Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in animal care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jason Cunha, of NutriCanine Fresh Dog Food, located in Toronto, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

At NutriCanine, we believe in making it easy and convenient for pet owners to feed their dogs freshly prepared, real-food meals so that they can live longer, healthier, happier lives. All our meals are freshly prepared with real human-edible, locally sourced ingredients. No hormones, no antibiotics, no by-products, and no artificial preservatives, colors, or flavors.

Tell us about yourself

When I worked for big brand pet food companies as a consultant, I noticed a few truths. Dog food is widely unregulated, and many big brands cut costs by using fillers, preservatives, and ingredients considered "unfit for human consumption." If it wasn't good enough for me, I wasn't going to feed it to my dog, Bella. I switched Bella over to fresh food, and she ate it up - literally. Not only did she love her new meals, but her skin issues disappeared. But there was still one problem: the inconvenience. Most fresh-food companies have one-size-fits-all meal packs, and measuring the right portion can be messy and confusing. Plus, there's nothing worse than late-night visits to the pet store because you've run out of food. I set out to create a dog food company that's different from the rest - one that makes pet parents just as happy as their dogs. You can literally see, smell and feel (and with the gently cooked food option, taste) the difference in our food. Buying natural, fresh food for your dog isn't buying a luxury product; it's about recognizing that our pets are living beings and deserve something better than highly processed foods.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Every time I heard a story about a dog that had hip problems, couldn't walk, and is now running. When I hear about a dog whose skin and coat problems disappeared. There's nothing more inspiring than hearing about a pup that went to the vet for issue after issue and now goes once a year for a check-up and comes out healthy. These are the moments I feel like I have accomplished something. I profoundly changed the lives of our dogs and their owners. Putting years back in their lives by giving them affordable pre- portioned real food.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Capital, Capital, Capital. It takes a lot of money when introducing a brand new service into the marketplace. Until NutriCanine came around, there was no one making pre-portioned fresh dog food in Canada. The cost of education is high, but we were fortunate to work with an amazing team of pet health professionals that helped spread our service to thousands of Canadians across Canada. Most of our sales come from word of mouth, which took a lot of time and effort. We knew we needed to make a different product and far more superior in terms of nutrition and ingredients. We got lucky that spending capital on research, development, and innovation-focused paid off because we had no marketing dollars left.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Look hard at your finances with an accountant.
  2. Bring on industry experts as early as possible.
  3. Always be customer-focused.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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