Military working dogs have food options thanks to Subsistence efforts

By Alexandria Brimage-Gray Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support

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Ensuring warfighters across the world have nutritious meals each day is the primary role of the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support Subsistence supply chain. That role was expanded to include more variety for man’s best friend after recent updates to the military working dog catalogs that provide 27 new options starting in 2020.

Over the last several months, the Subsistence Food Equipment branch worked with the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Veterinary Service at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, to increase its dog food options for all of the military services from 1 to 28 varieties.

According to the Department of Defense Military Working Dog Program, typically German and Dutch shepherds are assigned to handlers across the services, help safeguard military bases and their activities and detect explosives before they inflict harm.

Dean Schoendorfer, a food equipment branch integrated support team chief, said since June 2014, when Troop Support acquired the mission from the General Services Administration, there has only been one brand of dog food available to the MWD program.

“Currently, the DLA depot only stocks Hill’s Pet Science Diet, High Energy 45-pound bags for quick distribution to our customers,” he said.

But one wasn’t enough for the demands of the MWDs, and Subsistence’s efforts to expand the dog food options were critical to his team’s mission, DOD MWD Veterinary Service Director Army Col. Andrew McGraw said.

 “The catalog updates will provide more options for prescription diets available for the MWDs that were unable to subsist on standardized rations,” he said. 

Schoendorfer states that under the new requirement, orders will be shipped directly from the vendor to the customer, expediting delivery by removing depot storage of the food.

Now that the catalog updates are complete, Schoendorfer said, customers will be able to order the 27 additional items beginning January 1, 2020.