By Pet Age Staff//September 1, 2023
By: Pet Age Staff//September 1, 2023
Joe Roetheli is the founder of Pets Best Life, maker of Yummy Combs, dog treats that work like dental floss for a more complete cleaning and give dogs a boost of protein. Yummy Combs, he says, address three health concerns for dogs: Dental health, nutrition and safe eating.
Pet Age recently spoke with Roetheli to learn how, after growing up on a farm on the edge of the Ozarks and then serving in the Army during the Vietnam era, he would launch innovational pet products that are dedicated to helping pets live a happier, healthier and extended life thereby providing more love and enjoyment for owners.
What sparked your love for dogs and motivated you to create Greenies in the late 1990s?
My wife Judy and I have been on a mission to improve the lives of dogs for over 25 years. I was born and raised on a farm near Hermann, Missouri with a host of farm animals. Judy and I — referred to as “couplepreneurs” — started Greenies in 1996 with a blank sheet of paper, no business experience and no appreciable capital.
We wanted a solution to clean our dogs’ horrid halitosis. Because we responded to this market need in a major way at just the right time, Greenies launched the dental treat category and quickly became the No. 1 selling treat in America and the eighth largest treat company in the world accruing dozens of major awards. From my first dog Pal to our current dogs Tilly and Bentley, we’ve continued to innovate for man’s best friend.
How did your cousin play a role as a “mental mentor” in the development of Greenies?
My distant cousin, Serge Roetheli, is likely the greatest endurance athlete ever, and was running the distance of the circumference of the world with his wife on a small motorcycle at his side. Serge was our “mental mentor” for the rough days when we just needed someone to offer a helping hand to mentally persist to get over that “hump.” We often thought of something he said: “Anything is possible if one is willing to pay the price.”
What do you feel is the need in the pet marketplace that your Yummy Combs treats can address?
Pet’s Best Life is now the first company to validate that its dental treat will conquer the mighty task of removing hardened tartar from dogs’ teeth. Last month, we were thrilled to announce the results of an independent third-party study which scientifically documented that in just 60 days of one Yummy Combs per day, it removes over 25 percent of hardened tartar from teeth of dogs and improves breath by 45 percent.
The idea for Yummy Combs came from years of experience in the pet industry and a passion and love ensuring that dogs could have a pet’s best life (thus the name of the new company). In 2018, a bee buzzed by and gave me a lightning bolt-strike of an idea about Yummy Combs, a treat in the shape of a hexagonal hockey puck perimeter containing a bee’s nest interior.
The honeycomb design gives dogs a 360-degree doggie powered flossing device with up to 256 scrubbing surfaces. Eighty percent of dogs over the age of three years old have some form of gum disease as a result of tartar accumulation on teeth and Yummy Combs deter tartar as validated by the coveted Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal of Acceptance for Tartar Control.
How are Yummy Combs more than just a daily dental treat?
The unique shape also offers safety from a century-old issue plaguing dogs–choking, affecting 200,000 dogs a year. Yummy Combs delivers four innovative concepts to deter gulping, choking and blockages. Beyond dental and safety, we packed 45 ingredients that are all natural, grain free, non-GMO and gluten-free. This includes 22 required amino acids, vitamins and minerals, plus 12 special wellness ingredients.
Sixty percent of dogs over the age of two years old are overweight from too much starch and too little exercise. Treats typically have about 40 percent starch and less than 14 percent protein; Yummy Combs delivers the reverse with 47 percent protein and less than seven percent starch. How many people do you know who are on a weight reduction starch diet?
Who do you credit for your dedication to find answers to problems in the pet industry?
In high school, the principal told me I should try college. “You might make it,” he said. Right then and there I vowed that I would always find answers to any problem and “make it.” I persevered until I found a solution and that translated to my time in the pet industry.
Periodontal disease was the main culprit in letting bacteria enter the dog’s vital organs, many times going undiagnosed as the cause for organ failure. Regular visits to the veterinarian and proper oral care are the gold standard, but I knew if I could develop a product that would reduce the build-up of tartar and plaque on a dog’s teeth between visits, it would be a game changer. I continue my innovative quest to make dogs’ lives healthier, safer, longer and happier – the latter for both dog and owner.