By Analiese Paik
There’s big news for locavore dog owners: Saugatuck Craft Butchery in Westport will begin selling their house made “Farm to Bowl” raw dog food this Friday. The search for a sustainable option to mass produced dog food ends with the ability to serve Fido the same quality food owners can choose for themselves.
The butcher shop celebrated its first year anniversary last month and founder and co-owner Ryan Fibiger considers the new offering to be part of their commitment to support local, sustainable farms and practice whole animal butchery. “We’re very excited about it, and it gets us even closer to being 100% sustainable” he said.
What exactly is in the dog food you ask? Meat, chicken bones, and some vegetables, but no grains and no preservatives or other fillers. There’s been a lot of debate about whether grains even belong in our pets’ diets and whether they’re contributing to health issues. Saugatuck Craft Butchery has decided to leave them out and go for a 100% raw offering. “The recipe is a hybrid of the recipe we used at Fleisher’s Grass-Fed & Organic Meats, which only contained animal materials, as well as our own research and recipes on how to incorporate raw vegetables in order to make the diet more complete and balanced” said Fibiger. “We use whole muscle beef shank, neck and short rib, beef heart, beef liver, beef tongue, chicken necks and backs for calcium, raw carrot, and raw spinach.”
The quarter-pound patties are sold frozen in packs of four for $3.99 and can be served defrosted or frozen. They are not meant to be cooked, however, and Fibiger cautioned against doing so. Cooked bones can split and become a health hazard.
He also recommended easing a dog into the raw diet, but stressed that eventually the dog should be eating the food exclusively for maximum benefit. “My dog, Sammy, and Paul’s dog, Hunter, have been on the diet for the past month. They absolutely love it and have both become visibly healthier – coats, teeth, energy, etc.” he said.
Fibiger didn’t bother consulting a veterinarian about how to formulate the raw dog food. “Just people with years of experience with raw dog food and lots of very happy pets.”
What about cat food? “I know people who do feed their cats the same food” said Fibiger “but my expertise and research is only on dog food, so I can’t give any advice or recommendations for our food for use with cats.” For now, we can spoil our kitties with organic chicken livers. They’re sold in bulk in the freezer case.