Top Dog

Local veterinarian dishes up healthy chow that pets love

Feeding your pooch may seem like a no-brainer, but not all dog food is created equal.

As much as dog owners like to think what they’re feeding their pets is healthy, many dog foods don’t contain the essential nutrients needed to stay healthy from the time they’re a pup to well into their mature years.

To help pet owners take advantage of every opportunity to boost their pet’s health, Scottsdale veterinarian Dr. Rory Lubold has introduced an innovative line of fresh culinary options for canines delivered directly to your door. Using a platform similar to many popular meal delivery services, Dr. Lubold has developed balanced, healthy meal plans exclusively for dogs, made from whole USDA-certified organic natural ingredients including chicken breast, sirloin, wild salmon and fresh vegetables.

“We feed whole ingredients that are high quality,” says Dr. Lubold. “The meals are prepared by a classically-trained chef in a catering kitchen and, from a nutritional standpoint, we provide ingredients that are acceptable for human consumption. If it’s not good enough for us, then dogs shouldn’t eat it.”

When Dr. Lubold started The Vet’s Kitchen in 2011, he had already spent several years consulting with veterinary colleagues, local farmers and a veterinary nutritionist to develop a nutritious line of pet food.

“Initially, I formed the company with the intention to provide therapeutic diets for dogs and cats with kidney disease. By feeding whole-ingredient foods that are fresh, cooked-to-order and don’t have a lot of fluff and preservatives, we can help pets stay healthy and not need a prescription diet,” he says. “They get better so much faster if they have good nutrition.”

Today, the canine culinary company offers 27 diets including a wellness diet and specific meal plans designed to help prevent and manage conditions such as inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS), liver disease, pancreatitis and food allergies. Each balanced meal incorporates whole protein, fresh vegetables plus vitamins and minerals.

“The secret sauce that differentiates our foods from home-cooked foods is a vitamin and mineral supplement that makes it a balanced meal,” says Dr. Lubold, who cautions that home-cooked diets may provide too much or too little of the nutrients dogs require.

And the wholesome meals aren’t just healthy, they’re flavorful, too.

“We’re really good at making foods dogs can get excited to eat,” he continues. “We don’t overcook it so it’s dry, and we don’t undercook it so it’s safe. We use the natural oils and juices to help cook the rice which makes it taste good.”

Dr. Lubold says any time you start your dog on a new diet, let your veterinarian know so they can make any necessary adjustments in your pet’s care. He is available to speak with your vet to properly balance your pup’s meal plan.

In addition to caring for dogs, The Vet’s Kitchen cares for the environment. The meals are created in a custom catering kitchen equipped with solar power and natural gas, and the packaging is recyclable and/or compostable.

“For us, it’s about being able to produce foods that are responsible and healthy for the pets and also be cognizant of the impact on the environment,” Dr. Lubold says. “If you’re packaging food for dogs in individual 1-pound containers, that’s potentially a lot of waste. The way we try to offset that is to make sure we’re really responsible in all the other aspects of our business.”

Dr. Lubold is looking forward to growing The Vet’s Kitchen. The company is branching out to provide specialty holiday dinners (think turkey, potatoes and cranberry for Christmas) and developing new recipes. His four dogs and one foster canine approve of the meals on a daily basis.

“It’s amazing how excited the dogs get,” he says. “It’s fun to be able to make really fresh food that dogs love. We’ve been doing this for seven years and we’re growing nicely. Now that we have the wellness diets, I’m looking forward to being able to feed a lot of dogs a lot more fresh food.”

 

Story: Leigh Farr

Photos: Mark Lipczynski

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