The pet industry has benefited from the increased spending by today’s pet-owning consumers. In fact, 35 percent of pet owners state they spent more on their pet/pet supplies — including food, wellness-related products and other pet care items — in the last 12 months than in the preceding year, according to the 2021-2022 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey.
K9 Granola provides pet parents quality treat options, made with real, natural ingredients. The company’s first creation was a grain-free dog granola consisting of vitamin-rich rolled oats and honey.
“This delicious formula came to be the base of our granola bars, a few of our cookies, and now our popular line of doggie donuts,” said K9 Granola owner, Janie Smyser. “We proudly source many of our ingredients from small businesses, rather than foreign markets and we sell our products to independent retailers, not big box stores.”
The company creates treats that are made in the U.S.A. with quality, human-grade ingredients. Its offerings include an assortment of snack options that meet the age, size and dietary needs of canines. The low-calorie treats are rich in vitamins and antioxidants, and free from wheat, corn, soy, artificial ingredients and preservatives. The shop
Part of its portfolio is the brand’s Donut Shop, featuring gourmet donuts, mini donuts and donut holes. In the coming years, Smyser says she plans to expand the shop “to include more café-style treats and to build upon our ‘share together’ coffee for people and donuts for dogs combination.”
Natural Cravings makes dehydrated chews and bully sticks that are free of corn, soy and gluten as the brand aims to offer balanced recipes and simple to understand ingredients. According to the brand, holistic treats “have been our focus from the beginning because we know that it is ultimately the best for a dog’s’ health and well-being.”
“When it comes to single ingredient chews like our pedicured duck feet [no nails] we make sure they are single ingredient — we never add smoke or smoky juice. We love simple, after all that is what dogs need and owners love,” said Lucy Caprez, marketing director for the company.
Across the Natural Cravings portfolio, the products are artisanal and harvested fresh. The company’s Barking Buddha line Beef Cheek is not bleached and has no chemicals which is why Caprez said it’s “the most long lasting, and dogs love it because it preserves its natural beef flavor.”
Created in 1991, Jones Natural Chews contain no artificial ingredients and promote an active snacking experience that fights boredom and promotes dental health all while satisfying a dog’s urge to chew. To improve shelf-life, the brand oven bakes its chews with precise heat-controls that also contribute to the preservation and moisture reducing processes.
Jones Natural Chews’ newer, stuffed products have seen an increase in popularity, but the brand maintains the same standard with long lasting flavors without harmful ingredients. “The products that are stuffed with fillings are still natural — we are committed to keeping our treats free from any artificial ingredients. We maintain high standards for cleanliness, product testing and tracking,” explained Britney McKay, marketing coordinator at Jones Natural Chews.
The brand recently released chuck roast bone which is made from a beef shoulder bone, and can be enjoyed by any size dog and any chewing type. With meaty bits left on the bone it makes for a tasty holiday treat. Jones Natural Chews has also released a new filling flavor, Pumpkin Pit, which is perfect for the fall season.
Nugget’s Healthy Eats was created in 2015 by co-founder and CEO Dayna Bartoldson after treating her 10-year-old lab, Nugget, for liver cancer. Bartoldson said she “became acutely aware of how his diet could support his immune system,” so she started making bone broth for him in her kitchen. Nugget lived for another five years, and Bartoldson remains “convinced to this day that the focus I put on a gut/immune boosting diet absolutely enhanced and extended the quality of his life.”
“For optimal gut health, we recommend serving healthy bacteria [yogurt] during the day and serving bone broth at night when pets are resting because bone broths are known to be restorative,” said Bartoldson.
Made in U.S.D.A.-certified facilities from 100 percent human-grade ingredients, Nugget’s Healthy Eats’ Artisan Yogurts are free of gums and maltodextrin, an artificial sweetener. While yogurt offers good bacteria that a dog can benefit from, bone broth adds amino acids and bioavailable nutrients, an essential part of a gut-healthy diet.
“A high-quality bone broth naturally reduces inflammation and ‘seals and heals’ the gut,” Bartoldson explained. “By sealing perforations in the gut lining (called leaky gut), we can address many of the chronic and systemic health issues retailers are asked about from customers every day.”
Nugget’s Healthy Eats is launching a new line called Gut Goodies, which Bartoldson describes as “fruits and veggies gone savory.” The treats are made from human-grade naturally dried fruits (no sugar or sulfur dioxide added) such as bananas and mangos, along with vegetables, such as beets, and double-coated them in bone broth.
For NutriSource the brand has made sure it maintains a heavy focus on improving a dog’s gut health by including high quality ingredients like probiotics and prebiotics in its food. Since disease begins in the gut, the company’s Good 4 Life system line of adult dog food was designed to work from the inside out to provide lasting results.
“We mill our own grains and legumes to ensure pets get the most nutrition in each bite. We take quality to the next level with our five-day positive-release policy,” said NutriSource marketing director Adam Martodam. “[We ship] fresh product only after it passes our post-production testing to make sure each bag we ship is safe. Our products are tested six times before they are released.”
After opening a new treat manufacturing plant in 2020 the brand is focusing its growth in its treats category. Martodam said the brand is “excited to leverage the new plant to the fullest and drive some new innovation to this category while maintaining a focus on what we know best.”
Bryan Nieman, brand director at Fromm Family Foods noted consumers are seeking dog diet options that include innovative recipes and featured ingredients.
“We also continue to see pet parents seeking out higher quality when it comes to nutrition for their pets,” he noted. “At Fromm, we offer three unique product lines: Classic, Gold and Four-Star along with canned products and treats to deliver premium nutrition and variety to a wide range of pets and pet parents.”
Fromm released a new Four-Star Nutritionals Dog recipe: Four-Star Nutritionals Trout & Whitefish Recipe Dog Food. The recipe features a grain-inclusive blend of trout and whitefish together with whole grains and is the first Four-Star dog food recipe to include Miscanthus grass in its formulation. Nieman explained, “This alternate, functional fiber is an excellent source of insoluble fiber and helps to promote consistent stools and bowel regularity. Trout & Whitefish Dog Food is formulated for all life stages and can be fed alone or in rotation with any other Fromm Four-Star recipe.”
Nieman expects the demand for variety in both formulations and ingredients, but also in kibble shapes and sizes as well as textures in canned diets. Retailers should be aware that pet owners are seeking out variety in products without compromising nutrition, and it’s important to stock the shelves with quality options.
SquarePet has ensured retailers across the United States are able to purchase its products, completing its US distribution network by partnering with Phillips Pet Food & Supplies covering the Midwest and New England Markets. The brand’s 2021 launch included an expansion of its Veterinary Formulated Solutions (VFS) line, adding: VFS Active Joints a high protein diet that also boasts enhanced levels of Omega-3 DHA and EPA and is fortified with antioxidants; VFS Ideal Digestion a gentle blend of prebiotics, probiotics and dietary fiber sources to support digestive health and help maintain stool quality; and VFS Low Phosphorus Formula designed to support dogs who may benefit from a high quality, all-natural low protein, low phosphorus and low sodium diet.
SquarePet understands the importance of nutrient rich food options and “intends to encourage unique solutions-centers within pet retail environments to cater to pets with specific needs and to promote preventative health through nutrition,” according to Tyler Atkins, SquarePet’s chief sales and marketing officer.
Pet owners, Millennials and Gen Zers specifically, expect brands to make products that meet their demand for transparency. Nature’s Logic CEO, David Yaskulka, understands that these generations are “the fastest growing segment of pet parents, [and] demand sustainability.” It’s for this reason he says Nature’s Logic biscuits and bones are “the perfect ‘eco-impulse’ buys” of the typical online shopper.
For these types of buys Nature’s Logic targets those key consumers and incentives them to shop locally with promotions that are specific to independent stores.
“Our best and most innovative line, Nature’s Logic Distinction, is absolutely exclusive – as we have promoted (in writing), available at “Bricks. Only. Always,” said Yasulka. “For Nature’s Logic, Distinction also says no to the two big box chains — forever.”
It’s important for retail employees to be knowledgeable about the products their store carries, so the company offers training programs and materials. Nature’s Logic products are 100 percent natural with no synthetic vitamins, and the company is rolling out industry-leading sustainability initiatives like Certified Plastic Neutral packaging. The company also has a Clean Food, Clean Energy program in which Yasulka said the company will “purchase 1 kWh of renewable energy for every pound of pet food we sell.”
PetSafe, created in 1991, has seen a spike in pet essentials to keep pets healthy, safe and happy,” according to Rachel Worley, senior public relations specialist at PetSafe, which offers a number of toys and accessories for dogs. The Easy Walk Harness made to help pet parents stay active and enjoy walking with their dog.
“It gently discourages the dog from pulling on the leash,” Worley explained. “When the dog pulls, the harness steers him to the side and redirects his attention toward his parent.”
PetSafe also offers automatic feeders like the Smart Feed Automatic Pet Feeder and Automatic 2 Meal Pet Feeder to help pet parents to establish a daily feeding routine. Other popular products are pet fountains, including the Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain, Creekside Ceramic Pet Fountain and Seaside Stainless Pet Fountain that help keep dogs properly hydrated.
“Pets love running water and are drawn to it, and your pet needs one ounce of water per one pound of body weight daily to stay properly hydrated. The free-falling stream of water from these fountains encourages them to drink more, which can help prevent urinary and kidney diseases,” said Worley.
In addition to accessories, PetSafe offers interactive toys to stimulate a dog’s mind. Offerings include the brand’s Automatic Ball Launcher, Kibble Chase Roaming Treat Dropper and its expansive Busy Buddy line.
Health & Wellness
Tropiclean recognizes that pet parents are seeking products that include ingredients they trust and understand, so the brand creates natural health and wellness products in the dental, grooming, flea and tick and stain and odor categories.
“We define ingredients as naturally derived if they are naturally occurring raw materials or adapted from naturally occurring plant-or mineral-based raw materials,” James Brandly, trade marketing communications specialist for Cosmos Corporation, the company that created the Tropiclean brand.
The Tropiclean portfolio features a variety of products such as the Tropiclean Fresh Breath Dental Health Solution for Dogs and TropiClean Papaya and Coconut Luxury 2-in-1 Shampoo and Conditioner Brandley attribute the products’ success to the fact that owners enjoy the long-lasting sweet scent of papaya and coconut while the soap-, paraben- and dye-free formula cleanses and conditions pet’s skin and coat all in one.
Like Tropiclean, SwedencareUSA knows that today’s consumers are caring for pets as family members.
“We are seeing a wider breadth of overall health and longevity products to maximize the length of a pets’ lifespan. We are also seeing an increased interest in quality, luxury grooming products for pets which is why we have recently launched our new grooming lines,” said Scott Reinhardt, vice president of sales and marketing for SwedencareUSA.
The two grooming lines consist of moisturizing Lyxvara and the therapeutic Swederma Keto-C product group. Lyxvara includes a pina colada-scented product grouping that incorporates oatmeal and aloe into its soap-free shampoo and EZ Derm cleansing wipes. The shampoo formulation contains emollients to restore natural moisture to the skin.
The Swederma Keto-C product group features a fresh cucumber melon scent as well as unscented antiseptic wipes for the topical management of skin conditions. The scented products include ear cleaner drops that can be used daily, antibacterial and antifungal shampoo, skin spray to “nourish the skin and further control irritation and wound flush for the topical cleansing of puncture wounds, lacerations, abrasions and superficial skin infections on dogs and cats,” said Reinhardt.
With pet spending on the rise, the pet industry is in prime position to deliver high quality products to dog parents. Manufacturer and retailers would be wise to remain up to date on the latest trends and expectations of today’s consumers.