I feel like I’ve found a home here in Bulgaria, after only 24 hours. Our hostess, Dee, is basically me in 20 more years… she also has six dogs, countless cats, and she moved to Bulgaria so she could have horses again. Her lifestyle is simple and uncomplicated and revolves around her son and her animals. This is the life I want to have, one where it doesn’t really matter how dirty my floors are because I’m not inside enough to notice.
We spent the day watching the dogs enjoy their freedom here for a few hours before we embarked on an adventure to find pet food. Feeding the animals has easily been one of the most challenging parts of our trip. In England, my dogs were fed a custom dog food made specifically for each of them individually. Six different bags were delivered every month, along with their cups already measured to serving size. The dogs had beautiful coats, normal bowel movements, and were happy and healthy. My cats were on Royal Cabin Ragdoll, also a custom made food for the breed.
For the first month of travel we had stocked up enough of their custom food that we had no issues with feeding. We knew we’d have to switch eventually, but figured we wouldn’t have too many issues finding a new, quality food. How wrong we were. Pet food is different in every country, and the prices vary from super cheap to insanely pricey. We’re on a budget obviously, so were looking for decent quality without breaking the bank.
We learned quickly that switching dog foods was the fastest way to dogs with constantly upset stomachs. No matter how hard we tried, we often couldn’t find the same brand to keep the food consistent. In fact, there are only two brands that we can find with absolute surety no matter where we are: Royal Canin and Pedigree. Now I love Royal Canin, but the pricing is often crippling, especially because usually it’s found at a vet’s office. Moreover, finding consistency within the brand has been challenging, and finding the Ragdoll feed specifically has been impossible. We went a few rounds with it early on, but we ended up with more upset stomachs and a screaming bank account.
After nearly three months, I had to admit defeat. Pedigree is everywhere, they sell the exact same type in all countries, they have a puppy food for Wasi, and the price doesn’t break the bank. I wince every time I feed, because I’m a pet food snob and would never have imagined feeding my precious animals such a low quality food. But with consistency has come calm tummies and much happier dogs. The cats have to settle for Whiskas, another brand that sells everywhere in the world apparently. They’re less impressed with their lot then the dogs, but they eat it so that’s something.
Even though these two brands are sold everywhere, normal people don’t have six large dogs to feed, and finding the big bags is always hard. We spent over three hours this afternoon, driving from pet store to pet store trying to track down the big bags so we wouldn’t have to buy a million smaller ones (one 15 kg bag lasts us about 5 days, imagine how many small bags we’d need). Eventually, we stumbled on a store that had two bags of adult, one bag of puppy, and lots of Whiskas for the cats. The store has agreed to stock those bags for us every two weeks while we are here, so score for having a regular supply! I wonder if we can talk Pedigree and Whiskas in to sponsoring us, we could be the spokesperson for them literally around the world at this point!