KPBS Radio: Raw Food for Pets

KPBS Radio
July 21, 2010 By Maureen Cavanaugh, Hank Crook

Raw Food For Pets Growing In Popularity

(listen to a recording of the conversation)

MAUREEN CAVANAUGH (Host): I’m Maureen Cavanaugh, and you’re listening to These Days on KPBS. You may know enough about your pet to make sure they avoid certain foods. No chocolate for the dog, no bony fish for the cat because both can be very hazardous. But what exactly should your pets be eating? All the pet food in the grocery store says it’s nutritious and your pet will love it. How do you choose? And add to that, a growing movement to get pets eating a fresher diet. That effort ranges from new kinds of pet food in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, to specialty pet food stores selling raw meat for dogs and cats. For the rest of this hour, we’ll be talking about what you’re feeding your pet, and what’s the best diet to keep your animal companion healthy and happy for many years to come. I’d like to introduce my guests. Dr. Katy Allen, San Diego veterinarian and owner of Canterbury Tails Veterinary Services. Dr. Allen, Katy, welcome.

DR. KATY ALLEN (Veterinarian): Good morning, Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: And Tori Rosay is owner of Dexter’s Deli, which is a health food store for dogs and cats that has three locations in the North County. Tori, welcome.

TORI ROSAY (Owner, Dexter’s Deli): Thank you for having me. Thank you.

CAVANAUGH: Now, we’d like to invite our listeners to join the conversation. What are you feeding your pet? Table scraps? Specialty pet food? Have you changed your pet’s diet recently? Tell us why. Call us with your questions and your comments, 1-888-895-5727, that’s 1-888-895-KPBS. Tori, let me start with you. Tell us, what is a raw pet food diet?

ROSAY: Well, the raw pet food diet is a diet that has quickly caught on in the last probably, umm, the last six to eight years. And it’s – but it’s still a new concept for people that they hear from friends maybe at the dog park or they might know somebody whose pet is on a raw food diet but basically it’s exactly that. It’s raw meat that’s usually the muscle meat, like chicken, and it contains some organ meat and then a percentage of vegetable that’s pureed into the food. And now there’s actually manufacturers that make the food. When I started out with Dexter’s Deli, there was no one making raw food and so we used to have classes—and this was 14 years ago—and teach people how to do it.

CAVANAUGH: Right. So why, though, why would people choose this kind of diet for their pets?

ROSAY: Well, there’s a lot of different reasons. People have seen their pets become sick or they’ve had like pets in the past that have had cancers, allergy problems, skin problems, and they’ve gone the traditional route of going to vets and doing the medications and the specialty diets and aren’t getting the results that they want. Or a lot of people are into health themselves and there’s this disconnect between what people are eating and the whole food movement for people…


ROSAY: …and then they turn around and they open their cupboard and pull out a bag of dry, processed, denatured kibble and pour it into their dog’s dish and, you know, one day they make that connection of like why am I make – going through so much effort for my own food and then they’re pouring this dry food into…


ROSAY: …their pet’s dish, so…

CAVANAUGH: It makes them look twice at it, if nothing else.

ROSAY: Exactly.


ROSAY: So there’s a strange disconnect because of marketing that, you know, people don’t understand like that they can feed their pets themselves or learn how to do it.


17 Candles on Dexter’s Birthday Cake

Del Mar Times

Jul 8, 2010
By Linda Thompson

There will be 17 candles on Dexter’s birthdog cake

Rosay said the celebration is “a testament” to the store’s mission of providing healthful whole foods, raw foods, and supplements to dogs and cats.

“Dexter is the pioneer for fresh food diets for pets,” Rosay said.

After 14 years in business, Dexter has a big following and is somewhat of a celebrity in Del Mar. People and their canines walk by to see him at the store.

As a mere pooch at a dog pound, Dexter had no idea that one day he would gain celebrity status and be part of a business. Rosay dubbed him “a two-time pound rescue” as Dexter was in the pound for a second time when she found him.

Rosay had already decided to name her dog Dexter before she went looking for a pet. The mixed Boston terrier she found at the pound was the dog that fit her image of Dexter.

She attributes her business growth to people’s awareness of the importance of their pets eating nutritious foods. Rosay said “it was not my dream” to own three pet supply stores, but the company grew to meet her customers’ needs. Dexter’s Deli is the biggest pet health food store in San Diego, according to Rosay, and her customers drive from all over the county to buy healthful pet food. Five years ago, Dexter’s Deli opened a location in Carlsbad, and the San Marcos store is now 8 months old.

Dexter’s Deli has 15 employees – all permitted to bring their pets to work. Christine, the deli’s bookkeeper, has worked with Rosay for 12 years. She said the ability to bring her two dogs to work weighed in value as much as receiving health benefits.

The deli started as experiments in Rosay’s kitchen. She applied her knowledge from the nutrition business to recipes for pets.

She became motivated to make her own pet foods after reading books about the origins of processed pet food. She said she was concerned about the lack of nutritional value in food for animals, since the food came from by-products of human food.

Although processed pet foods are inexpensive, Rosay questions if inexpensive pet food is really a benefit if it causes illnesses. She sees it as a penny-wise, pound-foolish cycle because pet owners will eventually spend more money on veterinary bills to treat illnesses.

Rosay now works with a local baker to make doggie cakes and treats. One such item is carrot cake with peanut-butter icing. It contains no white flour. She said that people eat the cakes all the time and “prefer them because they are not all that sweet.”

Rosay explained that Dexter’s birthday is actually July 15, but she did not want to wait another week for the party … just in case.
Dexter is not immune from the aging process. He has the usual visual and hearing impairments that accompany “old age.”

“Dexter is pretty deaf,” Rosay said, “but he can see where the treats land for sure.”

San Diego Magazine’s “Best of San Diego 2009”

HEALTH FOOD PET STORE The specialty at Dexter’s Deli in Del Mar is nutrition. The place is stocked with all-natural brands plus a variety of raw foods including tripe and bone marrow. The pampered-pet paradise overflows with toys, outdoor gear, attire, sparkly accessories and plenty of pet-related gifts for the human kind. 858-792-3707 (Carlsbad, 760-720-7507);