Yellow Dog Deli creates healthy meals for furry friends using human-grade ingredients

At Yellow Dog Deli, you won’t be able to step up and order a pastrami on rye for yourself, as this business is intended for the four-legged customer.
Carolyn Robb-McDonald and a yellow Labrador retriever named Deuce
Photo by Sharon Vanorny
Carolyn Robb-McDonald and a yellow Labrador retriever named Deuce

At Yellow Dog Deli, you won’t be able to step up and order a pastrami on rye for yourself, as this business — which is set to open a storefront in Evansville this summer — is intended for the four-legged customer. Owner Carolyn Robb-McDonald started cooking for her dog, a yellow Labrador retriever named Deuce, six years ago. “Deuce doesn’t have any kind of food challenges — he’s a yellow lab who loves to eat everything we put in front of him,” Robb-McDonald says. “We just felt that cooking for him with human-grade ingredients was a better option for him nutritionally than the kibble options in the grocery store.”

Since that time, the hot spots on Deuce’s skin have cleared up and at 10 years old, he continues to be healthy with lots of energy. “There are studies that say that, on average, feeding your dog fresh, home-cooked meal[s] adds two and a half years to their life,” Robb-McDonald says.

bag of dry food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

After finding success cooking for Deuce, she started playing around with the idea of launching a business. “We started to think maybe there are other pet parents out there that don’t have the time on their plates or the knowledge base to be able to do this for their own pets,” says Robb-McDonald.

Prior to opening the business in summer 2020, Robb-McDonald used vitamin mixes in her homemade dog food. When she decided to launch Yellow Dog Deli, she consulted with a veterinarian nutritionist who helped her develop the recipes to ensure that the meals are balanced and complete. “Our biggest driver was the fact that our dogs’ lives are just too darn short,” Robb-McDonald says. “A dog’s life span is about 10 or 12 years depending on the breed. We just want to be able to give them the best chance at living a high-quality life with us.”

Featured Dishes

Full of Nutrients | Chicken and Rice

chicken and rice dog food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

Yellow Dog’s chicken and rice recipe is made with ground chicken, chicken liver, chicken gizzards, white rice, carrots, zucchinis and red apples. All the recipes include essential vitamins and minerals, along with fruits and/or vegetables. “For the reasons why you and I should eat fruits and vegetables — it’s the same for your dog,” Robb-McDonald says.

Popular Plate | Beef and Potato

Beef and Potato dog food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

Featuring ground beef, beef liver, russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, apples, safflower oil and essential vitamins and minerals, beef and potato is Yellow Dog’s most popular recipe. Like all of the recipes, this can be served cold or hot — just heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds — but Deuce always likes his warmed up. “As if he’s not spoiled enough,” Robb-McDonald says.

Doggone Good | Turkey and Pasta

Turkey and Pasta dog food

Photo by Sharon Vanorny

The turkey and pasta features ground turkey, turkey liver, carrots, zucchinis, broccoli, cranberries and whole-wheat pasta. While all of Yellow Dog’s recipes are currently formulated for adult dogs, a puppy recipe, which requires a different mix of vitamins and minerals, should be available this summer. “Then we’ll be able to serve all of life’s stages,” says Robb-McDonald.

Dog Food Delivery
Yellow Dog Deli meals are currently available by subscription (but a storefront will be opening in Evansville this summer). The food, which costs about $7 per pound, is cooked fresh on Sundays and delivered to your doorstep on Mondays. “We wanted to make sure it was as fresh as possible,” Carolyn Robb-McDonald says. When new clients sign up for a subscription, the first order, available in plastic or reusable glass containers, comes in a cooler box with frozen ice packs. “The second week of your subscription, you put your cooler box out on your doorstep on Monday morning with the frozen ice packs and we come back by the end of the day and deliver a fresh batch of food,” she says.

Find Yellow Dog Deli: 611 E. Main St., Evansville, 608-299-7333, yellowdogdeli.com

Erica Krug is a contributing writer to Madison Magazine.

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