Home-baker Jayalakshmi Deepak discovered that when she gave her dogs processed food they would feel distressed. Now she has made home-made natural biscuits that the dogs can eat without having any side-effects
By Shevlin Sebastian
Photos by Albin Mathew
On a recent Saturday evening, a few friends had gathered at home-baker Jayalakshmi Deepak’s house at Kochi. Soon, the topic drifted to whether having dogs as pets are a bane or a boon. Jayalakshmi’s entrepreneur husband Deepak is a dog lover. As he spoke intensely on the subject, suddenly, there was a blur of movement. It was their boxer dog Hooch. The dog put a paw on Deepak’s arms and started licking his hand. “On hearing Deepak’s loud voice, Hooch wanted to calm him down,” says Jayalakshmi.
Not surprisingly, the group burst into laughter. “Later, my husband tried to fool Hooch by deliberately raising his voice,” says Jayalakshmi. “But Hooch did not react because he could detect the difference in tone.”
Apart from Hooch, Jayalakshmi has a female boxer called Bailey and a Basset Hound called Toddy. While Hooch and Bailey live inside their first-floor apartment, Toddy stays in the compound. “They are our children,” says Jayalakshmi, who has a 17-year-old daughter Diya, who also loves dogs
However, all was hunky dory with her dogs, but a few months ago Jayalakshmi came to realise that the processed food that she gave her dogs was having a negative impact on them. They would have stomach pains and looked distressed.
A research on Google confirmed Jayalakshmi’s suspicions. In fact, this is a worldwide problem. Many vets have stated that it is better to avoid giving processed foods to dogs. Most processed foods, like biscuits, grapes, and corn have a lot of artificial preservatives, colours, chemicals, additives and fillers.
That was when Jayalakshmi got the idea of making nutritious and natural biscuits. After careful research, she has made flavours like chicken cranberry, beef pumpkin spinach, fish-carrot-beetroot, banana and peanut butter. But she quickly adds, “I make the peanut butter myself. As for the oil, it is home-milled coconut oil. The latest studies show that this is good for the skin and hair of dogs.” She also adds natural flours like ragi, oats and wheat. The end result is that the biscuits are free of artificial preservatives.
The biscuits, marketed under the brand name of Hooch and Bailey’s Barkery, have been packed in 100-gram packets and are being sold at rates ranging from Rs 150 to Rs 170 per packet. The impact on her dogs has been immediate. They no longer have any stomach problems. And their appetite has increased.
Meanwhile, when asked about the home-made meals that she gives Hooch and Bailey, Jayalakshmi says, “It is predominantly proteins.” So, at 10 a.m., she gives around 200 grams of chicken each with broth, and a dash of turmeric. Sometimes, she gives biscuits with yoghurt. For lunch, at 3 p.m., it is 250 grams of fish and rice. “They love anchovies or sardines, which have the maximum omega-3 fats,” says Jayalakshmi, who has loved dogs since her childhood and played with many of them in her grandfather’s house at Chendamangalam. “At 9 p.m., for dinner, it is a combination of almost raw beef. I place it in boiling water, just to kill off the bacteria. I also add carrots and spinach.”
At the end, she gives bones. “Dogs have a natural urge to bite so if you give them bones they will stop destroying the furniture,” says Jayalakshmi. “It also strengthens the jaws.”
As to why she goes through so much effort, Jayalakshmi says, “Dogs have an unconditional love for you. In the morning when I open the door of the balcony where they sleep, they show so much excitement. They do a boxer shake called the kidney bean dance. It's like as if they have not seen me for two months. I must say it is a beautiful sight. It makes my day.”
(The New Indian Express, Kochi, Kozhikode, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Bangalore, and Hyderabad)