How we formulated our Happy Howl dog food recipes

How we formulated our Happy Howl dog food recipes

Here's why we went through all the trouble of creating and introducing a new dog food to the market

If you’ve read our founder's story blog, then you already know the story behind the founding of Happy Howl dog food: a sick doggie and a motivated best friend.

Breaking News: there’s a lot of different kinds of dog food out there. Who would’ve known?!

Oh that’s right, since you’re reading this, you probably have a furry best friend too.

So you’ve been to a pet store. You’ve walked down the food aisles. You’ve seen the hundreds upon hundreds of pet food brands stacked to the ceiling. I used to go to these stores and think, “I wish they had a filter option.” You know, the ones like when you’re on any clothing or shoe website and you’re just trying to see what they have in your size. But then I realized, what would I even filter? See, ten out of ten times, as a young, uneducated dog owner, I would get frustrated and pick the food that sounded the healthiest with the most appealing packaging. As you can guess, that’s a poor way to make nutritional decisions.


Where do you turn when you can't find answers (or good food) at the pet store?

I spoke to so many vets and figured they would be able to point me in the right direction. I was very wrong...for a long time. Just like every industry in America, the pet industry is ruled by corporate conglomerates. Surprise, surprise. 

See, most vets are making product and food recommendations based off of research that was funded by the very companies that produce those products and foods. Coincidence? Uhhh, try conflict of interest. But vets don’t get a “commission” on the products they sell you – “there are no kick backs”, they say. This is where corporate America thrives: the art of deception.

It’s true, there are no kickbacks. Instead, they're able to purchase direct from companies like Royal Canin and Purina at a 25% discount. Then they mark the food back up to retail value. Hmmmmmmm. 

Look, I have no issues with vets getting a commission off of products they endorse, that’s business.

But to try and hide it is the epitome of shady business. Then to go as far as to act as if the product has efficacy because of the fact that they don’t get a commission on that just insanity. I think there’s a saying out there for that, something like “you just played yourself.”  If you’re a vet reading this and you’re getting offended right now, chances are that you’re a part of the problem. 


How do you know when to trust a vet's advice, and when to just walk away?

But not all vets are like this – there are Veterinary Businesses, then there are Veterinary Servants. The latter serves us and our pets, the former serves their bottom line. I can make this claim because I’ve witnessed it firsthand; this isn’t online research and Youtube videos speaking. This is experience with a sick dog being treated by multiple so-called “professionals.” 

Once I started consulting with multiple vets, I could identify a strong divergence of the two in professional diagnosis, care, and treatment. Some vets would come in and look at a chart, check Rocky’s temperature, tell me I needed to provide a fecal sample, then call me the next day with basic recommendations. Medicine. Prescription food. Keeping an eye on him? Really? 

But on our fifth different vet trip, we finally met someone different. A kind woman who came in and asked questions. Spent her time with Rocky. Rubbed his belly. Spoke to me at length. This might seem basic, but that is true care – that is how you get to the root of the problem and fix it, not medicate over it. 


Now we're cooking

She recommended I home cook for Rocky for some time to see how he responds. She recommended starting with just rice and some ground beef or turkey for the first week. If he does well, start slowly adding in vegetables like potatoes and carrots. I did this for 6 weeks. The difference was astonishing. I was so intrigued. I did some research on my own and found that those four ingredients weren’t enough of the vitamins and minerals dogs needed for a long-term balanced diet. Rocky was still lacking some key nutritional value. So we dug our paws in. We started calling and emailing pet nutritionists, holistic pet doctors, alternative medicine for dogs.

A lot of commonalities began surfacing. Blueberries. Spinach. Kale. Certain Spices. Green Beans. Peas. Benefits of using Himalayan Pink Salt. 

What I realized was so basic, yet so intuitive. These weren’t some mashed together unknown new-age ingredients cooked in a way we’ve never heard of. These were ingredients that humans and animals have been eating for thousands of years. 

Everyday we come across a new company offering a new solution. We all fall for it. We read fitness and health magazines. Some of us watch Dr. Oz. Some get their advice from Youtube or Instagram models. Every week it’s something new. By the way, can someone actually tell me if coffee is helping me or killing me? Because Monday I read it can help you live longer, and Tuesday I read that it can kill you.

I guess everyone needs to make a living, right? Next month's Health Magazine needs writing on its pages. We, as consumers, ask for it.  


And so our mission continues, to deliver healthier food to happier dogs

So what’s the point? The point is that some things don’t need to be over complicated. I thought my 18-month-old Husky had a terminal illness. Turns out that he just needed some quality ingredients in his diet. 

That’s what we stand for at Happy Howl. You’ll never find us peddling some fad diet. That’s not our style. There were healthy people that came before us, and of course happy, healthy, tail wagging dogs. But let’s be real. Maybe a dogs one year shouldn’t be equivalent to 7 human years. What if we started feeding our dogs healthy food the moment we got them, or at worst, starting right now? Could we get a dogs year down to 6? What about 5? The truth is, we don’t know right now. But one thing is true – just like humans, what a dog puts in its body determines its health. 

In our recipes, you will find wholesome, human-grade ingredients that can stand the test of time – they were deemed healthy before we were born and will remain healthy well after we die. This is just an undeniable, absolute truth. We don’t need to lie to sell our food. 

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