Do you feed your dogs raw? Feeding of raw meat-based diets to pets has become an increasingly popular trend amongst pet owners in recent years.
If you are a TikTok fan, loves #ASMR and intrigued by the world of raw feeding, you would have definitely heard about Chefs and Dogs, who has since gathered more than 1M followers on their Tik Tok channel! 🥓
We’re be honest – all of us here has been binge-watching their videos (I mean, who wouldn’t?!) From delicious sushi for rabbits, to woof-ing good pasta for your dogs, Chef and Dog has something for anyone who needs some recipes inspiration or just a break from all the Zoom calls (yes to ASMR). 🙋🏻♀️
We are super excited to be able to interview Daniel to learn more about Chefs and Dogs journey – the motivations, challenges and even the little moments.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about yourself and your pets!
I’m Daniel Tomas—chef by training and dog dad to two Australian Kelpies, Joey (boy) and Alkai (girl) and a border collie Caelan (boy) whose face is on the Chefs & Dogs logo.
Like the late David Bowie, Caelan has two different coloured eyes, a rare condition known as heterochromia, but no musical talents (that I’m aware of). We also have quails and foster cats & dogs.
Q: When was Chefs and Dogs founded? Are you doing this full-time now?
I founded Chefs and Dogs eighteen months ago as a local raw dog food delivery business in the capital of Australia (points for those who know this), Canberra. In addition to delivering raw meals, we sell a range of healthy treats and supplements Australia-wide.
Running the small business has been a full-time job from the beginning, but over time I’ve invested more and more late nights producing TikTok, Youtube and Instagram content to spread awareness about pet nutrition.
Q: What got you started on feeding raw?
The journey started for me 6 years ago when Joey had lupus on his nose. After all manner of treatments proved ineffective, my partner and I consulted a holistic vet who advised changes to his diet.
Through feeding a tailored raw diet along with a holistic approach guided by Kate from Holistic Paws, Joey underwent a remarkable recovery. It demonstrated to us what on the face of it sounds obvious—feeding a nutritious balanced diet to your pets, especially if they have special health requirements, can drastically impact their overall health.
Q: What’s the motivation and reason for starting Chefs and Dogs? Did you self learn when it comes to feeding raw?
I learned raw feeding under the guidance of a holistic vet and dog nutritionist and I always advise my followers to do the same. Introducing fresh foods doesn’t need to be as radical as a complete diet overhaul. Whatever their level of comfort, we encourage pet-owners to take an interest in their pet’s nutritional needs.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration/recipes for your video content?
I’m a chef by training and have been creating recipes for the better part of a decade. Most of my inspiration comes from the amazing community. We get requests for everything from hermit crab to snail meals!
Q: What do you think is your top challenge when it comes to Chefs and Dogs?
The response of our community has been overwhelmingly positive. I try to provoke people to think of their dog’s diets differently and sometimes this requires going a little over-the-top (wagyu burritos or Michelin-star lobster for dogs anyone?).
Sometimes I work hard on a recipe I love and no one is interested, other times I throw something together in ten minutes and it goes viral. Creating content is about having the courage to take risks and put yourself out there.
The hardest part is finding the right balance between content that is fun and engaging, but also provides educational information for pet owners.Daniel, Chefs & Dogs
Q: Any tips for pet owners who wants to feed raw but not sure how to get started?
As with a lot of things, first do no harm. It’s best to take advice from a holistic vet and pet nutritionist to ensure you are feeding your dog a complete and balanced diet. But this doesn’t mean it’s too hard and safer to just stick to kibble—there are lots of ways you can gradually introduce fresh foods to your pet’s diet.
There are also a lot more local suppliers like us providing fresh and raw dog food which can help owners learn the ropes.
There is always a trade-off between time, money and quality when it comes to cooking. I always say feed the best food you can afford with your budget, whether that is a little bit of a fresh or full fresh. Shop around for specials, build a good relationship with your butcher, buy in bulk and freeze. I go through some of these tips in my YouTube videos.
Food hygiene is essential when handling raw meat. Wear plastic gloves and always clean your hands, any utensils and preparation areas, as well as your dog’s bowl, between meals. While we’ve all experienced it at some point, it’s a bad idea to let your dog lick yours or your children’s faces—this can transmit bacteria.
Q: Of all the recipes and videos you have done, which is your favourite?
After over 400 videos it’s hard to pick! Birthday cakes are always fun—we make these for our clients and can cover all manner of themes. It’s as much fun for the owner to make as the dog to eat!
Q: What kind of viewership changes have you seen since you started making these videos?
The community has transformed since our early days and we’re so grateful to everyone who has been there from the start. We are seeing more and more owners of cats and other pets who are looking to feed fresh. Some of our followers may not even have a pet yet, but find the videos satisfying.
It’s a mixed community now and as the trends and specific areas of interest shift, I try to keep our core theme at the heart.
Q: What has been your proudest Chefs and Dogs moment so far?
While it’s fun to make viral content—I never would have thought I’d hit a million followers and receive almost 50 million video views a month—it’s the small things that have made me proud. In the early hours when I wrap up my work with the food business, I usually create a video and read through all of the comments and direct messages.
Hearing stories of pet-owners who have been inspired by my videos to feed their pets fresh food is hugely gratifying. You may have guessed I love dogs and the transformative impact they can have on our lives as owners, so I love hearing when it goes the other way.
Q: What is your ultimate vision and goal for Chefs & Dogs?
The vision has always been the same—spread awareness about the benefits of nutrition for a dog’s diet. I’d love to see fresh feeding becoming the norm, or at least fresh food be considered the most desirable diet for pets – just as it is for humans.
Do you love such feature stories? Comment below and let us know who do you want us to interview next!