Lifestyle & Culture

5 Startups to Improve the Lives of Dogs

On International Dog Day, take a look at some businesses looking out for our fluffy four-legged friends. 

26.08.2019 | by Kezia Parkins
Photo by João Victor Xavier on Unsplash
Photo by João Victor Xavier on Unsplash

We love our dogs, right? The American Pet Products Association estimates that US shoppers spent about $72 million on their pets in 2018, up from $69.5 million in 2017 and $66.7 million in 2016. Over 60 million households in the US have a canine family member — that is around 48 percent. Dogs improve our lives — 93 percent of dog parents in the US say their dogs have made them a better person in at least one way.


Here are 5 companies that are helping us give back to our furry friends:



Founded in 2012 by dog lovers Matt Meeker, Henrik Werdelin and Carly Strife, Barkbox quickly jumped on to the monthly subscription box trend but, for dogs.

Every BarkBox has at least 2 innovative toys, 2 all-natural bags of treats, and a chew, curated from each month’s unique themed collection — just in case your dog needs a side of culture with his kibble.

As dogs start to recognise their monthly treats package when it is delivered, dog owners get to enjoy their pups excitement. Similar to the way human’s react to the arrival of a much anticipated Amazon delivery, but with more barking.

“They’ll never look at a cardboard box the same way again,” says BarkBox.

In 2018 the company’s annual revenue was predicted at $200 million and their fundraising efforts reached $57 million.



NomNomNow is a San Francisco based, fresh food delivery service that was founded in 2015.

Alex, Nate and Zach take what they feed their dogs very seriously.

In late 2014 the team began experimenting with cooking and delivering fresh food for friends and family.

When Alex’s dog Harlee became ill due to a compromised immune system, cooking fresh took on added urgency as Harlee developed health issues related to a compromised immune system, and her vet recommended a fully fresh diet as antibiotics and many types of commercial dog food only made things worse.

As Harlee’s health improved and rave reviews about the food and service came in, Nate, Zach & Alex decided that the missing piece in the process was an expert nutritionist who could formulate the best possible recipes.

They realised that, like humans, dog’s need a nutritious diet to stay in good health. So, they set up NomNomNow with the help of Harlee’s vet Dr Justin Shmalberg, a clinician and professor at a leading college of veterinary medicine and one of the world’s leading experts on cutting-edge dog nutrition.

All recipes for dogs (and cats) are made weekly from fresh produce with pet health in mind.

NomNomNow operates across 48 states in the US.


Embark Dog DNA

Want to get to know your dog on a DNA level.

Embark scientists are world leaders in dog genetics. Brothers Ryan and Adam Boyko have dedicated themselves to learning everything they could about dogs – how did they first get humans to fall in love with them, how did humans and dogs change each other in the years since then, and how can we best care for our furry family members?

Their pioneering work revealed the origin of the domestic dog near Central Asia over 15,000 years ago and the history of dog populations around the globe.

Adam’s lab has also uncovered the genetic basis for many dog diseases and traits.

Partnering with the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, the leading veterinary school in the USA, and Spencer Wells, a pioneer in consumer genetics, they founded Embark to bring cutting-edge science and insights directly to your phone and desktop.

Owners and their pets can immediately benefit from all the newest and most advanced science. They can also contribute to advancing scientific discoveries every day. By continually sharing new insights while collecting more data, our dogs can benefit from the best care.

Ryan founded Embark after a decade spent using novel analytical approaches to tackle tough questions in public health, ecology, and industry. Adam is an associate professor in Biomedical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, focused on the genomic investigation of dogs. Together they are harnessing big-data and genomics to help us understand our dogs better.

They have two versions of their dog DNA kits, one to identify the breeds in your dog’s genetic make-up and one that also helps you learn about your dog’s traits and health.


Shameless Pets

Shameless Pets harnesses that endearing trait of most dogs and applies it to tackle the problem of food waste.

Let’s face it, no matter how posh the pooch — dogs will be dogs and devour almost anything put in front of them.

This got the founders of Shameless Pets to thinking: Who better to tackle the problem of unused food, and the associated wasted resources, than our faithful friends?

They connected with farmers and food processors to source eatable, safe, and nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste.

Every 12 bags of Shameless dog treats saves 1lb of food from going to waste and at least 20 percent of the ingredients in each bag of treats are upcycled.

Every ingredient is carefully selected to provide the utmost nutrition while prioritizing the plant’s sustainability. Grains, preservatives, artificial colours, and artificial flavours are never used.

Each recipe is boosted with superfoods to provide functional benefits such as joint, digestive, skin, and coat health.

My dog is pretty shameless in what she eats, co-founder Alex Waite told Branch Food Blog. Dogs don’t care if food is ugly. That’s where the name Shameless Pets came from – pets are shameless about food. They really teach us how to be better consumers.

“Our treats will turn your #shamelesspets into heroes who save the world!”


Bond Pet Foods

Bond creates pet food made from real animal protein without the animal.

“Call us crazy, but we don’t think one animal needs to be harmed to feed another. We also don’t think antibiotics and pharmaceuticals need to be routinely given to most farm animals raised for meat, Or that the ever-present risk of foodborne illness from conventional meat processing is one our pets, or their parents, should have to take,” says Bond.

In a process similar to craft brewing Bond make meat proteins derived from animal cells (no slaughter required) and natural microbes. They’re fed a nutrient-rich broth of vitamins, sugars and minerals in fermentation tanks, without the pharmaceuticals.

The process creates real, clean, animal protein without the need to slaughter any.

The Bond team is made up of scientists, nutritionists and animal lovers.

Rich Kellman, the company’s CEO is a former associate director at Crispin Porter + Bogusky and Pernilla Audibert, co-founder and CTO was former head of R&D at GeoSynFuels.

Tags: dogs, health, pets

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Related Shakers

Graham Hancock

Theo Von

Related Shakers