Several pet food delivery platforms are offering healthy food under expert advice. Here’s what they have for your pooch…
Cooking for your dog isn’t the same as humans. Who better than Sujata Bhattacharya would know. In 2018, when her beagle was battling severe health issues, she conducted a research to understand the reasons behind her dog’s condition. She discovered that neither was it getting a balanced diet nor was in proportionate quantities. This led her to start FurrMeals along with her friend Tarun Arora to help other pet parents facing similar issues.
FurrMeals offers ready-to-eat meals for puppies, adults and senior dogs, based on dogs’ nutritional requirements under the guidance of an in-house nutritionist.
“We cook with whole chicken, rice, pumpkin, egg, carrot, greens, chicken liver and heart, apple, chia and flax seeds, high quality cold pressed coconut oil, mint, egg shell powder, organic turmeric, ashwagandha and moringa in one of the recipes. We also have a chicken bone broth, a speciality, which is great for dogs’ bones and health. It is cooked for 13-14 hours and boosts with nutrients,” explains Tarun.
Every item is carefully prepared in kitchen and the duo regularly conduct quality checks to ensure their quality.
“The type of ingredients, cooking time, the quantity of herbs and protein content play an important role in the health and wellbeing of your pets. We follow strict protocols to retain quality of food, right from the procurement of ingredients till the delivery of the final dish. Even while cooking, chefs follow use steel utensils and follow COVID-19 protocols,” he shares.
One of the concerns about packed meals is the use of preservatives. To negate out artificial colours and taste enhancers, the duo use thermal insulated packaging.
“Our food is free from any sugar, salt, spices, preservatives, food colourings and artificial flavours. In fact, these dishes are so healthy that even a pet parent can consume them. But they will require salt/sugar and other spices while consuming these dishes,” explains Tarun.
FurrMeals is not the only brand that provides home-made nutritious food. The pet food delivery industry has seen a tremendous innovation. Manvi Gupta’s brand ‘Nuts over Mutts’, for instance, serves fresh customised meals to dogs based on their health history.
Manvi’s entry in this industry happened by chance. She shares, “A few years ago, my dog was battling stomach and skin issues. I consulted a nutritionist, who suggested me to try home-made healthy food. I innovated with recipes for my dog and started enjoying it. That’s how I decided to do quit my corporate job to convert my hobby as a full-time venture.”
Manvi relies on a veterinary doctor for suggestions and guidance on the right ingredients, food alternates (for dogs who have a food allergy) and meal sizes.
“Chefs prepare separate meals for puppies, adult dogs and senior dogs in our in-house kitchen. Meals vary in terms of nutritional requirements and not in their quality,” she explains.
With four variants to offer — chicken; chicken and paneer; chicken and mutton; and only mutton, all meals lack salt and sugar. Instead chefs use cold pressed coconut oil, egg shell powder, home-dried Lakadom turmeric, chicken, black pepper powder and rice. To maintain their size and quality, meals are pre-portioned and vacuum sealed.
Manvi dedicates a lot of time in choosing the ingredients. “We do not use basmati rice. We instead source a specific variety of rice from South India as it is extremely nutritious for dogs. Similarly, we use Lakadong turmeric. It is specially sourced from Meghalaya as it is great for dogs’ immunity and joint support,” she adds.
Nuts over Mutts provides a standard meal size between 100-500 grams and offers meal plans at different prizes (subscription-based model). Their food do not involve any cooking while consumption, making it easier for pet parents to serve quality and nutrition.
Woof Yums also provides customised balanced meals for dogs in all age groups. Jotvinder (Jojo) Singh, the brainchild behind the brand, started this venture for his love for dogs. As an advertiser in his former job, he started this entrepreneurial journey to provide balanced meals to dogs.
He enrolled himself in a virtual course in ‘Puppy nutrition’ to learn the art of cooking for pets. The brand specialises in preparing customised meals using natural, healthy ingredients.
"Meals are curated as per dogs’ health conditions and age," he says.
Work in the kitchen starts as early as 3 am. “Most pet parents want food delivery by 8-8:30 am. Due to this, chefs start early,” he shares.
Orders are welcomed through Woof Yums’ website. Explaining the process, Jojo shares, “Pet parents are asked to fill a form that includes a detailed information about the pet and its health history, among other things.”
After the form is submitted, its copy reaches him, chefs, the veterinary doctor and nutritionist. He then consults the veterinary doctor and nutritionist who suggest him the right diet, keeping dogs' requisite health conditions in mind.
“We have kids (dogs) who have thyroid, obesity, diabetes, arthritis and renal problems. Then there are puppies, adult and old dogs. Diet changes for a puppy and adult dog. For instance, a senior pet requires less protein and more glucosamine to treat arthritis. In that case, we recommend neck and face stock,” he explains.