Farm to Table for Fido

By Analiese Paik

Saugatuck's Fido Food
Ryan Fibiger and summer team member Aura Carpenter with a packet of Saugatuck Craft Butchery's raw, frozen dog food.

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.

Saugatuck Craft Butchery
Consumer demand for top quality, grass-fed meat from local farms has made Saugatuck Craft Butchery into a popular food destination.

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.

Saugatuck Craft Butchery
Small family farms in Connecticut and New York are regular suppliers of whole animals to Saugatuck Craft Butchery.

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.

4 thoughts on “Farm to Table for Fido”

  1. I have 3 rescues & I feed them a homemade raw diet. I am so pleased to see that the recipes are an exact match with the exception that I add hard boiled eggs with the shell crushed, frozen blueberries and ground apples to my “patties”. I make them closer to an 8 oz. portion and keep them frozen in a sealed bag, taking out the needed daily feeding for my pack. For treats I freeze cups of yogurt, chicken & turkey necks and I make batches of homemade liver, bacon & cheddar cookies with ingredients that you can count on one hand. I stay as far away from commercial produced food items for dogs. Its just not properly regulated and dogs SHOULD NOT be fed all the grains, meal & fillers that go into store bought provisions. Even if you think the ingredient list sounds great, any nutrition that was present has been processed right out. I am so happy to see a merchant offering this option. There are so many out there that would make this healthier choice for their furry friends but don’t know how or have the time to do it. Kudos to Craft Butchery for providing this option. Now there’s no excuse to provide this healthy option to our beloved animals. On another note, cats are pure carnivores so if you minused out the veggies and stuck with a pure protein mix you are good to go! Species-appropriate feeding is the only way to go for a healthy & long life free of medical issues!!

    • Jayne, thanks so much for sharing your experience and advice and for supporting the work of Saugatuck Craft Butchery. Many of us, after realizing that industrial choices aren’t making the grade, are in search of the best “table grade” food for our pet. How wonderful for your three dogs that you’ve been able to figure this out on your own. Are the crushed egg shells meant to be a source of calcium, like the chicken bones?

      • Yes – its mostly for the calcium but there are other trace minerals provided such as magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. I grind them fairly small in a food processor as egg shells left to large can have sharp edges to them which you dont want…

  2. I’m also lucky that 2 of the 3 dogs I have love to snack on baby carrots and fruit pretty much anything that I am eating in their presence. Peaches, apples and bananas seems to be a favortie of theirs. Lucky for me my neighbor has an apple and peach tree on the property line. Its not uncommon to see one of our dogs with an apple in its mouth =D

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