10 Questions with Grandma Lucy's
Posted on Feb 27, 2016 , 0 comments
Here at Healthy Spot we make sure the products that line our shelves are not only healthy and safe for your pet, but that the companies making them share our value and morals. Some companies even share common ground with us when it comes to how they got started.
Grandma Lucy’s, like Healthy Spot, got started after concerned pet parents weren’t satisfied with the pet foods they found at their local big box chain. They created their own alternative food using premium, organic, non-GMO ingredients and using a unique freeze-drying process.
We were able to ask the founders, Eric and Breann Shook, some questions about Grandma Lucy’s and their approach to creating pet food that’s safe, healthy, and honest.
Meet The Founders: Eric and Breann Shook
We started as many of you, concerned pet parents. At the time, our dog Lucy was 11 years old and becoming extremely picky about what she would eat. We tried most treats on the market looking for one that was not only safe and healthy, but one that Lucy would eat. After little or no success, we began reading about what was in pet food and treats. We were surprised to find out the inferior quality of ingredients that are typically used in pet food products. As a result of these findings we began to home cook Lucy’s meals and treats. Surprisingly for a dog that had become very picky, she loved her home cooked meals and treats. The next step seemed natural; We wanted to be able to offer to others the healthy and safe treats we were cooking for Lucy.
Our ingredients and philosophy have not changed since we began in 1999. We remain committed to using only human-grade ingredients. We know that not everyone has time to cook for their pets as they wish they could. Grandma Lucy’s provides you with food and treats you trust and feel comfortable feeding to your pets because we are just like you, concerned and loving pet parents.
Where is GL headquartered? Where are your products manufactured? Why here?
It has always been our number one priority to make all of our freeze-dried food and treats in small batches in our own manufacturing facility. This is the only way we know that we can keep a close eye on production, materials and finished product. We both still make it a point to know every material that is coming into the building and what supplier it is coming from to ensure the safest product available. Grandma Lucy’s purchased a building in Rancho Santa Margarita, California in 2013. Prior to us moving in, the building was used to produce drink mixes for such companies as Coffee Bean and Costco. The building is 100% built to meet all of the safety requirements of the California State Health Department for human food production. Over the years, we have adopted a strict HACCP plan to ensure that our manufacturing process is safe from start to finish. We have standard operating procedures in place for each product that we manufacture. These have detailed instructions structured around the safe food handling guidelines established by the USDA and the FDA. Our SOPs ensure that all ingredients are checked upon arrival, stored properly, prepared safely, packaged and prepared to reduce the risk of cross contaminations so that we can make sure pets with food allergies are not exposed to a different protein that may be used in one of our other foods. Our machines are cleaned and sanitized daily. By keeping everything under one roof, we feel this is the best way possible to make sure every one of our small batches of food is the best and safest it can be for your pets.
What types of considerations do take into account when sourcing ingredients for your food?
All of our ingredients are “human-grade” which means we buy all of our raw ingredients from the same food suppliers as your favorite restaurants and markets. This is the whole reason Grandma Lucy’s began over 16 years ago. We read about what type of ingredients were used in pet foods (feed quality ingredients) and couldn’t imagine feeding such inferior foods to Lucy! She wasn’t a farm animal, she was a member of the family. We constantly search high and low for the best possible ingredients available. We do our best to source all our ingredients locally but sometimes the best ingredients are located in other small farms across the globe. Over 87% of our ingredients are grown domestically and the others are from special suppliers in countries such as Australia and New Zealand. Please take a look at our ingredient map for a complete listing of all of our amazing ingredients here.
We remain committed to using only human-grade ingredients. We have had all of the suppliers we purchase from sign Vendor Promises to ensure the following:
- Ingredients are of human grade
- What the ingredient’s country of origin is
- Ingredient is free of chemicals and preservatives
- Ingredient is tested for e-coli, salmonella, Coliform, lead, arsenic, mercury and melamine in accordance with human food safety standards
- Non-GMO ingredients only
- All ingredients are brought in daily in small lots to ensure they are the freshest possible ingredients.
- Eric and Breann started Grandma Lucy’s the same year they got married – 1999
- Grandma Lucy’s has custom built freeze-dryers with technology that exists nowhere else in the world
- 6 out of 10 people admit to eating just as many Grandma Lucy’s Organic Dogs Treats as their dog.
- Grandma Lucy’s is one of the only remaining 100% family owned and operated pet food companies within our category.
- We also manufacture all of our freeze-dried food and treats in our Rancho Santa Margarita, California facility from start to finish.
- All of our freeze-dried foods and treats are 100% grain-free.
- All of the Grandma Lucy’s foods have a short rehydration time of only 3 to 5 minutes.
- We offer more protein options within the category so to be able to offer a food that works for pets with allergies.
- Grandma Lucy’s food pair well with the Nutriscan Food Sensitives test by Dr. Jean Dodds DVM.
- We have a food available that will work for most any pet’s results – Even if they have sensitivities to all 24 foods tested!
Freeze-dried pet foods are much less processed than most any foods on the market. This preserves the cell structure of the food without compromising vitamins, nutrients, color or aroma. By eating minimally processed foods, pets, like people, enjoy feeling healthier overall with a healthy body weight, more energy and reduced or eliminated ailments caused by food sensitivities.
We always congratulate people for their choice! It is always best to transition over to this type of food as slowly as possible. The slower the better. This will allow for the pet’s digestive system to adjust to this healthy way of eating. Though it is not the same as kibble where you can just scoop and serve, Grandma Lucy’s is still very simple to feed. Just measure out the desired amount of food and add 1 to 2 cups of warm water for each cup of food. That’s it! It really is an easy transition from kibble or canned to Grandma Lucy’s!
Why did you choose to partner with Healthy Spot?
Healthy Spot has always done such an amazing job of staying true to their mission of providing only the best possible pet products available. Their attention to product education, detail, safety and quality for our furry family members so closely models Grandma Lucy’s passion that the relationship seemed to be a natural transition. We always look at Healthy Spot as a model store and have enjoyed our years of working with the owners and all of their amazing staff!
Any success stories you would like to share? (E.G. – a dog that had health issues that were alleviated by feeding freeze dried)
“When ChiChi __ unfortunately lost his teeth we soon realized that finding him the perfect food was a necessity- because he deserves it! After almost two years of trying different brands and homemade concoctions, Cheech has found his favorite dog food…ChiChi is now enjoying Grandma Lucy's Artisan Chicken (freeze dried)-- and I agree, this one smells the best out of all the foods we have tried for ChiChi. He loves it-- and it might just be because of all those little chunks of real chicken” -ChiChi the Chihuahua
“We were a kibble family until August when one of our pups was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer. He said there was nothing we could do and she maybe had 2 months at the most, I was determined for her to last longer than that so I did some research and found that grains are bad for dogs and that they need to live with a more primal diet like their ancestors did in the wild which totally made sense to me. So I was making her own food at first and it's not easy and the downfall of that is she may not be getting all the nutrients she needs in her diet, I found a place near my house and found this awesome food called Grandma Lucy's and gave it a try. She loves it and the other girls now only eat this as well, Gracie is doing awesome now 5 months later she just has to take 1 pill a day for pain but the vet said she's doing great and nothing has changed for the worse! We care what we put in our bodies and I feel we should do the same for our pets because they are our fur babies and we love them.” -Rachel Schauer
“Weston is now 3.5yrs old, he will be 4 in April. He did not outgrow Megaesophagus. We have to modify his feedings from time to time and currently the best thing that is working for him is Grandma Lucy's, spoon-fed to him in a sitting position and then his command is "go put your feet up" and he sits vertical with his feet over either the arm of couch or over the back of the couch. He is a happy, silly cartoon character of a dog. He makes me laugh all the time. He is amazingly well balanced, loves people big and small. He has a kind nature about him and a curiosity that is gentle with all new creatures he meets. He is gentle with the tiniest kittens he is an awesome teacher to new dogs that come to my home for foster. He has perfected the fine art of digging and loves all things muddy and wet!” Jamie - Rescue4all Founder
More on Megaesophagus: Megaesophagus, also known as ME, is a condition in humans, cats, dogs and horses where peristalsis fails to occur properly and the esophagus is enlarged. Normally, when the animal's esophagus is functioning properly, it acts as a muscle and pushes the food down the esophagus into the stomach. However, when an animal has megaesophagus, the esophagus stays enlarged and does not push the food down to the stomach. Therefore, the food fails to enter the stomach and often stays in the esophagus, and is eventually regurgitated, or enters the lungs through breathing, or decays in the esophagus.
“My fiancé and I have a 4 year old Bernese Mountain Dog Opie. Unfortunately, ever since we picked up our puppy (Opie) he has suffered from severe stomach issues. Over years of vet visits and different medication, not a single vet could solve the problem. We resorted to home cooking most of his food over months at a time to calm his stomach down. No matter which kibble or even raw food we tried to mix him on, his stomach would always go back to problems in a couple of days. I met a man walking his Bernese Mountain dog in the Dana Point harbor one evening. After chatting for a bit, he started to tell me about Grandma Lucy’s. I was willing to try anything to calm his stomach down, so I picked up a bag of Goat to try. The Goat Pureformance was like a home cooked stew and Opie went crazy for it! After several weeks on the food, his stomach was still normal! FINALLY, I found a food that could be fed more than a week! After a couple months of just feeding the goat, I tried lamb and rabbit as well. Opie has been on Grandma Lucy’s food for about a year now and he is still going strong. Thank you to Grandma Lucy’s. Your superior product saves me money and time every day and Opie loves it! Opie is 5 years old now and still acts like a puppy! Thank you!” Katie Parry
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