Dog Child wants you to meal prep for your pooch

Cooking demos and a Bon Appetit-style digital platform aims to get the disruptor brand into the hands of pet owners.

Dog Child - Cooking for Healthy Pets

Dog Child is launching as a new service for pet owners, predicated on the notion that they are willing to cook for their animal companions.

The Toronto-based startup was selected to take part in Leap Venture Studio’s 2022 accelerator, a partnership between Kinship, a division of Mars Petcare, and Michelson Found Animals, with support from R/GA Ventures. Dog Child is coming to Toronto’s Stackt market until July 24 – a location that just added a dog park – to bring the message to its target through cooking demos.

“Our message is that we make cooking for your dog, nutritious, simple and delicious,” according to founder Nicole Marchand.

The pet brand’s ethos is to help people feed their dogs like they feed themselves, coming out with three meal mixes based on what humans typically eat, according to Marchand.

She tells strategy she was dissatisfied with mainstream kibble offerings, both from a nutrition and taste standpoint, and that offering ingredients not typically found in pet fare, like kale and pumpkin, are a way to stand out.

What turned that dissatisfaction into the idea for Dog Child was fresh food delivery, thinking that the same or a similar option should be available for pets. That also came down to the presentation and value, as the packaging in traditional pet food was bulky, and it was expensive.

Dog Child-main

According to Marchand, many recipes are either too complicated with difficult to find ingredients like gizzards, or not nutritious enough.

Dog Child’s meal mixes involve adding human-grade ground protein, oil and water and are largely organic. The brand worked hard on cutting down meal prep time to overcome potential barriers which also includes a change in mindset about just dumping kibble into a bowl, even if that kind of food, while cheaper, is replete with fillers and not human grade.

In addition to mixes, Dog Child says it offers dog parents a first-of-its-kind digital destination full of recipes, inspiration, and advice, likening it to Bon Appetit, Marchand says, insisting that it is more than just a food brand but a support network for like minded folks interested in their pets’ wellbeing.

Cooking for pets is ritualistic, and another bonding experience with your pet she says. “It changes the whole relationship around mealtime when you start cooking for your dog,” she adds.

Marchand says the startup is going after the modern pet parent who treat their dogs like children (hence the brand name). And she says that for now, it does not have a lot of competitors and she believes home cooking “is on the cusp of explosive growth.”

The brand drives its message primarily through social reels. It works with design shop August Strategy out of Montreal and STMO out of the U.S. as part of its expansion plans. Publicize handled the PR.