A pet store owner in Richland, Washington, is putting herself in her clients’ shoes (or paws, if you will) for a whole month. Dorothy Hunter has decided to eat nothing but pet food for 30 days; the challenge began on June 19 and so far, she says she’s loving it. Her goal is to prove that food for pets can be just as nutritious and delicious as human food.
“You would be surprised how tasty dog and cat food can be when it’s made right,” said Dorothy, the owner of Paw’s Natural Pet Emporium. “You really are what you eat and it’s the same for your pets. I decided to eat this food for a month just to prove how good it tastes, as well as showcase nutrition.”
The idea for the project came to Hunter rather unexpectedly – she was stocking the shelves at her store one day, when she got hungry. “I didn’t have time to go get a snack, so I grabbed a bag of treats off the counter, and I was like, wow, you know, these read better than the normal people’s treats,” she said. “So I started eating the treats and I was like, you know, I could do this for 30 days.”
She is now a few weeks into the challenge, and she’s stuck to her word, eating nothing but cat and dog food – flakes of salmon and freeze dried chicken. “I’ve also been doing our oven baked blueberry treats, as well as freeze dried green beans, carrots,” she said. “I’m even doing some canned food, one is a succulent chicken, and it actually tastes really good. So I’m really happy with that one.”
“I don’t do raw bones or meat products like that, or the frozen because I’m just not into raw.”
Throughout the month, Hunter will only be eating pet food that’s sold at her store – free of corn, wheat, soy, by-products, fillers, corn gluten, BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin and propylene glycol. Some of the brands in her store are imported from as far as Italy; everything is carefully selected for its nutritional value. “You won’t find empty food in this store,” she claimed.
“I believe in our products and how good they are that I actually believe our pets are eating better than us.” In fact, she believes in her products so much that she’s willing to feed the stuff to her family and employees. Amanda Kempf, who has worked for Hunter for about nine months, said: “My kids love the dog treats as well, and I don’t mind them eating those because they are nutritious. Everything is labeled here so you know what you’re buying, and you’re buying nutrition.”
The experiment, Hunter said, isn’t about taste – she’s trying to spread a bigger message. “Learn about what you’re eating and what you’re feeding your pets. I think if we can get the awareness out of reading the ingredients, and really understanding what is in the pet food, that will eventually carry over. If you’re feeding your pet healthy, maybe you’ll start reading the ingredients of your own foods, and maybe you can start eating healthy too.”
Ever since she started eating pet food, Dorothy has noticed a few improvements in her health. “My feet aren’t swelling as much as they usually do after I’ve been on a 10-hour day,” she said. “I have lost 2.5 pounds, which I’m not going to complain about, but I’m not doing this to promote dog food, or to lose weight. But at the same time, I want to show that I believe in our products. I know people think this is crazy, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to read labels and see what’s in the food you eat – whether it’s pet food or human food. If this month of eating pet food enlightens people to the importance of that, then I’ll be happy.”
“If I can’t eat it, I won’t sell it because animals are important to me,” Hunter insisted.