Houstonians love their dogs. We bring them to the office, accompany them to the dog park, and take them shopping with us. We iron their bandanas, make sure their beds are comfy, and sometimes create elaborate songs that we sing to them when no one else is home. At local restaurants with patios, our canine companions are more likely to get a bowl of fresh water before our waiter has even stopped by to say hello.
With this kind of devotion, it makes sense that Grocery Pup, a new Austin-based subscription dog food delivery service, would offer its services in Houston as well. The brainchild of Ruth Stedman, Grocery Pup offers 100 percent human-grade meals delivered directly to your door.
The idea for Grocery Pup came while Stedman was in graduate school at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. When she and her fiance decided to add a puppy to their family, Stedman began researching dog food brands to find the best one. What she found instead were labels filled with indecipherable ingredients. "I realized that dog food hadn't really changed in the past few decades," says Stedman. And so, the enterprising MBA student decided to change it on her own.
She began by developing a business plan for Grocery Pup and entering it into the Texas Venture Labs Scholarship Competition, an accelerator program at UT that helps bring ideas to market. Grocery Pup won second place out of 50 projects, and Stedman was able to use the prize money hire a veterinary nutritionist to help create the food's formula. "Working with a nutritionist [was] important because if [a dog's food] isn't nutritionally balanced, you're doing more damage than any kind of dog food that's currently on the market," she says.
In August 2017, Stedman quit her corporate gig in order to focus on Grocery Pup full time. For the entrepreneur, launching the company in Austin was the perfect cultural fit. "We decided to launch here because one, I live here, but two, it's a huge dog town." (Though exact statistics on dog ownership are hard to come by, most recent U.S. census data says nearly 50 percent of all Austin households have pets, and the majority of those are dogs. The same data shows Houston not far behind.)
Today, Grocery Pup offers three fantastically named meal plans: Bitchin' Beef Stew, Turkey Pawella, and Porky's Luau. Delivery options are available monthly and include half plans (28 meals per month) or full plans (56 meals per month.) Prices range from $73-$298 per month depending on your dog's size. In addition to delivery in Austin and Houston, the service is available in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, and other Texas cities.
And if your dog is picky, don't fret about a month long commitment. Grocery Pup offers tester packs through their website and run a weekly booth at SFC Farmers' Market Downtown in Austin, where locals can check out the goods in person.