Our R&D Story

Tom&Sawyer founders Kristin Matthews and Peter Zakarow, with their inspiration, Sawyer.

Tom&Sawyer started with an inquisitive forensic accountant mom to a Yorkie-Poo puppy named Sawyer.

Kristin wanted the best of everything for him so she turned her investigation skills* onto the pet food industry where she uncovered a shocking problem. And it was a really big problem.

Pet food was not at all what the public is led to believe it is. It isn’t even real food.

And there is no one independently policing this for pets. Just look back at the 2007 Menu Foods crisis (where thousands of pets died from eating contaminated pet food) and you will see nothing has changed to prevent a deadly widespread pet food contamination recurrence today.

Commercial pet food was developed to be cheap and convenient.  It was also a financially genius way for the human food industry to get rid of things that are otherwise waste (the big commercial pet food brands are owned by human food manufacturers). The long-term problem is that now our cats and dogs are getting sicker and everyone is spending more time in vet clinics and this is neither cheap nor convenient.      

Tom&Sawyer began research and development in late 2014 to solve the problem of our sick pets eating nutritionally inferior ingredients from commercial food and to increase the safety and quality of alternate pet food choices.

The Stages of Research and Development at Tom&Sawyer:

  • Late 2014/Early 2015-Formulation of whole food cooked diets for dogs and cat using the gold standard research publication: National Research Council (NRC) 2014 Nutrient Requirements for Cats and Dogs
  • Early 2015: Sourcing of ingredients from whole food suppliers of top quality, human consumable food products and supplements, with a focus on local and Canadian products with sustainable practices.
  • 2015/Early 2016-Recipe production with animal nutritionist oversight, food scientist lab testing and home feeding trials on companion animal group for palatability, digestibility and overall health (overseen by a Veterinarian) 
  • Early 2016-Build state-of-the-art commercial kitchen for pet meal production, Tom&Sawyer online business launches across Canada
  • May 2016-Tom&Sawyer opens Toronto flagship retail store with pet friendly lounge and visible commercial kitchen 
  • March 2017-First therapeutic diets for dogs are formulated for various nutrition requirements
  • January 2018-FDA Food Facility registration approval and commenced shipping to United States
  • April 2018-Custom diet formulation launched for dogs and cats under veterinary supervision
  • Upcoming Release: Do-It-Yourself Home Cooking Nutrient Blend for Cats and Dogs

Tom&Sawyer continues to innovate in the pet food industry every day by staying on top of animal nutrition science, listening to customer feedback, practising best food preparation safety methods and keeping chemicals, preservatives and engineered feed grade ingredients out of the bowl of your four-legged family member.

After all, they would do the same for you if they made the meal time decisions.  

Full Nutritional Information on our Pet Meals:  Dog Nutrition    Cat Nutrition

*we recommend these eye-opening reads:

  • Not Fit For a Dog! The Truth About Manufactured Dog and Cat Food by Michael W. Fox, B.Vet. Med, PhD, D.Sc., M.R.C.V.S.; Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM; Marion Smart, DVM, PhD
  • Foods Pets Die For: Shocking Facts About Pet Food by Ann Martin