I can't attest to how good the homebaked dog biscuits are from Max & Bella, but my dogs virtually swallowed them whole in excitement, and wanted more – and more. My baby ate them as teething biscuits too, and before you balk, they are totally fine for babies – they have no sugar, and only contain oats, flour, water and peanut butter (according to my paed, nuts can be introduced before the age of one).
Aside from being a great and wholesome product for dogs (they smell amazing too – of fresh peanut butter!), I know the mom and founder of Max & Bella, Claudine Bresgi, from social media (we met a few months ago in real life, and she has an adorable one-and-a-half-year-old, Mikaylin.
Claudine started the business with her husband Richard, to not only share the treats that their dogs love so much, but to also get one step further to their aim of one day owning a dog-friendly deli.
Claudine explains that she baked dog biscuits for her ageing Jack Russel when they lived on a farm and couldn't get to town often. Owing to his age, he needed special treats and Claudine was hesitant to feed him the preservative-loaded grocery store biscuits.
Years later, Claudine and Richard were both baking biscuits for their miniature schnauzer, Max. Schnauzers as a breed, are known for having digestive issues. They are very aware of Max's diet and try to keep his food as natural as possible. When friends heard about the dog biscuits, they requested that the couple bake for them too.
As the demand grew, so did the brand. Claudine says that Max & Bella began attending markets and here they would offer instant treats for dogs. From homemade apple and peanut butter muffins to doggie donuts (with a carob topping) and wagging waffles – homemade waffles with a pumpkin and beef sauce.
In January this year, the couple decided to sell the biscuts across the country. An online store was developed and biscuits can now be couriered across South Africa. The biscuits are fresh when they arrive, and it's recommended they are kept in the fridge. All products made by Max & Bella are preservative free and made with human-grade ingredients. The biscuits last 3-4 weeks if kept in a fridge (as if they're going to last this long!).
The biscuits are available in three flavours – Nuts for You (peanut butter), Vegelicious (made with vegetable pieces) and Minty Fresh (the main ingredient being fresh mint). A gluten-free option is also available by special request only. At R60 a bag, it's an affordable price for a wonderful product, and so worth stocking up on a few bags with each order.
Currently available in Johannesburg only, Max & Bella will make a cake for your dog for any celebration.
Max & Bella is available online as well as at Anura Wine Farm in Paarl and Leafy Greens Cafe in Johannesburg. Keep an eye on their Facebook page to see which markets they will be attending. Contact Claudine to discuss a special event, corporate orders or any other special request (email@example.com). You can also follow the brand on Instagram.