Dr. Janice Elenbaas and Jeff Ginn understand the importance of high-quality nutrition for both people and animals. Through their company Lucky Dog Cuisine, they’re nourishing other pets throughout North America with high-quality, fresh ingredients. Read on to learn all about this dynamic family-owned business.
Meet the Founders
Dr. Janice Elenbaas co-founded Lucky Dog Cuisine in 2008 with her husband, Jeff. This family-owned business specializes in fresh pet food designed for dogs but safe enough for humans! Janice has had a long and successful career in the health care industry for both humans and animals! She worked as a chiropractor in Canada for 24 years, adjusting both people and animals. Jeff did all the marketing and computer work for her practice and looked after the kids.
Once Janice retired from chiropractic, she and her husband moved to the US, and they started Lucky Dog Cuisine. Jeff currently runs the business mechanics along with Lucky Dog Cuisine’s positively-reviewed customer service department. Janice deals with sourcing ingredients, product education, blog posts, research, and new recipe development.
The couple met over horses! Janice was adjusting racehorses in a friend’s barn when Jeff brought one in for care, and the rest is history! Their love for animal health has always been present. She has a passion for both food and animals and feels fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds at Lucky Dog Cuisine.
The Lucky Dog Cuisine Difference
Since opening in 2008, Lucky Dog Cuisine has expanded from Janice’s kitchen to a 7,000 square foot kitchen in South Carolina with six employees! Janice grew up learning that dogs should be fed like the loved family members they are. She constantly saw her mother cooking for both the kids and the dogs.
She believed that her precious dogs should never be eating questionable food out of a can. Janice’s mom had good common sense in feeding the dogs fresh meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Lucky Dog Cuisine was built on this principle: Use common sense when feeding your pets. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t feed it to your dogs!
Janice encourages dog owners to research their pet food before feeding it to their furry family members. She wants pet owners to know that “Dogs do have their own nutritional needs, but just like us, they need fresh, wholesome ingredients for a long and healthy life. Most commercial dog foods are made with ingredients that are unfit for human consumption. Rendered fats and expired meats, and dairy are often used.
If you see the term ‘beef or meat meal’ on a label, it means that it has been through the rendering process. The proteins are damaged, and vitamins and minerals are destroyed. This is why dog foods have to be ‘fortified’ to have any nutritional value. Most of the supplements are synthetic as well. Foods with preservatives, artificial coloring, and flavors are hard for the body to digest and create toxins that the kidneys, liver, and skin have to work hard to eliminate. Feeding kibble is like feeding your children a diet of only Cheerios. We need fresh foods filled with bio-available antioxidants and digestible proteins. Our ingredients include humanely raised grass-fed meats and non-GMO fruits and vegetables.”
Janice and Jeff have two adult children, Ryan and Meghan, and two fur babies Leo and Molly. Ryan, his wife Miriam, and their 23-month-old daughter Yara live in Toronto. Meghan and her husband Mark also live in Canada. The whole family loves to travel. Janice has been all over the world with her kids and lets Jeff stay home and watch the dogs. She has been to London, Paris, Italy, the Caribbean, and Indonesia, just to name a few.
The family has always been a priority for Janice and Jeff. When the kids were younger, they based their schedules around the children’s school and extracurricular activities. Jeff coached their baseball teams, and Janice would watch games and be part of whatever was happening after school. The kids saw how Janice and Jeff worked together to make family a priority and to bring their philosophy of good nutrition, exercise, patience, and love into practice.
The family believes in the quantity of time together as well as quality. Now that the kids are grown and out of the house, Jeff and Janice lean on one another for support and encouragement. They make time for each other in the evenings and like to shut down their phones.
Lucky Dog Cuisine Family Pets
Molly is the sweet Goldendoodle of the family. She is 9 and loves swimming and diving in the pool. She is obsessed with her ball and food! Molly is gentle adaptable and has traveled on planes and boats with ease. Like the rest of the Elenbaas’s, she is happy and content to just be with family. She also loves her off-leash walks without her brother!
Leo, on the other hand, is the family ‘wild’ child. He is 14 months old and a crazy puppy! He loves to drag Molly around by the tail and steal her ball while she dives in the pool. Leo just loves life! He is a cuddler and loves his people and his sister. He walks around the house with his big squishy ball like a big pacifier. Leo has been know to pick up hammers and any other tools Jeff might leave around the house while finishing projects.
Working With Family
From their years working together at Janice’s chiropractic practice, Jeff and Janice have become very in tune with each other in the work environment. They agree that they work with more energy and creativeness when they are together. Since they are working on a common goal at Lucky Dog Cuisine, working together fuels their thinking and protection of each other. Their working styles, strengths, and preferences complement each other.
Another special part of Lucky Dog Cuisine is their daughter’s involvement. Meghan ensures that all ingredients are sourced locally to adjust to the Canadian market. She also pitches in with social media and ideas for the upcoming new website. She shares their love for food and cooks for the people and dogs in her life. Janice loves the collaboration they all share. She feels incredibly lucky to work with her daughter and husband, who are also her best friends (next to Leo and Molly)!
Unwinding as a Couple
One of the biggest challenges about working with the person you also live with is getting away from talking business all the time! Janice and Jeff care for their clients (and their clients’ pets) so much that the business has become their third child (after the dogs and human kids, of course)! To unwind, Jeff and Janice like to go for long walks with their dogs and kayak. They also enjoy relaxing by the pool while their dogs play! Janice likes cooking, and Jeff likes eating; their likes and dislikes complement each other outside of work, too!
What’s Next for Lucky Dog Cuisine
Over the next few weeks, Lucky Dog Cuisine will be working with Deserving Dogs, managed by Angela Adan, a truly tireless advocate for helping dogs with special needs. They will be helping with her line of CBD products for dogs. In addition, she is raising money to build her own facility.
They also believe in supporting people who support others. One of their dogs in heaven, Bugsy, wrote a book called “Educating Humans.” It is a fun look at life from a dog’s point of view on many different topics. They still use the proceeds to support rescue groups.