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Havelock dog mom turns fight to save fur baby’s leg into fast-growing healthy pet treat business

Havelock dog mom turns fight to save fur baby’s leg into fast-growing healthy pet treat business

Havelock resident Meg Kynock, founder and owner of muttmixx, with her beloved powderpuff Kevin Bacon on June 18, 2023 at the Quinte Ride for Paws Poker Run fundraiser. Kynock developed her muttmixx pet treats two years ago to help Kevin recover after he was attacked by another dog and almost lost his leg. (Photo courtesy of Amy Leroche www.derochesportsphotography.com)
Havelock resident Meg Kynock, founder and owner of muttmixx, with her beloved powderpuff Kevin Bacon on June 18, 2023 at the Quinte Ride for Paws Poker Run fundraiser. Kynock developed her muttmixx pet treats two years ago to help Kevin recover after he was attacked by another dog and almost lost his leg. (Photo courtesy of Amy Leroche www.derochesportsphotography.com)

Any dog mom and dad would know that a love for a fur baby will make you do all kinds of things you never thought you’d do, like let them eat off your plate or sit on the couch.

For Meg Kynock, the love for her pooch named Kevin Bacon led to muttmixx, a small business centred on healthy pet treats.

Though Kynock now spends upwards of 40 or 50 hours per week baking healthy, natural, vegan treats for dogs in her Havelock home kitchen, opening a business wasn’t her plan. She has always been a full-time foster mom to teenagers — something she loves and says will always come first.

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But Kynock’s life changed direction one afternoon two years ago when she watched her beloved then three-year-old powderpuff suffer a severe dog attack. Kynock sat in the vet’s waiting room for nine hours as Kevin underwent surgery to repair the torn tissue in his leg, which he almost lost.

“I was so mortified,” she recalls. “He’s such a happy spirit. He’s always a go-go guy. He almost lost his leg, and I just couldn’t do that to him. I wasn’t ready to take it off.”

A cross between a Mexican hairless dog and a Chinese Crested dog, Kevin Bacon is described affectionately by Kynock as a “cool little dude” who is always wanting to adventure and go for runs with her. Kynock was told it would be a long time before he was back to himself again and able to exude the same energy as he once did before the attack.

Meg Kynock's powderpuff Kevin Bacon, a cross between a Mexican hairless dog and a Chinese Crested dog, poses with a bag of Kynock's muttmixx healthy pet treats. After Kevin was seriously injured in a dog attack, she developed muttmixx to bring him back to health. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)
Meg Kynock’s powderpuff Kevin Bacon, a cross between a Mexican hairless dog and a Chinese Crested dog, poses with a bag of Kynock’s muttmixx healthy pet treats. After Kevin was seriously injured in a dog attack, she developed muttmixx to bring him back to health. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)

But miraculously, last October, Kynock watched as Kevin jumped off a dock, swam across Rice Lake, and jumped into her kayak. Now Kevin runs 10 kilometres per week, takes 40-minute walks each night, and is fully healed. And he’s never needed arthritis medication or pain medication beyond the initial recovery from his long surgery.

Instead, he was given daily doses of Kynock’s healthy treats. As a long-time dog owner, she has always kept her dogs on holistic, raw pet food diets and wanted to continue this throughout Kevin’s recovery.

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“I think it’s important we understand that dogs aren’t supposed to eat what we eat,” she explains. “You don’t see a coyote going into the forest and cooking his rabbit or getting sprinkles on his cake. So I try and keep everything as rustic and raw as possible.”

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To keep him on a healthy diet, Kynock began feeding Kevin little cookies, or “concoctions”, that she made with the help of a friend. They were simply made with hemp seed, turmeric, and carrot. It didn’t take long for Kynock to see the change it was making in Kevin, who was healing despite not being on any medication.

She thought she should share her treats and Kevin’s story, made a social media post, and texted a few friends offering samples. By the next day Kynock had 40 orders and nine hours of deliveries to make for dog owners who wanted to sample the cookies.

That’s when she noticed there really was a demand for her natural dog food products. Last May, she took on the business on her own and learned to bake in 24 hours. Though hemp and turmeric remain the main ingredients, she began researching and experimenting with other ingredients to add to the original recipes.

“I did research on chia seed. I did research on flaxseed. I did research on all the seeds that are healthy, all the things that are safe. I found out that carrots, when frozen, are natural tartar removers, so I added shredded carrots. Everything that I have done has health benefits. It’s not just a cookie that tastes good — everything is a healthy product.”

Meg Kynock's muttmixx currently come in three different flavours: carrot and chai, pureed pumpkin and flaxseed, and peanut butter and banana. Though the originals are soft and chewy, muttmixx also comes as dehydrated treats. The healthy pet food brand also offers an all-natural food topper. All products are vegan and free of sugar, salt, gluten, and dairy. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)
Meg Kynock’s muttmixx currently come in three different flavours: carrot and chai, pureed pumpkin and flaxseed, and peanut butter and banana. Though the originals are soft and chewy, muttmixx also comes as dehydrated treats. The healthy pet food brand also offers an all-natural food topper. All products are vegan and free of sugar, salt, gluten, and dairy. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)

Now muttmixx comes in three different flavours: carrot and chia, pumpkin flax, and peanut butter banana. While the fresh-baked cookies are soft and chewy, muttmixx also offers dehydrated treats for those preferring treats with a longer shelf life.

All products are vegan and free of sugar, salt, gluten, and dairy. Kynock explains she adds a specific seed or nut to every cookie to get the proper omegas and healthy fats. And, she notes, dogs love them.

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In the year since muttmixx has been on the market, Kynock says health benefits to various dogs have included decreased pain and inflammation, allergies for skin and coat, weight management, joint care, digestive relief, and even cancer prevention.

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The treats help Kynock’s other dog, a beagle named Elvis Presley (yes, both her dogs are famously named), with his fear of fireworks. She’ll give him some on Canada Day or when she knows there will be fireworks, and it puts him in a more relaxed state.

According to Kynock, other success stories include dogs with hip dysplasia being unable to walk up the stairs prior to regularly consuming muttmixx, and lessened inflammation for older dogs with cancerous cysts.

She says all of the ingredients are sourced from local farms, including fresh carrots, organic and pureed pumpkin, and organic bananas.

In the year since she’s launched muttmixx on her own, Kynock has set up at markets and festivals across Ontario, including the recent Ride for Paws in Quinte (where she raised and donated $120 for Humane Society Hastings Prince Edward and other animal care organizations) and Slobberfest 2023 in Toronto. She’s been doing events since the beginning and has no intention to stop, no matter how much muttmixx grows.

“I’ll never stop doing events on weekends,” she says. “I love going out and meeting all the dogs and the people and hearing the stories they share with me.”

Meg Kynock gets a big kiss from muttmixx mascot Kevin Bacon. A full-time foster mom, Kynock had never baked before creating muttmixx, a healthy and natural treat that she says provides a variety of health benefits to dogs, including for Kevin after he almost lost his leg two years ago after being attacked by another dog and has now fully recovered. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)
Meg Kynock gets a big kiss from muttmixx mascot Kevin Bacon. A full-time foster mom, Kynock had never baked before creating muttmixx, a healthy and natural treat that she says provides a variety of health benefits to dogs, including for Kevin after he almost lost his leg two years ago after being attacked by another dog and has now fully recovered. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)

As of now, her products are featured on 10 ‘pawtio’ menus in downtown Toronto, as well as dog-friendly restaurants in Campbellford and Kingston. muttmixx can also be found in eight independent stores and is distributed across the province from Woodland Raw Pet Food.

According to Kynock, however, most of her reach actually comes from word of mouth.

“I am more referral than I am anything else, which is a super-amazing thing to be in a small town and a small business.”

She uses her Facebook group to keep her regular customers connected and to tell them about upcoming delivery dates. The group, which she describes as “fun, light, and educational,” currently has over 800 members.

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“People are just connecting, and I just love the fact that it’s all about dogs,” she says. “They’re making friends and connecting with each other about their dog. And some people have made friends with each other — they’re doing dog walks together because their dogs have high anxiety. I just love the fact there’s that opportunity for connection.”

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She even says she’s formed her own friendships that she never would have expected, and has heard from members of the Facebook group who admit they don’t even have a dog — they just join for the connections and “fun energy” of the group.

They also come to see pictures of muttmixx’s mascot Kevin, which doesn’t even surprise Kynock.

“If I go to an event and I don’t bring him because it’s too hot, someone will come say ‘OK, well, we came to see Kevin. We don’t have a dog, but I’m on your page and I just wanted to see Kevin.’”

Meg Kynock's muttmixx healthy dog treat business is growing fast and her products can be found at dog-friendly restaurants in Toronto, Campbellford, and Kingston, as well as in eight independent stores. muttmixx is distributed across Ontario through Woodland Raw Pet Food, and Kynock hopes to open her own brick-and-mortar location in the future. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)
Meg Kynock’s muttmixx healthy dog treat business is growing fast and her products can be found at dog-friendly restaurants in Toronto, Campbellford, and Kingston, as well as in eight independent stores. muttmixx is distributed across Ontario through Woodland Raw Pet Food, and Kynock hopes to open her own brick-and-mortar location in the future. (Photo courtesy of Meg Kynock)

While Kynock’s “big goal” is to open a brick-and-mortar storefront to share muttmixx while also having access to a larger baking space, her aim for next year is to get muttmixx into Whole Foods.

Despite these very achievable goals that showcase how much muttmixx has grown in the past year, Kynock admits she never anticipated any of it.

“I honestly had no idea this was going to happen. I really just did it for Kevin.”

You can purchase muttmixx online at www.muttmixx.ca. For pictures of Kevin, you can follow muttmixx on Instagram or join the muttmixx Facebook group.

  • June 25, 2023