Yellow Dog Deli creates healthy meals for furry friends using food-grade ingredients

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At Yellow Dog Deli, you won’t be able to order pastrami on rye for yourself, as this store – which will open a store in Evansville this summer – caters to the four-legged customer. Owner Carolyn Robb-McDonald started cooking for her dog, a yellow Labrador retriever named Deuce, six years ago. “Deuce doesn’t have a problem with food – he’s a yellow Lab who loves to eat whatever we put in front of him,” says Robb-McDonald. “We just felt that cooking for him with food-grade ingredients was a better option for him than the grocery store kibble options.”

Since then, the hot spots on Deuce’s skin have disappeared and at 10 years old he is still healthy and energetic. “There are studies that say, on average, you feed your dog fresh, home-cooked food[s] adds two and a half years to their lives,” says Robb-McDonald.

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

After finding success cooking for Deuce, she began to toy with the idea of ​​starting a business. “We started to think maybe there were other pet parents out there that didn’t have the time or the knowledge base to be able to do this for their own pets,” says Robb-McDonald.

Before opening the store in summer 2020, Robb-McDonald used vitamin blends in their homemade dog food. When she decided to launch Yellow Dog Deli, she consulted a veterinary nutritionist who helped her develop the recipes to ensure meals were balanced and complete. “Our biggest drive was the fact that our dogs’ lives are just too short,” says Robb-McDonald. “The lifespan of a dog is around 10 or 12 years, depending on the breed. We just want to give them the best chance to live a quality life with us.”

Selected Dishes

Full of nutrients | chicken and rice

Dog food with chicken and rice

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

Yellow Dog’s Chicken Rice Recipe is made with ground chicken, chicken liver, chicken gizzards, white rice, carrots, zucchini, and red apples. All recipes contain important vitamins and minerals as well as fruit and/or vegetables. “For the reasons you and I should be eating fruits and veggies — so should your dog,” says Robb-McDonald.

Popular Plate | beef and potato

Beef and potato dog food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

Packed with ground beef, beef liver, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, apples, safflower oil, and essential vitamins and minerals, Beef and Potatoes is Yellow Dog’s most popular recipe. Like all recipes, this one can be served cold or hot – just reheat it in the microwave for 30 seconds – but Deuce always likes it reheated. “As if he wasn’t spoiled enough already,” says Robb-McDonald.

Damn good | Turkey and Noodles

Turkey and Pasta Dog Food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

Turkey and Pasta is made with ground turkey, turkey liver, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, cranberries, and whole wheat pasta. While all of Yellow Dog’s recipes are currently formulated for adult dogs, a puppy recipe that calls for a different mix of vitamins and minerals should be available this summer. “Then we can serve all phases of life,” says Robb-McDonald.

Delivery of dog food
Yellow Dog Deli meals are currently available by subscription (but will open a store in Evansville this summer). The food, which costs about $7 a pound, is cooked fresh on Sundays and delivered to your door on Mondays. “We wanted to make sure it was as fresh as possible,” says Carolyn Robb-McDonald. When new customers sign up for a subscription, the first order, available in plastic or reusable glass containers, comes in a cool box with frozen ice packs. “For the second week of your subscription, you drop your cooler with the frozen ice packs on your doorstep on Monday morning and we’ll come back at the end of the day and deliver a fresh load of groceries,” she says.

Find Yellow Dog Deli: 611 E. Main St., Evansville, 608-299-7333, yellowdogdeli.com

Erica Krug is a Contributor to Madison Magazine.

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