A New Chew Focus
From functional chews to body parts, these products no longer are simply
designed to please the pet—they must deliver meaningful nutrition, too.
BY LIZETT BOND
For many pet owners, the days of tossing a box of dog biscuits into the grocery cart are a distant memory as goodies for canine family members
have transcended the ingredient-heavy crunchy,
bone-shaped treat. The popularity of body parts,
chews with functional ingredients and those that act
as dental preventives is on the rise.
“While the terms ‘treat’ and ‘chew’ are often used
interchangeably, they are different and speak to the
high demand created for dog chews in the last few
decades,” said Rashell Cooper, marketing director for
Redbarn Pet Products in Long Beach, Calif.
This call includes chews that address dental health.
A good dental and oral regimen is essential for the
health and quality of life of dogs, whose lives can be
shortened due to dental disease and its direct tie to heart health,
said Eric Abbey, president and founder of Loving Pets in Cranbury, N.J.
Jeff Camosci, vice president of marketing and sales in North
America, for Veendam, Netherlands-based Paragon Pet Prod-
ucts, a WellPet brand, said “ 80 percent of all dogs will have some
type of periodontal disease by the time they are 3 years old.”
Dogs seek natural methods to clean their own teeth, such as
chewing on bones, for example. However, these methods can
be problematic due to small-bone choking hazards, splintering
and pathogens, said Scott Reinhardt, vice president of sales and
marketing for SwedencareUSA in Poulsbo, Wash.
Molded dental chews represent a modern, safe, cleaner and
more-wholesome means of maintaining good oral health in a
dog, Reinhardt added.
Brushing is the best method to keep pets’ teeth clean, but it
can be a daunting task that many pet owners avoid, Abbey noted.
While many dental treats effectively reduce plaque and tartar,
until recently, limited options have been available to also freshen
breath, said Pete Brace, vice president of communications and pet
parent relations for Merrick Pet Care in Amarillo, Texas.
However, Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif., said that, as she owns a natural and holistic store, functional
treats are not in her product mix. She said that many might be
grain or sugar based to enable the form, or can contain synthetic
“We are full of body parts, however, and consider it a much
more natural route, as it utilizes all parts of a slaughtered ani-
mal,” Grow said. “We carry a wide variety to fit all types and
sizes of chewers.”
Many of these parts offer a variety of natural sources of sup-
plementation, such as glucosamine, Grow said.
At The Quirky Pet, body parts often are a focus of conversation, said Cindra Conison, owner of the Montpelier, Vt., store.
“People are already hooked on what we call our ‘dead animal
parts’ and often ask for advice to expand their dogs into other
parts, all sourced in the USA,” she said. “Some of the more obscure items we highlight include bison testicle, freeze-dried turkey testicle, lamb lung, bison tendons and maple-smoked bones.”
At Mutts & Co., which has stores in the Columbus, Ohio, area,
the selection of chews includes natural body parts, antlers, bones
and dental chews. Tug toys with an edible chew attached are
another popular offering, said co-owner Mark Vitt.
Vitt also noted an increase in consumer demand for these
“Consumers are looking for something that is safe, edible, digestible and durable enough to keep their pets occupied for an
extended period of time,” Vitt said.
INTRODUCTIONS IN CHEWS
Redbarn Pet Products recently introduced Bully Weaves and Super Braids. These woven
shapes create a compelling chew-time puzzle for dogs while supporting dental health, said
Rashell Cooper, marketing director for the Long Beach, Calif.-based company. The single-ingredient beef chews are naturally rich in protein, highly digestible, appropriate for all breeds
and life stages, and free from common allergens such as soy, grain and wheat, she added.
“Canine customers who love to chew will savor this durable, long-lasting, single-ingredient option,” Cooper said.
Supporting the expanding growth in the canine dental health category, Loving Pets now
offers the USA-made Ora-Bone, a tool designed to help prevent oral disease, said Eric Abbey,
president and founder of the Cranbury, N. J.-based company.
The patent-pending design of the Ora-Bone promotes better movement in the mouth,
plus improved interaction with the gums, teeth and tongue, Abbey said. Varied surface
textures remove tartar and prevent buildup for improved oral and dental health, and three
breath-freshening ingredients freshen both the mouth and gut, he added.
Brushzees, a recent addition to the Whimzees family, offers a new cleaning shape for
small, medium-sized and large dogs, said Jeff Camosci, vice president of marketing and sales
for Veendam, Netherlands-based Paragon Pet Products, a WellPet brand. The unique texture
and knobby shapes of the chew help to ensure proper blood flow through the gums and
prevent the buildup of tartar and bad breath, he said.
Merrick Pet Care’s new all-natural, grain-free dental dog chews, Fresh Kisses, are
designed to clean teeth and freshen breath. A double-brush design removes plaque and tartar
during chewing action, and the treats are made with natural ingredients specifically formulated to freshen breath, said Pete Brace, vice president of communications and pet parent
relations at the Amarillo, Texas-based company.
Fresh Kisses are available in two recipes. The Mint-Flavored Breath Strips formula is
infused with natural mint breath strip pieces. The Coconut and Botanical Oils formula offers
coconut oil, plus a combination of three botanical oils—peppermint, lemongrass and rosemary—included to clean teeth and naturally freshen breath.
Zuke’s has reformulated its Z-Bone Dental Chews lineup to improve digestibility and lower
the chews’ calorie count, said David Rizzo, director of operations for Zuke’s in Durango, Colo.
“We love getting close with our dogs and sharing adventures, so improving our treat
lineup to offer a natural way to fight bad doggy breath is important to us,” Rizzo said.
Available in apple and carrot varieties, the grain-free dental chew is crafted in the USA
using ingredients that naturally support clean teeth and freshen breath. The chew’s texture
polishes teeth and maintains healthy gums, while pea- and potato-based proteins are easy to
digest. Alfalfa, parsley and fennel provide additional antioxidant support to naturally freshen
breath while supporting digestion, Rizzo said.
SwedencareUSA’s new PlaqueOff System Dental Care Bones offer a natural oral care solution and include Vegetable Fusion, a meat-free, vegan offering. Turkey and Cranberry, Chicken
and Pumpkin, and Bacon flavors round out the selections, said Scott Reinhardt, vice president
of sales and marketing for the Poulsbo, Wash.-based company.
The unique shape of the injection-molded chews helps clean plaque and tartar through
abrasive action, said Reinhardt, adding that the USA-made chew bones are free of grain,
gluten and soy.