Lamb Hotpot, Braised Beef and Pheasant Stew may sound like something you would find on the menu of a swanky bistro or restaurant, but they are in fact meals prepared in Shropshire for dogs all over the country to get snout deep into.
Back in 2016 Charlie and Alex Thurstan were sitting in the kitchen of their farmhouse on the Sansaw Estate when an idea was born for a new business – but from those humble beginnings they have now raised over £2m to invest in their mission to change dogs’ lives with real food.
Surrounded by the fields of Hadnall the husband and wife team, who have three children Johnnie, Ben and Tom, decided they were going to give up their day jobs and create a whole new natural diet for dogs, launching their business Different Dog.
“Dogs have been fed badly for far too long,” said Charlie.
“Most dogs are fed heavily processed foods, which are cooked at high temperature and pressure to give them a long shelf-life. They don’t even need to go in the fridge. Adding fresh, hand-cooked food into a dog’s diet can make a huge difference. Our customers constantly tell us they see clear changes in the health of their dogs when they switch to our food.”
Charlie and Alex, both 45 years old, spent 18 months working with their nutritionist, vet and chief taster Crumble (their cocker spaniel!), to develop the perfect cooking process and recipes.
“Living on the Sansaw Estate was the ideal setting for us to refine the idea. The house gave us a separate space to spend time working on the recipes and finding out what did and didn’t work.
We also gained inspiration from all the local farmers who create wonderful produce everyday” said Charlie.
Charlie, with his experience as Head of Food at a national pet retail chain, and Alex with her background in business consultancy, worked to build the business and Different Dog now feeds well over 1,000 dogs nationwide from its kitchen at the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre in Shrewsbury.
“Our food is gently cooked by hand, then frozen and delivered to the customer’s door. Many people use it as a dog’s whole diet, others use it as a topper alongside a processed food.
Either way, it ensures there is natural goodness, variety and balance in a dog’s diet. We even use compostable packaging, which is unusual in the pet food industry” said Charlie.
“Most dog owners want the best for their dogs, but many haven’t thought about trying fresh cooked food. We love hearing about customers’ dogs and are always happy to chat with dog owners about how we might be able to help them. Don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to hear more.”
To learn more about Different Dog please call 01743 384 562 or visit differentdog.com.