Friday, March 13, 2009

A Great Dog Bakery

Dog bakeries are popping up all across the nation, and have become quite a trend in large and small cities. Some bakeries bake in house, some are owned by a larger corporation and have treats shipped in, some are organic, some have cookies containing meat products, some are strictly vegetarian, etc. It seems in the dog baking industry you must rely on something to set yourself apart. Personally, I love dog bakeries, particularly the organic ones.

One of my favorite dog bakeries is in Arlington, Virginia in a small strip mall. Located between a Starbucks (typical) and a bagel store Dogma blends right into suburban living. While their website leaves a bit to be desired, this bakery has unique charm. All treats are baked in-house (or at the owner’s house) and come with adorable names like Snickerpoodles, DC Delights, Mailmen, etc.

Their treat selection is vast, with probably 20 varieties of baked goods, and also homemade doggie ice cream. They are always willing to answer questions, even the detailed ones. I tend to ask about every single ingredient in treats, the baking process, how fresh the treats are and so on. At Dogma you will find treats baked within a few days of when you purchase them—absolutely all of their treats are fresh (which I love). Unlike the current fad of dog bakeries making the treats resemble fancy human deserts (think cannolis and extravagantly frosted martini glass cookies), Dogma sells treats that resemble grandma’s cookies, their muffins look like they were baked at home, and their pretzels are clearly twisted by hand. One advantage to avoiding the trend of heavily frosted cookies is not baking with gobs of butter. I’ve been to other dog bakeries that after much probing will admit a batch of their cookies contains four or more sticks of butter… this would never happen at Dogma. The treats are relatively healthy as far as treats go—think no white flour and lots of oatmeal based treats. The store is small for the amount of merchandise they have, a large gift section when you enter with everything from picture frames to water dishes, an entire wall of dog leashes and collars (they sell matching ribbon flip-flops), a small but quality selection of natural dog shampoos and conditioners, various supplements, dog beds, adorable toys (think plush blue box with white ribbon reading “Sniffany & Co.”) and a large freezer filled with all the raw diets your pet could need and of course the doggie ice cream.

They do not have meat products in their baked goods, which I find to be their only drawback. In order for a dog bakery owner to sell treats containing meat they need a separate license in many states, so from a cost standpoint vegetarian treats are a wise way to go. They do however sell dehydrated meat pre-packaged. Milly goes crazy for the dehydrated liver chips. They are made locally and all natural—great for baiting a show dog or using as training treat.

The store has charm and lots of it. Employees are always smiling, and more often than not the shop owner is the one behind the counter. For price conscious shoppers Dogma usually offers slightly over baked treats at very large discounts—trust me, your dog won’t notice the difference if it is a little over cooked, as well as a nice sale section with discontinued gift items, last season items, etc. They have a large bulletin board for pet owners to get info on local animal happenings, rescue groups to post their available pet flyers, dog sitters and artists to post flyers, etc.

If you are ever in Arlington, VA I highly recommend stopping by Dogma.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Miss Muddy Paws,

    I am the owner of Dogma Bakery and I can't tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. I don't even know how I found this blog; but I am very glad that I did.

    Everything you wrote about Dogma is truly what I wanted our customers to experience; and I can't wait to show the employees what you feel about the store. I am proud of them and the job they do to make Dogma what it is today.

    Thank you very much and please come to see us again.

    Sheila Raebel