BY KEITH LORIA
Pet specialty retailers and product
manufacturers strive to meet the
growing demand for made in the
Local ingredient sourcing and the assurance of safety are two of the key attributes associated with made in the USA pet products, and both play an important role in
why the category has exploded in recent years.
“Made in the USA is a major trend in itself in the pet
trade, but that’s not enough,” said Jerry Moffett, vice pres-
ident of sales and marketing for RuffDawg in Worcester,
Mass. “A product cannot just be assembled in the states;
consumers want products where the raw material and in-
gredients are also from the USA to ensure safety.”
Muttropolis’ two California-based locations in Sola-
na Beach and La Jolla carry a wide range of items that are
made in the U.S., including toys, bedding, bowls and appar-
el items, and customers are very concerned about where the
items are made and that they are safe.
“The made in USA distinction is most important for foods
and treats,” said Estela Lam, chief merchant for the stores.
“We also get a lot of requests for USA-made dining items
and toys. Basically, any [U.S.-made product] that comes in
contact with a dog’s food or mouth in any way is popular.”
Samantha Henson, merchandising manager for Premier
Pet Supply in Beverly Hills, Mich., noted that since the scares with Chi-
nese-made products came to light, customers have acquired a newfound
preference for things made in the states.
“American-made products will always be preferred by many, many
customers,” she said. “U.S.-made food and treats have the highest fan
base, but lately customers have been asking and searching for toys and
bowls made in the U.S. as well.”
Nancy Chen, digital marketing manager for Lucky Premium Treats,
an online commerce store, said the company sources, manufactures and
sells only U.S.-made treats.
“We know it’s very trendy, but also very much needed in the market,”
she said. “Our customers care about what’s being used on their pets, just
as a parent would care what they are giving to their babies.”
Julie Creed, vice president of sales and marketing for Pura Naturals
Pet in Seattle, said organic is a hot topic in the category as customers are
looking for more healthful options for their pets.
“Our dedication to quality in both ingredients and manufacturing
gives us the ability to ensure that our customers are using a product with
no skin irritants or chemicals,” she said. “From our eco-friendly bowls
made out of rice hulls to the eco plant-based foam in our Pura Tips, we
have spent significant time researching the science and technology in the
manufacturing of our products.”
The demand for domestically made products is not limited, however,
to food, toys and bowls for dogs and cats. The trend is growing in other
pet product categories, as well, including those in the exotics and aquatic
“The consumer is looking diligently for American-made products;
they do their research,” said Lance Reyniers, president of Python Prod-
ucts in Milwaukee, which only offers made in the USA aquatic products.
“People are seriously looking for safe products.”
All of Python’s products are marked as “made in America,” and Rey-
niers encourages pet specialty retailers to either put up a flag or draw
attention to the commitment in some way.
“We advertise and push our ‘made in America’ message every day,
and I’m sure that has a lot to do with why we’re No. 1 in our category,”
Reyniers said. “We get consumers who thank us every day for making
our stuff in America.”
RuffDawg uses mostly thermoplastic rubber
or polypropylene/polyurethane in its products, all sourced in the USA.
“Our products are all made of FDA-ap-
proved materials, free of harmful phthalates,
latex and BPAs,” said Jerry Moffett, vice
president of sales and marketing for the
Worcester, Mass.-based company. “Even our
packaging is entirely designed and printed
here in the USA.”
The company recently introduced a ball
that comes in two sizes and bright neon
colors that is not only made in the states, but
is virtually indestructible and comes with a
Pura Naturals Pet in Seattle launches new
products every year at key industry shows,
said Julie Creed, vice president of sales and
marketing, adding that the company has
some great items in the works for 2018.
Auburn Leathercrafters in Auburn, N. Y.,
continuously looks for materials that are manufactured in the U.S. to create its lines, and its
newest lines are a reflection of that effort.
“Our cotton and leather rope collars and
leashes are made with U.S. rope, leather and
even thread,” said Anita Dungey, president
of the company. “Our American Traditions
Collars and Leashes, a collaboration with Up
Country, also a U.S. company, reflects our
support for working with U.S. companies
from start to finish.”
Many stores understand the value in highlighting the U.S.-made and locally
made products that they stock.
“I have an endcap completely devoted to Michigan-made treats that
heads up our treat aisle,” said Samantha Henson, merchandising manager
for Premier Pet Supply in Beverly Hills, Mich. “Customers love supporting the
local communities and businesses if it’s made easy and presentable to them.
Our American-made toys also get the two endcaps that head up toys. This
makes it eye catching and easy to shop.”
Estela Lam, chief merchant for California-based Muttropolis, a two-store
operation with locations in Solana Beach and La Jolla, said both stores high-
light U.S.-made products to make it easier for customers to find them.
RuffDawg in Worcester, Mass., offers spinner display racks with an American flag on top that only takes up two square feet of selling space, helping
pet specialty retailers to maximize display space.