June 15, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
A new store that offers healthy food for dogs will open in Long Island City Friday.
JustFoodForDogs, a California-based company, will open at 47-46 Vernon Blvd. in a space previously occupied by a branch of the real estate firm Modern Spaces. The front entrance to the store is on 48th Avenue and is situated next door to the now-shuttered Bella Via restaurant that closed earlier this year.
The company was established in 2010 and has 35 locations across the U.S. The upcoming Long Island City location will mark the company’s first in Queens and its second in New York City following on from its Union Square, Manhattan, store.
JustFoodForDogs offers dog food that is made using USDA-certified ingredients including meats, fresh vegetables and whole grains. The food is fit for human consumption, according to the company, and no preservatives are added.
The dog food at the Long Island City store will be made at the company’s Union Square location where it will then be vacuum-sealed and frozen in order to lock in nutrients, according to Richard Wold, the senior vice president of retail operations and development at JustFoodForDogs.
It will then be brought to its Long Island City location. The store will also offer healthy cat food.
“We are a human-grade, whole food meal company for your pet,” said Wold. “Everything we cook, we cook in small batches.”
Wold said the company aims to increase the lifespan of dogs by offering pet owners healthy food for their canines.
He said that traditional commercial pet food, known as kibble, is not very beneficial for pets and can be made using questionable ingredients that are grounded up and dried.
“Some of these companies are kind of using our pets as just mini recycling centers for things that are not made for, or edible for humans,” Wold said.
He said that JustFoodForDogs conducted research that determined that dogs eating their food had a healthier immune system compared to dogs eating kibble.
The studies, Wold said, showed that the JustFoodForDogs meals are more digestible than traditional kibble and offer dogs an array of health benefits. He said that dogs consuming JustFoodForDogs also suffer fewer allergies and stomach problems — leading to happier animals that live longer.
He said the company aims to extend the life expectancy of people’s pets.
“I just want people to make as many memories with their pets as they can,” said Wold, who grew up in Manhattan.
“I remember being a kid and we had a collie, and I just look back and appreciate every single day of his 14 years that I got to spend with him. I just want to bring that joy to other people too.”
The company, Wold said, offers a range of pet meals that come in vacuum-sealed packages that include beef and russet potatoes, chicken, and white rice, turkey and whole wheat macaroni, and lamb and brown rice. There is also a fish option and an all-day breakfast package consisting of eggs, fresh pork tenderloin, spinach, red bell peppers, russet potatoes and oats.
He said the company also caters to animals that have dietary problems and they have a team of in-house consultants who will help pet owners create a suitable diet plan for their pets.
For instance, JustFoodForDogs offers a special meal called “balanced remedy” that helps dogs with stomach issues. The meal, which Wold says is easily digestible, is comprised of turkey, rice and sushi.
The company also offers supplements aimed at calming dogs down during anxiety-producing events such as storms or fireworks displays. Wold said the company will hand out free samples of the product ahead of July 4th, noting that more pets go missing during these celebrations than at any other time in the year.
Wold said the company was drawn to Long Island City because it is very family orientated, many of whom are pet owners.
“Long Island City is such a tight community and it has the right blend of pet parents that are educated and understand that their pets are like family,” Wold said.
“This is absolutely the first area we wanted to come to outside of Manhattan and we could not be happier — this is exactly where we should be.”
Opening hours will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.
Pet owners can order in-store or online and the company also delivers.