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Home / News / Dog Health and Nutrition: The Puppy Gang Pawdcast-Episode 1: Meet the Puppy Gang!
Dog Health and Nutrition: The Puppy Gang Pawdcast-Episode 1: Meet the Puppy Gang!

Dog Health and Nutrition: The Puppy Gang Pawdcast-Episode 1: Meet the Puppy Gang!

In the first ever episode of the Puppy Gang Podcast meet your hosts Marisa and Sarah, co-founders of the gently cooked dog food company based out of Toronto. Today they are discussing how they decided to launch their company Puppy Gang Fresh foods and their passion about whole health and nutrition for dogs and puppies!

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Hi, it's Marisa. Hi, it's Sarah. And you're listening to dog health and nutrition, the Puppy Gang Pawdcast hosted by Puppy Gang Fresh Foods.

Hi, everyone. My name is Marissa and I'm one of the cofounders of Puppy Gang Fresh Foods.  I'm here with Sarah. who is also co-founder of Puppy Gang Fresh Foods Thank you to all of you for tuning in today to our first episode of Dog health, nutrition, the Puppy Gang Podcast.

We're really excited to be discussing all things health and nutrition for dogs, because it's a topic that's really near and dear to our hearts. So we've got a few really interesting topics that we're going to share with you over the coming weeks and months. And we thought we'd kick today off with a little bit about our journey and our story. And just share with you why we started probably getting fresh foods, and also a little bit about a really, really cute dogs.

So Marisa, the idea came from your dog Kalinda, do you want to tell us a little bit about her story?

Sure. I was living in Hong Kong prior to moving back to Canada. And I adopted two beautiful dogs. So one miniature Schnauzer named Kalinda and my other dog Harley. Kalinda had a ton of different health problems when I got her. She was a former breeder dog at a puppy mill. And she had to have her teeth removed, because she was so malnourished, she was so overweight, to the point that she could barely walk, amongst other things. And she was really had a terrible prognosis, but I just really fell in love with her when I went to the animal shelter and really wanted to give her a home. 

Honestly, at that point in time, I thought it might only be for a few months, given how sickly she was. And I spoke to multiple vets in Hong Kong and who recommended different food. I was a first time pet owner, so didn't know a whole lot about nutrition for dogs, I was recommended a variety of premium brands of kibble food, and they did nothing for her. And three different vets told me that she needed this $5,000 knee surgery, or she'd never be able to walk properly long term.

It was a really frustrating process. And throughout this journey, I started researching the pet food industry. And I was really shocked to discover that the pet food industry in Canada isn't regulated. And there are a lot of additives and preservatives and horrible ingredients in different existing brands on the market.

So you then move back to Canada. And you met a holistic vet. What happened then? So the first thing the holistic vet asked me was what was I feeding my dog, and they recommended that I start cooking for them.

I did so immediately so I learned kind of about different nutrients that dogs need and how to feed dogs healthy diet in a Whole Foods way.  Within three months of starting to cook for her, all her weight came off all her blood work was the normal, she literally runs and jumps like a puppy. And so she never needed this knee surgery that I was told that she desperately needed.

So that's really amazing. And for those people that have looked on our website, we've got some pictures of Kelly and on Instagram and Facebook as well of what Kelly looks like prior to changing her diet. She was extremely overweight. He said she couldn't she could barely walk. And the thing that really frustrates me is that I've heard you say that when you went to adopt her the shelter was even shocked that you wanted to take her because of how she looked and she could barely move. Yes. It's so sad, for sure.

And it just shows you know, she's one of those dogs that probably wouldn't have gotten adopted had I not adopted her. And it just shows like what a bit of love and nutrition and health can do for an animal. And well, Sarah and I actually met in Hong Kong and we became really good friends there and both ended up in Toronto by chance. So Sarah saw this journey firsthand. She really knows really was like night and day, right?

Yeah. And what was really interesting is that Marisa and I when we were both living in Hong Kong, and still today, are very focused on our own health and fitness we eat right, we work out very regularly. And we know a lot about nutrition for ourselves. But as pet owners, we don't always think that the same should apply for dogs. And that was one of the biggest learnings we both had for sure. And there's a lot of misconceptions in the pet food industry. And so we just really wanted tokind of debunk those myths surrounding the pet food industry, which is partially why we started this podcast as an educational platform.

We started our company because we thought, Wow, it's just really amazing what proper nutrition can do for a dog's health. And you know, we love our furry friends and want them to live as long and happy and healthy lives as possible. So we said, well, we've got to turn this into a business because we want to do more for other dogs. Yeah.

A little bit about Sarah. So why don't you talk about how kind of we joined together and a little bit more about how we decided to turn this into a business?

Yeah, so for us, we were both talking about Kalinda's transformation and what we had seen and learned, and as we researched more and educated ourselves more, and we found, as Marisa mentioned, this was an unregulated industry, we really wanted to make sure that everyone had the opportunity to understand more about dog nutrition, and that we were really wanting to be at the forefront of helping to educate dog owners in how to feed their dogs, right. And we're very passionate about feeding whole foods to dogs. And you'll see from all the posts that we do, even if you can't make the switch 100%  there are benefits of adding whole foods to your existing food.

And Marisa is our resident blogger. We've got some really great topics there that talk about how to feed your dog well, and some different ways that you can do that. We've developed our recipes with a holistic veterinarian.

We make sure that the recipes provide dogs with the balance and the nutrients that they need as well. Yeah, and you know, we are starting this podcast, because we know as pet owners ourselves and having, you know, spent so much time ourselves trying to navigate content online, it's really overwhelming and exhausting trying to find the right information that you need. And there's a lot of conflicting information.

So we really are starting this as kind of a platform to share and build a community surrounding whole health and nutrition for dogs. And as Sarah mentioned, we've got some great topics coming up. But we also really want to hear from you. And we want to discuss things that are burning questions that you have surrounding issues for your own dogs. 

A little bit about my story as well. I'm Australian, you can probably hear that from my accent. But Toronto is now my home. And I've been here for over two years. Marisa and I met in Hong Kong and became fast friends. And what was really important to me as we started on this journey, I had two dogs growing up. And they were both really sweet small dogs, and Mickey and Thumper. And we fed them a combination of whatever we were eating. And when we didn't have food, kibble. And most of the time they did eat kibble, because we didn't know any better back then.

Both of my dogs died from cancer. And we have seen a huge increase in the stats of dogs dying from cancer. And that really rang true to me of realizing that nutrition probably played quite a big part in Thumper dying for sure.

 Touching on what Sarah saying, you know, there's a whole variety of health problems now for dogs and just one stat to share. Over 50% of dogs in North America are obese. And that's another really pressing issue. So, you know, we've got lots to kind of share and discuss on there.

And yeah, so I now have this lovely little boy called Tarzan and he's a rescue, and we're big advocates of rescue. I got him about six months ago, and he's an older dog. He's eight years old. As far as we know, he's been eating kibble his entire life. And I wanted to get an older dog because I think often the older dogs get left behind or forgotten about. And one of the big concerns I had when I was adopting him was if it was too late to really turn his life around, and help give him a longer life and a healthy life as well. And so that was really important to me to make sure that from day one when I got him, I took him straight off kibble and started feeding him our food and you'll hear from our future podcasts, the impact that doing that can really make to your dog. It's never too late. And I'm really, really excited that I can do this for Tarzan and give him a long life and happy life. Because he really doesn't have a voice in this he can only eat what I give him. So, for me, that was really important that I gave him the best opportunity in life.

 If I go to McDonald's, and I order a Big Mac, I know that I'm making an unhealthy choice for myself. But you know, to one thing that kind of really resonated with us is that, you know, our dogs don't have that choice. We're the ones that choose what they eat. So you know, we really have a responsibility as pet owners to be really mindful about what we're feeding them to keep them as healthy and happy as possible.

And so we'll end off there. We're really excited for you guys to come on this podcasting journey with us.  We are always happy to answer questions and we'd love to hear from you regarding topics that you'd like to us to chat about. You can reach us at info at www.puppygangfreshfoods or email us at

Thank you so much for listening. Really excited to hear more and please if you like this podcast, please make sure you subscribe, share it and give us some reviews. Thank you so much. 


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