NEWPORT BEACH — Turkey and whole wheat macaroni, lamb and brown rice, and beef and russet potato are just a few of the "true foods" on the menu at a new local healthy dining business.
But these FDA- and USDA-certified menu items are made just fordogs.
"When we found out what was in dog food — even premium dog food — I never wanted to feed my dogs dog food ever again," said Shawn Buckley, co-founder of TrueFoodForDogs, a healthy food home delivery and recipe business that caters to canines.
After adopting a German shepherd and looking for a better diet for his black Labrador, Buckley became concerned about the "waste products" that are legally allowed to be in dog food.
Food byproducts not safe for human consumption, such as almond shells and even chicken feces, are acceptable in limited quantities under the Assn. of American Feed Control Officials guidelines, he said.
"There's not anybody out there doing quite what we're doing," said co-founder Rudy Poe. "You think somebody would have put it together to feed dogs healthy food. There's a whole trend of people treating dogs like family, but for whatever reason, dogs aren't eating like it."
The ingredients for TrueFoodForDogs recipes come from restaurant suppliers — the same suppliers who provide fresh produce and meats to many of the area's upscale eateries and markets, Buckley said.
However, while the ingredients are the same, and the finished recipes are safe for people to eat, you wouldn't want to indulge if you're human.
The recipes are crafted to canines' specific nutrition needs, such as having higher levels of calcium and magnesium.
Meals are made fresh and delivered frozen in a 15-mile radius. A month's diet for a 30-pound dog would cost $80 to $110, not including delivery.
But the founding goal behind the company is to get quality nutrition to more dogs, not just to make a buck, Buckley said.
Which is why the recipes are also given away for free.
They're posted at http://www.truefoodfordogs.com, taught in monthly free cooking workshops at the store or "anyone can come into our kitchen and we'll print you out a recipe," Buckley said.
"Not everyone is able to buy food from us, but we want everyone to have access to a balanced, whole food diet for dogs," Buckley said. "And the only way we're going to be able to do that is if we give it to them."
While it just opened its West Coast Highway location in January, the business has already seen steady growth in Newport Beach. The business partners plan to expand into Santa Monica as early as next year.
"Dogs made a move from outside the castle to inside the castle about 15 years ago," Buckley said. "I think that people are finally starting to make good on the notion that dogs are treated as family and a natural extension of that is how they are fed."