Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

PAWSitively Sweet Bakery: Dog gone good

Alexis Quiroga loves to bake for her friends. The 21-year-old creates her own all-natural treats with no preservatives or fillers. Despite her lack of culinary training, Quiroga’s baked goodies are a hit with her friends and clients, and the snacks would be finger licking good — if only her friends had fingers.

Quiroga bakes doggy treats.

Not just any doggy treats, either. Quiroga owns the PAWSitively Sweet Bakery, and her creations are 100 percent all-natural and human-grade food.

According to Quiroga, human-grade is rare in the pet food market.

“For humans, we have natural food and unnatural foods,” she explains. “But for pets, there are natural, unnatural and non-human-grade foods.”

Not many people would willingly sample their pet’s treats. They assume the treats are fine for their pets, but not too palatable for humans. Quiroga’s pet treats are safe for human consumption; something she feels gives pet owners peace of mind.

“If you can eat it,” Quiroga says, “then you know it’s safe for your dog.”

Although many pet treats are natural, they may include “naturally flavored” ingredients or fillers. Quiroga makes her pet treats with just five ingredients, all of which are completely natural.

“My treats are considered ‘clean label’ treats,” Quiroga explains. Clean label is a term in the food and drug industry that implies transparency — the label emphasizes wholesome, not artificial ingredients and a lack of preservatives.

“I don’t even have a natural preservative in my treats,” explains Quiroga. “However, I was lucky enough to find a food scientist who’s going to help me extend the shelf life of my products to where I don’t need any preservatives.”

When it comes to fillers, Quiroga is all too aware of the controversy. Many dog food companies take jabs at each other in their commercials for having corn listed as a main ingredient.

“[Other store-bought treats] are good, but at the end of the day they still have fillers — even if they have stuff like ‘natural flavors.’ My product isn’t ‘naturally flavored’ — it is beef, it is the real deal.”

Because of her treats’ lack of artificial ingredients, natural flavorings and fillers, Quiroga claims her treats are more nutrient-dense.

“There’s going to be a lot more nutrition in my treats than there are in other store-bought treats. [Pets] are going to get a lot more protein out of my treats.”

Quiroga’s love of healthful pet treats has taken her business out of her home and into the streets. Her goal is to someday sell her snacks at pet stores, Whole Foods or HEB. For now, PAWSitively Sweet Bakery operates at various farmer’s markets throughout the city.

One such market is the new Urban Pet Market held at the Paul Jolly Adoption Center, which opened last October. The two-day market included exhibits by Collar Expressions, a custom collar boutique; RezQPets; Pawderosa Ranch, a doggie play-and-stay; and many others.

“I try to partner up with different non-profits and help facilitate adoption events,” Quiroga said. “Urban Pet Market is San Antonio’s first pet market, where every vendor is geared toward animals.”

The pet market operates on the same model as a farmer’s market, where vendors provide products and services created specifically for pets.

James Gonzalez was among the customers at the market, along with his Shepherd-Beagle mix, Lilly and his Boston terrier, Jack.

“He loves the treats,” Gonzalez said, of PAWSitively Sweet Bakery’s treats.

Scheduled for the second-Saturday of each month, Urban Pet Market aims to be a one-stop shop for pet owners looking for all things pet related, and Quiroga hopes to advertise awareness for her bakery.

Though she has no plans for a PAWSitively Sweet Bakery storefront, Quiroga does plan to have her products on grocery store shelves and in pet owner’s pantries this coming year.

In the meantime, Quiroga continues to hone her baking skills and experiment her new recipes out on her German Shepherd-Husky mix, Sakari and her rat terrier, Delilah.

“I don’t have a degree in being a doggy chef,” she laughs, “so I basically have to make stuff up along the way.”

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