You'd be forgiven for thinking pet owners should be wary of giving their dog meals that appeal to its inner wolf.

But dog food produced in Christchurch mimicking the diet of the grey wolf is proving a hit with pet owners in 19 countries around the world.

K9 Natural Food sells raw pet food that "replicates nature" and has grown by 300 per cent a year since it began in April 2006.

The idea of raising a domestic pet on a wolf's diet was born after K9's founder and former police-dog handler, Geoff Bowers, studied Alaskan wolves and noticed they were far more athletic than the dogs he worked with in Britain.


After migrating to New Zealand in 2003, Bowers launched a company making pet food modelled on what wolves consume in the wild.

"What we're feeding dogs is quite different to what they get in nature, a dog biscuit is highly processed and it is cooked. Often you're regularly taking dogs to the vet for a lot of problems that also affect humans such as obesity and also diabetes. It's all linked to food just like it is in humans," says K9's chief executive, Calvin Smith.

K9's food contains almost 100 per cent animal products, whereas most commercially produced dog biscuits have less than 50 per cent meat, Smith says.

New Zealand and North America are K9's biggest marketsand Smith says Japan is growing quickly.

Last year, the company made Deloitte's index of New Zealand's fastest-rising companies, with revenue growth of 641 per cent.

This year, it also launched a new product line for cats.

K9 is one of six finalists in the 2011 University of Auckland Business School Entrepreneurs' Challenge.

Now in its third year, the challenge aims to help small-to-medium businesses expand overseas by offering winners a low-interest, three-year loan of up to $1 million. The $1 million of funding can be scooped up by one business or shared by up to five.