Don Dino Pastry Shop: where we spent time enjoying divine ice cream, coffee or both (don’t judge!) and we kept coming back for more.
Why we wouldn’t change a thing:
We lucked out and scored in Split! We had an amazing modern Airbnb Apartment with a little backyard for the Squad. We stayed seconds away from hiking trails, and moments away from old town Split where we enjoyed the magical beauty almost every evening. We parked our car for the month and only moved it once to go visit nearby national parks. Everything we needed was accessible on foot, and we loved it. The beautiful Marina was almost at our front door too! If you can stay with our amazing Airbnb host in her perfect little apartment, do it!
Raw Food For the Squad in Croatia
Out of habit from Switzerland and France, we started looking for frozen, small, oily fish in local supermarkets, and there they were! In almost every region in Croatia, we found sardines, anchovies, and European Sprat from the balkan sea. Almost every LIDL supermarket had them.
Then I did a bit more research and found a brand named Von Barf. After some digging, the brand seemed reliable so I introduced beef and green tripe to the pups, and we SCORED! The Squad loved it, and I felt so relieved to have a great additional protein source besides the oily fish. Von Barf also has a fish blend, but we prefer using the entire whole fish when possible.
CAPITAL OF CULTURE: PLOVDIV BULGARIA 🇧🇬
Plovid knocked our human socks off, and that’s an understatement. It’s a beautiful, quaint, eclectic, historic, art filled old-town we’ll never forget. The food is deeelicous, the coffee is amazing, and the ice cream is the best we ever had. While we visited, Plovdiv was also a lot more affordable to indulge in dining and we did not deprive ourselves :D. People are so kind, welcoming and warm, and it felt like an exotic experience to us. The Squad were superstars there when we walked all over old-town with them since it was challenging to find hiking trails nearby. Kimahri could not get enough of the feral cats all over town, and she even got into a boxing match at night with a cat hiding in a blind spot behind a large planter. We thankfully realized just in time. Kitty claws are SHARP.
Raw Food in Plovdiv, Bulgaria
You’ll detect a pattern by now 🙂 We first went to local supermarkets to check for oily intact, small fish and we scored again! We found European Sprat, sardines, anchovies and additionally: baby mackerel! Lots of variety, which we like! But now, we had to find additional protein sources, and after some research and a couple of phone calls, we found “Pet Valley – Barf Bulgaria” in Sofia, which was a 90 minute drive each way. Not a problem! Their frozen food is well sourced and the people are kind. Highly recommend them! Their food did the Squad well.
Would we go back to Plovdiv? Absolutely! However, we’d probably make it a week long trip without the Squad to enjoy the culture, food, and the historical beauty of the region. The Squad can tolerate the city life for a little bit, but they need to #getthehuskyout in nature often, and there’s not enough of that close in Plovdiv. We highly suggest everyone to visit this beautiful town and enjoy at least five days of ice cream tasting, dabbling in many restaurants menus, and exploring the art, history, and culture scene. Try to book an Airbnb right inside old-town, or right across the Pedestrian shop bridge Maritsa.
THE MAGIC THAT IS ANNECY FRANCE 🇫🇷
Just writing about this region makes me want to hop on a plane and go back “home.” We left a huge piece of our hearts in this magical city. It’s very difficult to explain the diverse beauty of this region. You’ll have to watch the two videos here to understand a bit of what we experienced. In a perfect world, we want to have a little chalet in a quiet old street anywhere around Lac Annecy. We spent the entire Christmas and New Years season there, and it was incredibly difficult to leave. Lac Annecy has everything we love, from the amazing surrounding mountains, the peaceful lake, endless trails, delicious Savoyard French Cuisine, great climate, friendly warm people, beautiful history, the quaintest old town, magical Christmas markets, and mouthwatering raclette and fondue. We finally met our amazing new friends Kati, Damien, and their husky Talulla when they came to spend the New Year with us. We are so humbled by their kindness and hospitality. I can go on and on and write a blog just on Annecy! The Squad LOVED our time there. The region is dog friendly in every aspect! Heck, we were invited INSIDE restaurants with the Squad. We had great hiking trails and the perfect balance to give the Squad what they need.
Feeding Raw in Annecy
We could not find raw food easily in local pet food stores. There were amazing options to order online for delivery, but since our Airbnb Freezer was so small (again!), that option didn’t make sense. Our simple solution? Drive back to Switzerland (only 40 minutes away) and get what we need after we go for a day trip and hike in the mountains. Next time, we’ll plan freezer space better and order online.
Missing Annecy and our suggestions:
This region caught us by such surprise, and we can’t get it out of our minds. The only cure? We’ll have to go back someday! We recommend renting an Airbnb anywhere you like in the region. We stayed a bit away from the main town, so we can enjoy the tranquility. Be mindful not to book directly on the main road so you can enjoy the calm beauty of the region.
QUAINT FLORENVILLE IN THE BELGIAN ARDENNES 🇧🇪
I remembered the Belgian Ardennes from my childhood. In my memories there were lush forests, rolling hills, and country living. We wanted to see the region as a possible option to live since I had Belgian Residency in my childhood. Although I grew up in the city, I was always drawn to nature. The moment we arrived in Florenville, we were blown away by the charm of this beautiful little village, and by the hospitality of our new, favorite host Sophie. Spending our last European month in Florenville was a great ending to this amazing trip which ended sooner than we wanted to. We spent our days finalizing the Kibble to Raw course, hiking in the forested hills, dining with our new friends, and trying a lot of delicious Belgian chocolate.
The amazing Raw Food in Belgium
Since we stayed in a very small village, we knew we’d have to venture out a bit to find the right food for the Squad. Enter one of the most AMAZING natural dog food shops we’ve ever been to: Lewis Natural Pet food Store. Their selection and options are amazing, but what blew us away was the owner, John, and how much he cares for the wellbeing of our animals. He only carries products and brands he truly believes in, and he helps you figure out what’s best for you and your beloved fur kids. I highly recommend you shop there if you visit or live nearby. We drove two hours each way to pick up food in bulk since we had a nice size freezer this time. I intuitively know when food does the Squad well, and they absolutely thrived on the protein diversity and quality from the food in Belgium. I miss this so much!
Visit Underrated Belgian Ardennes
You’ll be so glad you did! We highly recommend staying in the cozy cottage we stayed in, take a ride with Shophie, Andres, and their gentle horses, and indulge in tasty Italian dishes at the Le Relais des Oliviers restaurant. Explore the history, nature, and the quaint countryside, and don’t be shy getting to know the friendly local people.
CLOSING THOUGHTS ABOUT OUR TRAVELS TO EUROPE
Europe with our dogs was a once in a lifetime and incredible experience. Seeing the Squad mesmerized by the Alps was one of the most amazing feelings we’ll never forget. We hope to go back one day to spend time with our new friends and continue hiking the majestic European Alps again. We left our hearts there and someday, we’ll have to go back and pick them up again.
Curious why we had to cut our travels short? Click here to watch this video.
I hope this blog is helpful to you in planning your future adventures. If we missed anything, drop us your questions here below. If you have suggestions for the community, please share them here too!
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