Feb 2, 2016 5:12 PM

'My dog eats better than I do': Portsmouth shop caters to NH's high-end pet food market

PORTSMOUTH - America now has more families with dogs, than families with children. Because our pets’ health is so important, more and more of us are spending big bucks to purchase luxury pet food.

The Natural Dog in Portsmouth is a store that caters to this high-end pet food market.

They carry organic, gluten-free, holistic, natural, and raw food for cats and dogs.

“My dog eats betters than I do,” said Nicole Pollack, who owns a pug named Lady Gaga and who shops at the store. “What I like about raw is it’s unprocessed and we try to eat unprocessed.”

The owner of the store, Jeff Price, feeds his own pets raw meat.

He became interested in opening a healthy food store for pets because of the junk that’s used in processing pet food. Lax oversight in the industry is blamed for the high number of pet food recalls.

Last year, there were more than thirty major label pet food recalls, most of them for salmonella contamination. Listeria monocytogenes, metal contamination, and mold were other common problems in pet food that got recalled.

During the great pet food recall of 2007, more than 8,000 pets died after being poisoned with melamine. That’s an ingredient that was used in China primarily as a substitute for wheat protein.

“A friend of mine, their Golden died because of food she got from China. That’s not good. I want to know where this food comes from,” said Wendy Hazen who shops at The Natural Dog.

She’s part of an exploding demographic: Americans who spend thousands of dollars a year on pet food. Annually, Americans spend 22 billion dollars, on pet food. That’s 75% more than we spent in 2000 and almost all of that growth is in the so-called luxury pet food sector.

Until consumers can be assured that the processing of pet food is safe, they’ll continue to spend top dollar to keep their tiniest family members healthy and safe.

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