March 19, 2014

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Midwestern beef mixed with papaya and dandelion greens. Line-caught whitefish with sweet potatoes and parsley. These are the meals that Taro and Willow, two Rhodesian Ridgebacks owned by Lucy Postins of San Diego, wolf down on a regular basis.

Ms. Postins is the entrepreneur behind the Honest Kitchen, a 26-employee company that prepares and dehydrates a range of delectable-sounding dishes for dogs and cats. Recipes are made with organic, non-genetically modified, gluten-free ingredients — the same ingredients that can be found in artisanal human meals. Pet owners who buy the dried dishes just need to add water. They could even grab a spoon themselves, if so moved.

“We’ve had a few customers over the years threatening to feed the food to their husbands,” she said. “I don’t know if anybody has, but there’s nothing in there that you can’t eat.”

Ms. Postins can market her pet food as “human grade” because, she says, she can prove that every ingredient in it is fit for human consumption and the food is prepared according to Food and Drug Administration standards for people. She was inspired to start the line in 2002, when her Rhodesian Ridgeback at the time — Mosi, who has since died — battled ear infections and a skin condition. He responded well to a raw-food diet that Ms. Postins concocted. (The Times has just published an article with more on how the pet product industry is evolving.)

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