How It Started
From Little Acorns…..
We All have to Start Somewhere!
When it came to feeding our German Shepherd, Marco, we wanted only the best for our fabulous young boy.
Like so many, we believed the marketing hype of the large dog food manufacturers. We opted for the same premium brand of dried dog biscuit (kibble) on which he’d been reared as a pup. Only when he started to develop a number of allergies did we seriously consider a change.
That’s when we first began to think that our best friend deserved something more than what was currently on offer. We began thinking about how we could improve his rather bland food. We also began to question what was in his kibble that might have caused his skin problems and be compelling him to rub his nose in the grass all the time as if constantly trying to relieve an itch he couldn’t quite reach.
Better Wet than Dry!
We next opted for a wet food on the recommendation of his trainer. It was even more expensive than his kibble, which itself was not cheap, but at least it looked and smelled a little more like real food.
Marco was a little better. Certain of his allergies seemed marginally less concerning. But he was still not as well and as happy as we thought he should be. It was around this time that we began supplementing his premium brand wet – apparently ‘sensitive’ – food with what has now become We Cook for Dogs! Meals for Dogs.
It’s Nice to know what You’re Eating!
From the outset, we felt it important that we used only ingredients inspected and approved for human consumption for Marco’s meals. As people, we like to know where our food has come from, for which reason we only buy the likes of our meat, fish, fruit and vegetables from local farm shops. We felt that Marco deserved the same consideration.
We regularly walk through and around fields owned by our local farm shops, fields where they are raising their own animals for later sale. It’s tremendously satisfying seeing that they have good lives, are well looked after, and, when their time comes, will not have far to travel to land on our plates. Ours or Marco’s!
Taste the Difference
We could also see no reason why Marco’s food – or any dog’s food for that matter – should not look, taste and smell just as good as the food that we ate. Speaking to friends with dogs, it became evident that a major point of concern was that they could not recognise the ingredients in the food they were feeding their dogs. How can anyone be certain they are doing their best for their best friends when they cannot recognise the food they’re putting on their plates (or in their bowls)? So we made Marco’s meals in our own kitchen alongside our own meals. And, importantly, we also ate them ourselves. Aside from the fact that every ingredient was inspected and approved for human consumption, how else were we going to know exactly how Marco’s meals tasted?
Dogs Enjoy Variety!
As time went on and we did more research, we learned that dogs can actually enjoy and benefit from a huge range of fruits, vegetables and grains as well as their more traditional protein. We researched, we experimented, Marco enjoyed, so we added new things to his diet and created more and more meals. Marco became more interested in food, he became healthier, livelier, fitter and his allergies disappeared. Far from suffering from the variety of foods he was being offered which is what the large dog food manufacturers will tell you will happen, he actually thrived on it!
At the same time as we were experimenting with Marco’s meals, we were learning more and more about the difference between his and our digestive systems. Dogs have shorter digestive tracts for one thing. Because of that, they are unable to access all the nutrients in the likes of vegetables when the vegetables are in their raw state. He actually preferred his veggies cooked in any case so that wasn’t an issue.
Dogs are not People!
We also learned that dogs have need of certain nutrients that they can’t provide for themselves. For example, they cannot themselves produce all the Amino Acids they require. As humans, our bodies create all the Amino Acids we need for survival. Dogs are not so lucky. Ten vitally important Amino Acids have to come from their food so we had to allow for those in the meals we created.
Similarly, dogs need more calcium than do we humans. Many dogs are lactose intolerant so, by and large, milk is not good for our canine friends. We had to look for another solution. For this we turned to nature – something you’ll find we’ve done rather a lot in creating our meals. We keep our own free range chickens. They provide the eggs we use in some of our recipes. Eggs come in shells, shells which just happen to be the best natural source of calcium after raw bones. So we keep them, wash them, bake and grind them to add calcium to our meals.
All in all, it’s been a steep learning curve, but an enjoyable one. And the one who’s enjoyed it more than anyone is the one we set out to make happy in the first place – our best friend, Marco. The one who rewards us every day with his love, his loyalty, his zest for life, and now, the enthusiasm with which he looks forward to meal time!