From a very young age, I lived with my grandparents who were breeders of Samoyeds and the Japanese Spitz. We had almost 30 dogs and pups at a time, and there were helpers dedicated to cleaning up after them and making their meals for them. As kids we would also help out in their care. This was my earliest exposure to pet care in the 1980’s.

Me with my granny's dogs in the 1980s
Me with my granny’s dogs in the 1980s

Cooking for pets all started when my 11 year old lab Jamal had gotten depressed after his lifelong, 11 year old companion, Cookie, passed away in 2008. He had stopped eating and it was taking its toll on his health. The veterinarian had told me to make home cooked meals for him in order to give him a more palatable and nutritional meal to support his health. Eventually, Jamal passed away at the age of 12 and I have been cooking for my other dogs ever since.

with Jamal, who loved us and his partner, Cookie dearly.
with Jamal, who loved us and his partner, Cookie dearly.

I began doing heavy research on pet nutrition early 2010 and was also buying a ton of different kinds of high quality pet food and comparing them. I was always surprised at how large my bill was..I was buying dog food at 200-350 per can for research and was buying extra treats for the dogs at home at 350-900 per bag. I always thought, why couldn’t quality natural treats and food be more affordable? Why are there still ingredients I do not understand on the label?

My first R&D session
My first R&D session

I had a crazy idea, if I was doing this crazy tedious cooking for my pets, how many people were doing the same thing? I asked our vets, how they felt about developing homemade food since it seemed like there were other patients of theirs who needed it. They were all for it and were very excited. I wanted to include health-enhancing ingredients to ensure that the dogs who would be eating the food would get way more than just a healthy meal, but with added benefits. I consulted with my vets and even had the chance to get help from a Filipino Animal nutritionist from the US, all thanks to doc Sarmiento who made it possible.

Good Dog Grub Web

But because of the expensive tests, and the fact that I found out that I needed so many permits before I could make dog food (seriously, you really need lots of permits), I needed to find a way to improve funding so that I can continue on with my research and create products that are affordable and yet made with ingredients that would make pets healthier!

When WPK opened, we got great mileage because local and international news agencies found our human-grade pet treats and dog cafe intriguing
When WPK opened, we got great mileage because local and international news agencies found our human-grade pet treats and dog cafe intriguing

The Whole Pet Kitchen was born as a bakery for treats for dogs so that I could continue on with my research and testing to make my pet food. We sold natural treats online to people who were really interested in homemade, human-grade treats with superfoods in them. In 2014, we were able to build the Philippines’ first gourmet pet bakery and dog cafe located in San Juan where we cater to discerning pet owners who come to visit us from all over the Philippines.

By the time we opened our store, Jack was completely off processed food (kibble OR canned). He only eats food we make.
By the time we opened our store, Jack was completely off processed food (kibble OR canned). He only eats food we make.

By this time, our pets were already eating the different formulas I had created since 2011 and were completely weaned off processed food. This was also because my dog, Jack, suddenly developed allergies to kibble. We are still not sure what ingredients was in the kibble that caused his hives, ear infections, diarrhea and loss of hair, but our vet had encouraged me to do homemade since we had worked so hard on developing formulas before so that we could also see the results on him. So we cut off everything processed. He was doing so well on our homemade food, he smelled better, he had more energy, he shed less and his poop was small. Despite the tediousness of making his food every week, the fact that we were not in the vet for another ear infection or a hive attack was just too rewarding to stop. It also made me realize what a big difference it was to feed my dog purely homemade meals.

Me and our treats display. I finally decided to pursue dog food when I was able to save enough money for the requirements.
I finally decided to pursue dog food when I was able to save enough money for the requirements from selling treats at Whole Pet Kitchen.

Clients who heard about what I was doing for Jack and needed nutritional support for their pets diseases asked me to help them create diets for their pets who are afflicted in the same way that I would make Whole Pet Kitchen treats: they had to use high quality, human-grade ingredients, they needed to make sure the food contained the proper balance of vitamins and minerals, and was convenient enough to feed daily without needing cooking. After some thought and checking all our formulas, I decided to bite the bullet and finally push through with making dog food for other people’s dogs, and we wanted to call it, Good Dog Grub.

Good Dog Grub being made during our first few weeks of offering it. They are always made in small batches to ensure freshness.

We decided to register our company to the Bureau of Animal Industry, as a dog food manufacturer to make sure that the food that we will be making will follow their guidelines and pass their tests, we weren’t just going to be a “fly by night” dog food maker. With the research and tests that I had continuously developed since 2011, we had some formulas that were already ready to be served to our customers. Upon inspection, the folks at the BAI were quite surprised that we were a really small company and was intrigued by what we were doing: they just had quite a hard time getting over the fact that we really used ingredients fit for human consumption, it was something that they haven’t encountered before especially when we told them that our dog food would include human-grade virgin coconut oil and other healthy ingredients. We were proud to show them how we have been doing things, it seemed so far off from the factories and plants that they were used to visiting.

I still like cooking for our dogs at home, they not only help me test the formulas but they give me an idea on how it affects their condition and well being way before we offer it.
I still like cooking for our dogs at home, they not only help me test the formulas but they give me an idea on how it affects their condition and well being way before we offer it.

After a very long wait, our permits were awarded to us and we began doing our food in small batches in the store. We only sold to our customers who would cook for their pets or to those who would have picky eaters at home, as well as those who were watching their pet’s blood values. We gave our support to dogs afflicted with diseases by educating our clients on how to modify their Good Dog Grub to meet their pet’s nutritional requirements. We also made prescription diets from vets, or ones from our research on special order, to be able to help pets with diseases get the support they need. We are so happy to receive messages from clients and return customers of our Good Dog Grub, that they have seen a change in their dogs’ overall condition and outlook toward food and this to us is priceless.

After all these years and all the work, we were finally able to do what Whole Pet Kitchen was really supposed to be: A Natural, Human-grade and Preservative-free pet food company! We are starting again on a new journey. We hope that our food will also change your pet’s lives and give you more quality time with them.

 

Giannina Gonzalez
Founder of Whole Pet Kitchen: Pet Deli & Bark-ery
Makers of Good Dog Grub

 

Good Dog Grub is homestyle, natural dog food made by Whole Pet Kitchen: Pet Deli & Bark-ery. Whole Pet Kitchen is a pet food company registered with the Bureau Animal Industry that uses human-grade and healthy ingredients like virgin coconut oil, turmeric and fresh meats and vegetables for our products for pets. Our products are all preservative-free and gently cooked just like you would make them at home, except they are also complete and balanced with the proper supplements to support your pet’s daily needs. We are made proudly in the Philippines.