By Anna Lardinois, Startup Storyteller
It is often said that dogs are man’s best friend. That is certainly true of Amadeus Benitez and his beloved golden retriever, Leo.
At the close of 2021, Benitez returned home to discover that Leo had somehow gotten into a box of baking chocolate and ate two of the bars.
Benitez was in a panic, knowing that chocolate poisoning can be fatal to dogs. The methylxanthines in chocolate, primarily caffeine and theobromine, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even heart failure. He grabbed Leo and rushed him into the emergency veterinary clinic.
Leo was treated and survived the ordeal, but the event left a lasting impression on Benitez.
Benitez realized he was lucky to live close to an emergency clinic, and he could afford to high cost associated with that type of treatment. He knew there were many much-loved dogs, just like Leo, who did not have access to the same level of medical care. He began to think about a solution for those dogs.
The University of Wisconsin educated physicist, who also earned an Electrical Engineering certificate from MIT, is not unfamiliar with the science involved in creating edible products. He currently holds patents in the fields of food science and biotechnology. Soon after he began to work on a solution to help dogs avoid the adverse effects of chocolate, he was joined by Arek Schmocker, an accountant who earned an MBA from the University of Wisconsin.
Together, the partners launched Chocolate Rescue for Dogs, an at-home solution for dogs that have eaten chocolate.
The company was founded in 2022. Headquartered in Germantown, Chocolate Rescue for Dogs currently has 4 team members. The bootstrapped company is one of the 49 companies vying for a win in the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest (BPC).
The company produces bone-shaped chews for dogs that neutralize the poisonous methylxanthines in the animal’s stomach, making it harmless. The product does not induce vomiting, eliminating the risks associated with the aspiration of vomit.
Schmocker won’t reveal the active ingredient in the beef-flavored chews but did explain there is a great deal of literature supporting the use of this ingredient to combat chocolate poisoning in dogs. The company has completed two rounds of testing and is working toward another round of testing conducted by a third-party lab to further prove the safety and efficacy of the product.
The founders are hopeful the exposure gained through the BPC will open doors to funding and other opportunities. The company aims to find funding for its next round of clinical testing, as well as capital to scale Chocolate Rescue for Dogs by adding staff and to support marketing efforts.
With the guidance of an advisor in the pet food industry, the company plans what Schmocker called a “low volume ramp up,” by introducing the product to between 100-150 stores sometime in third quarter of 2023.
To learn more about this emerging company, connect with Chocolate Rescue for Dogs here.