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Dog Food

 8 Great Treats to Get Folks Excited About Giving Their Pups This Summer

Wag the dog.




ON A SUNNY JULY day in 2011, nearly a dozen Joplin, MO, bakers from Hampshire Pet Products created the world’s largest dog treat. The record-setting results came in at 19 feet long and more than 600 pounds, fed all the local shelter dogs and got a ton of eyeballs on the dog biscuit company that sponsored the event. This summer, think similarly big: What kind of spectacle can you conjure up to get people excited about dog treats in your store?

Harvard’s Finest


KEY FEATURES: Premium grain-free soft treats in popular puppy flavors: Peanut Butter & Banana, Chicken & Apple, Salmon & Blueberry and Fruits & Veggies.

SALES TIP: Soft and moist morsels for sensitive chewers., (720) 272-9664



SuperFood Nuggets

Boo Boo’s Best

KEY FEATURES: Smoky, savory chews made from wild salmon, turkey and pork blended with fruits, vegetables and spices.

SALES TIP: All-natural, grain-free and made in the USA with organic, globally sourced fair trade coconut., (415) 580-2667


PB’N Jelly Time

Einstein Pets

KEY FEATURES: Made with real blueberries, chia and peanut butter, this low-cal treat is sourced and made in the USA.

SALES TIP: A whimsical line free of all fillers, wheat, corn and soy, with no chemicals, salt, sugars or preservatives., (727) 823-8233



Grain Free Meaty Bites

Charlee Bear

KEY FEATURES: Raw, freeze-dried meat treats comprised of two ingredients plus probiotics in six novel recipes like Beef Liver & Apples, Chicken & Cranberries and Lamb & Blueberries.

SALES TIP: The freshness is clear: Each blend includes a protein plus a fruit or vegetable in big chunks that you can actually see., (800) 880-2327


Tenderloin Venison Bites

Health Extension Pet Care

KEY FEATURES: Made from free-range, grass-fed venison — a natural source of omega 3 and vitamin B-12.

SALES TIP: Made for a clean-eating diet with no added hormones, antibiotics or fillers., (800) 992-9738


Life is Grruff Grrowlers

It’s A Dog’s World

KEY FEATURES: Three new flavors in a popular line of dog treats baked with brewers spent grains.

SALES TIP: A low-cal snack, spent grains offer double the protein and fiber compared to wheat flour treats., (631) 615-9114



Jones Select 100% Pure Meat Slices

Jones Natural Chews

KEY FEATURES: Natural, high-protein snacks made only from natural chicken breast and turkey breast meat.

SALES TIP: A trendsetter in the single-ingredient treat market, these natural chews are raised, sourced and made in the USA.


Pork Meat Bites

Raised Right

KEY FEATURES: Single-ingredient pork liver treats, traceable to their sources and preservative-free. For transparency, the lab results are posted online for every batch.

SALES TIP: Check out the company’s Right Way Retail Alliance affiliate program to see how pet stores can benefit from online sales., (844) 777-3871


Michelle Lange writes about hamster food, bath scrubbers and bird toys — all the new pet products coming to market.



PETS+ Live with Candace D'Agnolo

Learn More About America's Coolest Store Winner, Bar K

Catch the replay of this PETS+ Live! Lunch & Learn webinar hosted by Candace D’Agnolo of Pet Boss Nation. This episode featured Candace on location at Bar K in Kansas City, MO. Find out how owners Leib Dodell and David Hensley implemented their idea for a dog park/restaurant/bar that owners enjoy as much as their pets do — and learn why the business took top honors in the 2019 PETS+ America’s Coolest Stores contest.

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Dog Food

9 Foods for Dogs with a Special Diet

There is something for every pup, in all stages of health and wellness.




AS DOG DIETS get more and more specialized, there is something for every pup, in all stages of health and wellness. Whether your customers are looking to put their dogs on a diet that closely matches their own, or they are looking for help getting their pups to feel better or slim down, here are a few newer options to consider. 

Dry dog food price key
$ $2/pound | $$ $2-$3/pound | $$$ $3-$4/pound | $$$$ $4/pound


Vegan Vittles

What’s good enough for people should be good enough for their canine companions, right? Many pet parents are switching their dogs’ diets to match their own, for ethical or health reasons. Others are trying plant-based foods as an elimination diet, to rule out different animal protein sensitivities. No matter the reason, this food category is gaining ground!

Garden of Vegan
Halo, Purely for Pets

KEY FEATURES: Nutritionally balanced, wholesome blend of chickpeas, non-GMO vegetables and oils. Made without meat protein, dairy, rice, corn, wheat or wheat gluten. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. 

SALES TIP: Expand the offerings by pairing with canned formula., (800) 426-4256


Kinder Kibble

KEY FEATURES: Kinder Kibble uses all-natural ingredients and superfoods to create a healthy alternative to meat-based proteins, without corn, soy or wheat. 

SALES TIP: Making the switch to plant-based can help with skin allergies and digestive issues., (888) 280-8364


Wysong Vegan

KEY FEATURES: Not a new food, but one that has undergone recent reformulations to include more protein, fat, probiotics and prebiotics. 

SALES TIP: Health-minded non-vegans can use it as a base for a meaty meal topper. Also suitable for cats., (800) 748-0188


Tender tummies

Some dogs suffer from sensitive stomachs all the time, and others have an occasional bout of eating something that didn’t agree with them. Whatever the case, you can help your customers be prepared with gentle recipes, for short-term and long-term options. Because when upset stomachs strike, your customers will be looking for some specialized solutions.

Freeze Dried Bland Diet
Under the Weather

KEY FEATURES: Freeze-dried gentle formulas with electrolytes for dogs going through a temporary sickness. 

SALES TIP: A pup pantry essential, with a three-year shelf life. Customers will want to have it on hand, just in case., (844) 633-1217


Sensitive Stomach
Diamond CARE

KEY FEATURES: Potatoes and egg protein make this easy to digest. With psyllium husk to support digestion and probiotic strains native to the canine GI tract. 

SALES TIP: Developed by vets, dogs begging for relief will be howling with delight., (844) 813-2116


GO! Digestive Health Turkey Meal Mixer

KEY FEATURES: Made with turkey, pumpkin, probiotics and fiber. Designed to be mixed into kibble, stews or pâtés — or on their own. 

SELLING TIP: Keep these portable packages on hand for traveling or other on-the-go moments when “fast food” is needed., (866) 864-6112


Slim Fast

Owners of overweight pets want to help their pups shed the pounds without sacrificing quality nutrition. Often, chronically obese dogs have other health issues that need to be addressed at the same time. These formulas help meet a variety of needs.

Orijen Fit & Trim
Champion Petfoods

KEY FEATURES: Chicken, turkey, eggs and fish make up 85 percent of the food. Also contains fiber to help overweight dogs feel full. 

SALES TIP: Patented “Whole Prey” formulas use the whole animal, with plenty of organ meats, cartilage and bones, to provide all the nutrients dogs need., (877) 939-0006


Low Glycemic Turkey Grain Free Blend
My Perfect Pet Food

KEY FEATURES: In turkey, chicken and beef flavors, each bag has seven 8-ounce frozen bars.

SALES TIP: Display bags are available for dry food shelves to draw customers to the frozen section., (858) 486-6510


Fit & Fabulous
Solid Gold

KEY FEATURES: A low-fat, low-calorie weight control recipe added to the Fit and Fabulous line with easily digestible chicken, sweet potatoes and green beans. 

SALES TIP: Next step? Getting Fido to hit the doggie treadmill., (800) 364-4863


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Dog Food

9 Organic Options in Wet, Dry and Raw Varieties



Did you know the back of the pet food bag is regulated, but not the front? That’s why you see “All natural!” on food you know is not. The back of the bag is different — to be labeled organic, pet food must consist of at least 95 percent organic ingredients and meet human-grade production standards. There are majority-organic options out there, but few qualify as 100 percent organic. You’re more likely to find organics used when possible, rounded out with minimally processed and responsibly sourced ingredients.

CANNED PRICE SCALE: $$: 16-23 cents/oz  |  $$$: 24-30 cents/oz |  $$$$: 31-40 cents/oz
DRY PRICE SCALE: $$: $2-$3/lb  |  $$$: $3-$4/lb  |  $$$$: $4+/lb

Wet Organics 

The surplus of organic ingredients in these wet blends leaves no room for fillers and fake preservatives. Limited-ingredient diets are good for pets with sensitive stomachs, and most wet foods can be fed as full meals or supplements to dry diets. 

Kurobuta Hero 

Selling point: Organic turkey meets Kurobuta pork, a Japanese delicacy with superior marbling that’s fed organic foods and raised in a hormone-free environment. 

Marketing tip: Play up the high-end pig, called “the Kobe beef of pork.”, (800) 776-5262

Cocolicious Organic Beef 

Selling point: Certified organic, this blend includes beef, broth, coconut oil and liver, topped with vitamins and minerals.

Marketing tip: You can call this “clean eating” for dogs., (855) 727-8926

Cooked Chicken Recipe 

Selling point: Whole, dressed organic chicken is packed in natural well water and cooked inside the can.

Marketing tip: Certified Kosher for Passover., (847) 537-0102

Dry Organics

The high bar for organics means there aren’t many organic dry foods out there, but if you look you’ll definitely find some that meet the 95 percent organic ingredient mark. The benefits of buying organic mean no GMOs, antibiotics, artificial flavors or colors. Dry food works for busy folks, so sell it to unfussy customers looking for ultra-premium kibble. 

Organix Chicken & Brown Rice 

Selling point: Free-range chicken is the first ingredient, followed by flaxseed, brown rice and fruit and vegetable purées.

Marketing tip: Ideal for active dogs through their senior years., (800) 875-7518 


Selling point: Crafted from certified, organic, non-GMO and sustainably produced ingredients, GATHER Endless Valley is a vegan recipe with organic peas. 

Marketing tip: Also available in Wild Ocean (cod) and Free Acres (chicken) varieties for your carnivore customers., (866) 864-6112

Chicken & Oats

Selling point: This recipe blends chicken, oats, barley, peas and brown rice, all certified organic by Oregon Tilth.

Marketing tip: Housed in environmentally friendly and 100 percent compostable packaging., (800) 525-9155

Raw Organics

Raw, unprocessed and organic? That’s a tall order, so instead of trying to organically certify New Zealand’s free-range venison, dehydrated dog food makers tend to lean on a human-grade protein, shorn up by organic vegetables, fruits and nuts. Sell these thaw-and-serve and just-add-water recipes to dog owners who want to serve a raw diet without any grinding, chopping or mixing.

Canine Duck
Primal Pet Foods

Selling point: Fresh, human-grade duck joins organic fruits, vegetables and nuts in this blend, including kale, carrots, squash, broccoli, apples, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and parsley. 

Marketing tip: Procured from sustainable farms and ranches in the U.S. and New Zealand., (866) 566-4652

Simply Venison Dinner Patties
Stella & Chewy’s 

Selling point: Stars raw venison and supported by certified organic fruits and veggies. 

Marketing tip: Sell to the back-to-nature set: It’s the same diet dogs would eat in the wild.,  (888) 477-8977

Thrive Chicken & Quinoa
The Honest Kitchen 

Selling point: Six ingredients make up this high-calorie, high-protein diet: free-range chicken, organic quinoa, organic kelp, sweet potatoes, spinach and parsley. 

Marketing tip: Good for dogs that run more than walk., (866) 437-9729

This article originally appeared in the May-June 2017 edition of PETS+.

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Dog Food

Wet Dog Foods Make the Case for Canned Proteins



The higher price points, quick spoilage point and misinformation about dog dental health make wet dog food a harder sell than kibble, but it’s hard to compete with the delectable aroma from a freshly opened can. Wet food is more palatable and typically contains more pure protein than their dry counterparts, with fewer carbs. Some pet parents like to split the difference and add wet food to dry, giving dogs the best of both worlds. 


Succulent Stews

Carrots, peas and potatoes show up in the heartiest of stews, which are simply combinations of solid foods that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resulting gravy. The long simmer of a stew will break down the gelatinous connective tissue of a low-quality cut of meat to create a deep and flavorful broth. On a cold spring day, it’s a great way for pet parents to feel like they’re keeping dogs cozy and well-fed.  

PRICE SCALE: $$ 5 to 15 cents per oz. / $$ 16 to 23 cents per oz. / $$$ 24 to 30 cents per oz. / $$$$ 31 to 40 cents per oz 

Stewlicious Gobbledy Good Stew
Dave’s Pet Food

Selling Point: Loaded with turkey, sweet potatoes, carrots and green beans, plus added vitamins and minerals; all made in the USA

best for: The grain-free and all-natural goddess, (888) 763-2738

Happy Hips Chicken & Sweet Potato Stew

Selling Point: Cage-free chicken with fruits and veggies in a sweet potato broth make this look and taste like it was made at home

best for: Home gourmands helping pets with joint pain, (888) 559-8833

Grain Free Savory Beef Stew
Holistic Health Extension

Selling Point: Super premium ingredients — sans hormones, steroids, by-products or fillers

best for: Those as concerned about their dogs’ healthy eating as their own,  (800) 992-9738

Pleasant Pâtés

Pâté is universally a mixture of cooked ground meat and fat minced into a spreadable paste, but it shows up in different varieties all over the world. French and Belgian pâtés are baked in a crust as pie or loaf, while Finnish and German cooks shape it into a soft, spreadable sausage. Polish chefs lean on fish, venison and ham. Common additions include herbs, spices, and wine — though these wet foods for dogs are obviously alcohol-free.

Lamb Pâté Skin & Coat Formula
Red Barn

Selling Point: High-quality lamb with antioxidant-rich brewer’s yeast and salmon oil to support healthy skin, coat and joints

best for: The Omega-3 Momma, (800) 775-3849

Go! Sensitivity + Shine Trout & Salmon Pâté

Selling Point: Especially for sensitive dogs, the pâté combines freshwater trout and salmon with omega oils and fruits and veggies to promote shiny coats.

best for: Probiotic pet parents, (866) 864-6112

Holistic Select Beef Pâté

Selling Point: Pumpkin, papaya, pomegranate and peppermint for prebiotic support, chicory root extract for digestion and flaxseed for skin, coat and immune health.

best for: Pet parents focused on premium proteins, (800) 225-0904

Rustic Roasts

Roasting uses indirect, diffused heat to bring out the flavors in large, whole pieces of meat. Dry heat is the key ingredient in roasts, surrounding the meat and cooking it evenly on all sides. Caramelization and browning start to surface, adding flavor and intensity to meats and vegetables. Slow and low cooking results in tender meat and tasty treats for dogs in this collection of scrumptious wet dog foods.

Pappy’s PotRoast Dinner

Selling Point: Homestyle chunks of beef, hand-stuffed red jacket potatoes and carrots covered in gravy; free of grain, artificial colors, flavors and preservatives

best for: Sunday-night dinner lovers, (800) 664-7387

Roasted Chicken Drummet Dinner

Selling Point: Chicken drummets are processed with fresh carrots and peas and served in a delectable gravy, so they’re soft and edible.

best for: Gluten-free gurus, (847) 537-0102

Vigor Turkey & Roasted Quail

Selling Point: Nutrient-rich quinoa to promote energy, vitality and healthy digestion; dark greens and berries for an antioxidant boost

best for: Cordon bleu cooks opposed to corn, soy and gluten, (800) 426-4256

This article originally appeared in the March-April 2017 edition of PETS+.

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