If it moves, it dies.
TV DINNER. That's what came to mind when packs of frozen dog food from Canine Chow PH arrived at our doorstep.
The individual packs contain cooked meat and vegetables that looked ghoulish brown and green. They were also modestly labeled, so it was immediately obvious this brand of dog grub is not big on appearances.
People eat with their eyes, but dogs don't. Visually appealing food is not their thing. Flavor is. Fortunately, the Canine Chow meals proved to be the opposite of TV dinners as they tasted better than they looked (according to our dog reviewers).
Canine Chow PH offers Meat and Veggie Mixes (beef, pork, chicken, or fish only) and Meat Kibble Toppers: (beef, pork, chicken, or fish only). We put four dogs to “work” to see how Canine Chow meals would fare based on palatability and digestibility. Here's how it went down:
The black Labrador tends to eat anything and everything with gusto, but from time to time he rejects some food and treats that are new to him.
The Beagle is a snob and likes to study her food and that of others' first before deciding to eat or not.
The Aspin is a moody eater. He likes flavors that are familiar to him. He used to be a stray.
The Pomeranian (a rescue with health issues) is a tough nut to crack. A real picky eater and not a fan of carbs.
All four are regularly fed either kibble or meals specifically cooked for them.
To cut the review short, let us just say it went very well for Canine Chow in the palatability test. The moment we put down the bowls of Canine Chow, the dogs simply demolished them. The only one who wasn't too happy was the photographer who saw the dog food disappear before taking enough good shots.
The dogs didn't dilly-dally as they tend to do when presented with a new kind of food. Why? Was it because the taste was close to their home-prepared food? But the texture was different as Canine Chow were all finely chopped. It also had more veggies (the Beagle hates greens). Certainly, they must KNOW that it's not their usual food, but there they were—mopping up their bowls like they always do.
They say the best compliment you can pay a chef is to send a clean plate back. Judging by the way our esteemed pack finished their Canine Chow on first try, its makers deserve a pat in the back!
But that's only half the test. The proof is in the “pudding” (catch the drift?). Canine Chow meals are no way oily, but they smell quite herby. For everyone's good, we hope things went down well in the digestibility department, too. The next day, with bated breath we walked up to the scene of the crime and Aha!! All's well that ends well!
COOKIN' UP CANINE CHOW
Cybele Manlapaz, a marketing consultant, and Jed Mesina a BPO executive, run the business. Together with their own dogs Tony and Tuco (Golden Retrievers) and Cooper (Boston Terrier) serving as product testers, they created Canine Chow PH three years ago. They believe what helped their dogs become healthier should be shared with others.
Cooked dog meals also proved a boon to busy dog owners who don't have time to cook for their dogs but can now simply thaw or reheat Canine Chow meals. They require very little preparation, just like those TV dinners, but are probably healthier if not tastier.
“Really, what we provide is more of a service than a product. Our goal is to help our clients provide as much fresh food for their dogs as they can in the most convenient way possible,” said Cybele.
True enough, their slogan “Giving your dogs real good food has never been this easy” was made with dog owners in mind.
Made from food-grade meats, nutritious offals and vegetables cooked over low heat, Canine Chow supports a dog's carnivorous diet. The finished product is made of 75 percent meat (in the case of the meat and vegetable mix) and safe enough for a person to eat (Cybele said she did).
“I have tried my dog’s food. It just doesn’t taste so good to me because it doesn’t have any seasoning, not even salt! We don't use any preservatives, vegetable oil or seasonings,” added Cybele.
Diligent research on dog nutrition and discussions with clients and veterinarians help them improve Canine Chow's suitability for pet dogs. They're looking at adding duck and goat to their offerings, and lamb as well if things go as planned.
From producing 15 to 20 kilos a week, Canine Chow is now cooking up a storm, averaging 90 kilos or more a week. Cybele said they don't keep a lot on stock because they prefer to make their deliveries as freshly cooked as possible.
“Currently, we are strictly a weekly made-to-order business. We are only available online. Orders are placed every Monday, ingredients are bought on Tuesdays then deliveries are from Friday to Sunday,” she said.
Packed in microwavables, Canine Chow meals stay good up to four days when refrigerated and up to a month when frozen. But if dogs could speak, they'll probably tell you these best before dates are inconsequential and instead you should soon schedule your next order of Canine Chow.
* Water hyacinths: the new cat's cradle!