Mhairi Nicolson

Mhairi Nicolson

Fernwood store brings healthy eats to man’s best friend

A new local store puts its money where its paws are, with its own line of raw dog food for man's best friend.

A new local store puts its money where its paws are, with its own line of raw dog food for man’s best friend.

Victoria residents Mhairi Nicolson and Dan Bennett have been feeding their dogs — Moose, a golden mountain dog and Athena, a chihuahua cross — a raw food diet for years.

“I just wanted to know what he was eating. Even when you buy raw food, there’s a certain balance of ingredients that I wanted to achieve,” said Nicolson, adding the benefits of raw food diets include good oral health, a soft and shiny coat, smaller and less smelly stools, weight management and increased vitality. “It’s kind of like making food for people.”

Raw Feeding Victoria, located in the heart of Fernwood Square, sells crafted raw dog food blends made of muscle meat, bone, organ meat, supplements and vegetables all of which come from B.C. They also sell dehydrated one-ingredient treats and baked treats from other local companies.

There are two basic models for raw food for dogs: biologically appropriate raw food, which has a large percent of vegetables, and prey model raw, made of meat, bone and organ meat with no vegetables.

Nicolson and Bennett produce three blends that’s a hybrid of the two models at the Swartz Bay Farm in North Saanich.

It consists of approximately 70 per cent muscle meat, 10 per cent bone, five per cent organ meat, five per cent supplements and 10 per cent vegetables.

According to the duo, there is a growing market of people on the Island wanting to know what’s in the food they give their dogs.

During a soft opening last week, they sold close to 200 pounds of food.

“We find that people are starting to really care what they’re feeding their pets. They spend all that time knowing what they’re feeding themselves and pets are now a part of that,” Bennett said. “They want to extend the life of their pets and have them healthy.”

Moose and Athena are enjoying raw food diets as well. Aside from annual check-ups, neither dog has had any health problems, Bennett added.

“If you give them proper nutrition, you’re not going to be paying all those vet bills, you’re not going to be having all those problems. It’s preventative and they have more energy,” Nicolson said.