Categories
Dog Adventures Gear Review

TurboPup Meal Bars: Food for Dogs on the Go

Is your pup an avid hiker or backpacker? Or maybe he or she just lives an active on-the-go lifestyle? Either way, hauling bags of dog food along on your adventures can be heavy and cumbersome.

TurboPUP Complete K9 Bars are the perfect meal solution for dogs on the go. These bars have been formulated to exceed AAFCO standards for dogs of all life stages. The bars are crafted to sustain a dog’s energy, with a nutritional analysis of 18% protein and 20% fat for a total of 210 calories per bar. And with a 2-year shelf life, they can be waiting and ready to go for any adventure.

This summer, TurboPUP was kind enough to send us two bars (one bacon and one peanut butter flavored) to try out as an easy portable, no-bowl needed meal on the trail. Both of my dogs gave the bars four paws up! Keep reading to discover more about these wonderful meal bars for dogs.

*This post does contain affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar Review

TurboPUP meal bars for dogs are convenient and tasty. I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried them myself, but both of my dogs got very excited when they took their first sniffs and bites of this product.

These bars are complete and balanced meal bars for dogs of all ages and come in two delicious flavors: peanut butter and bacon. Both of my pups loved the bars, consuming them with enthusiasm. Here they are pictured taking a bite of the bacon-flavored TurboPUP bar.

Packaged in individually wrapped 2.2 oz portions, each containing 210 calories, these bars were easy to add to my hiking pack. They fit nicely right next to the Cliff Bar I had packed for myself.

The convenience of these bars might even be worth the higher price tag. I love the convenience of pulling a bar out of my pack, unwrapping it, and offering it to the dogs without having to pre-portion dog food into baggies, dig for a food bowl, or clean out the bowl afterward.

On a longer hike, I would likely still bring some pre-portioned dog kibble, as together the dogs would need to eat 7-8 bars per active day. But the bars work perfectly for a mid-day meal when we aren’t unpacked at camp.

And while there are only about half as many calories per ounce in this bar compared to a dog energy bar like the Kronch Pemmikan Dog Energy Bar, the TurboPUP bar is complete and balanced. So there is no worry about the dogs missing out on any important vitamins or minerals when consuming these bars instead of their regular dog food.

Below we will discuss a lot more about nutrition for dogs on the trail and how the TurboPUP meal bar stacks up. But first, a little bit about the TurboPUP company.

About the Company

Kristina Guerrero came up with the idea for a complete and balanced dog meal bar in 2011, on a backcountry trip with her pup, Dunkan. Since then she has created TurboPUP with a vision to manufacture canine edibles that embody health, nutrition, and premium quality. 

In 2015, TurboPUP appeared on Shark Tank, where Kristina partnered with Daymond John to scale the company. And as a veteran, she donates five percent of TurboPUP’s profits to causes in support of our four-legged best friends and our country’s heroes. 

Okay, now time for the most important part of this blog post, the nutrition information.

TurboPUP Nutritional Stats

One of the great features of the TurboPUP meal bars is that they are formulated to meet/exceed AAFCO standards for all life stages of dogs. If you aren’t familiar with AAFCO, this acronym stands for the Association of American Feed Control Officials.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a voluntary membership association of local, state and federal agencies. Our members are charged by their local, state or federal laws to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies.

https://www.aafco.org/

AAFCO has standards for nutritional requirements for dog food to be considered complete and balanced. There are 4 different types of life stages dog food diets can be formulated for, including All Life Stages, Growth, Gestation/Lactation, and Maintenance. Each of these dog nutrient profiles has 37 nutritional parameters that must be met to meet AAFCO requirements.

Many of our dogs will be on an AAFCO Maintenance diet in their daily life, but an All Life Stages diet is perfect for on the trail. And the All Life Stages label means that both puppies and adult dogs can happily consume TurboPUP bars in place of a balanced dog food – whether your dog normally receives kibble or canned food.

While TurboPUP meal bars can completely replace your dog’s regular dog food, I wouldn’t recommend switching to TurboPUP bars and stopping your dog’s regular food cold turkey. It is always recommended to try any new food at home and consider a slow transition to a new diet.

TurboPUP did perform a small independent study where they fed 9 dogs TurboPUP bars for 3 days without an adjustment period. This study did not report any adverse results. But I would still recommend trying any potential food switch slowly and at home (not on a road-trip or in the backcountry).

The Difference Between a Meal Bar and an Energy Bar for Dogs

TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bars are meal replacement bars. Meaning that because they are formulated to exceed AAFCO standards, they can be fed as a complete and balanced diet.

Since dogs use fat as their primary source of quick energy during exercise, not carbs and sugars like humans do, TurboPUP meal bars do contain a large amount of fat. But the ratio of fat to protein and fiber is more similar to a dog kibble than it is to a bar created to be a supplemental energy bar. This is because as a meal replacement option, TurboPUP bars were created to sustain your dog’s energy, rather than provide a quick energy boost.

A dog energy bar, on the other hand, is created to provide more quickly accessible energy for a dog. An example of a canine supplemental energy bar, designed to give dogs a quick energy boost like a human energy bar would, is the Kronch Pemmikan Dog Energy Bar.

The table below is a quick comparison of the two bars.

TurboPUPKronch Pemmikan
Calories/oz95.5182
%Fat2059
%Protein1824
Ingredients ListChickpea Flour, Whey Protein Isolate, Oil Blend (Safflower, Coconut), Organic Tapioca Solids, Proprietary Vitamin and Mineral Blend*, (Peanut Butter for Peanut Butter bar), Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Organic Chia Seeds,  < 1% Salt*Lard, Vegetable Fat, Fish Meal, Dextrose, Corn Barley, Brewer’s Yeast, Rice, Sugar, Garlic

You can see that there is a fairly large difference in the contents of these two bars. Now let’s compare the TurboPUP complete K9 meal bar to my pup’s everyday maintenance food: Purina ProPlan Focus Adult Sensitive Skin and Stomach Salmon and Rice Formula Dry Dog Food

TurboPUPPurina ProPlan
Calories/oz95.590
%Fat2016
%Protein1826
%Fiber54
Ingredients ListChickpea Flour, Whey Protein Isolate, Oil Blend (Safflower, Coconut), Organic Tapioca Solids, Proprietary Vitamin and Mineral Blend*, (Peanut Butter for Peanut Butter bar), Pomegranate Juice Concentrate, Natural Flavors, Organic Chia Seeds,  < 1% Salt*Salmon, barley, ground rice, canola meal, oat meal, fish meal (source of glucosamine), animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, brewers dried yeast, salmon meal (source of glucosamine), natural flavor, sunflower oil, chicory root inulin, salt, fish oil, PLUS vitamins and minerals

As you can see, the TurboPUP bar is much more similar to an everyday dog food than it is to a supplemental dog energy bar. That being said, the TurboPUP bar does still have significantly more fat (dog’s main energy source) than my pup’s maintenance food does.

How much to feed

Each TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar contains 210 calories per bar. TurboPUP states that an active dog will need 250 calories (or a little more than 1 bar) for every 10 pounds of body weight per day. So for example; my 13-pound dog would need 1.5 bars per day and my 40-pound dog would need 4.5 bars per day if only eating TurboPUP meal bars.

The math behind this estimate uses a formula universally accepted to estimate a dog’s daily calorie needs. If you are interested in learning how to calculate your dog’s energy requirements, keep reading. If not, then here’s a quick summary of how many bars my dogs actually need per day based on the math below.

  • Sasha (13 pounds) needs 2.25 bars per day
  • Glia (40 pounds) needs 4.5 bars per day (5 bars if not receiving her normal supplements, which add to her daily calorie intake)

So the estimate is pretty accurate for Glia, but under estimates Sasha’s daily calorie needs.

For those of you interested in the math, here are the calculations I used to come up with those numbers.

Calculating Your Dog’s Energy Requirements

First start by calculating a dog’s resting energy requirements (RER). This gives you an estimate of how many calories your dog needs for basic functions, like breathing and brain function.

There are two versions of this formula. The first is simpler, but not as accurate for very large dogs or very small dogs. The second is a little more accurate, but requires a calculator that can raise to the 3/4 power (which any modern cellphone can do).

RER = Dogs weight in kgs (divide weight in pounds by 2.2) x 30 + 70

or

RER = 70* dog’s weight in kgs ^3/4

Once you have a dog’s RER, you then need to calculate the dog’s maintenance energy requirements (MER). MER is also be known as daily energy requirement (DER). For dogs at a healthy weight, who are active and attempting to maintain their current weight, MER will be somewhere between 1.6-3.0 x RER while out on the trail. This range is dependent on the amount of activity, how tough the trail is, how far you are hiking, how fast your dog walks, etc.

The range of 1.6 to 3.0 is taken from the fact that MER = 1.6 x RER for spayed and neutered dogs at a healthy weight for an every day lifestyle. For working dogs, calorie needs can be up to 4.0 x RER.

For more information on calculating RER and MER/DER, check out these two fantastic resources:

My dogs are leashed while hiking and we hike around 10 miles a day most days of our backpacking trips. So I feed them at 2.0 x RER while on the trail. Again, at home, they would receive 1.6 x RER as spayed adult dogs.

In researching this article, I did find one mention, without citation, of a study that researched how many calories a dog burns while walking. Per PetMD, the study suggests that a dog walking at a pace of 3.7 -4 miles an hour (~15-minute miles) will burn .8 calories per pound per mile. This is faster than I hike but does give a rough estimate.

So let’s compare the recommendation with the math for each of my dogs.

Example 1: Sasha, a 13 pound cavalier mix

Weight in Pounds13
Weight in Kgs (divide lbs by 2.2)5.9
RER = 5.9*30 +70 OR RER = 70(5.9)^3/4247 or 264
MER at home = ~250*1.6400
MER on the trail = ~250*2.0500
MER at home + 10 miles @ 0.8 calories/mile/pound400+ 104 = 504
Cups of Dog Food at home vs. on trail (429 kcal/cup)~1 cup vs ~1 1/4
# of TurboPUP Bars on trail2 1/4

Now every dog is different and calorie requirements can differ from the math by up to 50% based on a lot of factors. But for Sasha, this calculation is fairly accurate, as she does eat just under 1 cup of food per day to maintain her ideal body weight.

I also was happy to see that my on trail MER calculations matched up well with the calculation of 0.8 calories burned per mile of walking per pound of dog. So her total calorie requirement is consistent with both calculations.

Based on the math above, Sasha would need 2.25 TurboPUP bars per day. This is higher than the amount calculated with TurboPUP’s rough guide of 250 calories per 10 pounds, which had her needing 1.5 bars per day.

Okay, now let’s check out Glia’s stats as she is a little closer to the size of the average hiking dog.

Example 2: Glia, 40 pound mutt

Weight in Pounds40
Weight in Kgs (divide lbs by 2.2)18
RER = 18*30 +70 OR RER = 70(18)^3/4610 or 612
MER at home = ~610*1.6976
MER on the trail = ~250*2.01220
MER at home + 10 miles @ 0.8 calories/mile/pound976 +320 = 1296
Cups of Dog Food at home vs. on trail (429 kcal/cup)~2 1/4 cup vs ~2 3/4
# of TurboPUP Bars on trail5.5

Per the above calculations, Glia needs 5.5 bars per day, which is a full bar more than the 4.5 bar estimate using the recommendation of 250 calories per 10 pounds.

However, it is important to note that Glia doesn’t actually eat 2 1/4 cups of food at home on a daily basis. Again remember that RER and MER are estimates and a dog’s calorie intake can vary significantly from the estimate. This is why, if your dog is at an ideal body weight and is not currently gaining or losing weight, the best way to calculate calorie requirements is to calculate how many calories your dog is currently eating. Just make sure to add in any calories your dog receives from treats and extras.

Glia currently eats 1.5 cups of food per day at home to maintain her body weight. So she is only eating 2/3 of her recommended MER as balanced dog food. This equates to 644 calories per day. (Glia does receive some additional treats throughout the day, but the quantity of these treats do not change significantly when we are on the trail.)

So if we increase her actual at home calories by 125% (which is the amount we are increasing when we multiply RER by 2.0 instead of 1.6), then she would need 805 calories on the trail or 3.75 TurboPUP bars which is much closer to the recommended amount.

If we chose to use the second formula of 644 + 10 miles @ 0.8 calories/mile/pound, then she would need 964 calories on trail, which is 4.5 TurboPUP bars and matches up great with TurboPUP’s suggested estimate.

In conclusion, we recommend packing a TurboPUP bar for your next dog-friendly adventure

The dogs and I were both impressed with the TurboPUP bars and would recommend them for your dog’s next adventure. You can sometimes find them on Amazon (affiliate link opens in new tab). Or you can find them on the TurboPUP website.

And if you have tried TurboPUP complete K9 meal bars with your dogs, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. There were a few unhappy reviews on Amazon, but we were very impressed with the samples sent to us. We would love to know your thoughts below.

5 replies on “TurboPup Meal Bars: Food for Dogs on the Go”

Where can I order these? My dog is overweight (Shi Tzu should weigh 12-13 lbs..My Daisy
weighs 19.7 lbs). Vet said she shouldn’t eat more than 250 calories per day, including
treats! She is very picky, eats mostly ribeye or filet minon . She loves almost all veggies.

I watch Shark Tank and you were very impressive. Thank you for your service.

I just found out that TurboPup had closed up shop. That was a a real downer, as was the news of Dunkan’s passing. I had used various flavors of the TurboPup bars and was looking to restock. Now that they are closed, do you have any recommendations for a similar meal bar? I prefer the bars when backpacking as opposed to kibble or even dehydrated. I just found the TurboPup bars easier to deal with. Great article by the way; just too bad they closed the business.

I was really disappointed to find out that they had closed up shop also. And unfortunately, I haven’t found a good balanced to AAFCO standards meal bar to replace this one yet. I have been using a combination of my pup’s regular kibble and energy bars for dogs, but that isn’t as convenient as a true meal bar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.