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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 23 — It seems like everybody is eating healthier these days... or at least they are trying to. Shops and restaurants selling organic food can be found in nearly every neighbourhood.
Little wonder then that dog lovers want their fur kids to have a healthier diet as well.
Chan Chui Shia was searching for a suitable brand of pet food for Mochi, a Shih Tzu/Maltese mix, about seven years ago. She went online and discovered that there were many pet food brands available but she wanted something healthier for her beloved furry friend.
The discovery of homemade dog treats recipes got her started on an unconventional baking journey which eventually turned into Barkery Oven.
“Five years ago I started testing out homemade recipes with a friend of mine who is also a dog owner,” said Chan, 35.
While looking at pet food reviews online, she found out that a popular pet food brand was recalled in the US but the news was not published in Malaysia.
That incident gave her the push to make healthy dog treats instead of buying off the shelves.
“At first I used wheat flour in my recipes but I realised my dog was allergic to gluten. Mochi was itching all over. I did further research online and I found out that most dogs are allergic to gluten,” said Chan, who runs a toy distribution and wholesale business.
She got Miki, a Shih Tzu/poodle mix, a few years later and realised it had the same allergic reaction to gluten.
“I wanted a more natural diet for my dogs and I decided that a raw diet would be the best. I would process vegetables and meat, running it through the grinder for my dogs,” said Chan.
Over time, she mastered delicious recipes that got both Mochi and Miki wagging their tails for more. Currently, Mochi lives with Chan’s in-laws.
“Miki’s favourite treat is my best-seller, the Oats and Cheddar biscuits,” said Chan. The bone-shaped treat is popular among her customers no matter what kind of breed they own.
Barkery Oven dog treats consist of Rye and Molasses biscuits, Wheat Free Chicken, Vege and Rosemary biscuits, Wheat Free Honey and Oats biscuits, Wheat Free Pork and Mixed Herbs biscuits, Wheat Free Cheese and Herbs biscuits, Wheat
Free Peanut Butter biscuits, Wheat Free Carrot Biscotti and Wheat Free Pumpkin Biscotti.
Chan also bakes muffins and cakes for dogs, using pumpkin and carrots as the main ingredients. The “icing” on the cake would be mashed potatoes, cream cheese or mashed pumpkins.
Celebrating your dog’s birthday? Chan has a bone-shaped cake that can be enjoyed by the birthday canine and its humans as well.
The marble cake is made of pumpkin and carob, a chocolate substitute. Miki was licking his chops when Chan showed us the cake.
“Miki must be a very lucky dog,” I told her as she fed the toy dog some Oats and Cheese treats.
Chan agreed with a laugh, as she stroked his recently groomed white coat.
So far, Barkery Oven’s treats have become the preferred choice of treats for most of the dogs that tried it.
But it’s not just our furry friends who are fans of the gluten-free snack.
“My customer told me her kids love the snacks! All the ingredients I use are safe for dogs and humans.”
Barkery Oven offers delivery service nationwide. Pick-up option is also available but all items have to be pre-ordered to ensure freshness and quality.
The biscuits are priced from RM20 to RM30 per jar while the muffins are priced at RM25 for six pieces. The bone-shaped cake would cost from RM55 to RM80 depending on the ingredients.
Barkery Oven’s biscuits can last for up to six months while the muffins and cake can last for three days. Chan says that she does not use any colouring, preservatives, salt or sugar in her homemade pet food.
Would she consider making cat food in the future? Chan confessed that she was not a cat person so the chances are less likely. Also, when she was researching pet food, she discovered that cat food is made to taste better because cats tend to be choosier about food compared to dogs.
Want to pamper your pooch with some gourmet, healthy dog treats? Check out Barkery Oven online at http://www.barkeryoven.wordpress.com and https://www.facebook.com/Barkeryoven for more information.
This story was first published in the print edition of The Malay Mail, August 22, 2013.