By now you have likely read my four part series on dog nutrition in which I explained why processed pet food is unhealthy for your dog. And I advised you why raw diets are the most nutritious sustenance for dogs, while the next best meals would be fresh cooked ones. So now I have discovered a customized cooked dog food that’s delivered to your door if you live in Toronto! And it is coming soon across Canada!
Please see my affiliate program disclosure at the end of this post.
Cola’s Kitchen custom made freshly cooked dog food!
One day while doing my regular check-in on Instagram, I noticed that somebody had liked most of my posts from the prior two weeks within a period of only a few minutes. And even though my posts might be engaging (LOL!), this was unusual for one Instagram account to like so many posts at once. So I concluded that this response was a bot, or someone was really trying to get my attention!
I immediately messaged this account on Instagram and discovered that it was a premium, highly ethical freshly cooked dog food company! And their brand name is Cola’s Kitchen, named after their Dachshund, Cola.
Cola’s Kitchen caught my attention!
By coincidence, I had just recently tested and purchased a similar freshly cooked local brand. I was seeking a healthy alternative to supplement Roxy’s diet and to contribute to her life enjoyment. And as you likely guessed, I wanted to be sure that Cola’s Kitchen was an equally respectable brand to the one I had already tried. So I asked their representative lots of questions about their product!
I was very impressed with the answers regarding the quality of the product and their sourcing of ingredients. I might add this is not an easy accomplishment given my high standards! I’m always skeptical about pet food brands that say they are superior to the competition. But this cooked dog food appeared to live up to its claim!
Continue reading for the proof…..
I got immediate and personal service!
The person who connected with me via Instagram private messaging was Salma Hamidi, the Co-Founder of Cola’s Kitchen. And I was pleasantly surprised when she responded immediately to my first message. Plus, from that point forward, she continued to promptly answer all my questions!
This is what Ms. Hamidi said:
“Our food is freshly cooked every single time and not processed in any way. Everything is human-grade, from our meats to the vegetables. We source Canadian ingredients. We actually use the same vendors we source from for our other business @cravehealthyhabits which is a chain of healthy fast casual restaurants in [the] Financial district [of Toronto] for humans. ☺️”
She explained more….
“Also a major difference between our food and our competitors is that we don’t use the “bulk feeding” strategy. Which means we don’t prepare our food in bulk and then portion more or less of the same food for different dogs based on their caloric needs alone. We take it one step further, and balance and cook each dog’s recipes individually. Although we don’t charge extra for going that extra mile!”
When I asked her for more details by email, she indicated the following:
“At Cola’s Kitchen we offer individually balanced fresh dog food which is 100% customized to fit the needs of your dog. We offer 3-ingredient sets to our customers, and based on their choice, our AI formulates a customized recipe using the 3-ingredient sets. The concentration of each ingredient in an ingredient set changes from one dog to another based on the individual characteristics of each dog and their unique conditions. Our AI formulates each diet in a way that all the nutrients including vitamins and minerals are supplied from natural sources. Therefore we do not need to add synthetic vitamins or minerals in our food.”
And of course now I was wondering what is this AI technology that she mentioned?
Wait for it! …….
Cola’s Kitchen partnered with an animal nutrition scientist!
Ms. Hamidi provided Dr. Goodarzi’s credentials:
“We are proudly partnered with Dr. Goodarzi in Cola’s Kitchen. The technology that analyzes and designs the meal plans for dogs has been developed based on his formulation and expertise. Dogs are individuals, and based on the age, breed, gender, weight, physical activity, reproduction status e.g. castration, pregnancy, lactating, etc., the nutritional requirements of each one are different. That is why every dog should receive a specific daily ration that caters to his or her needs. Based on Dr.Goodarzi’s extensive research and experience, we have developed the technology that analyzes and designs the meal plans for each dog individually.
Dr.Goodarzi is an animal nutritionist with two PhDs in Animal Nutrition and Poultry Science. His ongoing academic research has evolved around animal nutrition, feed/food processing, animal physiology and health, and gut microbiology. He has more than 25 publications in the best international peer-reviewed journals of the field and is a regular speaker in different scientific seminars and conferences. Dr. Goodarzi is also currently a research associate at the Free University Berlin.”
So besides the impressive partnership with a scientist, how else is Cola’s Kitchen better than their competitors?
According to Ms. Hamidi, “Most fresh dog food producers, like traditional dog food producers, offer a generally balanced recipe for all dogs and just recommend the dog owners to use different amounts of this recipe daily. They do not consider age, breed, gender, physical activity, reproduction status e.g. castration, pregnancy, lactating, etc. at all when recommending the dog owners to use a certain amount of their food per day. It is scientifically practically impossible to meet the nutritional requirements of all types of dogs with one individual recipe and just changing the daily consumption of this recipe based on the dog’s weight. Furthermore, since (our competitors) are using a general recipe to approximately cater to a wide range of breeds, they have to add certain synthetic nutrients to their bulk foods as nutritional balancers to ensure the consumers will not face deficiency for certain nutrients.”
Ms. Hamidi definitely maintained my attention!
All of this was quite impressive. Cola’s Kitchen cooked dog food company actually prepared individual customized recipes for each dog! To me, that was incredible! So I carried on with my research into this product.
So as you may already know, Roxy must love any product for dogs that I endorse, especially dietary products. It’s a nice benefit of being my assistant! Lucky girl, she gets to taste test new dog foods like this one! And not only is it important that she loves the particular food, but also critical that she can digest it, since Roxy has food sensitivities. With Roxy’s seal of approval, I can be confident that other dogs, including those with possible digestive issues, will enjoy food from Cola’s Kitchen too!
And because Roxy must try the food before I would ever recommend it to you, I asked Ms. Hamidi if she could customize a sample that would accommodate Roxy’s digestive allergies.
MS. HAMIDI OFFERED to customize a recipe for Roxy’s food allergies!
And remarkably, she said yes! Since this was the only way I could test the their cooked dog food quality and experience their customer service, Ms. Hamidi offered to customize a meal plan that would address Roxy’s specific food allergies! Roxy gets diarrhea from eating chicken and rice. And loose stools from beef, pork, sweet potato, pumpkin, and flaxseed. I also pointed out there may be other foods within multi-ingredient commercial recipes that cause her allergies. But fortunately, Roxy is able to digest lamb, turkey, and salmon!
They currently can’t accommodate all food allergies, but they plan to offer this soon!
Once I shared Roxy’s dietary dos and don’ts, Ms. Hamidi affirmed that Cola’s Kitchen can definitely formulate a special meal plan for Roxy so that I can test out their fresh cooked food and service. But she stated that “currently we can’t accommodate all allergies and dietary restrictions for operational purposes. However since we have the technology to design individual recipes, we will be adding that feature in the near future!”
Until then, you can choose from the 3-ingredient sets (as noted above) to which hopefully your dog is not allergic!
And I know that if Cola’s Kitchen can design a meal plan that Roxy can digest, they will be able to do this in the near future for other dogs once they add this feature to their service! Plus, they can definitely customize individually cooked dog food recipes to circumvent some allergies right now from their existing menu!
I continued to be impressed!
Nevertheless, I still needed proof that this cooked dog food was what Ms. Hamidi said it was. And she understood that I needed to see it (and have Roxy test it) to believe it. Otherwise I could not properly judge it for Roxy, nor recommend it to you, my readers. So she immediately offered to send me two weeks of customized daily portioned meals to transition Roxy to the new food at no cost! Cola’s Kitchen was demonstrating they truly stand behind their product!
THEY CREATED A CUSTOM COOKED DOG FOOD RECIPE FOR ROXY!
From the list of Roxy’s troublesome foods and her easily digested foods, Cola’s Kitchen developed and sent me my dog’s very own freshly cooked dog food.
So I was very excited to receive the custom menu of freshly cooked dog food for Roxy!
Since this food is delivered frozen, I asked Ms. Hamidi how long can it last outside of a freezer before it will thaw or go bad? My concern was having frozen food delivered and left outside people’s homes in summer weather, or dropped off at a condo concierge desk until the package is retrieved.
Upon delivery, this customized dog food stays frozen up to 10 hours!
“As for the delivery, currently our packaging and the recyclable insulation we use, keeps the food frozen for up to 10 hours. We also notify our customers of the delivery window the day before the deliveries in case they need to change it. In the next month we will also introduce delivery date change request to accommodate customers who need to change their delivery date by a few days. Also, as we’re gearing up to ship Canada wide, our new packaging would be able to keep the food frozen for longer than 10 hours.”
Cola’s Kitchen’s website is fun to navigate!
Ms. Hamidi advised me to register on their website so I could acquire the true customer experience. Which allowed me to discover what it would be like for you!
And I must say, Cola’s Kitchen website is actually fun to navigate through! It talks to you in a dog-loving friendly way. You’ll know what I mean once you explore their website for yourself! However, there were some rough spots with entering Roxy’s age. When I explained this problem to Ms. Hamidi, she said that they are working on improving that. And to me it’s totally understandable; they are a new business and there are bound to be some bumps to smooth out along the way!
Immediately after I submitted my order, their system sent me a confirmation email. Then I waited patiently for them to formulate a recipe just for Roxy! And for this special order, it took about two weeks until I received an email telling me her custom food would be delivered the next day.
And boy, were Roxy and I excited to receive it!
But keep in mind that you will only have to wait 4- 10 days for your first order to arrive, because you will be choosing your dog’s menu from the meal plan sets already offered on their website.
Ms. Hamidi explained that “Initial orders get delivered any time between 4-10 days. They will see their delivery date at check out. It depends on which day they place the order in relation to our production and delivery days basically.”
After the initial order, if you love this food as much as Roxy and I do, Cola’s Kitchen will place you on continuous subscription. And they will notify you of when your next delivery will arrive. So you will never run out of food for your dog again! Or worry about having to go to the store to replenish your supply again. This is because before your dog finishes her current supply, her customized freshly cooked dog food will be delivered right to your door! Later on I will discuss more about Cola’s Kitchen subscription model.
So let me tell you what Roxy and I discovered when her customized cooked dog food arrived!
The customized cooked dog food arrived in this box.
The food stays frozen in the delivery box for up to 10 hours!
The food was insulated in special wrapping paper that you can see in the photo below. This specially designed insulation material keeps the content frozen for up to 10 hours!
Included in the box were the following warmly written materials:
- A welcoming greeting card that of course features a picture of Cola, the brand spokes-dog!
On the inside of that card, they explain how to transition your dog from her existing diet to Cola’s Kitchen’s food.
2. A Certificate of Recognition welcoming Roxy to Cola’s Crew – So cute! 🥰
3. Cola’s specials for Roxy!
Roxy’s specific menu of two customized cooked dog food meals were detailed on the back of the “Cola’s specials for Roxy” form!
So Roxy’s special menu included a Turkey and a Salmon recipe. These are to be alternated every few days so that Roxy eats at least two sets of ingredients within a week. And I totally agree with this philosophy! Because this is also what I recommend to my clients. I advise them to serve their dog at least some variety of protein. I learned from my veterinarians over the years that pets can lose tolerance for digesting a particular meat continuously.
4. Cola’s Kitchen provides a reusable bag to thaw a meal.
This bag is such a great idea! Wonderful for preventing mishaps in the fridge while the food thaws! Never has any frozen dog food I have ever purchased come with a special bag to store the meals. And this bag is quite beautifully designed too! I love the teal colour of the zip lock strip and the cute message of “Positive Barks Only”!
5. Each meal is individually wrapped.
6. Inside this pretty wrapping, there is a brown butcher wax paper that is wrapped directly around the food as shown in the picture below. This paper is designed to contain the meal as it thaws, making it easier to remove the thawed content from the special bag shown in the prior photo above. Without this butcher paper, the ingredients and moisture would release throughout the bag and it would be very messy for you to serve the food, and afterwards to clean the bag!
So this is what the frozen Turkey with Beet Roots looks like inside the butcher wrapper. 👇
And you can see in the picture below what the food looks like once it’s thawed! I had portioned off half the package to feed Roxy and placed the rest in one of my own containers. You can zoom in and see all the fresh human grade ingredients for yourself!
So what did Roxy think about this customized cooked dog food?
Roxy absolutely loved this food as you can see in the video below! Watch how she licks the bowl even after it’s empty!
How did Roxy digest this cooked dog food?
So I introduced this new food to Roxy gradually as per the instructions provided with this delivery! And she had no problems digesting this new customized diet!
How do you know if your dog is able to digest the new cooked dog food?
The way you can tell if your dog is digesting the new food properly is by checking if her stool is solid. If it is, then you can proceed to serve a higher percentage of the new meal according to the introduction schedule. However, if your dog’s stool is soft or loose on any given day, then you need to return to the ratio of new/old food as it was on the last day when her stools were solid. And you need to back track like this for as many days as are needed until your dog’s stool becomes solid. Then you can progress to gradually increasing the ratio of the new dog food to the old meal content, until you have completely transitioned her to the new freshly cooked food.
However, take note that some dogs can take up to two days to digest food. For example, Roxy takes two days to produce a stool from food she ate two days prior. How do I know this? Well, when her feces suddenly becomes soft, I ask myself if she ate anything new in the past couple of days? And I always remember that she scooped something up off the ground or I gave her a new treat exactly two days prior! So if your dog is like Roxy, a soft stool from the new food may not appear until two days later!
If your dog’s stools never become solid throughout the transition period, it’s likely that she has a sensitivity to one or more of the ingredients. And I highly suggest that you call Cola’s Kitchen to discuss the problem so they can try to provide a solution. Depending on the issue, it is possible you may need to wait until they can formulate a special menu for your dog as they did for Roxy, once their processes are updated to do so. And I believe it’s truly worth the wait!
All of the customized cooked dog food packaging is eco-friendly!
Ms. Hamidi told me that “Our entire packaging (including the tape and insulation) are compostable and recyclable. We’re actually part of an Eco alliance that helps with reforestation. So quite literally trees get planted with each order!” This is amazing! So although it seems like there is a lot of material to package this food, it’s all eco-friendly!
So I placed all of the packaging except for the reusable thawing bag and the brown butcher paper into the recycling bin. Ms. Hamidi says
this brown waxed paper must go in your regular garbage. It will break down readily, so not to worry! But please DO NOT put it in your green bin or compost. The wax coating, while necessary for food handling, means it cannot be composted.
To clean the reusable thawing bag, I asked Ms. Hamidi if I could place it in the dishwasher. And she checked with the manufacturer who said “yes”. So that’s what I did! But after this bag was washed in the hot dishwasher, the zip lock never worked quite right. And she said she would look into this problem. So for now, I would recommend hand washing it in warm water and let it air dry in the dish rack.
This cooked dog food stays fresh for a long time in the freezer!
Ms. Hamidi said to “Treat (Cola’s Kitchen’s fresh food) like human food; it stays at its ultimate freshness for 60 days in the freezer. However you can use it for up to 4 months! It doesn’t expire (but)☺️ we don’t recommend storing it past 5 months.”
As to how long it lasts once thawed, the”Cola’s Specials For Roxy” menu that arrived with Roxy’s order says “Once you move the package to the fridge from the freezer, it’s good up to 4 days.”
And the cost is surprisingly affordable!
So I asked Ms. Hamidi to explain the price range for customers.
And this is what she said:
“The plans range from a full plan in which your dog’s main source of nutrition is our fresh food, to a topper plan in which your dog’s regular food is using a boost with a bit of fresh food from Cola’s Kitchen! Full meal plans start from $2/day with free delivery. After your trial, you can switch to a partial plan starting from $1/day as well. Every dog is different and their plan is calculated based on age, breed, gender, physical activity, reproduction status e.g. castration, pregnancy, lactating, etc. You can easily tell us about your dog through our website and see your unique pricing!
Since we deliver straight to your door, you can be sure what you pay is used to create the highest quality of food that goes in your pup’s bowl (versus) retail markups of big stores!”
What are the specific plans you can order?
Ms. Hamidi explained that “currently the first trial box contains full meals so you can experience the benefits of a full plan at a discounted price. Once you receive your trial box, you can adjust your subscription, as well as meal selections through your profile under the subscription tab.”
There are 3 plans that are offered with a subscription:
The Full Plan provides 100% of your dog’s daily meals.
The Half Plan provides half of her daily servings. So with this plan, you would be serving 50% of another dog food and 50% of Cola’s Kitchen’s cooked dog food per day.
Ms. Hamidi said that the Topper Plan “is essentially 25% of the dog’s daily needs and is used by dog parents that like to boost their pup’s dry/wet/raw food on a budget”.
Why do they sell by subscription?
Ms. Hamidi said “We are setting out to make it super simple to continuously feed your dog the best food they deserve. Through subscriptions we’re capable of adjusting the meals as the dogs grow old with us. Not to mention that you never have to think about running out of food or portioning changes as your dog’s needs change throughout the years!”
So you can see that Cola’s Kitchen is a very unique dog food company in that they are putting so much thought into our dogs’ long term needs throughout their life stages! I am honestly not aware of any other fresh cooked dog food company that does all this!
You can manage your subscription any way you want!
And your subscriptions are easy to manage through your account. You can skip an order or cancel anytime, as well as switch between different plans.
I was so impressed, I ordered a plan for Roxy!
So after going through this journey that began by Cola’s Kitchen getting my attention on Instagram, I definitely decided to become a regular customer with them!
I chose to order the Half Plan because I will always feed Roxy fresh raw food, primarily, along with freeze-dried and air-dried products! And as I mentioned in part 2 of my dog nutrition series, emergency veterinarian clinics may not allow any raw food to be served if your dog is admitted for care. So by having Roxy eat this super high quality cooked food, along with her raw diet, I know that I will have a nutritious back-up food if she ever needs to be hospitalized. Even though I hope this never happens!
Plus you saw in the above video how much Roxy LOVES this customized cooked dog food ! So it definitely enriches her life enjoyment! And I’m confident that your dog will love this product too! Click on the link below to explore Cola’s Kitchen menus and get an additional 10% off the current website promotions on your first order!
Yours in better dog care, Judy.
Because of my mandate to provide only top notch, well researched, timely and helpful advice in all areas of dog care, I will only allow products on my blog which match my mandate. Please note, I will be paid a small commission on any product you purchase through this specific blog post about Cola’s Kitchen Customized Cooked Dog F00d. This will assist me to continue writing interesting and helpful blogs that will enrich your dog’s life. And I thank you for your support!
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