We all know the expression “like a kid in a candy store.” Well, dog owners are probably experiencing that same feeling when they stand in front of the dog treat section in a pet specialty store. The selection is huge, the variety mind-boggling, and manufacturers promise more on the way.
Carnivore to Cookie Lover
Merrick Pet Care’s Backcountry Treats are an addition to the company’s popular Backcountry dog food line designed to tap into the trend to promote a dog’s carnivorous ancestral diet.
“Merrick’s grain-free Backcountry treats are available in jerky strips, sausage cuts and patties,” said Pete Brace, vice president of communications and pet parents relations. “They meet the demand for all-natural, cooked-in-the-USA meat treats and chews that pet parents are looking for at treat time. And they have a hearty, wood-smoked taste that dogs really enjoy.”
The company’s Jerky Chip Treats are oven-baked cookies for dogs that replicate popular human chocolate chip cookies.
“These grain-free gluten-free ‘cookies’ offer a meaty taste, as they feature jerky chips made from real deboned chicken, beef or salmon,” he added. “They can easily be broken into smaller pieces and used for training, too.”
According to Ward Johnson, co-founder of Sojos Dogs, dog owners are looking for treats that they know are high in protein and low in fat.
“Sojos SimplyMeat treats meet these criteria and are gently freeze-dried to lock in all the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals,” Johnson said. “They are perfect training treats for dogs of all sizes as they come in small, medium and large bone sizes and in flavors that appeal to pets and humans alike, such as blueberry cobbler and bacon cheddar.”
Paragon Pet Products, maker of WHIMZEES natural dog chews, reports great success with its refillable Variety Value boxes that provide dog owners with a combination of their favorite WHIMZEES Hedgehogs, Alligators, Toothbrushes and Stix.
“Our chews range in size from XXS to XL to cater for every breed and support our mission to offer high quality, healthy ingredients in a taste that dogs love in celebration of our commitment to pet health and fun,” said Jeff Camosci, vice president of marketing and sales for the North American region. “Currently, we are putting greater focus on smaller dog breeds and adding smaller sizes to our value boxes and bags.”
Also following the trend to focus on smaller dogs, Loving Pets, based in Cranbury, New Jersey, has introduced a line called Houndations Dog Treats. They are bite-sized, soft-chew treats for small dogs, or what company CEO Eric Abbey called “little learners,” as they are designed to be training treats as well as for general spoiling.
Houndations are grain-free, wheat-free, gluten-free, soy-free and corn-free and made in the USA. To help promote them in stores, each pack comes with a free carabiner to make it easy to take Houndations on the go for training, hiking or to the park. They are available in five flavors: beef, chicken, duck, lamb and salmon.
According to Jenna Fortin, marketing manager for Petcurean, the duck Spike Jerky is the company’s top-seller.
“What makes Spike stand out is that it’s a snack full of antioxidants, high in micronutrients and filled with superfoods like chia, pomegranate and kale,” Fortin said. “Each treat is made with high-quality protein and all-natural ingredients that are free from by-products, glycerin, added growth hormones, artificial preservatives, flavors and colors. The selection also includes venison, duck, catfish and turkey recipes.”
Last year, Lindy & Company added five new flavors to Lindy’s Bakery line of gourmet pet treats, bringing its total number of SKUs to 10, including two vegan options: Cranberry Supreme and Peanutty Puppers.
“We are responding to consumer demand for healthier treats for their dogs,” said Linda Kramer, CEO of Daybreak, the nonprofit organization that runs Lindy & Company and whose prime focus is to provide emergency shelter, housing and support for over 500 homeless teens and young adults each year. “Daybreak’s employment program helps Daybreak youth develop the skills necessary to get and keep jobs. Thus, many of them work at Lindy & Company producing the treats.”
With regard to more unusual proteins, Bette Schubert, Bravo co-founder and senior vice president of sales, reports that the company’s all-meat Bonus Bites are a big seller with one of the standout flavors being dry roasted Duck Feet.
“Also, we see dog owners becoming very calorie-conscious,” she said. “Our freeze dried Training Treats measure a quarter-inch square in size and provide a lower calorie option for when pet parents are treating frequently during a training session. The two flavors are Turkey Bits and Trail Mix Bits, a combination of turkey, beef, bison and cheddar cheese. They are also ideal for overweight dogs, as it still allows them to have a delicious treat, but without the extra calories.”
Know the Source
Zuke’s has expanded its treats selection with the introduction of PureNZ Jerky Treats.
“When it came to sourcing the primary ingredients for our new jerky treats, New Zealand was an easy choice,” said Chris Meiering, the company’s director of innovation. “This country’s unparalleled commitment to quality and the ethical treatment of animals, along with its rolling hills and pristine waters, make New Zealand home to some of the best natural ingredients in the world.”
The treats are crafted in small batches for ‘farm-to-dog’ freshness,” he added. “The limited-ingredient recipe contains 80 (to) 90 percent real meat protein plus high-quality fruits and vegetables.”
The PureNZ are available in four forms: bites, cords, cuts and steaks. There’s also a map on the back of every bag that shows where each ingredient was sourced.
According to Maggie Marchese, vice president of marketing at Petmatrix, the company is expanding its SmartBone line of treats by adding additional flavors, shapes and novelty chews that include additional chicken wrapped on the outside of the product.
“Our proven flavor winners are always chicken, beef and peanut butter, and classic hand-tied bone shapes and sticks are always our top-selling shapes,” she said, adding that though SmartBone treats resemble rawhide treats in shape, they do not contain any rawhide. “It’s very important to us to convey this message to consumers. Consequently, we have a large ‘No-Rawhide’ seal on every package to visually communicate why this formula is unique and better for dogs.”
Barkworthies recently introduced a line of cannabidiol (CBD) treats for dogs dealing with ailments ranging from mood disorders to pain that can benefit from this naturally occurring compound found in the hemp plant.
“This extract is highly therapeutic and can help relieve many common symptoms, like inflammation, lack of appetite and anxiety,” explained Bill Chilian, marketing vice president of the company. “These all-natural treats are available in two flavors, Blueberry Cannabidiol Treats and Pumpkin Cannabidiol Treats, and offer a spectrum of comforts that can be enjoyed by dogs of all ages, breeds and sizes. And by utilizing ingredients like gluten-free oat flour, organic coconut oil, vanilla, cinnamon, delicious blueberry, pumpkin and peanut butter, these treats combine the curative effect of CBD and hemp seed with healthful, tasty flavors that dogs love.”
These biscuit-styled treats tap directly into a new and growing trend of cannabidiol products for both dogs and cats that are becoming available in a variety of forms including supplements and transdermal applications.