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Caroline Artiss’s life has been all about good food. She started training as a chef when she was 15, and in 2015, her restaurant in terminal two of London’s Heathrow Airport, The Gorgeous Kitchen, was named the “Best Airport Restaurant in the World” by the Daily Mail. In 2013, the London-born chef moved to the U.S. with her daughter and started working on cooking shows and cookbooks. Everything seemed to be going smoothly.
And then, COVID hit.
Artiss says the pandemic took out her businesses. She faced some health challenges as well, and was feeling stressed out. “I said to myself, ‘I just want to move to the mountains and hang out with dogs.’ Literally, that’s all I want to do,” she recalls to The Wildest.
A friend introduced Artiss to Calamigos Ranch, a scenic, family-owned retreat and hotel in the Malibu mountains. When Artiss visited and met the owners, they told her they were starting a fresh dog food company. Did she like dogs, they asked.
“I was like, ‘Uh, yes,’” Artiss says. “And the rest is history.”
How Migos Dog Began
Migos Dog launched at the end of 2021, and Artiss became the CEO. Initially, she was mainly focused on the operations side of things. Despite all of her years in the food industry, her experience has been with feeding humans. “All our recipes were developed by dog nutritionists, and looked over by vets,” she says.
She added that she’s been learning a lot about dog nutrition over the last year, and has been struck by how many similarities there are with humans’ nutritional needs. “We’re all living beings,” she says. “So, things like hydration, having protein, having carbs, having all the right things for even cognitive development. Animals need real food.”
The company’s fresh, nutrient-dense food comes in the shape of three ounce “pucks.” Customers can choose between beef, chicken, salmon, or duck entrees, all of which are prepared at the ranch, and flash-frozen without preservatives. A bag with seven pucks of the “chicken entree” is $16.49, while the “duck entree” is $29.99.
What sets Migos Dog apart from the current wave of fresh dog food brands is its focus on accessibility. “I’m a single mom; I’m very aware of costs,” she adds. As a result, Migos Dog also offers a supplement powder to enhance whatever food they’re already giving their dogs, as well as free recipes that customers can watch if they want to make their own fresh dog food at home. And the recipes aren’t just chicken and rice, either. They include everything from “Valentine’s Day Doggy Strawberries” to “Peaches + Cream PUPsicles” (perfect for a summer treat) and recipes tailor-made for dogs suffering from conditions like renal disease or pancreatitis. “You can just go down to Costco, buy some stuff in bulk, and then freeze it,” Artiss says. “We want to give people that option.”
Finding a Place in the Fresh Dog Food Industry
For Artiss, the growing interest in fresh dog food is not surprising. Information about dogs’ nutritional needs is more readily available thanks to social media, and for many pet parents, their dogs are more like their babies than their pets.
“People are becoming more aware about nutrition in general, even for themselves,” she says. “The word is spreading, and people want more for their pets now. Maybe they have more disposable income to spend on their pets. People are also having kids later, but they have pets, and their pets are becoming like their babies. And so they are wanting to really, really do as much as they can to look after their dog.”
Migos Dog is still small. The company only has four full-time employees, and at the moment, it only delivers to Los Angeles and the surrounding areas. But in just over a year, it’s been stocked at over 40 stores, mainly around LA. “It’s notoriously hard to get into because of their quality control,” Artiss says.
What’s Next For Migos Dog
Artiss says she has big plans for Migos Dog, their All in One Supplement Powder is available for nationwide shipping and we have lots more great free recipes for anyone that wants to make their own dog food at home, plus a ton of dog nutritional content coming out. Our single ingredient, all natural beef and turkey jerky for dogs will be available for nationwide shipping soon and you can sign up to our newsletter to get notified.
We are gradually increasing locations for our gently cooked frozen dog food, shipping costs are very high, and we want to be mindful of sustainability. In the meantime, Artiss has been working to integrate Migos Dog into the community. “As a small brand, I think it’s really nice to be able to go out and talk to people face to face,” Artiss says. The company has a tent at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market every Sunday, and they also partner with shelters in the area who will bring down adoptable dogs to join them in the tent. “We have had quite a few dogs adopted,” she adds.
If you don’t live in LA and can’t get Migos Dog delivered to you, or if you don’t have the time or means necessary to make fresh meals for your pup, Artiss says that incorporating more nutrient-dense fresh food into a dog’s diet doesn’t have to be time-consuming or complicated.
“Let’s say you’re making dinner,” she says. “You can set a little bit aside before you put the butter and the salt and everything else on top. You can save some veggies, some broccoli, some carrots. Or if you’re making some chicken, just cut off the scraps. And you can mix that into the dog’s food. There are so many affordable ways that you can start adding a little bit of freshness in there.”
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Madeleine Aggeler is a freelance journalist and copywriter in Washington, D.C. Previously, she was a writer at New York magazine’s The Cut. She lives with her dog, Cleo, who works primarily as a foot warmer.