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A Dog's Dinner

July 14, 2021 3 min read

A Dog's Dinner

It’s definitely been a ‘year of the dog’ and as many of us welcomed new four-legged family members into our homes over lockdown, one new business focused on putting their health first. We catch up with Richard Grant, co-founder of Walker & Drake, to find out why cold-pressed food makes the perfect dog’s dinner

What’s it all about? 
Myself, and business partners Richard Grant, David Taylor and Tim Matthews, are lifetime dog owners, and we launched Walker & Drake last June, and immediately began delivering our new dog food directly to other dog owners.

What inspired the launch of Walker & Drake?
We’re all dog mad and had researched dog food for years: how and where it was made and what was best for dogs, and we were always concerned about the somewhat confusing messages manufacturers put on their products. This lead us to looking at what is called the cold-pressed technique, and it seemed an obvious way to make great dog food that actually retained so much more of the ingredients’ nutrients.

Where is the food sourced and made?
It seemed a no-brainer to try and make it in the UK, ideally in Yorkshire, and with as many British ingredients as possible.

What makes your dog food different to other options on the market?
The technique of cold-pressing the ingredients into a kibble is relatively common on the continent – but not in the UK. We still call it an artisan process, and it’s not an easy way to make a dog food. In the UK, standard extruded kibble dog food is the most common food but it involves very high cooking temperatures which greatly reduce the nutrient content. Cold-pressed dog food means the ingredients are mixed and then pressed into kibble at low temperatures, typically only 40 degrees celsius. This locks in natural nutrients and allows us to use herbs and botanicals that might otherwise be destroyed if they were put through an extruding process.

‘Our food is not breed specific. In fact we have developed it as a ‘for all life stages’ food – great for anyone with more than one dog and/or different breeds’

What makes it a healthier option?
The result is a food that is high in protein and fibre but relatively low in fat. It is great for gut health which then transfers into healthy skin and coats.

Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Launching a business during a pandemic is not for the faint hearted. We were so far in by the time that lockdown hit that there was no choice but to crack on and see it through. We support independent pet shops as they have a level of knowledge and service that is hard to match, but we had to have a strong online presence as well, and that has really moved on in the last few months and will obviously continue to be very important to the business.

Are there any breeds this food particularly suits?
Our food is not breed specific. In fact we have developed it as a ‘for all life stages’ food – great for anyone with more than one dog and/or different breeds. New products in the future will be more specific, including treats and young dog varieties.

Tell us about your dogs.
I have a cocker spaniel called Max, David has a miniature poodle called Jeff, and Tim has two dogs – a cocker spaniel, Ralf, and a Labrador, Fergie. Obviously they all eat very well.

One thing you couldn’t live without?
Our local area. I think I speak for a lot of dog owners when I say that we are especially lucky in Yorkshire, to have such great access to the countryside for walking, exploring and exercising.

Your favourite thing about Yorkshire?
It would have to be its variety – great cities, amazing countryside and beaches.

Your favourite thing about dogs? 
The joy they get from the most simple of things – and they are a great way to de-stress.

Lots of people welcomed dogs into their homes during lockdown.
What is your advice for them? Do plenty of research on what’s best for your dog and fully understand the commitment you have signed up to.

Hopes and plans for the future?
We’re enjoying building a range of great UK-made products and will carry on doing that. It is amazing when you get an email or a review from a customer saying they have a happy dog and that our food has noticeably improved their health.

Credit: livingnorth.com/yorkshire

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