This story first appeared in the Aug. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Perhaps it takes a Dogg to know what abandoned hounds need. As rapper Snoop, 41, an owner of 11 dogs and an investor in Dog for Dog food, explains, shelter mutts most often are euthanized not because a pound lacks space but rather “because there’s not enough food to feed them. So we figured we can say, ‘Buy some dog food for your dog, and we’ll drop [an additional bag] off at a local shelter.’ You save a dog’s life.”
The “we” in this scenario is 38-year-old Dog for Dog founder (and Relativity Media CEO) Kavanaugh — who started the dog-food brand with president and Three Dog Bakery owner Rocky Kanaka Keever — and late-night talk-show host and fellow investor Handler, also 38. The Santa Monica-based company, which stocks its goods at Petco, Pet Food Express and most neighborhood pet stores, prides itself on using all-natural ingredients such as peanuts and flaxseed and steers clear of sugar, salt and hydrogenated oils.
“You love your dog, so put a little heart into what you’re feeding your dog,” says Keever, who demonstrates the edibility of DFD’s all-natural Blueberry DogsBar ($3.99; the most expensive DFD product is $66.95 for a 25-pound bag of food) by taking a bite out of it. This prompts Handler — who like Kavanaugh, Snoop and Keever feed DFD to their own beloved animals — to crack, “I wanted to get involved so I can share my food with my dogs because I’m hungry a lot.”
The recipe, of course, has a grander purpose: to offer a quick caloric boost for malnourished dogs while also providing essential proteins and quality chow for daily feeding. Kavanaugh, who has given six rescues a home at his house in Malibu, hopes a little can go a long way.
“A company like Iams spends $1.5 billion a year on marketing. We don’t market,” says the executive, whose media company has backed such Oscar-caliber films as The Social Network and The Fighter, as well as September release The Family, helmed by Luc Besson and starring Robert De Niro. (Plans are also in the works for a DFD reality show.) “Instead, we put that money toward the bags going to the pounds. The goal is ending euthanasia in pounds.”