Miss Autumn’s Barquery: Specialty dog food formulas

Miss Autumn's Barquery focuses on pet medical conditions and small batch and custom-made formulas to promote dog health at all life stages.

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Victoria McDowell, CEO, here with Chief Operations Officer Jim Maciborski and Missy Mulligan McDowell the Bugg (Terrier/Pug mix) looks to constantly improve her company’s selections to help dog owners maintain optimal health for their pets. | Photo courtesy Miss Autumn’s Barquery
Victoria McDowell, CEO, here with Chief Operations Officer Jim Maciborski and Missy Mulligan McDowell the Bugg (Terrier/Pug mix) looks to constantly improve her company’s selections to help dog owners maintain optimal health for their pets. | Photo courtesy Miss Autumn’s Barquery

Pets are living longer than ever, and with those extended lifespans come a whole host of health and nutrition needs that must be met in every stage of their lives.

Enter Miss Autumn’s Barquery, a specialty pet food company that focuses on pet nutrition for all life stages to create organic and all-natural formulations in response to dog health issues.

“Miss Autumn's Barquery’s core philosophy is focused on addressing the nutritional support for healthy dogs and various medical conditions common in the companion animal world,” says Victoria McDowell, company founder. Food is prepared for dogs that have specific health needs such as allergies, cancer, cardiac problems, Cushing's disease, diabetes, epilepsy (neurologic), and kidney and renal problems. With the impact of pet diseases on the rise, we saw a need for new disease support therapy formulas. Our formulas are unique, supportive care modalities.”

The science of good pet nutrition

From the company’s founding in 2006, says McDowell, Miss Autumn's Barquery has set out to understand exactly how good pet nutrition works. The company’s formulas have been tested for efficacy at Cornell University in partnership with Dr. Olga Padilla-Zakour, the director of the Northeast Center for Food Entrepreneurship in the university’s Department of Food Science. All food is cooked in small batches under the strictest standards for safety, reliability and consistency using high-quality ingredients, according to McDowell.

“For over 10 years, we have partnered with holistic and traditional veterinarians who share our vision for the nutritional welfare of each beloved pet we have the privilege of feeding,” says McDowell. “We have three decades of research and scientific discovery behind us … through [that] research, Miss Autumn's Barquery formulates pet consumables that are nutritionally sound, packed full of flavor and promote good health longevity. Pets like our products for the flavor, pet parents like our products for the nutrition.”

miss autumns barquery kitchen

Miss Autumn’s has a range of organic dog products available, including treats and food for all life stages. | Photo courtesy Miss Autumn’s Barquery

It's a market segment providing plenty of opportunity for the company to expand from its small-business roots. “We continue to develop proprietary products and now have over 30 completed dog food and dog treats with a number in development, including the beverage segment,” says McDowell. The company has even, somewhat unintentionally, entered the cat food space: It turns out that, with the addition of an appropriately dosed taurine supplement, several Miss Autumn’s Barquery products are acceptable for cats, something McDowell came across when a prospective customer purchased the products after not being able to find any other formula that suited her cat’s needs. New products in the last 12 months have included the company’s Cardiac and Renal formulas, along with Diabetic and, most recently, Neurologic formulas.

Challenges and opportunities in specialty pet health

Miss Autumn’s Barquery is a small, independently owned company in a specialty segment of pet food, and with that combination comes plenty of challenges, according to McDowell.

“The success of Miss Autumn's Barquery depends on proper calibration of gold standards,” she says. “The safest but slowest and most expensive approach is to give a range of products with representative production. By doing this, we use only human-grade ingredients that our family, our pets and our customers’ pets can thrive on.”

This makes growth a slow but steady incline, rather than a short-term race, and investing is a constant balancing act.

“Like many small businesses, we strive to get our product right, first and foremost,” says McDowell. “Sometimes, though, this takes away from our marketing efforts. We continue to push for distribution. Down the road, as we grow, we will certainly need to invest in more production. Our strategy is to continue pushing distribution through the niche distribution channels where our brand identity speaks to the authenticity of what we stand for.”

That authenticity, says McDowell, is the company’s greatest strength.

“Our biggest opportunity is simply meeting the demand for high-quality products,” she says. “Our products are organic, natural, human grade, non-GMO, hypoallergenic and holistic, with no by-products, fillers or artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, as well as no added growth hormones or rendered meats. This is differentiated and in demand.”

The future of Miss Autumn’s Barquery

Miss Autumn’s Barquery expects to become even more relevant as it grows in the golden age of pet humanization.

Most recently, Miss Autumn’s Barquery products can now be found in all Lucky’s Market locations.

“I think the brand has grown in awareness over the years, but at a steady pace,” says McDowell. “In fact, what has really changed is in the marketplace. Customers treat their companion animals as members of the family and want to feed them healthy products. This demand keeps growing.”

The company strives to continue meeting that demand.

“The company motto is, ‘Nothing is ever good enough’, so product is constantly evaluated for improvement,” says McDowell. “We are looking to the future in food therapy/food energy such as hot/warm food and cold/cool food. We also offer custom diets for medically ill pets who do not respond to our medical diets or any other commercial medical diets on the current marketplace.”



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