Fresh Meal Maker Dishes For Dogs Opens Retail Location
Dishes For Dogs, a small, family-owned business dedicated to preparing fresh, whole-food and nutritionally balanced meals for dogs, opened its flagship location in Miami. The company, operating for close to three years out of the owners’ home kitchen and selling its homemade meals at special events and farmer’s markets, aims to increase its sales exponentially with the opening of its state-of-the-art kitchen and retail outlet.
Owner Michael O’Rourke, whose Pomeranian Ripley’s health issues provided the inspiration for Dishes For Dogs, has assembled a team of animal lovers and experts, including his parents, Wanda and Dan O’Rourke, to serve as the company’s management team.
O’Rourke began doing research when Ripley’s coat began to dull and she suffered from teary eyes. He decided to change Ripley’s diet from commercial dog food to home-prepared meals. Within a month, Ripley’s coat and eyes were in good condition, and her breath even improved. O’Rourke began cooking for his friends and family who had dogs with similar issues. After achieving equally successful results, he decided to turn his labor of love into a business.
He approached Justin Shmalberg, DVM, DACVN, DACVSMR, who is on staff at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, to seek his involvement. Dr. Shmalberg helps to develop and formulate recipes, ensuring that Dishes For Dogs meals offer the highest nutritional benefits possible, the company reported.
“There are less than 100 veterinary nutritionists in the country, many of whom provide advice to the big commercial manufacturers of extruded, or kibble-based, dog foods,” Shmalberg said. “I was drawn to Michael’s passion and am proud to be part of one of the nation’s very few small businesses creating fresh, nutritionally balanced meals for dogs with innovative ingredients.”
The modern, sleek 1,300-square-foot location features an open kitchen where patrons can observe the small batch production process and interact directly with the Dishes For Dogs team to tailor a diet to best suit their dog’s needs.
“When it came to designing the space, we wanted to be fully transparent in the cooking process so owners could easily see the quality of our ingredients and lack of fillers,” O’Rourke said. “Our main priority is to educate dog owners about Dishes For Dogs and the benefits of a whole-food diet.”
Dishes For Dogs meals feature a balanced blend of protein, minerals, vitamins, fat and complex carbohydrates. All ingredients are certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for human consumption, and every meal is completely devoid of preservatives, additives, artificial flavors, fillers and animal byproducts, according to the company.
Dishes For Dogs also offers a line of treats—Beef Liver Brittle, Chicken Breast Strips and Grass-Fed Steak Strips—as well as Vitamineral Kits complete with vitamineral packets and detailed recipe cards for those who want to try out Dishes For Dogs’ recipes at home.
All products are now available in store and online. Local delivery is available, and the company reports that shipping options are in the works. In addition, the flagship location boasts refrigerators with grab-and-go options and a wall full of treats and toys.