BEHIND THE SCENES
Onthank was primed for a profession involving animals.
for Pets, People
With a passion for innovation and problem-solving, Dog Gone Smart enjoys rapid growth
while remaining steadfast to its core values—a
commitment to the health and well-being of pets,
pet owners and the environment we all share.
PPN: What should independent pet retailers know about DGS?
Chris Onthank, CEO and founder of Dog Gone Smart (DGS) Pet Products in Nor-
walk, Conn., was practically
born into the pet industry. With
American Kennel Club judges as
well as dachshund and blood-
hound breeders in the family,
ShammyTowel201605_3V_DGS_PPNI.pdf 1 3/23/16 9:20 PM
In 1993, he founded the DGS
canine center, a pioneer in dog
day care and a place where Onthank could focus on training to
help owners improve their pets’
behavioral issues. More than a decade later, he broke off on an adjacent venture in nanotechnology
and pet bedding. The company’s
smart problem-solving products
never stray from its focus to provide innovative and high-quality
pet products and to be a global industry leader in adapting and developing the most technologically
advanced solutions to common,
everyday pet problems.
Pet Product News: Share DGS’s evolution
as a company.
Chris Onthank: Ten years ago, as an
animal behaviorist and a canine
expert, I set out to solve many
of the common pet problems we
face today. Having worked with
dogs my whole life, I know what
products work best to keep them
healthy, happy and safe. I also
understand the struggles that
both pets and their owners face to
complete day-to-day tasks, such
as walking the dog.
struggles of owners carrying too
much and allows for a more comfortable experience when walking
your dog. The gismo grip is ergonomically designed to improve
comfort and control for both
owner and dog. The gismo can
become many things, including
a flashlight, a poop bag dispenser
and holder, training tools and a
ball thrower, and it has the ability
to walk two dogs without leash
tangling. The gismo connectables
can be used to customize the gismo for every pet owner’s needs.
CO: Dog Gone Smart and our sales
team are dedicated to supporting
our retailers. Our retail supports
include demo videos, in-store
training, point-of-purchase displays, store signage and other
PPN: How does DGS give back, and why is
doing so important to the company?
PPN: Where and how are DGS’s products
Dog Gone Smart introduced
nanotechnology to the pet industry. We first launched its Repelz-It
Nanotechnology to the industry
by introducing a “stay clean” line
of dog bedding and apparel. Dog
Gone Smart’s Repelz-It Nanotechnology keeps any fabric used
on our dog bedding and apparel
looking and smelling clean, even
after years of use.
CO: My good friend and fellow
animal advocate Jill Rappaport
is excited to partner with Dog
Gone Smart to help animals
in need. Jill is best known as a
news correspondent, but she
also has become the voice for the
voiceless for animals in need,
and she is working tirelessly to
make a difference by shining a
light on shelters across America. Jill has transformed her passion into purpose—all to raise
awareness and funds for rescue
PPN: What is DGS’s mission?
CO: We’re dedicated to bringing
pet owners the most innovative
pet products in today’s market—products that have been
tested and really work. Joined
by a team of experts from around
the world, we’re known for introducing innovative products
and technologies to develop pet
products that improve the quality of life for both pets and their
CO: Dog Gone Smart assembles
and manufactures its products
in India, China and the U.S.
under strict quality and health
standards, making sure that fabric finishes are safe for factory
workers, the environment and
end users. With more focus on
health throughout the world,
the company continues to experience rapid growth, not just
in North America and Europe,
but also in Asia, Australia and
South America. Dog Gone Smart
also is well positioned to expand
further into northern European
markets where new health and
environmental regulations are
being put in place to ban harmful
chemicals, which we do not use
in our products.
She and Dog Gone Smart
have partnered to develop the
Rubie Roadie Cuddler Bed, part
of Jill’s Rescued Me Collection,
to benefit animals in need. This
collection was born out of love
for rescued dogs and their humans. The Rubie Roadie was
developed by Dog Gone Smart
Pet Products for Jill’s rescue
dachshund Rubie, who accom-panies her on the road, promoting pet adoption.
PPN: What differentiates the company’s
PPN: Share a little about your products.
Every dog deserves a home;
please help us in our mission. In
addition, Dog Gone Smart’s catalog features rescue dogs and various rescue organizations to help
promote pet adoptions and place
animals in their forever homes.
CO: In addition to our core line,
Repelz-It dog bedding and
outerwear, Dog Gone Smart’s
award-winning products range
from the Original Dirty Dog
Doormat product line to the Ninja
Bed for the toughest of chewers to
the newest innovative dog walking device, I’m gismo.
CO: We’re dedicated to bringing
you the most innovative pet products in today’s market—products
that have been tested and really
work. By understanding your
customers, the jobs or tasks that
need to be done and the struggles or “pains” they experience
when doing these jobs, we can
find solutions that actually solve
a problem and have a higher success rate in the marketplace.
PPN: What’s in DGS’s future?
PPN: Where are DGS’s products found?
With the pet owner in mind,
Dog Gone Smart is excited to unveil a new era of dog walking.
The I’m gismo dog-walking system is designed to eliminate the
CO: Our product line can be found
in pet specialty/retail stores
across the country as well as in
more than 40 countries around
CO: We have experienced rapid
growth over the past few years
but remain steadfast to our core
values—a commitment to the
health and well-being of pets,
pet owners and the environment
we all share. We will never stop
innovating. Our job is to introduce smart solutions that help
solve common pet problems
that our pets and their owners
face on a daily basis. n