Dishes for Dogs: Local Small Biz Spotlight

Dishes for Dogs Miami

Dishes for Dogs: Canine Kitchen Spotlight Blog

While attending a local Dog Event held in Coconut Grove, The Equipaws team stumbled upon an up-and-coming company named Dishes For Dogs: Canine Kitchen. The business is based in the Miami neighborhood of Wynwood and is committed to creating pet-friendly meals with local and fresh ingredients while providing a balanced diet for your pup. We know that nutrition is just as important as exercise and companionship are in keeping your pups fit, healthy, and happy- we’re excited to have such a healthy, local option to give our pets!

Who is Dishes for Dogs: Canine Kitchen?

Michael O’Rourke is the mastermind behind this concept and leading the local trend in healthy pup chow. We were fortunate enough to get the full story and his insight on Dishes for Dogs (or otherwise known as DFD).

The Inspiration: Ripley the Pomeranian


Ripley, Michael’s Pomeranian, is the star of the show and the reason Michael began this journey. He used to serve her the typical commercial dry and wet food as most pet parents do. “Over time I became concerned with some minor issues Ripley was exhibiting, such as poor coat and teary eyes. After a month of cooking for her, Ripley’s coat, eyes, and breath were 100% back to top standards.”

He couldn’t believe the difference in Ripley’s overall well-being and began to cook for friends and family who recognized similar symptoms with their pups. Michael now saw the correlation in cooking long term for dog’s and their health. Michael realized Miami didn’t have any healthy options for pet nutrition, so he took matters into his own hands, partnering with Dr. Justin Shmalberg, an animal nutritionist, and Dishes for Dogs was born. 

Animal Nutritionist on Board!

Dr. Shmalberg’s profile is impressive. He is a a board-certified specialist in both small animal clinical nutrition (DACVN) and canine rehabilitation and sports medicine (DACVSMR). “He was one of the first in the Midwest to own and operate a natural pet food store, and later received his veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” As if this wasn’t impressive enough, he has years of training at the University of Florida of Veterinary Medicine where he now is a faculty member specializing in nutrition, acupuncture, hyberbaric oxygen and rehabilitation.   

Who Runs the World- Dishes for Dogs? Mission and Philosophy

Dishes for Dogs Miami

Michael gave us a quick rundown of the structure behind his well-oiled machine. Michael and Mason Fox run the day-to-day business operations, who have been preparing their new store front. In addition, “Scott Oklin is in charge of marketing and sales. Wanda O’Rourke (Michael’s Mom!- editors) does most of the cooking with a bit of a helping hand from everyone.” Dr. Shmalberg is very involved in answering questions for clients, creating new recipes, and bouncing off new ideas with the team. “We pride ourselves on being a small but extremely dedicated team.” Michael says.

Everyone is very hands-on with understanding the needs of clients and are always open to questions and concerns. They stress the importance of portion control and educate clients on how much to feed their pup. Michael says, “One of the things we like to say is, “we aren’t making a product as much as we are providing a service.”

How to Choose the Right Diet for you Dog, DFD Style:

Dishes for dogs formulas


What is the right formula for your pooch? DFD offers delectable dishes such as Herb Roasted Turkey and Sweet Potato or Basil Beef with Peas, Pears, and Pearls. Those plates make my mouth water and are 100% human editable! As mentioned on their website, “Each meal is 100% free of preservatives, additives, artificial flavors, fillers or animal by-product.”  All dishes are made up of proteins and vegetables.

“In most cases, dogs are free to enjoy each of our standard meals! If a client’s dog has minor problems (allergies, skin issues, joint problems) we can either recommend one of our “Rx” meals or if it’s not as severe recommend a particular set of our standard meals.” If your pup needs specific care they encourage a consultation with Dr. Shmalberg.

Dishes for Dogs Success Stories!

We loved the proven results with Ripley and were intrigued on what other success stories DFD had experienced. Michael was happy to share! “One of our clients, who’s been with us from the very beginning is a little French Bulldog named Lola who was experiencing major skin issues. Her owner would take her to the vet a few times a month but couldn’t ever get the problem to cease consistently. While our Salmon and Lamb meals helped, it wasn’t until we released our Buffalo Bisque Rx Skin Support meal that Lola’s problems went away fully.” After report like this, the team is more driven to  improve health, brighten the lives of canines everywhere, and get the pups excited about food.

Dishes for Dogs delivers

Canine Kitchen under Construction:

Michael is focusing on their first store front in Wynwood with no plans on expansion…for now.  “While we have big dreams, it’s been such a process getting this one store open we can’t even begin to think of expanding right now.”

Does Dishes for Dogs Deliver?

Although they are not developing any other locations, they offer a handy delivery service. “We deliver within a 15 mile radius from our Canine Kitchen in Wynwood. The delivery charges are $5 within one mile from our store and $2 for each additional mile,” Michael explains.

We look forward to the success stories of more canine friends and clients who are benefiting from Dishes for Dogs. We wish them the best as they embark on the adventure of the next step of their business!


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  1. Pingback: Miami's Local Pet Gift Guide - Equipaws Pet Services

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