By The Farmer's Dog | July 18, 2017

Lauren Hayes knows a thing or two about health. A former Wilhelmina model and artist, Lauren was a founding team member at Ritual, a health tech company that’s reinventing the vitamin through simplicity and traceability. Their first product, a multivitamin for women, contains just nine vitamins and minerals, compared with more than 20 typically found in other supplements. 

Lauren leads Marketing and Growth at Ritual and is based out of Los Angeles with her husband and two dogs, Rocky and Apollo. We chatted with Lauren about her favorite rituals, how she thinks about nutrition for her pups, and why New Year’s Eve holds a special significance in her house.  

Tell us a little bit about your dogs, Rocky and Apollo.

Our former dog was a 14 year old lab, Rocco, and when he passed away it just felt like there was a void in our house. We had seen this litter of English Retriever puppies and fell in love with two of them. Every day for three months I kept asking my fiancé (now husband) if we could get them. We were really debating it, though, because it’s such a huge responsibility. I’m pregnant, we were planning our wedding, we both work at startups…there’s always a lot going on!

Finally, I talked to my dad about it and he told me to follow my heart and get them. I was inspired by him, so on New Year’s Eve, instead of going to this party we had tickets to, we drove to Long Beach and picked up Rocky and Apollo. We’ve never been happier! Obviously, it was the right decision and we adore them. They’re really good puppies; they understand “no,” they haven’t torn a lot up in our house, and they’re housebroken. We’ve been really lucky in that regard.

How did you choose a pet food when you first got your pups? What was your main criteria in selecting a food?

My husband and I eat healthy and are conscious of the food we put in our bodies, and we try to do the same for our dogs. I had initially thought that certain dry food brands might be a good option compared to the more mainstream ones, because it seemed like they didn’t have a lot of gross stuff in there. After doing a little bit more research, though, I learned that it was mostly marketing and that a lot of dry food is pretty much the same.

Then we discovered The Farmer’s Dog, and the dogs go so crazy for it. I’ve been uploading photos and videos to my Instagram of them eating the food because it’s the funniest thing. We have these slow feeder maze bowls for them they’re ravenous all the time, and they literally go in circles in the mazes trying to eat their Farmer’s Dog food super fast. There’s always one or two chickpeas that get caught in the maze and they end up flipping over their bowls to get to them! They just love the food.

Did you notice any changes in Rocky and Apollo when you switched them to a fresh food diet?

What people notice on our dogs is that their fur is super silky. It’s gorgeous and so thick and soft! I would say an improvement in fur is one big thing. They’re very happy and super healthy all around, and I’m sure the food has a lot to do with that.

How has switching to fresh food changed the way you think about their nutrition?

I think people should just think about it the same way they think about feeding themselves. Would you eat Lucky Charms for every meal, every day? Probably not. Our dogs are living, breathing creatures and require real nutrients. The quality of the nutrients we get from fresh foods like vegetables and meat is so much higher than it would be in processed food. I really try to apply the same principles of what I feed myself to what I feed my dogs.

In honor of your company, Ritual, tell us about your favorite rituals with Rocky and Apollo.

They’re always so excited to see me when I get home from work! Since I’m pregnant I’m usually really tired at the end of the day and get right in bed. They’re not supposed to come in the bed, but they’re irresistibly cute and I usually let them. My favorite daily ritual is just spending quality time with them and giving them lots of love.

Image: Lauren Hayes