Frequently Asked Questions

About Side By Side

At Side by Side, we approach pet food a little differently. In the same way that we don’t just grab anything to fill our own bellies, we believe in filling our pets’ bowls with the best whole food nutrition. We craft healthy recipes in small batches, carefully preserving the whole food nutrition and delivering it fresh to your pet’s bowl. Each ingredient we use has beneficial properties that strengthen your pet’s body. Each recipe has been refined to help your pet’s body be in balance. When they are in balance, they are at their strongest and healthiest.

Not only do we nourish your pet’s soul, but we also nourish the pet parent’s mind! We are here to empower pet parents so that you feel properly informed about your pet’s individual needs. We offer a proprietary pet health assessment tool that approximates the way that veterinarians and pet nutrition specialists evaluate your pet’s nutritional needs. We utilize the best of Western & Eastern practices to evaluate your pet’s wellness state and then recommend food to best support their individual needs. Furthermore, our team is always available to develop pet parents knowledge. Side By Side is a company you can trust. We will be by your side every step of the way, throughout all phases of your pet’s life.

Eastern Food Therapy, when properly implemented, creates balance within your pets’ body. The Eastern process assesses the overall wellness state of the body and provides guidance regarding particular needs and specific foods that would support balance in your pet’s system. Our Online Pet Assessment tool was designed to mimic this process of need identification, so that we might inform you, as the parent, and recommend foods to best serve your pet’s needs. We evaluate how the right foods can contribute to your pet’s health, wellness, and longevity. Side by Side looks at the warming and cooling qualities of the food, key nutrients and how they are best absorbed, and we match these with your pet’s individual strengths and weaknesses. At Side by Side, we believe in the healing power of Whole Food Nutrition, and we balance these Eastern philosophies with the Western principles of natural nutrition by incorporating strict guidelines and testing practices. By doing this, we ensure that all of the AAFCO requirements for complete and balanced nutrition are addressed. We only use the best quality whole food ingredients and never, ever, use a single synthetic in our diets. We strongly believe in these practices. Let us help you understand what recipe will help your pet get balanced and feeling like the superstar they are!  

About Food, Treats, and Supplements

Our food is lovingly made in small batches in a family owned USDA audited facility in Wisconsin that meets the highest standards in quality and safety.

We care greatly about every ingredient that goes into our pet food; this is the food we feed our family members, and we know you care as well.  We source our ingredients from all natural farms and seek to align with local and ethical farms wherever possible. Each high quality whole food ingredient we use is sourced in the US and a small selection of specialty herbs and supplement ingredients are sourced globally as they are not available in the US at the quality level we demand.

Yes, all of the whole food ingredients used for our diets, treats, and toppers are human grade. There are some items that aren’t meant for human consumption (e.g. turkey necks), but they are sourced from human grade, USDA Certified food suppliers.

We do not use artificial preservatives in our diets, toppers, tail mix, or freeze dried treats. Natural preservatives, such as Vitamin E, contain natural antioxidants that extend the life of our 100% natural treats and food recipes. We deliver our food frozen or freeze-dried to preserve the nutrition until you’re ready to serve it to your pet!

We place a great deal of value and confidence in our Pet Assessment process and the information it provides about the health and well-being of your pet. You should feel comfortable incorporating one of our diets into your rotation of proteins if it is complementary to the recommendation provided in the assessment, as it relates to cooling (blue), warming (pink) or neutral (green). We would like to check-in with you regarding any changes in your pet’s diet, so please contact us if you’re considering adding a complimentary diet into your feeding plan. We will also monitor your purchase behavior and will reach out to you to check-in and seek additional information regarding your pet’s well-being.

You should take our Pet Assessment on the sidebysidepet.com website. It will guide you on what recipes will be most beneficial for your pet and their needs. We are always here for you to explain things in more depth and address any questions you might have.

We do not suggest using our recipes and kibble together. Commercial kibble takes approximately 24 to digest and our diets, as with most whole foods, take approximately 12 hours to digest. Mixing these 2 products could cause significant discomfort to your pet’s system. In addition, we strongly believe that most commercial kibble products are highly processed, heated and extruded to optimize for long-term room temperature storage and thus provide inferior nutrition to your pet. When first starting on a whole food diet, if pursuing a slow transition process, you may alternate your old food, which might be a kibble product, with our whole food. Please be sure to alternate and not blend products for digestive reasons.  

Some of our customers find joy in preparing supplemental meals for their pets. Like our food recipes, they may use whole food proteins, vegetables, and easily digestible grains. Some find this helps complement our balanced nutrition options into their lifestyle. Along with your home-prepared options, you can be sure to provide the complete nutrition your pet needs with Side by Side’s complete and balanced recipes.

Prescription kibble is designed scientifically, to provide certain synthetic nutrients to meet the needs of an animal with a specific disease. We respect that your vet is treating the individual case presented by a pet with an acute illness, and may recommend prescription kibble. However, we know that in many cases, minor stomach upsets, skin irritations, and other non-acute issues can be improved dramatically by treating the underlying health of the pet, rather than the symptoms. We believe that a whole food, species appropriate, all-natural diet should be considered first for the majority of pets. Yes, we’re really passionate about whole food nutrition!

Most kibble products are cooked at high heat for long periods of time to dry out moisture and remove any living pathogens in the raw ingredients. This production process can destroy most antioxidants and results in the breakdown of healthy oils, phytonutrients, enzymes, and other living beneficial microorganisms. Following the high heat cook process, the mixture is often extruded to form the small round pieces referred to as kibble. This high pressure process further degrades the integrity of the ingredients.
Alternatively, our Whole Food recipes provide your pet with unadulterated nutrients and the most species appropriate foods for a pet’s anatomy. Our cooked recipes spend the minimal necessary amount of time in the oven and this is done at a low roasting temperature to gently cook our food, and destroy potential pathogens while protecting the enzymes and maximizing viable nutrients. Each of our ingredients is thoughtfully selected to deliver on important, species appropriate, nutritional benefits. We are extremely careful in the handling of these important ingredients so that your pet might absorb these benefits and enjoy a healthier life.

The benefits of a fresh, whole food diet:

  • Live and naturally balanced amino acids and enzymes
  • No preservatives, fillers, chemicals or anything synthetic
  • Provides proper hydration
  • Easier to digest and maintain a healthy Body Condition Score
  • Aids in healthier, stronger teeth, a more lustrous coat and healthier skin
  • Helps create a healthy digestive tract
  • Helps decrease inflammation (e.g. in joints and GI)
  • Aids in healthier sleep patterns
  • Supports brain function
  • Improves the immune system

It totally depends on the grains that are being used and the individual pet’s needs. We have grain free recipes and recipes with whole grains. We utilize grains that have beneficial properties to enhance the nutrients your pet is getting. For example:

    • Quinoa seeds – a wonderful source of Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also high in protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron, thiamine and folate and are naturally gluten free.
    • Rice – helps regulate and improve bowel movements, stabilize blood sugar levels, aid in digestion boost the immune system. Rice has resistant starch, which reaches the bowels and stimulates the growth of useful bacteria that help with normal bowel movements.
    • Whole Oats –  offer an incredibly nutritious food packed with important vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fiber and antioxidants which support the thyroid gland and metabolic system. Whole oats are also naturally gluten free.
    • Whole Grain Barley – high in fiber (intestinal cleanser), vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants all of which help heart health and diabetes protection. It is a cooling grain that contributes to calming inflammatory responses.

Whole Foods help with allergies because of the way the body assimilates and digests nutrients. As a natural ingredient, whole foods allow for improved digestion and support for the body on a more rapid basis. Kibble may take 24 hours for the pet to digest and creates stagnation (which aggravates the body’s allergy response). Whole Foods take 12 hours to digest because of the natural enzymes; since they metabolize faster, the nutrients are assimilated easier. Whole food diets also help the body release toxins that can build up over time, so you might notice the allergic symptoms decrease as your pet’s system is detoxified.

Transitioning – What is the best way to transition to Side By Side recipes?

There is not one universal approach for transitioning to a healthier food and we are sensitive to the subtle differences in each pet. How quickly you transition your pet depends on age, overall health, and/or length of time on highly processed food.

The Swift Switch method is best suited for young, healthy pets with a strong gastrointestinal system. Once your Side by Side recipe arrives, you begin feeding it!  However, before starting your pet on Side by Side, it is recommended to fast at least one or two meals prior to transitioning. Fasting will give your pet’s digestive system a chance to rest and allows for a small amount of detoxification to begin. For pets, fasting consists of no solid foods for 12 hours if fasting for one meal and 24 hours if fasting for two meals, but it is imperative to provide access to water and you may give your pet an appropriate vegetable, beef, or poultry broth (with no onions or garlic) during this time.

The Slow Switch method is recommended for older pets and/or pets with sensitive stomachs or digestive difficulties. With this method, you will be slowly transitioning your pet to whole food nutrition. The longer your pet has been on kibble, the slower you will want to transition. The more sensitive your pets stomach is, the slower you will want to transition. Doing this will help your pet adapt to their new food and will gradually allow the toxins to leave their system.


Every dog is completely different. If you have questions, please reach out and we can determine what duration of transitioning time will be the most beneficial for your pet. It is important to pay attention to your pet’s stool, as it will determine how well your dog is transitioning. If your pet has no signs of loose stools, constipation, or occasional vomiting, transitioning should take 5-7 days.


One example of Slow Switch for a dog with a sensitive stomach:

Day 1: ⅛ Side By Side Recipe + ⅞ old food

Day 2: ⅛ Side By Side Recipe + ⅞ old food

If no change or slight change in your dog’s stool then:

Day 3: ¼  Side By Side Recipe +¾ old food

Day 4: ¼ Side By Side Recipe + ¾ old food

If no change or slight change in your dog’s stool then:

Day 5: ½ Side By Side Recipe + ½ old food

Day 6: ½ Side By Side Recipe + ½ old food

If no change or slight change in your dog’s stool then:

Day 7: ¾ Side By Side Recipe + ¼ old food

Day 8: ¾ Side By Side Recipe + ¼ old food

If no change or slight change in your dog’s stool then:

Day 9: 100% Side By Side!


Whichever method you use to switch your pet to a healthier, whole food diet, it is important to remember your pet may experience a detoxification process (also known as a Healing Crisis). This process usually occurs within the first month of transitioning to a whole food lifestyle and may last 1-2 weeks while your pet’s body removes toxins and replaces old cells with new cells. It may take much longer if your pet has had frequent use of antibiotics or steroids. Although it may appear scary and unhealthy, the body is actually rebalancing itself and preparing to be a much healthier system.

Symptoms of detoxification:

  • Diarrhea
  • Mucus coating the stool
  • Dry skin (sometimes chronic conditions may become worse)
  • Runny eyes
  • Excess shedding

These symptoms may be worrisome, but it is part of your pet’s detoxification process. Once their body has adjusted, you will notice vast improvements in their overall health and well-being.

Other Questions? please email grace@sidebysidepet.com.