An interview with JustFoodForDogs founding partner Shawn Buckley who discusses why he started the company, its processes and philosophy as well as what’s wrong with the commercial dog food industry.
Hi, I’m Shawn Buckley. I’m the founder of Just Food For Dogs.
We founded the company for people just like ourselves. People that want to treat their dogs like their family. That sounds like a slogan, it sounds like a line – for us it truly is the reason we started the company.
The Most Important Element
The single most important element in a dog’s life after he’s found the love of his human, is his daily diet. That more than anything else will determine his health, his happiness, and even have an effect or impact on his vet bills.
The Dog Food Business is Broken
The current dog food business is broken. What’s allowed to go into dog food is disgusting and horrible, but more importantly, it’s just bad for your dog.
If you’re feeding commercial food to your dog, then you’re most likely feeding your dog 100% by-products. By-products is a little bit confusing sometimes, but really the definition is it’s put into (in this case – dog food) as a leftover, as a left behind to manufacturing or making or producing something else. So for example, AAFCO (which you’ll see on the back of most dog food packages) allows, amongst other things – empty peanut shells, empty almond shells, poultry and other animal fecal matter. Not as an accidental ingredient or element, how do I say this, they actually allow in their regulations for the collection, intentional collection and inclusion of these items into dog food and other feed for other animals.
Now, I’m not saying that people actually put these things into dog food, I’m saying that they’re allowed to. And most of the large manufacturers of dog food are primarily not in the dog food business, they’re primarily in the human food business, and one could surmise that in the production of that human food, there are things leftover.
I don’t want to call them “ingredients,” as I don’t see them as ingredients. There are portions or elements left over from the production of whatever it is the main goal might be. It’s those left over by-products that end up in dog food.
The World’s First Dog Kitchen
When we embarked upon this business, we quickly realized that we weren’t going to be able to have some third party manufacturer, if you will, people that make different types of food for different people – be it dog food or human food.
We realized very quickly by visiting a number of these factories, for lack of a better way of putting it, that we were going to have to build our own kitchen. What they do is fine, what they do is on such a huge scale, that it’s impossible to maintain the quality that we were looking for. They also manufacture other types of dog food, and we do not want, or can not have feed-grade or dog-food-grade ingredients even enter our kitchen.
All of the food that goes into our recipes is USDA-certified for human consumption. The fruits, vegetables, and most importantly, the proteins and meats.
So if you see lamb or beef or turkey on a list for us, know that it’s USDA-certified for human consumption. I often times eat the food, try it, taste-test it. There’s nothing in it that you wouldn’t feed your human family – and that’s important to us.
Three Steps To Your Door
Our story really revolves around three components:
- Delivered to your door.
The cooked-fresh part is simple. We buy only USDA-certified for human consumption ingredients that are then delivered to our kitchen and cooked gently into our recipes.
After food has been cooked, we add a nutritional blend of supplements and vitamins. It’s custom made for us for each one of our recipes. It’s not a one-size-fits-all, but rather a blend specific to each recipe. This is necessary because it’s impossible for a dog — just like it is for a human — to get all of the nutrients you would need in a given day by eating food, which is why most doctors recommend a nutritional supplement or multivitamin or something of that sort for most people.
The second part of our story is packaged-frozen. We do this for one simple reason: It is the very best way to retain the nutrients in the high grade ingredients that we’ve already put in the food.
If we were to turn it into a kibble, or if we were to put it in a can, quite simply, it would not have the volume of nutrients that it does when it’s instantly frozen. Food in a can and bags of food that last several years on the shelf are full of preservatives and in our view that’s bad for your dog.
The third part of our story is delivered to your door; whether that’s actually a local delivery or whether we’re shipping it on dry ice, or if it’s somebody in the local area and you want to pick it up in our store at Newport Beach, all of those are designed for your convenience.
The Ultimate Goal
The ultimate goal of this three-step process is to get the very best food in the world in your hands to feed your dog.
Watch the full video here: