Christina Doll // City of Prince George
4 Paws Pure has been producing and selling natural prey diets for pets for almost 15 years in Prince George and recently opened a storefront due to the ever growing demand for their products.
The business is the brainchild of Prince George-based entrepreneurs Gwen and Mel Arrowsmith, who began researching alternatives to store bought pet foods after rescuing a 13 year old Australian Shepard X in 2006 named Tara. They started making her a homemade diet because she had no teeth, but sadly they lost her just 36 days after welcoming her into their family after she ate a commercially process rawhide, which led to stomach torsion.
Their brief foray into the world of natural dog food and homemade treats for Tara sparked a curiosity in them and their journey didn’t stop with the loss of their beloved pet. Gwen and Mel dove into researching pet food and discovered that dogs and cats are carnivores and do best on a natural prey diet.
“Natural diets/requirements for dogs and cats are very different than the commercially processed pet food diets provide. Commercial diets are what I call “dead food”, when you can set this food aside for weeks, months or years and it doesn’t change and that is a problem. Commercially processed foods are filled with ingredients that are not natural for dogs and cats to consume,” says Gwen.
They had no roadmap but they kept researching and consulting with holistic vets and learned everything they could about the natural prey diets for dogs and cats. They began making homemade treats for their friends, and when these proved to be very popular with their pets, they opened a bakery.
Gwen, who is now a pet nutrition specialist, says “With our treats, what you see is what you get. We have single ingredient treats and we have grain-free and starch-free nibbles too. We are definitely not a one trick pony. We use exotic meats such as camel, kangaroo, yak, emu, and other alternative proteins. We do also work with local ranches and get duck, beef, bison, lamb, goat, and more.”
Their business has continued to evolve over the years to offer raw food, a wide range of homemade treats, and natural remedies. They source raw ingredients locally first and then turn to other parts of BC and Canada. They also do their best to support other local and BC-based entrepreneurs. They sell collars and leashes made by NG Collars, bows for dogs and cats from The Crooked Bow, cat trees made by Custom Kitty Creations, and locally made treat jars, paw balm, and dog shampoo bars.
4 Paws Pure has a very strong customer base in Prince George who have supported them at local Farmers’ Markets and events and continue to support them at their store. Pet stores across Canada also carry their products and people from all over the country place orders online. If you’re curious about how a natural diet can benefit your pets, visit Gwen and Mel at 1823 1st Avenue or online at www.4pawspure.ca. They offer curbside pick-up, local delivery, and they also ship across Canada.
About the author: Christina worked first as a radio journalist and then a public relations specialist in her hometown of Prince George for almost a decade before transitioning into her current role of Workforce Development Officer in the Economic Development Division at the City of Prince George. She has public and private sector experience in economic development, external and internal communications, marketing, social media and website management, event planning, and research. She has a passion for storytelling and for providing support to local businesses to help them grow and thrive.