Healthier choices for pets
By Christina Ruiz, Correspondent
Last year, Pat Burg was walking down Greenleaf Avenue when she noticed a sign for a bakery opening.
But this was not your average bakery. Burg, who owns two Scottish terriers and a boxer-mix, was thrilled to see a bakery for man's best friend - and his counterpart, the cat - so close to her home.
An active member of the Scottish Terrier Club of California, Burg has been a loyal customer of Paws Bakery and Canine Boutique since it opened in June 2006.
And the damage to your pocketbook from this humanlike pet food? It's not exactly cheap, but Burg said it's well worth it.
"Short term, it is a little expensive, but in the long run it is worthwhile," the La Mirada resident said. "I'm not visiting the vet as often."
Burg, who is experimenting with different proteins, such as lamb, chicken and venison with her Scotties, has been very pleased with the results.
K.C. Coonis and her mother-in-law, Sandy Coonis, began their business after Sandy's dog, Josie, became ill. Josie lost her hair, began scratching when there were no fleas present and had a displeasing odor. Coonis decided to visit a cousin in Palm Springs who had a similar pet shop.
Coonis used a raw and specialty-type food remedy to heal her pain-stricken pooch.
After Josie was better, Coonis looked into opening her own business here in the San Gabriel Valley. "We care about animals, so why not?" she said.
With a wide variety of pet food including specialty pet food, raw food and baked goods for pups, Coonis has pet owners covered for all their pet necessities.
The specialty pet food contains no wheat, corn or soy. The product is additionally human grade, without preservatives and partially organic. The raw food is available for cats and dogs. Chicken, turkey, organic chicken, venison and beef are available by the patty. Raw rabbit also can be purchased, which is a feline favorite.
In the bakery case, Coonis displays such doggie delicacies as pupcakes, canoli, pizza bones and empanadas - all made with yogurt, carob, peanut butter and cinnamon.
So, why choose specialty over ordinary?
For Coonis, it all comes down to a little product knowledge.
"If you read the label, you'd be disgusted by it," she said.
Purina's Beneful is a good example, she said.
The first listed ingredient in each formula of Beneful food, with the exception of their Healthy Harvest, is ground yellow corn, followed by chicken byproduct meal. The list goes on to to include calcium propionate, which is a preservative.
Preservatives aren't the greatest things for humans to ingest, so why are we feeding it to our animals? Coonis asked.
She also went on to say that if our animals are born carnivores, why is it that one of the main ingredients in dog food is corn?
Iams dog food, another big seller in stores, sometimes contains corn meal, chicken byproduct meal and even corn grits.
"Corn may be hard for animals to digest," said Mary Hart, employee of the Southern California Animal Hospital in La Puente.
Iams' lamb and rice cat food formula includes chicken by-product meal as the first listed ingredient.
Seem a little odd that the first ingredient listed is not lamb or rice? Brewer's rice appears in the No. 6 slot; lamb is right behind at No. 7.
Paws Bakery has seen a strong increase in business in the wake of this year's pet food recalls, and the shop has kept customers even after the air had cleared.
Coonis will be holding A Dog's Day Afternoon on Aug. 25 at the bakery, 6545 Greenleaf Ave., Whittier. The celebration, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m., will include a barbecue and raffle. Samples will available to all pets.
For Burg, whose dogs are fans of the frozen raw food by Nature's Best, it's the hometown feel of the bakery and the quality food that brings her back again and again.
Whittier Daily News 8/8/07