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Doggie Dabbas’ founder Rashee Shah Kuchroo.
Doggie Dabbas’ founder Rashee Shah Kuchroo.

Filling up the tiffin ‘dabba’ for pets

Over the past few years, a number of startups are helping people access fresh meals for their pets

When Delhi’s Rashee Shah Kuchroo, 31, returned home after completing her business graduate degree in London in 2011, she was sad to see the health of her pet dog, Sloppy. His kibble diet had made him overweight and it was affecting the dog’s joints.

Within the next few weeks, Kuchroo signed up for an online course to understand the kind of nutrition dogs require. Soon, Sloppy was put on a diet and when the results started showing, friends started approaching her to design vet-approved meal plans for their pets. That’s when she first contemplated a tiffin service for pets, called Doggie Dabbas, which today offers over 5,000 meals each month for animals in Delhi and Mumbai.

“I was obsessed with dogs, but I never started out with a business in mind. Initially, we focussed solely on frozen foods; by 2014, customers wanted treats and snacks as well," Kuchroo says.

Over the past few years, a number of startups are helping people access fresh meals for their pets. The services are ensuring a healthy lifestyle for the dogs while the pet parents try to strike a work-life balance.

Pune’s Sonal Zalkikar, 43, was one such parent. Having worked in the information technology industry for over 15 years, her hectic schedule hardly left her any time to cook for her Labrador, Roxy. After her dog developed liver-related issues, Zalkikar consulted her vet and started learning recipes that could be cooked at home. “People want to give their dogs fresh food, but cannot do so due to a busy lifestyle. They are usually fed packaged food or basic meal of rice and milk or rotis. I also came across vegetarian families who didn’t want to deprive their dogs of meat. It gave me an idea; I started exploring if there would be any takers for a food service," she says.

What started out as a sabbatical from the corporate world soon became an industry shift when Zalkikar started Pet Feast in 2017. After taking an online canine nutritionist course, she arrived at different offerings comprising vegetarian and non-vegetarian meals, besides catering to dogs that were allergic to certain ingredients or suffered any kind of ailments.

The access to healthy meals has resulted in happy pet parents. Zalkikar worked with an overweight dog and helped her shed 5kg over a period of six months.

Kuchroo took charge of a dog that the vet had recommended to be put to sleep because of health issues. “I changed the diet around six years ago, and the dog continues to be my client even today."

The Pet Club looks at millennials who are driving the petcare startup space.

Write to us at businessoflife@livemint.com

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