BY LIZETT BOND
In the current pet culture, Fido’s treats have transcended the role of “tasty dog biscuit.” For pet
owners, healthful ingredients are
all important, and pets garner the
same nutritious snack-time consideration as the rest of the family.
This movement is fueling a push
for more specialized and functional canine treats.
“Consumers are savvy about
ingredient and sourcing choices,
looking for allergy-friendly products, and value rewarding their
pets with wholesome nutrition
versus empty calories,” said Chris
Meiering, director of innovation
for Zuke’s in Durango, Colo.
That call includes healthful
training treats, noted Steven
Shweky, president and CEO at
Fetch … For Pets in New York.
“Dog training requires treat
rewards, so it’s important to make
sure pet parents are giving their
dog something that’s not too high
in sugar or fat,” Shweky said.
When it comes to training
treats, AdreAnne Tesene of Two
Bostons, which has locations in
the greater Chicago area, recommends single-ingredient meat
treats. Two Bostons offers a wide
range of treats, along with a selection of supplemental treats.
Lisa Senafe, CEO and founder of Bentley’s Pet Stuff, which
has stores in Colorado, Illinois,
Minnesota and Wisconsin, said
that approximately 10 to 15 percent of the Bentley’s treat inventory encompasses training and
“People like training treats for
various reasons—either they have
a puppy or are actively training a
dog, or they prefer the smaller size
because they are watching their
pet’s weight,” Senafe said.
Treats blended with a health
supplement offer an added bene-
fit by allowing pet owners to for-
go making sure their dog swal-
lows a pill, Shweky said.
Supplemental treats are seeing
a surge in popularity, Senafe said.
However, she cautioned that the
key is discerning whether a product contains enough of the desired
supplement to be effective.
“Some get it right, and it’s nice
to have the bonus of the added
supplement in a treat, but if a pet
really needs that supplement, it is
important to confirm that the treat
contains the correct amount to
make the difference,” Senafe said.
For this reason, Bentley’s Pet
Stuff prefers supplements formulated into a treat form, such
as those from Pet Naturals of
Vermont and Ark Naturals.
Dental treats with added benefits such as glucosamine are popular, said Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets in Dallas.
“Combo treats like the [NPIC]
Get Naked stick line are dental
treats as well as a supplemental,
with joint, digestive and anti-
oxidant sticks,” Redwine said.
“However, I tell customers that
these products can help, but if
they need a really good supple-
ment, they should purchase that
Tesene recommends read-
ing the label to determine the
amount of active ingredients in
a supplemental treat.
“We carry them and recommend them for certain dogs,
but if someone is serious about
this, it would be in their interest to purchase supplements as
opposed to treats with supplements,” Tesene said.
A New Age in Dog Treats
Beyond taste appeal, pet owners today are seeking treats
that offer high-quality nutrition and functionality.
NEW TO THE MARKET
To help keep waistlines trim, and in response to consumer
feedback and demand, Zuke’s has expanded its lineup of
Mini Naturals reward and training treats to include two
new varieties designed for puppies and small-breed dogs,
said Chris Meiering, director of innovation for the Durango,
“Puppy Naturals are created with the special nutri-
tional needs of puppies in mind,” Meiering said. “These
tiny morsels are packed with protein, rich in vitamin A
and E, and loaded with DHA and EPA to help support
healthy brain development.”
At less than 1.5 calories per treat, Zuke’s Tiny Naturals
come in an itsy-bitsy size that is perfect for delivering fre-
quent rewards when training small dogs, Meiering said. Both
the tiny- and puppy-sized moist bites are made in the USA,
highly palatable, and free of harsh additives, preservatives,
grain, wheat, corn and soy, he added. Puppy Naturals are
available in Salmon & Sweet Potato, Pork with Bacon and
Lamb & Chickpea recipes, while Tiny Naturals come in Tasty
Peanut Butter, Tasty Chicken and Delightful Duck.
Moving beyond simply offering high-quality nutrition,
Zuke’s recently introduced Enhance Functional Chews,
a treat line formulated to support a dog’s daily health,
“Whether it’s chamomile and L-theanine for calming
or turmeric or MSM for healthy hips and joints, we’ve taken
some of the best herbs and ingredients nature has to offer
and combined them to create our chews,” Meiering said.
Grain free and manufactured in the USA in small
batches, the lineup is available in Chicken and Peanut Butter
recipes in the following formulas: Calming, Digestion, Endur-
ance, Fresh Breath, Mobility and Shiny Coat.
“For all of Zuke’s products, we have signed certificate of
origin statements for every ingredient used, and we never
source ingredients from China,” Meiering added.
Fetch … For Pets in New York recently launched Turbo
PUP K9 Superfood Snacks. The bite-sized, crunchy snacks
are grain free and formulated with a premium, antioxidant
formula with added omegas, vitamins and minerals, said
Steven Shweky, president and CEO.
The nutrient-rich snacks are available in four recipes:
Roast Beef & Blueberry, Roast Duck & Kale with added
glucosamine, Pumpkin & Grilled Lamb with probiotics and
Sweet Potato & Salmon with coconut oil.
U.S. MONTHLY DOG TREAT
SPENDING IN 2015
Source: David Sprinkle, Packaged
Facts, “Form and Function Trends
in Pet Treats”
$20-29 1 7
Under $5 15%
When it comes to marketing supplemental and training treats, tried-and-true practices such as sampling
and couponing are always a good
place to start, said Bette Schubert,
co-founder and senior vice president
of sales, new product development
and education for Bravo Pet Foods in
“Savvy retailers know that placing
a bowl of free samples by the register
is a great investment for building
sales,” Schubert said. “Any time you
can get your products in front of pets,
especially very picky ones, and they
respond well, you are likely going to
sell the full package.”
Utilizing social media for product
giveaways is another inexpensive
method to create excitement and en-
tice consumers to try a new product,
When retailers place similar items
in an easy-to-follow format, shoppers
effortlessly can locate the treats they
are looking for, said Steven Shweky,
president and CEO of Fetch … For Pets
in New York. And signage or displays,
he noted, can provide additional messaging and product education.
“The packaging should speak for
itself,” Shweky said.
Likewise, treats easily can be
placed on an endcap or in other
high-traffic areas, providing display
flexibility, Schubert said.
We’ve taken some of
the best ingredients
and herbs like
pumpkin that nature
has to offer and
combined them to
Daily Chews that
support your dog’s
daily health so that he
can continue to live a
healthy, active life.