Buy Local, Eat Fresh - Even for Pets: Local Providers Serve Up Healthy OptionsMay 09, 2011 12:32PM ● By Jodie Gruenstern
Dr. Jodie Gruenstern
Wisconsin offers abundant fresh, healthy food options for the four-legged carnivores in the family. Area manufacturers are creating natural meals for dogs and cats from all natural, locally sourced meats and organic vegetables, and a local organic farm even produces whole food supplements for people and pets that are distributed internationally.
Milwaukee residents lavish extraordinary care on their beloved furry companions, right down to breakfast and dinner. Many serve home-prepared raw diets, while those with exceptionally busy schedules buy high-quality, commercially prepared raw food meals. Pet guardians who need to feed more economical, heat-processed kibble help fill in that conventional food’s nutritional gaps by adding whole food supplements.
Animal Doctor, Inc., a holistic veterinary practice in Muskego, relies upon the expertise of local pet food producers that restock the clinic’s seven freezers each week with patties, chubs and tubs of balanced, raw diets specially prepared for dogs and cats. Each of these manufacturers began their businesses in their kitchens with the intent to produce healthier meals for their own ailing pets. When they saw positive results, their home endeavors blossomed into preparing foods for friends’ pets and eventually evolved into retail products for the public.
Fresh Is Best, Inc., got its start in a River West basement in 2000, when owner Stacy LaPoint began preparing food for her German shepherd that was afflicted with Addison’s Disease (adrenal gland failure). The raw diet enabled her dog, Jade, to live a long and healthy life. As word spread and LaPoint began making food for friends and family, she worked with an animal nutritionist and founded Fresh Is Best, producing a quality, raw, grain-free, natural pet food that meets or exceeds the standards of the Association of Animal Feed Control officials. She recently expanded her line by adding a 100 percent organic chicken and vegetable chub and a popular freeze-dried feline diet.
Rose Estes founded Nature’s Menu in Lake Geneva in 1991, after adopting sickly shelter cats on the verge of being euthanized and restoring them to health on a diet of fresh meat. She studied raw meat and vegetable diets and collaborated with veterinary nutritionists to create tasty, high-protein meat and organ patties made with organic chicken or locally raised beef or turkey. The new owners, John Delikat and Matthew Nitz, came on board in 2007 and continue to improve the production and packaging of the products and streamline the distribution.
Standard Process, in Palmyra, manufactures whole food supplements for people and pets, and its certified organic farm and production plant are state-of-the-art. The company brings in medical professionals from around the country to provide a wealth of educational opportunities for chiropractors, acupuncturists, other health professionals and veterinarians. In turn, people and their pets benefit from the new knowledge disseminated by these experts.
Stella and Chewy’s, Inc., located down the street from Animal Doctor, Inc., in Muskego, sources local ingredients for its products. The company provides high-pressure processed (HPP), Certified Pathogen Safe meals that contain raw, naturally raised meat, poultry or fish; organic fruits and vegetables; probiotics; and essential vitamins and minerals. Their specialized pasteurization process gives peace of mind to pet guardians that are concerned about bacteria in raw food products.
Pet lovers who scoop into a bag of dry kibble, fill a bowl and scurry off to work should think twice. Dogs and cats need fresh food, just like we do, and it is available, convenient and affordable. It’s also nice to support local businesses when you know they exist!
Jodie Gruenstern, DVM, CVA, is a veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist certified by the Chi Institute and has been practicing veterinary medicine in Muskego since 1987. “Dr. Jodie” owns the Animal Doctor, Inc., a holistic veterinary practice located at S73 W16790 Janesville Rd., in Muskego. For more information, call 414-422-1300 or visit AnimalDoctorMuskego.com.