March 21, 2022

Harnessing the Power of Science to Reinvent Pet Nutrition

Today, we know how important nutrition is to our families’ health, including our pets.


Sorry, cat people … dogs are our closest friends in all of the Animal Kingdom.

Dogs were the first animals domesticated by humans about ten millennia before any other animal. Since the first wolf sat next to the ancient humans about 20,000 years ago, we shared our food with them. In fact, research indicates that our shared meals changed the biology of dogs away from their selective carnivore ancestral wolves — who can biologically eat almost anything but will always prefer meat — towards all-eating omnivores like us, for example in the ability to digest starch.

As revolutions in food production in the 20th century impacted human health, the proliferation of processed foods similarly hurt our best friends’ well-being. More than half of the dogs in the U.S. are estimated to be overweight or obese, and it damages their health just as it hurts ours.

Today, we know how important nutrition is to our families’ health, including our pets. But we also know that even the best ingredients, which may have a “super-food” impact on some, might be meaningless — or even harmful — to others. Not only that, but no dog should eat the same food every day for the entirety of their lives. So how can any of us know what is the right ingredients for their dog and make sure that as they mature and age, they still get the food that meets all their needs?

Dr. Shirley Furmanski meeting the dogs during the Stay pilot program in Tel Aviv

We at Stay didn’t start in the kitchen, playing trial-and-error with ingredients. We started in the lab, with a laser-focused vision of harnessing the vast knowledge and experience accumulated in recent years to find the right nutrition for the specific needs of each dog. Today, at the beginning of the 3rd decade of the 21st century, it’s time we start making science-based decisions about meals for ALL our family members to give each of us the opportunity to live our lives to the fullest.

Dogs that join our community will embark on a journey of ever-improving personalization of their meals — powered by science. This personalization journey happens through our unique use of biofeedback — the external cues that indicate what’s happening inside the body. In other words, like all pet parents, we at Stay spend our days talking endlessly about our own dogs — and listening to other pet parents’ stories. This time, we also know that our machine learning algorithms can turn this dialog between pet parents into meaningful insights about necessary changes in dog nutrition.

Those algorithms will combine the information about the dog and their changing day-to-day lives with the data collected from our seasonal microbiome checks. The microbiome, trillions of indigenous bacteria living in the dog’s gut, is considered one of the main factors shaping our and our pets’ well-being — and even behavior. The microbiome plays a crucial role in supplying essential energy sources the body cannot produce itself. The beneficial bacteria also prevent harmful bacteria from taking over, and the microbiome’s interactions with the immune system impact the overall health of our dogs.

Our food contains high-quality, natural ingredients and is full of rich fiber to support a healthy gut microbiome. The food is gently cooked in our Brooklyn kitchen to lock in the nutrients into every bite. The food our members will receive from us after joining our community is just the first step of improving your dog’s well-being and longevity. The meal plans in the first shipment will be calibrated by our algorithm to fit each dog’s physical condition and life goals. Thanks to Stay’s unique biofeedback loop, this first diet offering will just be the starting point for better and better meals, tailored specifically to your dog and their specific microbiome profile.

Recent studies even indicate that gut bacteria direct the development of the immune system, and control complex behaviors in animal models. But the microbiome is also a highly complex phenomena, and this complexity is why the microbiome and its impact on the well-being still remain poorly understood.

In order to solve this complex puzzle, over the past two and a half years, Stay has assembled a unique team of world-renowned experts from highly diverse fields, from veterinary and pet nutrition professionals, to microbiome research, data science, software engineering and even space exploration. Here, we all have one purpose: to improve the well-being and increase the longevity of dogs, through an ever-growing understanding of the way their nutrition and daily routine impact the specific bacteria living in their gut. Not just that, but through a new kind of dialog between our experts and each of our community members we can continuously work to better understand the needs of every dog.

Being part of the future might sound intimidating. But that is between us and you — the humans — and the community we are just starting to build together. All that your dog will know is that they are getting the best meals science has to offer them — day after day — and that if their life or conditions change, their nutrition will change accordingly. Trust us, your dog will thank you.

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