December 9 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, September 5, 2013
It is said that dog owners and their pets eventually start to look alike, so with the nation’s obesity epidemic it is no surprise to hear our four-legged friends are getting bigger too.
So much so that a Hampstead couple have launched a range of healthy treats to help tackle what they claim is the growing problem of canine obesity.
Husband and wife team Leean and Sam Young call their low-fat dog biscuits Sniffy’s and make them by hand in their home kitchen in New End.
Mrs Young, 31, said: “There’s a statistic which claims that about two thirds of dogs in this country are obese.
“It’s a huge problem and I think it’s because people spoil their dogs.
“I think it’s clearly linked [to the nation’s obesity problem].”
The couple were inspired by the weight struggles faced by their three-year-old terrier cross, Nacho.
“He was getting a little tubby,” Mrs Young said. “He likes his food and we were noticing he was putting on weight quite quickly.
“There were a lot of recipes for dog biscuits on the internet, but they were still really high in fat.
“We just started making our own and started experimenting with them – and it just grew from there.”
The Youngs, who say Nacho is now in perfect shape, began baking their vegetarian dog treats about 12 months ago, before launching commercially this summer. They already have several stockists across the country, as well as a website where dog owners can order direct at £2.50 per pack.
The treats have proved popular with fellow Hampstead Heath dog walkers who have helped to inspire the business.
“I would have them for Nacho and end up giving them to other people,” said Mrs Young. “They seemed to go down quite well and we thought, why not give it a go?”
Mrs Young has put her radio career on hold, as a presenter on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Formula 1 coverage, while 32-year-old Stuart has given up teaching to commit full-time to the business.
“It’s not quite as glamorous but I get to meet really interesting people doing this, as I did when I used to work in Formula 1,” said Leean.
The gluten-free biscuits have less than five per cent fat and come in three varieties – apple and ginger, carrot and polenta, and pea and mint. “Nacho is our chief taste-tester and he loves them,” Mrs Young added. “But we try them all ourselves before we sell them. I’m quite partial to the apple and ginger.”