11:00am – 5:00pm – MON – SAT
MON – FRI – 8:00am – 5:00pm
TUES/WEDS/THURS -7:30am – 5:00pm

Trying to decide on which foods to carry in our new store was a difficult choice. I wanted to have a fair selection of quality foods at a reasonable price. We have narrowed it down to several brands I strongly believe in to start with, and may expand as we go. I’d like to take a few minutes to introduce you to one of those brands.

Our main line of pet food is going to be FirstMate, which I have been feeding to my dogs for the past while and have been extremely happy with. Not only do my dogs enjoy it (including one extremely picky eater) and I enjoy the price, but I have noticed other benefits from feeding this food as well. Less shedding, better poops (I have a few sensitive tummies!), and I am getting more calories into my dogs while feeding less kibble (a 50-100lb dog is recommended 2-3 cups/day – excellent!), which means a bag goes further and provides quite a bit of value. Having three large dogs, this is pretty important.

I had never heard of FirstMate until I started dog sled racing last year. The teams from Whistler were sponsored by it, and cleaned up at almost all the events they were entered in. Sled dogs need a lot of calories, and must be fed a quality food (you wouldn’t put low quality gas into a race car now would you?), so I thought I would check into it more. I discovered that FirstMate was made locally, in the Vancouver area, which is an added bonus. Since it is made by a small manufacturer, the quality is high but the price remains attractive.

FirstMate’s formulas are simple, single protein (chicken, lamb, or fish), single carbohydrate (potato) mixes. This makes them extremely easy to digest and a great choice for dogs with sensitive tummies (like mine) or allergies. They make a grain free line (in fact they were the first company to introduce a grain free food in 1995!) and also a classic formula line, which we will add to our store’s selection at a later date. The classic formulas are not grain free, but they are corn, wheat and soy free (main sources of allergic reactions) and come at a very attractive price point for the cost concious pet owner.

I am currently feeding the Pacific Ocean Fish forumla, and this combined with fish oil supplements has shown a marked reduction in the amount of fur floating around my house and that I am sweeping/vacuuming on a daily basis. I have two siberian huskies that shed in enormous amounts, as anyone who has met them can attest. Although I love my dogs, I’m not such a huge fan of their fluff and to see the shedding go down is a huge relief! Switching to this food has also caused my one huskie’s ears to stop itching, which has bothered him for some time and I assumed was a food-based allergic reaction.¬†Browsing the testimonials on FirstMate’s site, I saw that other customers had received similar results.

Overall, I’ve been very pleased with this BC made food and will be happy to offer it for sale at our Barks n’ Rec store. Once open, feel free to come in and talk to us about nutrition and your pet, and to get samples of our food brands to try them out. In the meantime, check out FirstMate’s website or email me with any questions. Looking forward to chatting with you in our new store in a few weeks!


Sarah Fulcher, CDT
Owner and Head Trainer
Barks and Recreation Pet Services