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Variety Is the Spice of a Dog’s Life

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When it comes to dog treats, there is no lack of options for filling store shelves.

New from Castor & Pollux is a range of Organix Jerky Chip Cookies, oven-baked with organic whole grains such as oatmeal, barley, brown rice and oat flour, with jerky chips of proteins like chicken, salmon, beef and lamb. The cookies also contain organic fruits and vegetables and contain no corn, soy or wheat. They are being touted as the doggie version of the all-American chocolate chip cookie.

“We strive to create nutritious treats that dogs will enjoy eating, but at the same time we also know that quality and food safety are important for pet parents when it comes to choosing treats for their dog,” said Todd Martin, vice president of sales and marketing for Castor & Pollux, which is owned by Merrick Pet Care. “For dogs, the cookies are as good as homemade for a healthy, wholesome, meaty treat experience. But for dog owners, these treats are made in the USA and don’t include ingredients from China, which we believe is especially important given recent confusion about the safety of jerky treats.”

Patti Farrow, manager of Mouthfuls in Denver, Colo. offers her customers a variety of treats in a creative way.

“With the huge selection of treats and chews available, many dog owners like to buy different things for their dogs to try in the same way people shop for kids in a candy store,” said Farrow. “We let dog owners sample anything at our Bone Bar, where we sell bulk treats. And, if they are interested in a particular packaged product, we are happy to open it for their dog to try, too.”

Zuke’s new Genuine Jerky treats are both sourced and manufactured in New Zealand. The all-beef treats are available in original beef, teriyaki and barbeque flavors.
“And it’s a simple, limited-ingredients recipe,” said Chris Meiering, the company’s director of marketing. “It’s grass-fed beef, savory seasonings and natural preservatives. A treat that dog owners can share with their dogs.”

The Package Effect

There is no question that dog owners are reading labels more than ever before. Consequently, to attract attention, eye-popping packaging is really important.

“We’ve gone for a bright modern design and colors that pop out on the shelf,” said Louis Angerame, director of Old Mill Pet Products, manufacturers of the Nature’s Bits treat line of six soft treats and six crunchy treats in various flavors.

The chicken with apples and carrots and the beef with blueberries and tomatoes seem to be the line’s most popular choices.

According to Aziz Giga, chief executive officer of Three Dog Bakery, “the perfect dog treat is one that makes a dog come running at the very sound of the box opening.”

On a more serious note, she pointed out that when it comes to canine confectionary, the visual appeal plays an important part if the consumer is going to purchase one item over another.

“If the treat looks like a delicious cookie, a bone, or even a hamburger that is a plus,” said Giga. “But what really matters is the quality ingredients that go into the treats and the flavor that appeal to dogs. Our Classic Crèmes, a carob sandwich cookie with a vanilla center and the Lick’n Crunch, which have peanut butter and vanilla fillings, are our top sellers because dogs find these flavors irresistible.”

Innova’s new Nature’s Table line of foods has treats to complement it, too. There is the grain-free farm-grown chicken recipe, which combines chicken with farm-grown fruits and vegetables like carrots and handpicked apples. There’s also a beef and pea recipe that also supports the company’s promise of using locally grown ingredients.

Chew Them Up

Dingo Market Cuts Chicken Jerky are really large slices of 100-percent chicken jerky that big dogs tend to love. The company has also gone for the homegrown farm feel on their packaging.

Jones Natural Chews also markets that farm fresh appeal for their knuckles, kneecaps and ligaments dog chew products.

“When it comes to flavors of chews for dogs, it’s rather like flavors of ice cream for people,” said Suzy Madenis the company’s marketing director. “We all have our favorites. The funny part is if people would let their dog pick out what they wanted, their decision might surprise you. My dog will go straight for a beef ligament every time.”

The Delca Corporation, known for its Louisiana alligator treats, crawfish jerky and other southern flavors such as shrimp and crab has added two new vegetarian products for its think!dog line of dog treats. They are sweet potato and peanut butter. Both are soft chews.

“It just made good sense to add two delicious vegetarian options, offering a greater selection of treats based on preference and possible dietary needs,” said Blaine Sherwin, Delca’s sales director. “We’ve been testing these treats for quite a while, and our professional canine testers have had nothing but positive feedback for us.”

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