Sourcing high-quality food is a priority for many dog owners, but when you have three dogs - one a Great Dane - getting enough of it is another issue.
For dog owner Kirsten Dunn, who lives at Makara, just out of Wellington, getting frozen raw food delivered has been the answer, part of a growing trend among pet owners just as home delivery of groceries has become commonplace.
Dunn is "Mum" to Jack Russell Tilly, Cocker Spaniel Murphy and Great Dane Atlas who get through a total of 4 kg of food each day. That volume of food set Dunn in search of a delivery solution, rather than having to shop frequently for fresh meat and cart around large quantities.
Using Home Delivery, part of Bombay Petfoods who make the Jimbo's brand, Dunn can order 80-100 kg of deep-frozen raw food in one go - enough to last her around three weeks. "I've got a really big freezer," she laughs.
The food can be delivered to the door - and right into the freezer if you want - though Dunn has set up a convenient rendezvous point for the handover of the goods.
Jimbo's general manager Dave Allan says home delivery isn't new (they've been offering it since 1981) but has taken off with the internet.
It's become so popular, it has grown past its rural beginnings. People in further-flung communities originally had the greatest need and would happily leave their doors unlocked for the delivery driver to deposit the goods right in the freezer.
But now Allan says time-poor, working people in cities are cottoning on to the convenience of pet food home delivery: "It's mostly the convenience - they don't have to go out and look for bulk raw food, then transport it themselves."
"If the customer wants to say to the driver, the key's here, go through the laundry and put it in the freezer here, they can do that," Allan says. The driver just needs to know where the hungry dog is before coming onto the property though, he notes.
The e-commerce side of the business has been growing, particularly in the past 18 months. Around 1600 pet owners signed up for the service over the last 12 months, in addition to existing customers. Average spend is $155, equating to around 40 kg of product. This lasts those who don't have Great Danes around six weeks, providing a steady supply for high-quality raw food while saving multiple trips to the supermarket.
Bombay Petfoods offers home delivery to suburban and rural addresses in greater Auckland and the Waikato (from Wellsford across to Helensville and down to Cambridge), Rotorua, Tauranga and from Fielding south into Wellington, and around Christchurch. Allan says the company maintains the personal connection in the internet age, talking to new clients to find out about their needs and what products might be best suited to their animals.
"If they haven't fed raw food before we can talk them through how to feed it and how to transition their animal onto our frozen product."
"It works really well. It's packaged in good sizes, in one or two kilo packs, so that works out perfectly if I need around four kilos a day," Dunn says. "It's a lot less expensive than purchasing it from a grocery store, and it's definitely more cost-effective being able to buy in bulk, particularly with a large breed."
With the current trend of having everything that opens and shuts delivered to your door, it has made sense for Bombay Petfoods to expand its product offering from food to animal treats and practical pet products such as leads and collars.
"If you've got a pet you've got to feed, groom and bath it, walk it, so it makes sense to get those things delivered with the food," Allan says. "Feeding is a mechanism for showing love towards your animal. It is quite an intimate category."