The nutritional value of dog food has been under a lot of scrutiny lately. Pet parents are pushing for tighter quality control standards on the foods produced by manufacturers. They want to know what is in the food they are feeding their dogs and what those ingredients are doing for their pet’s overall health and well-being. The demand for all-natural, organic dog foods made with real whole food ingredients has never been higher.
Breann Shook is a dog mom who wanted to know more about what ingredients were being used in her pet’s food. Her dog had developed serious allergies and was refusing to eat the food that was provided for her. Shook finally found freeze-dried liver that her pooch would eat, but when she looked at the packaging she was horrified.
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‘Wash hands after touching’ and ‘Not for human consumption’ were two of the warnings on the label. These labels made it seem like the food was unsafe – maybe even toxic. In 1999 Shook began cooking meals for her dog in her own kitchen, and quickly realized that many other pet parents were doing the same thing. It seemed like the perfect opportunity for a business.
That’s when she started Grandma Lucy’s Freeze-Dried Pet Food and Treats. The company was created as an alternative to highly-processed, mass-produced kibble, which is made using feed-grade meats that are not fit for human consumption. Grandma Lucy’s uses human-grade meats, fruits, grains and vegetables instead. They prepare all their meals by hand in their own giant kitchen.
The recipes include lamb, chicken, pork, bison, venison, rabbit, Mahi and goat – a variety that is geared toward allergy-prone dogs. The recipes are all freeze-dried on site to ensure a long shelf life without having to add preservatives. Grandma Lucy’s is proud to make pet food that people can eat too.
In fact, Shook has taste tested many of the rehydrated meals herself. She says the cheeseburger meatball recipe is her favorite. She also explains that many of the recipes are similar to something that you might find in a cookbook.
“The pot roast has ground beef, rice flour, potatoes, celery and garlic. The cheeseburgers are ground beef, cheese, garlic and tomato sauce. They taste good. The smells you get around here are great.”
The company makes dog treats too. Grandma Lucy’s 100% USDA organic, oven-baked dog cookies are also a huge hit with pet parents and their canine companions. They come in flavors including blueberry, pumpkin and apple. Shook says that the surge of pet food recalls in 2007 really fueled her business. It exposed the lack of safety in more than 90 popular pet food brands and shined a light on the need for pet parents to be more choosey about the foods they feed their animals.
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The recalls put pet owners into a panic and made them realize that it isn’t always wise to trust major manufacturers. They realized they needed to look into the ingredients that were being used and where their dog food was being made. In more than 16 years in business, Grandma Lucy’s has never had a recall on any of their products.
The only downside that I can see is the price of this pet food. Keep in mind that you certainly get what you pay for, but a 3-pound bag of the artisan chicken dog food from Grandma Lucy’s – which makes 14 pounds of fresh dog food – costs about $30. A 10-pound bag of the rabbit or goat recipes – which makes 50 pounds of fresh dog food – costs about $100.