Pet Food Q&A

Originally published April 2014.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the choices in pet food? It can be worse than trying to decide on a pair of shoes at DSW! When it comes to my dogs, they are very finicky – they possibly think they are cats. After years of struggling to get them to eat and constantly changing brands, one day I brought home Stella and Chewy’s Freeze Dried Dinner. Oh what a difference! Both dogs run (yes run!) to their food bowls when they hear me open the bag. This 100% American made food consists of raw meats, organic fruits and veggies, is free of hormones and antibiotics and has no fillers, colors or preservatives. I set out to ask founder Marie Moody what makes S&C so yummy to the pets and so successful as a company.

HPT: What prompted you to start Stella & Chewy’s?

Marie: I started S&C because of the experience I had with Chewy. When I rescued him he was near death, I nursed him back to health by feeding him wholesome raw food. I thought other people would feed their own dogs this type of diet if it was available to them.

HPT: How did you go about determining the best diet for pets?

Marie: I did a lot of my own research at first (books and online) on animal nutrition. The thing that kept coming up was how dogs are related to wolves and foxes and that while we have domesticated and even humanized them, from an evolutionary perspective their digestive systems were not designed to eat highly processed grain based diets. When I was doing the actual formulation I worked with animal nutritionists at UW-Madison (my alma mater).

HPT: Have you ever had any recalls of your food?

Marie: No, we have never had a recall. We have a patented food safety system. Additionally, we make all of our food inhouse at our own state of the art manufacturing plant here in Wisconsin. This allows us to completely control the quality of the food from when and where we source our raw ingredients to how we freeze dry the foods in our own freeze dryers.

HPT: By all accounts, Stella & Chewy’s is very successful. To what do you attribute that quick success in a very crowded pet food market?

Marie: I attribute our success to our customers. People love their pets and when they find a food that their pets love and it’s healthy, it becomes hard to go back to feeding another way.

HPT: My dogs are literally crazy for Stella & Chewy’s freeze dried food and I have heard many others say the same thing. What is so yummy about this food versus kibble?

Marie: Freeze drying is considered the gold standard of drying and because we don’t use any heat, the food remains as close as possible to its original state. The dogs are eating what their bodies naturally crave and therefore they are more excited to eat.

HPT: What prompted you to develop freeze dried food? What is the advantage?

Marie: I wanted to create a food that has all the benefits of a raw frozen diet but is also convenient and easy for people to use.

HPT: What would you like our readers to know about Stella & Chewy’s that they may not already know?

Marie: Both Stella and Chewy were real dogs that I rescued and nurtured and loved. They both lived past the age of 16. And, Stella had a foot fetish. It was occasionally embarrassing.

To purchase Stella & Chewy’s visit for locations.