Did you know there is a kitchen tucked inside Miami's Wynwood neighborhood that is solely dedicated to making food for your furry friends? It’s called Dishes For Dogs, or DFD, for short. But don’t get it twisted! This is not a dog restaurant.
“We’re a kitchen that, you know, cooks and manufactures...dog food using USDA certified human-grade ingredients,” says Mason Fox, co-owner of DFD. “We are just making food so that people can come in and buy it and increase the quality of their dog’s food.”
The idea for DFD was inspired by a toy-sized, playful Pomeranian named Ripley, who had a few health issues. After some research by Michael O’Rourke, founder of Dishes For Dogs and Ripley’s owner, he knew that home-cooked meals would be the best option for his canine friend. O'Rourke turned out to be right and Ripley is currently healthy and happy as DFD's mascot.
Consequently, after identifying this specific need in the dog food market for home-cooked meals, he decided to build a business around this concept and partnered up with Dr. Shmalberg, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, to perfect the recipes.
“Regarding the creation of the menu, ...the nutrition guided everything,” Fox adds. “We gave Dr. Shmalberg full freedom to create just the most appropriate and balanced meal that he could make, using different proteins.”
Dishes For Dogs currently offers six balanced meal varieties made with only USDA certified ingredients, avoiding all preservatives and fillers. The recipes include different vegetables mixed with one of the following proteins: beef, turkey, lamb, chicken, salmon, and wild venison. The recipes are formulated to provide specific benefits, such as: supporting a healthy immune system, digestion, and maintaining current health, which includes brain function, skin/coat health. There are gluten-free and grain-free options available, as well. Finally, they also provide two meals formulated for dogs with skin problems made with braised buffalo and coconut cod.
The food is sold in individual frozen packages that can be thawed at home and portioned according to your dog’s size.
DFD is also the first dog food company in the country to partner up with UberEATS to provide fresh home-cooked, ready-to-eat meals for dogs. And if a customer wants to stock up on meals for the week or month, they can order the frozen packages and have them delivered through the app.
"We're hoping to convince people that we are capable of helping, because we really do believe that," Fox affirms.