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A Dot.Com for Dogs

By: Kerri-Lynn Swanson
Photo: Allen Carrasco & courtesy of Good Dog Food Company

Jillian and Ian really just wanted to cook fresh and healthy, pet-friendly food for their beloved dog, Trucker.

As professionally trained chefs, they understood the significance of consuming fresh, healthy, organic foods and wanted to be able to provide their furry friend with the same high-quality meals. It was not long before they realized how much of a challenge it was going to be to create fresh and healthy food that also met a dog’s daily nutritional requirements. Pulling from their knowledge of nutrition and herbs, they set off on an adventure that would culminate in the creation of The Good Dog Food Company. Using locally sourced ingredients, they have developed a high quality product that is fresh, healthy, and super yummy! After meeting in culinary school, Jillian and Ian knew that they would be creating delicious food together to be enjoyed by all who were lucky enough to get a bite. What they didn’t know was that their biggest fans would be of the four legged variety! It was not long after their first dog, Trucker, came along that Jillian and Ian began feeling guilty about preparing fresh, healthy meals for themselves while he was being fed kibble and canned dog food. They soon began preparing their own food, and quickly realized that their recipes were not able to meet the nutritional standards and requirements as established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Still determined to make it work, they enlisted a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine to help them fill in the gaps using the recipes that had been developed. All of their hard work paid off when they finally perfected a food recipe that not only met nutritional standards but was made without artificial flavors and preservatives and contained fresh, raw veggies and herbs.

Quality Control

One of the most unique aspects about The Good Dog Food Company is the freshness and quality of all the ingredients used. As Jillian explains, “It is so important to us to get our ingredients from the best possible sources…. I don’t think there is another company that goes to the lengths we do.” All of the products are made by a butcher in Oregon and are all corn, wheat, and soy free making them ideal for dogs with allergies. Their beef comes from grass-fed, pasture-raised cattle and their chickens are raised by a lady in Oregon specifically for their food and jerky recipes! They also source their other ingredients locally, which just makes sense to Jillian and Ian.

“We have the production facility up there (in Oregon). So we already have to have the product shipped down to us. If we can get as many of our products locally as possible, then at least we are eliminating a lot of freight travel for the ingredients. Plus, it’s just a better place to get them from because they have tons of ranches and farms and they really have the area to do it the way it should be done which is organically and naturally.”

Jillian, who is certified in Nutrition and studies Herbology, also wanted to make sure that she added herbs that were known to have nutritive and healing properties such as Slippery Elm Bark, which aids in digestion, and kelp which provides plenty of phytonutrients for pets. All the herbs are added in Las Vegas before packaging so that Quality Control can be properly monitored. But even though these herbs don’t travel far, their quality must hold up to the high standards of all of the other ingredients. Herbally Grounded in Las Vegas provides domestic herbs that come from quality sources to be added to the food. Aside from being local and fresh, most of the ingredients in the dog food recipes are never exposed to heat sources allowing them to maintain their nutritional value. The meat is gently cooked and the remaining ingredients are added after the cooking process. Fresh food also goes a lot further than its cooked and dried counterparts. “Because our food is not processed the way most dogs foods are,” explains Jillian, “the nutrients are a lot more available to them and their bodies can use them better. They do not need to eat as much of it to get the benefits of the ingredients.” Everything that The Good Dog Food Company produces is human grade and the only preservative used is sea salt, which means that no matter what food you choose to feed your beloved pet, you can be sure that it is the best you can get. With their hard work and determination, they have given busy pet owners the ability to feed their pets high quality food without spending hours in the kitchen.

A Dot.Com for Dogs

Jillian and Ian have also spent countless hours organizing all of their knowledge, tips, and resources for their website www.thegooddogfoodcompany.com. A must have bookmark for health-minded pet owners, the website is chock-full of helpful information for any pet owner, from those new to fresh-made dog food to those looking for new ideas and helpful ingredient information. Their blog is also a must read (http://gooddogfoodco.wordpress.com/) and features articles and recipes dedicated to helping your beloved pooch live a healthier, happier life. Right now, only residents in the state of Nevada can order the frozen food for delivery. But never say never - if you must get your hands on their food, you can inquire about shipping costs outside of Nevada through info@thegooddogfoodcompany.com. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to live close enough to a local retailer, all of the jerky treats and bones are available for purchase online and can be shipped domestically.

Winning Recipes

We were lucky enough to have Jillian and Ian share with us three easy to make treats that are healthy and will probably earn you a well-deserved tail wag or two!

Dried Cinnamon Apples

2 crisp and firm apples
1 tablespoon orange juice
3-4 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350˚. Core and peel apples; slice them thinly with a sharp knife or mandolin. Place sliced apples in a bowl, add the orange juice, and toss. Next, add cinnamon to the bowl and toss, coating the apple slices. Bake for 20 minutes, or until dry and leathery. Turn off the oven and allow the apples to dry for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature before placing in a resealable bag. The cinnamon apples will stay fresh in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Chicken Jerky & Sweet Potato Bones

1 – 2 organic chicken breasts
Pinch of salt
2 sweet potatoes
Small cookie cutter

Preheat oven to 170˚.  Slice the chicken breast lengthwise into thin strips. Put in a single layer on a rack placed over a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Place in the oven on the bottom rack. Slice the sweet potato into ¼” to ½” slices. Use a cookie cutter to cut “cookies” out of the sweet potato rounds. Put cutout in a single layer placed over a cookie sheet. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Allow the chicken and sweet potatoes to dry for 6 hours (oven temps vary, so begin checking your treats at the 5 hour mark). Allow to cool and let Fido ENJOY!

Although cooking for your canine companion can be a great bonding experience as well as a nutritious and healthy deviation from processed dog food, it is important to keep in mind that your pooch can’t eat everything you can. When preparing food, avoid adding the following foods to any recipe:
Grapes and raisins • Avocado • Onions • Chocolate • Coffee • Tomato Stems • Pennies okay, okay, these aren’t food to you and I, but animals are a little less discriminating and they can be very dangerous if ingested by your pet.

Posted in: December 2011Lifestyle
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