Interview: Anjali Kalachand, Nutritionist & Co-Founder of A Petter Life

Anjali Kalachand

An interview with Anjali Kalachand, Nutritionist & Co-Founder of A Petter Life, an e-commerce platform that provides best quality products for pets

Welcome to today’s interview with Ms. Anjali Kalachand, a distinguished Nutritionist and the Co-Founder of A Petter Life. With a profound passion for both nutrition and pets, Ms. Kalachand has embarked on a mission to revolutionize the way we care for our furry companions.

As the driving force behind A Petter Life, she combines her expertise in nutrition with her love for animals to create an e-commerce platform that offers premium quality products for pets, ensuring maximum nutritional value and overall well-being. Join us as we delve into Ms. Kalachand’s journey, insights, and the innovative approach behind A Petter Life.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in pet nutrition?

Anjali Kalachand: My educational background is in economics and finance, post which I pursued a career in banking and finance for about a decade. My inspiration to start a company focused on pet nutrition, came from my indie Leo.

I adopted him when he was only 1.5 months old in March 2016, and we struggled with the most common issues like digestive and skin issues. After many vet visits, trying a whole host of medicines and even shifting him from one processed diet to another – my dog was not thriving, he was merely surviving.

Being brought up in a household where my mom was totally against packet and tinned food, pouring this dry food out of a packet was not sitting well with me. This then led me to dive deep into the world of pet nutrition to figure out how I could help my furry child.

The results I saw were outstanding, not only was leo eating happily, but along with an improvement in his temperament (yes due to fresh food!), I also saw an amelioration in digestion and skin and coat health. I then decided to formalise my education in pet nutrition, because I wanted to equip myself with the skills to be able to help other pet parents improve their pets’ quality of life via nutrition.

What inspired you to co-found A Petter Life, and what sets your e-commerce platform apart from others in the market?

Anjali Kalachand: In July 2020, my friend Sachin Shetty having just adopted an indie puppy during the lockdown, was overwhelmed with the plethora of products that had bombarded the pet industry and found it impossible to make guided purchases of products that were essential to the well-being of his puppy.

He also had a lot of questions re nutrition, as his puppy also was suffering from skin issues. We had many conversations about what the best collar or harness for Flash, which toys were safe for him, which food to feed him and how much – questions that surely every new pet parent had. That’s when the idea of A Petter Life was born.

A Petter Life is a website that provides guided purchases and where products are picked for listing, not based on how economical they are, but rather how useful they are and what their purpose is, bearing quality in mind.

A Petter Life started in 2021 purely as an e-commerce platform where it stood out from the rest on the basis of the following:

  • The treats listed were 100% preservative-free and species appropriate;
  • Every product available was first vetted by the co-founders;
  • Local brands finally found visibility and a platform that promoted them;
  • A section was dedicated for Nutrition Consults with me;
  • A unique calorie calculator that allowed one to feed in particulars of their pet to understand the approximate the calorie intake that their pet required;
  • A breed section which helps one better understand their pet’s predisposition on the basis of their pet’s breed;
  • An ailment section that deals with common health issues and recommends natural and holistic products and remedies.

However, it’s not all serious stuff. A Petter Life is also all about spoiling our pets too! A Petter Life has two main events that they celebrate yearly, one is Valentine’s Day and the other is Christmas.

Every Valentine’s Day, people participate in India’s only Gift Exchange Program for pets. Held entirely online, one must sign up their pets after which their pets are matched with a “valentine”. They then choose gifts for their Valentine. It is thus ensured that every pet that participates sends and receives a gift on Valentine’s Day.

For Christmas, A Petter Life’s Advent Calendar, is a hot seller! Personalised and colourful, this one of a kind Calendar counts down to to Christmas, with a special surprise each day.  Both these propositions have been a rage for the a number of pet parents pan India.

How do you ensure that the products offered on A Petter Life provide maximum nutritional value for pets?

Anjali Kalachand: Being a certified companion animal nutritionist and having been in the pet food industry now for a little over 4 years, I have a fair understanding of what is good and what is harmful for our cats and dogs.

For eg we keep only natural treats on our website, they all have species appropriate ingredients and are preservative free, and the food we sell is our own freshly made variants.

I became a firm believer in the magic of fresh food after I moved my own dog, Leo, to a fresh diet. Hence the food options we have are solely that – fresh species appropriate meat based diets for cats and dogs.

However, sometimes, we don’t realise but some of the things we do day in day out, like give our dogs and cats treats, can also be harmful in the long run if not picking the right product. One of my very first clients, when I first started my nutrition consults, was a cocker spaniel who was suffering from kidney disease.

After discussing with the pet parent, we came to the conclusion that the pet was suffering from chronic kidney disease due to the fact that the pet parents would travel a fair bit, and buy their dog all kinds of treats from abroad – some of which possibly were laced with palatants, preservatives, colouring, flavouring – just to a name a few things that our four legged friends should not be having at all.

While the packaging looks all so attractive, we don’t realise the importance of turning it over and checking the ingredients.

We also make our own preservative free, species appropriate treats for dogs and cats. And, all brands whose treats are listed on our website are preservative free, species appropriate treats whom I know personally and hence have full confidence in the quality of their products.

We take spoiling our pets safely –  very seriously! We have also started a bakery section for freshly baked treats for our pups and kitties – even there we ensure that no synthetic harmful ingredients like food colour goes into this and that there is no gluten involved.

Could you walk us through your process of selecting products to feature on your platform? What criteria do you use to evaluate the quality and nutritional value of these products?

Anjali Kalachand: Each and every product on our site has been tried and tested by us. Our top most focus is quality –  we don’t want poor quality collars, leashes or harnesses that will fray, and endanger a dog’s life.

We don’t want balls that can be toxic if held for too long in the mouth, or treats that can cause health issues if fed often. Let alone, food that we would not feed out own pets!

Wellbeing and safety,  is at the fore front of all our listing decisions.

In what ways do you educate pet owners about the importance of nutrition in their pets’ diets?

Anjali Kalachand: I encourage pet parents to read labels for anything that they would feed their pets.

Did you know that:

items like wheat, corn, soy, rice are all fillers and have no real nutritional value for your pet?

That the first few items listed on the back of a kibble packet is what the kibble is made out the most of?

That when they list something as chicken/poultry “meal” or chicken/poultry by-products, these are the leftovers from the human industry that then gets made into animal feed?

Steer clear from such brands if you are choosing to feed a processed diet, as even the processed food comes in different qualities.

I also educate pet parents about the benefits of fresh feeding (you have control over the ingredients), about how even if you are feeding processed food, adding some fresh vegetables or meats can go a long way to enhance the nutritional value of your pet’s bowl – Let’s face it – you are what you eat! and eating right can help prevent the onset of certain issues and cure other issues altogether.

I have had the chance to educate pet parents about nutrition,  via

  • Consults
  • podcast interviews
  • events
  • Instagram
  • articles and more.

What challenges have you faced in promoting healthier choices for pets, and how have you overcome them?

Anjali Kalachand: One of the challenges has been with vets. Many traditional vets still believe in processed food being the superior choice, as it is claimed to be nutritionally balanced and complete. 

However, like everything, there are some vets who also believe in the power of fresh feeding, and those who have seen the benefits that their patients have derived from a change to the “right” diet. There is no one size fits all approach, our pets like us are individuals, hence why it is important to work with a qualified nutritionist to ensure everything is on point.

The other challenge is with the pet parents, as implementation is up to them. When implementation is not on point, it becomes hard as a nutritionist to gauge what is and what isn’t working for them for the pet.

What advice would you give to pet owners who are looking to improve their pets’ nutrition and overall well-being?

Anjali Kalachand: For those looking to improve their pet’s nutrition, feed fresh or add fresh species appropriate ingredients to your pet’s diet. Also look into the treats as these could also be potentially harmful if they have toxic ingredients in them.

For overall wellbeing, it is important to ensure that your pet is getting adequate exercise, that you are providing them with enough playtime and mental stimulation, even look into agility training.

Also something we miss out on often, look into what floor cleaner you are using at home. Our pets lay on the floor a lot and then land up grooming themselves and licking their paws – if you are using a commercial floor cleaner, they could land up ingesting toxins on a daily basis – so swap to a natural floor cleaner today!

In conclusion, our conversation with Ms. Anjali Kalachand has shed light on the remarkable vision and dedication driving A Petter Life. Through her expertise as a Nutritionist and her deep-rooted passion for pets, Ms. Kalachand has not only established a successful e-commerce platform but has also redefined the standards for pet care.

With a commitment to providing top-quality products that prioritize the nutritional needs and overall health of pets, A Petter Life continues to thrive under Ms. Kalachand’s leadership. We eagerly anticipate the future endeavors of Ms. Kalachand and A Petter Life as they continue to enrich the lives of pets and their owners alike.

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