One dabba for my doggie, please!

Over the years, the term lifestyle diseases has extended beyond humans, to even pets. With dogs plagued with problems like obesity, heart ailments, gastric trouble, arthritis and cholesterol; it was only a matter of time before healthy eating options for pets emerged. Pet chef Rashee Kuchroo (25) will soon kickstart Doggie Dabbas, a gourmet food service for dogs in Mumbai that delivers home-cooked food. The aim is to ensure that none of the nutrients are lost in the cooking process and the meals are balanced.

Rashee Kuchroo with her dog

Doggie dossier
Kuchroo tells us how it began, “When my Labrador (she has three dogs) wasn’t ready to eat packaged food, I decided to switch to home-cooked food, I did my research and pursued an online course on dog and cat nutrition. I put my dog on the diet and he lost weight and turned fit. He got back his initial puppy dog white sheen (he had turned beige).” The meal takes into account a dog’s average nutrient requirement (18% protein, 5% carbohydrates, 1% fat) and is based on the health of the dog.

Zorro’s Basket is a spinach-based dish

Doggy Dabbas began in Gurgaon in 2011, where Kuchroo had moved to, from Mumbai; and the manufacturing will continue from there. Kuchroo admits that the eatables are not a cure, but they help regulate the diet of dogs, and ensure they get their required dose of nutrition. Delivery takes place once a week (each item is customised, lab-tested and vet-approved) and the food has zero preservative content. They are vacuum packed in imported packets.

Once delivered, they have to be stored in the freezer (they have a shelf-life of six months). When you want to serve it to your pet, you have to add boiling water or put it in the microwave. Currently, they deliver from Worli to Colaba, though you can pick it up from Kuchroo’s house in Colaba as well.

“The dabbas are made keeping in mind time-strapped owners who are too busy to cook. At the same time, this isn’t packaged food or dry kibble but home-cooked food,” reminds Kuchroo. check list: A variety of dishes feature on the menu including Biryani, vegetable preparations made from white gourd, pumpkin, etc, and fruit desserts. There are vegetarian, chicken and egg-based options. Priced at `5,300 per month, Kuchroo also claims it is cheaper than packaged food as well.

Test drive
As the owner of a Labrador Retriever (Pixie, age: 4.5 years, ailment: Skin Atopy caused by certain external allergens) with severe skin-related ailments, picking and choosing her dietary needs is a gigantic task.

A small step away from the tried-and-tested home-cooked meals, often entails a rushed visit to the vet. It was but with trepidation that we agreed to test this doggy dabba for Pixie. We received two packets of 400 gm each.

What impressed from the word go was the seamless packing that it arrived in. An ingenuous idea, the food can apparently be packed away into the deep freezer even for six months straight.

As the name suggests, Halloween or Not is an assortment of chicken and pumpkin. It slides easily off its packaging into the doggy bowl, making it a fuss-free transfer. Packed with the goodness of parsley, the pumpkin dish proved to be a true delight.

The Sloppy Boss, a combo of chicken and white gourd, smells fresh of dill and looks yummy. It was a matter of seconds before the dishes disappeared into her big jowls, the occasional slurping noises conveying the content of her surprised taste buds. All in all, a satisfied pooch and a relieved pet parent.

-- Sujata Chakrabarti

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