The History of Whole Pet Kitchen and how we started:
I grew up in a household full of dogs, cats and birds. My granny, Lourdes Sanvictores, was a real animal lover, she was also a breeder of Samoyeds and the Japanese Spitz. We grew up living with over 30 dogs at one time and watching how my granny took pains in taking care of them. We had helpers who were hired to focus only on the dogs, some would cook the food and cleanup, some would bathe and take care of the puppies in the nursery. This was my earliest exposure to pet care, before kibbles were imported and used by my grandmother for her pets.
I went on to culinary school to become a chef and a food stylist. I loved research and development and would little testing projects in my spare time. I also spent a lot of my home time taking care of pets like dogs, birds, hamsters and fish..we even had a horse at one point.
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. It was a tough several months because he refused to eat anything and aged in a matter of weeks. The veterinarian had told me to make home cooked meals for him in order to give him a more palatable and nutritional meal, his health was deteriorating and we needed to make sure he ate so he can fight off diseases. Eventually, Jamal passed away at the age of 12 and I have been cooking for my other dogs ever since. Mostly just mixing it with their kibble, and sometimes making treats. It was just one of those days when 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 had asked my vet at that time Doc Riza, along with our other vet Doc Sarmiento, how they felt about developing homemade food since it seemed like there were other patients of theirs who needed it. So I decided that maybe it was time I made recipes that included health-enhancing ingredients to ensure that my pets get the best.
I began doing heavy research on pet nutrition early 2010 and was also buying a ton of different kinds of high quality pet food. I was always surprised at how large my bill was..I was buying dog food at 200-300 per can for research and was buying extra treats for the dogs at home at 350-900 per bag. Though I was assured of imported quality, I always thought, why couldn’t quality natural treats be more affordable? Why are there still ingredients I do not understand on the label? Is it because of all the shipping and US prices that causes them to be expensive? So aside from making the dogs’ food, I decided to try and make some natural treats on my own using some dog-safe & healthy ingredients like eggs, VCO, meat and vegetables…and it was an instant hit for the dogs at home and the quality was way better than the treats & food that I had bought!
So we made a few samples of dog treats, tested them with the dogs at home, and they loved it. We made a few samples of treats again, and gave them out to the veterinarians and their clients…and got some very good feedback. Soon, our family, friends and even the vets were asking when we were going to make another batch of the treats since their pets seem to really like them. They also liked the idea that we used health enhancing ingredients like turmeric, VCO and ginger. All the encouragement got us very excited, we were really getting into the creative side of making and testing our recipes and before we knew it, The Whole Pet Kitchen was born and our dogs were testing healthy treats from biscuits to biscotti, muffins, cakes to chews.
We did a trial event in a human food market bazaar, and it was a complete flop, I had some very angry people who were upset about the fact that my “free taste” was actually pet treats (hey guys, it was human-grade though!). So I decided to take my products online in a Facebook page that I made, which helped me reach clients who were specifically looking for handmade homemade treats and we began taking in orders. We began rolling out treats only made to order, and we would get invited to events like the PAWS benefit dinner and other doggie events so that more pet parents can know about our products.
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. We are continually developing our treat line and working on our food to ensure that your pets get the best quality product we can offer. We’d like to think of ourselves as the extension of a pet owner’s hands: spoiling your pets through good homemade nutrition. And rightfully so, because we believe that all pets deserve the best food that we can give! Soon enough word got around, and both local and international news agencies came to visit and do features on our little dogs’ and owners cafe and natural bakery.
We have made it a point to always use natural, human-grade ingredients, this will always be what separates us from everyone else. All our products are hand made from scratch, we do not use any artificial food coloring and heaps of sweet ingredients to make our treats appeal to pets. Instead, we only use natural, human grade ingredients that have an instant appeal to pets and are safe for us and them to eat (who else was going to taste these treats to make sure it passed human standards at the very least!). Our story will go on further and has included stories from our happy customers who have found the benefits of a Whole Pet Kitchen treats.
We hope you join this journey with us at Whole Pet Kitchen, to improve your pet’s health and well being.
Founder of Whole Pet Kitchen: Pet Deli & Bark-ery Inc.
What is the process of making your recipes?
We are proud at the fact that all our food is made with human-grade ingredients. Depending on our food product, we review the restricted ingredients for the recipe (with the aid of a veterinarian and research about pet nutrition) and then we formulate a recipe according to these guidelines. We also make sure that each recipe has a health enhancing ingredient that is fit for the pet that’s going to eat it.
For our treats: we make the test recipe and first tasted by people prior to giving them to pets (according to studies, humans have a more developed sense of taste when compared to dogs / cats and other pets). Then our canine taste testers try them, and then our vets. Then we do sampling to ensure that our food appeals to more pets than just our circle. After this, we review the recipe. If it needs some improvement, we tweak it, if not, it is approved as part of our offerings.
For our food recipes are quite more complicated: We first decide the mix of ingredients with the approval of a vet, then we taste them. Then we send them to a lab to be analyzed for the proper content to meet the requirements of the pet. If it passes, then we have them tested by our pets. If they like it, we review the recipe, tweak what is needed and is approved as part of our offerings. This is a longer cycle and takes much more time and tests.
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