In 2003, Will Post, a former US Marine, founded LIFE4K9 Pet Foods before selling it in 2010 to start Hound & Gatos Pet Foods. Today, Hound & Gatos ships petfood globally and claims to be the original Paleolithic petfood company. "Our society is ill and overweight. I believe we need to go back to our ancestral roots where we were created to eat meats, fruits and vegetables," says Post, founder and CEO. "Hollywood has really bragged about their Paleo diets so why not our pets - after all, they are family too!"
The premature passing of Post's beloved Great Dane due to "poor nutrition" is what originally set Post on the path to revolutionize the petfood industry 10 years ago and his current pets' allergies to corn, soy, wheat and rice keep him focused on the company's 100% meat-based diet approach. Post's mission is to feed pets quality ingredients, reverting back to what (the company claims) dogs and cats would eat in the wild, such as chicken, salmon, rabbit, lamb, venison, turkey, tripe, beef, trout and pork.
Hound & Gatos products do not contain any plant protein, fillers or by-products such as rendered animal fats, corn, soy, wheat, sugar or artificial flavors or preservatives. "You have never seen a cat or dog grazing in wheat fields or digging up their dinner from the garden," Post points out. This diligence to a completely protein-based pet diet has gotten H&G approval for new labels that read: 100% Animal Protein, 0% Plant Protein (their old labels only say 98%). The company recently introduced a new cat food formula in rabbit, as well as some more exotic protein options like kangaroo, duck and goat. A new US-sourced treat and supplement line has also been unveiled this past year.
"In addition to putting out a line of what pets should be eating, I also help people determine what it is that their pets have been eating," says Post. "I offer DNA testing, as well as information on what to watch for. I'm happy that I've been able to get the word out about the importance of feeding pets a high quality diet." Consumers can get a DNA document that shows that each specific H&G product really does contain the specified meat and not fillers or by-product.
But Hound & Gatos' concern with strict recipes and high-end ingredients is not the only thing that has been helping the company grow-a fierce loyalty to independent pet stores has been key for the company, too. "Striving for only the best distributors and independent petfood stores has made H&G quite successful," explains Post. "The independent retail store owner must be protected and we do not sell to the large box warehouses. We must stand up and support those independents or all of us will be shopping at the big warehouses. The small independent should support those companies that refuse to go into the large box warehouses.
"Having Performance Pet and Doak Porter really made an impact on Hound & Gatos Pet Foods," Post continues, when asked to describe how the company has changed over the past several years. "He believed in me and has offered his 100% support and devotion to Hound & Gatos. His cannery is a true American success story and Doak is helping me along the way to build my true American success story for H&G."
Hound & Gatos Pet Foods products are now shipped all over the world and the future continues to look very bright, according to Post. "We are working with a company in Europe that I believe will really put us on the map and take Hound & Gatos Pet Foods above the competition." The company will be making a formal announcement on the partnership in late 2013. "Hound & Gatos will always offer the healthiest ingredients possible and if [ingredients] cost more to buy, then we will buy it," concludes Post. "We are not in this business to be the cheapest priced in the market. My pets are my life and they will get only the best, and there is a market share that believes this ideology."