By Ryan Velez
Veterinarian Dr. Joe J. Owens recently pitched his product, Enjoy-A-Bowl, on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome for the chance to win up to $100,000 in funding. Today, he is still hard at work finalizing and getting his product out there. Black Enterprise recently sat down with Owens, who explains that this idea is both personal and professional for him as a vet and pet owner.
“My 7-year-old Australian Shepard mix, Que (pronounced “Q”), inspired the idea one morning while I was eating some left-over pasta for breakfast. Que knows better than to beg me for table food but as he gets older, I’ve noticed him becoming more finicky about eating his routine food. This particular morning, he began to sniff the aroma from my pasta for at least two minutes, as if he was trying to sniff the air long enough to capture the smell directly in his nose. He then went straight over to his routine kibble and ate his food as if he were eating the pasta. The light bulb immediately came on and I started my research and development (R&D) phase.”
Part of the issue with dogs eating human food is that our digestive systems are very different, and what we think may be spoiling them or treating them well may actually be hurting them, even though both pet and owner don’t understand. “What works for one pet, might not work for another pet. Feeding pets human food predisposes pets to diabetes, pancreatitis, IBS, gastritis, enteritis, obesity, kidney, liver and heart disease. Although these issues arise most often in smaller pets, these medical conditions will not discriminate and can equally harm larger pets.” When this becomes a habit, there can be massive health issues, and with Owens realizing that many pet owners don’t get the idea until it is too late, he decided to take his savvy and skill and approach this problem a different way.
“My initial objective was to establish proof of concept. First, I took two small plastic food storage containers and drilled a series of holes in the bottom of one. Next, I placed some cooked chicken and steak in the bottom container and stacked the container with the holes in the bottom on top of the chicken and steak. Then, I placed Que’s routine kibble in the top container and watched him demolish his food with extreme enjoyment. I tried this several other times with other pets, and realized it even worked extremely well with cats! I tried different genres of food for aromatherapy and recognized the wide range of effective stimulants and how they vary from pet to pet.”
Following his Funderdome appearance, Owens and the Enjoy-A-Bowl are currently making strides towards mass production. As of the writing of this article, he is currently finalizing the small dog size Enjoy-A-Bowl that should be ready for retail in five to seven different colors within the next 45 days. Large dog size and cat size Enjoy-A-Bowls will be introduced later in 2017/2018. He also looks to create aromatherapy products that mimic human food rather than requiring people to use actual human food, similar to K-cups.