Doggie Dabbas, an Indian fresh and frozen pet food brand for dogs and cats, has recently opened a factory in Manesar, Gurgoan, expanding its operations. In line with this expansion, the company also launched its own website in November for customers to directly engage with the brand.

The company, established in 2011, is currently producing 5,000 customizable, freeze-dried pet meals every month under the Freshibble brand as single-meals at INR540 (US$7.60) and three-meal value packs at INR1,500 (US$21.11). On the website, the company provides deals on its natural, preservative-free treats, available in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The website also offers Lick Ups spreads and Meow Chow cat treats.

Home-grown, all-natural pet food startup

Starting with an initial investment of INR25,000 (US$352), Doggie Dabbas founder Rashee Kuchroo was inspired by the health issues faced by her Labrador, Sloppy, to make home-cooked meals in her city of New Delhi.

“I did a short course in canine nutrition online and began researching and reading all the books I could get my hands on,” said Kuchroo. “When guests started visiting my home and seeing the difference in Sloppy, they started requesting meals for their dogs, too. And thus, Doggie Dabbas was born.”

The strong word-of-mouth saw Kuchroo’s client base grow as she did not compromise on quality. “We are a home-grown, all-natural pet food brand,” she explained. “At the heart of everything, we want our customers to know that if they see our logo on any dog or cat-related product, they can trust us and know that it is a great-quality product.”

Integrity in pet food ingredients

For Kuchroo, ensuring quality starts with a commitment to ingredients and offering her clients the same convenience as in-store packaged brands.

“We use all-natural, human-grade ingredients,” Kuchroo said. “In some cases we even use a grade above what is available in the human market. For example, the fish we use is tested for mercury and ethoxyquin to ensure complete safety when feeding your dogs. All ingredients are personally selected by me after a lot of research, and at the moment all recipes are developed in house.” 

As her business grew, Kuchroo began to offer vacuum packaged and frozen foods, too, as coordinating with clients throughout the city was becoming difficult. “The service we offer is essentially a subscription model for fresh meals to be delivered to your doorstep on a weekly basis. You simply have to defrost, open and serve the tailor-made meals.”

Today her business offers its Frozen Meal Plans in New Delhi NCR and Mumbai. Its dry treats and Freshibble freeze-dried food are offered in 120 retail stores across India. Doggie Dabbas dog treats are now offered in the US as well.

“We have been a boot-strapped company to date,” Kuchroo said. “We are retailing with some of the best retailers in India: PetSutra, Heads Up For Tails, Poochmate, Red Paws Spa, and Foodhall.”

Personalization leads to more and better clients

Kuchroo credits the trust built between her brand and customers from the get-go as the reason for her success. While her biggest competition is from packaged pet foods, Doggie Dabbas has worked within the market segment of personalized service. Kuchroo’s team works with vets and pet parents to determine the correct diet for cats and dogs.

The company is now leveraging its growing client base to expand its online presence. “We have recently launched our e-commerce website, and we are excited to see how online growth works for us,” Kuchroo said. “We are looking to increase our footprint for the Frozen Meal Plans in different cities, focus on our e-commerce and increase our retail presence. We are also looking at increasing our international footprint with the right partner as there is great scope there as well.”