The growing consumer consciousness regarding what goes into food has extended to our four-legged friends. Two dog food purveyors in town, Mindy Poortinga of Vegan Meals by Mindy and Marlyn Granados of Fido’s Kitchen, are meeting the needs of owners who want to switch out the overly processed ingredients in their pups’ dishes for healthier options.
“People don’t always realize how many allergens are in dog food because it’s so processed,” says Poortinga, shown here, of the preservative-packed meals lining shelves. “[Pet owners] are serving food that can survive in a warehouse for five years and then wonder why [their animals] have allergies. Just like any healthy diet, your dog’s diet must be balanced with protein, veggies, starches and fats.”
Her pooches, all of whom are seniors she fosters, suffered from skin allergies or couldn’t digest kibble, so Poortinga got creative, making plant-based chow for her brood and then extending the line to customized food available to the public.
Granados’ story is similar. Her dogs had severe food allergies, and medicine to treat them was pricey, so she took matters into her own hands. For the past decade, she’s been using human-grade ingredients to make meals for her canines.
“I believe every dog can benefit from having some sort of real food incorporated into their life,” she says. In terms of health benefits, she’s noticed more energy in older animals who were once lethargic, as well as a reduction in allergies.
All-natural food isn’t for every pet, though. Darrell Dawsey, a veterinarian at Island Pet Hospital, recommends home-cooked diets only for those with special nutritional requirements because of disease or severe allergies. Otherwise, it can be difficult to formulate a well-balanced diet, which can lead to medical issues later.