Sunnyside Farms Market, responding to customer demand, has introduced packaged raw ground beef for dogs.
The ground beef has caught on with dog owners looking to feed their pets a natural product that contains no added synthetic hormones, steroids or antibiotics.
"The stuff that we're making for the dogs meets the same standards that we hold ourselves to for our regular meats," said Holly Zink, owner of Sunnyside, located inside Nature's Oasis at 300 South Camino del Rio.
Zink began offering ground beef that didn't fit through the neck of the beef grinder. But it proved so popular that she purchased a cow to supply the product for dogs.
Some liver and kidney is added to the mix to enhance its iron content, Zink said.
"We have a lot of customers that shop here that purchase meats for their dogs," Zink said. "It's kind of become an increasingly important thing."
Jennifer Matcham of Pagosa Springs buys Sunnyside's Doggie Grind ground beef for her nearly 4-year-old Bichon Frise, Diego.
"It's just healthier in the long run," she said. "It's more natural."
The ground beef, which costs $2.69 per pound, is part of an ever-expanding supply of pet products in Durango. Pet Haus opened last year at 1444 Main Ave. just as another pet store, Creature Comforts, 305 South Camino del Rio, expanded. And Zuke's, a Durango-based manufacturer of pet treats, has found an eager market in the U.S. and Canada for its products.
Matcham recommended that dog owners interested in Doggie Grind gradually switch from a dog's current food.
"If you switch suddenly, you can upset your dog's stomach," she said.
Matcham said she cooks whatever Diego doesn't eat in a day or two, sauteing the ground beef in a little olive oil.
Diego seems to like the ground beef, Matcham said. When she prepares it, Diego rises onto his hind legs in anticipation, and lets out a little bark.