Dogs — especially in the South — are man’s best friend, right? Why then, Chad Stone wants to know, do we so often feed our dogs the human equivalent of junk food for nearly every meal of their lives? You wouldn’t do that to a friend or family member, especially one you are relying on to have the health, strength and energy to be a worthy companion on a hike, a hunt and other adventures.
With all the attention we’re paying these days to what we put in our bodies, it’s amazing there aren’t more opportunities to provide natural, high-quality, wholesome foods to the four-legged members of our families. That realization led Chad to launch Bonafide Pet Foods earlier this year.
Founded on the principle “that our dogs’ meals should be no less superior than our children’s,” the Nashville-based business provides corn-, soy-, wheat-, gluten- and byproduct-free dog food in flavors like chicken and rice (for very active dogs, hunting dogs and puppies), and salmon and sweet potato (for dogs with sensitive digestive systems). We sat down with Chad to learn more about the story behind Bonafideand how taking better care of man’s best friend can help enrich both of your lives.
Where did the idea for Bonafide come from?
“In one word, labels. The birth of our first child made us start paying attention to food labels. We really wanted to know what we were feeding her. Our dog, Brady, was just an extension of that increased awareness. It was no different. The brands we had always trusted ended up not being the best-quality choice.”
What are your company’s guiding principles?
“We stand for quality, convenience and community. We aim to enrich the lives of the dogs we feed through quality nutrition. We aim to be a part of the local community by working with local organizations to promote awareness and improve their funding. We really believe we can do well, by doing good. We are guided in principle by our name. Bona fide definition: made with good intent and made in good faith.”
What’s the differences between your product and other dog foods?
“Most brands you’d find at your local grocery store are low on quality and full of cheap fillers. Bonafide foods are comprised of only the highest-quality ingredients; single meat sources, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.”
How do you respond to people who recoil at paying more for a product like yours with a response like, “it’s just a dog”?
“There are a lot of people who love their dogs and are just unaware of the overwhelming benefits a small cost increase can bring. When you factor in health implications and how much more a dog feeding on a low-quality protein source needs to eats, the cost difference between us and them is very small.”
What are other benefits?
“The first thing you’ll notice is an improvement in the dog’s coat and stools. We have had customers write to us reporting improved appetite for the picky eaters, and more energy, skin improvement and absence of allergy symptoms.”
What differences have you noticed in your own dog?
“Brady is almost 10. There isn’t a visit to the dog park where someone does not make a comment on how good she looks. I tell them her age and they are blown away. She is healthy and moves like a five-year-old. I have less stool in my yard — which my wife and kids are thankful for — and Brady will still run a lacrosse ball back to me for hours. She is also very well behaved. (Ask any trainer; nutrition affects a dog’s behavior.)”
Photo by Eric Staples