Mumbai: Demand for fresh pet food spikes as owners worry about nutrition | Mumbai News

The chipped walls of Dhara Jain’s Andheri house speak of the time when six-month-old Lola would bite off more than she could chew. Months after her adoption in March this year, rescued indie dog Jain Spritz had put chew spray on electronic cables, couches, walls, and other corners that her baby canines preferred. But the nibbling didn’t stop until Jain took an online pet education class, which led her to suspect that Lola’s habit may not have so much to do with teething as it was calcium deficiency. So Jain – a busy production designer and nervous animal mom who alternated between feeding her pet boiled carrots and packaged dry food – opted for a fresh pet food delivery service that offered three bespoke, nutritious meals a day at around 15,000 rupees a month. Today, apart from a few boxes of delivery packages, Lola’s fangs don’t destroy much. “Even their skin and fur improved without any supplements or products,” says Jain.
A heightened awareness of pet nutrition coupled with the rise in pet adoption by busy WFH employees has resulted in good deals for fresh pet food delivery services offering everything from homemade chicken soup to “24-hour bone broth” served on tailored to the size and breed of the pet. Customers are usually organic, health-conscious millennial pet parents who are driven by skepticism about the nutritional content of packaged dry food, and vegetarians who are aware of their pet’s animal protein needs but cannot provide them at home.
Rehaan Qureshi, who runs a three-year pet tiffin service that also has baked protein snacks among options on its daily menu, has received twice as many requests per day than in pre-Covid times, while Rashee Kuchroo, owner of A Ten old Delhi-based fresh pet food delivery company that switched from freeze-dried to ready-to-eat pet food during lockdown saw demand grow 20 percent monthly in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and in smaller cities “where meat availability is low “. “The pandemic has forced people to actually spend more time with their dogs,” says Kuchroo. “And they learned that good nutrition can prevent many health problems,” Kuchroo adds, pointing out that the Indian market is “dominated by poor quality products”.
The lack of government regulation of feed grade meat adds to caution. “Nobody is sure what type of meat is used in packaged foods,” says Nayan Shah, whose eight-month-old fresh pet food delivery service in Mumbai already has over 70 customers across the city. While the company has encountered some vegetarian customers who rub the idea of ​​frozen meat, and some others who find meals of around Rs. 5,000 a month expensive compared to packaged dry food, “many customers have improved digestion and health Skin of pets, “says Shah, whose company cooks the meat slowly and adjusts meals based on the dog’s weight and breed. To make it easier for pets to switch from dry to wet food, Shah even offers a” transition period “of ten days, according to Shah , in which the pet is gradually introduced to its brand of chicken and bone broth.
“Even a preservative-free diet with just chicken and rice or just milk and roti can be just as dangerous as relying solely on packaged foods,” says Kuchroo. Vets advise finding a happy medium. “Many pet owners have the feeling that pets are like their children and don’t want to feed the food they won’t eat,” says veterinarian Dr. Packaged food isn’t all bad, says Deb, pointing out that many imported dry food brands in the market tend to meet the World Small Animal Veterinary Association’s nutritional guidelines for pet food, which ask, for example, whether the meat is ethically sourced. “When pet owners choose fresh feed, it’s important that they have a certified nutritionist,” says Deb.
Dr. Dhananjay Pandit, the only veterinarian in town who is also a certified animal nutritionist, warns of the recent rise of “quack nutritionists”. “Some advocate a full raw food diet while others recommend a grain-free diet,” says Pandit, who once treated a dog with kidney disease because the owner was told that carbohydrates were the bad guy. “So the pet was fed 80% meat. Pet food is all about nutrients that dogs get in appropriate amounts depending on their stage, activity, size and condition, while grain-free diets are only suitable for gluten-allergic pets, ”says Pandit. Jain has now understood this science reasonably correctly. Although Lola is the culprit behind the Kathakali dancer’s missing nose on her sofa cushion, Jain says the act was not due to a defect.

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