Solid Sourcing Required
In addition to ingredient lists, consumers are scrutinizing how and where
dog treats and chews are sourced.
“Combining quality proteins, [such as] beef with bacon, or proteins and vegetables
and fruit, [such as] turkey and cranberry, seems to be resonating with pet parents,
and brands are catching on.”
—Joe McIver of Whitebridge Pet Brands
BY SANDY CHEBAT
When it comes to dog treats and chews, owners these days value Ameri- can-made, ethically sourced and sustainable products made by manufacturers that are
transparent about their production processes,
according to industry insiders.
“A smarter, more informed consumer demands that they know what they—or their pet—
are consuming, where it comes from and how
it is made,” said Joe McIver, brand manager for
Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis.
Art Nakagawa, president of Artvark Pet Products in Van Nuys, Calif., agreed. He said ethically
sourced and sustainable ingredients are paramount for consumers.
In addition to the rising popularity of made in
the USA products, pet specialty retailers reported
increased sales of local offerings that are made in
their own backyards.
“Made in USA products have been sought af-
ter by customers for years, and dog treats are no
exception,” said Jeff Reibert, buyer for Country-
Max Stores, which has multiple locations in New
York state. “The trend for local products—in our
case made in N. Y.—has increased as well.”
Keefer Dickerson, marketing and outreach
manager for Nashville Pet Products, which has
stores in Tennessee, said, “Customers are very
interested in unique proteins, sustainability and
where ingredients are sourced.”
Retailers also reported that consumers favor treats containing
wholesome ingredients, great flavor and appropriate sizes.
“The age and size of their pets are important factors in determin-
ing the products they purchase,” Reibert said. “The flavors and tex-
tures are more subjective to the pet’s preferences.”
In addition, cannabidiol (CBD)- infused treat sales are up, accord-
ing to retailers.
As for the chew category, retailers said that customers are most
interested in rawhide alternatives, size and durability.
“Alternatives to rawhide and body part chews has been a hot
trend that continues to expand,” said Glenn A. Novotny, president
and CEO of Emerald Pet Products in Walnut Creek, Calif. “The strong
demand is coming from the soft treat category, which can be attribut-
ed to the popularity of smaller dogs as well as the ability for older
dogs to easily chew.”
Sue Hepner, co-owner of Cool Dog Gear, which has stores in
Pennsylvania, said her customers request long-lasting chews.
“They want more than chomp, chomp, swallow,” she said.
MANUFACTURERS EXTEND AND RELAUNCH BRANDS
Dog treat and chew manufacturers released a variety of products to the
market during the second half of 2018.
In July, St. Louis-based Whitebridge Pet Brands relaunched its Dogswell
treat brand with a meaty treat portfolio in new packaging. Three functional
formulas, including Hip & Joint, Immunity & Defense and Skin & Coat,
The company also introduced Wag More Bark Less Meatballs and
Wag More Bark Less Jerky in July. The soft meatball treats are made
with home-style recipes, real vegetables and high-quality meat as the
primary ingredient. They come in 14-ounce bags in Beef, Chicken and
Lamb Recipes. The jerky contains real, high-quality meat and is available
in 10-ounce bags in Chicken & Sweet Potato, Turkey & Cranberry or Duck &
In response to consumer request for larger pack sizes, Emerald Pet
Products in Walnut Creek, Calif., debuted its Twizzies multi packs in size 6
and size 9 in September.
Artvark Pet Products’ GoGo USA Wild Stressless Beef Jerky is an all-natural stress-free, predator-free beef treat. It is sourced and produced in
the USA, and the lean protein contains less than 5 percent intra-muscular
fat, according to officials for the Van Nuys, Calif.-based company.