Feeding a homemade diet from scratch requires time and effort, especially if you have more than one animal. It’s what Bette Schubert found out when one of her dogs had a litter of puppies some years ago. “I was grinding raw meat and preparing the meals at home, but now I needed some outside help,” she says. “I happened to go into Bogner Meats to ask if someone could grind the meats for me.”
There she met David Bogner, who asked why she’d decided to feed her dogs raw food. Bette explained how one of her previous dogs died from aflatoxin poisoning after eating a commercial kibble that turned out to be tainted. She knew there had to be a better alternative, and did some research that convinced her to convert her dogs to a raw diet.
“We both saw an opportunity and put a plan together,” she says. In February 2002, the two founded Bravo!, combining David’s lifelong experience in the restaurant quality meat business, and Bette’s desire to offer healthier and safer food options to companion animals. “From the start, our goal was to provide a natural alternative to commercial dog and cat food, the way nature intended.” The company took off immediately. “We sold 15,000 pounds of food within the first month. We took the products people were making on their own at home, added the highest quality ingredients, and packaged them for convenience and value. Word spread like wildfire and we literally had product sold before we had packaging.”
At first, Bravo! sold their products to local breeders and trainers, but over the past eight years, their customer base has expanded to include more than 1,500 independent retailers across the US. The company offers a full line of grain-free raw meat diets for both dogs and cats. The foods are made from high quality ingredients, using a variety of 13 different meat proteins, organ meats and vegetables, and are available in frozen tubes or burgers for easy and convenient feeding. They also make freeze-dried and dry-roasted natural treats and have most recently added a line of all-natural fresh frozen raw bones. “Our red meat products are hormone-free and grass-fed and our poultry is antibiotic-free. And we never use preservatives, additives or artificial ingredients or color.”
“Education is a large part of what we do,” Bette adds. “We‘ve teamed up with Nature’s Variety for a series of educational ‘Bottom Line Raw’ seminars for retailers. They’re geared toward teaching retailers about all of the benefits of feeding raw, so they can better educate their customers.” Bette and David have also published two A to Z guides on feeding raw diets to dogs and cats.
“Knowing we are providing healthy diet alternatives for animals makes us feel good,” Bette says. “There’s nothing quite like hearing that our products have literally changed the lives of dogs and cats.”