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Smaller Training Treats, More Exotic Proteins, Plus Other Products Pet Stores Want in the Dog Treat Category

We asked members of the PETS+ Brain Squad to share what they’d like to see — and what they could sell — more of in the dog treat category.

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Training & Enrichment

  • Companies making “training treats” should send anyone involved in R&D to a basic clicker-training class to learn from the experts what makes a good “training treat.” Clicker trainers go through several hundred treats in a 45- to 60-minute class. Treats need to be tiny (no larger than a pea), soft or freeze-dried, and easy to manipulate in their hands. Less important, but still a factor, is the size of the bag. Clicker trainers will EAGERLY buy in bulk: 1- to 2-pound bags would fly off the shelves. Also keep in mind that professional dog trainers are like preachers: What they recommend is taken as gospel. If the trainer says, “go buy a few bags of X,” the client will do it! — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • I would like to see more soft and chewy, training-sized treats that do not have sugar, glycerin and/or fillers. — Margo Tortorelis, My Natural Pet, Brooklyn, NY
  • More economical, minimal- ingredient or single-source products for stuffing enrichment toys. — Janelle Pitula, Wags to Whiskers, Plainfield IL

For Seniors

  • More treat options for toothless dogs. So many dogs are living longer, and we still have a ways to go with having a full array of products for their golden years. — Carol Will, Lola & Penelope’s, St. Louis, MO

For Allergic Pups

  • More exotic and limited-ingredient proteins. — Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • More dental treats with no chicken! This is a common allergy for a lot of dogs. — Natalie Bosch, Albany Pet Hotel, Albany, NY

Shareables

  • More treats specifically marketed for cats and dogs, so we can easily cross promote to multi-species households. More options for pill hiders that have better ingredients than the most well-known brand, especially for cats! — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, OR

Interesting

  • A bouillon cube to flavor pet food, made from scraps of bully sticks or other body parts. Offer plain bully bullion, or with added ingredients to help calm, like CBD. — Richie Powell, All American Pet, Springfield, OR

Veggies

  • We need more freeze-dried or roasted simple vegetable treats. We currently have one source of green beans that sell like crazy for allergic and overweight dogs, but they can be hard to get. Freeze-dried parsnips would be awesome. Mildly sweet and super healthy. — Andrea Demmons, The TailGait Market, Asheville, NC

Smaller

  • I wish that more of the biscuits came in a smaller size — both in terms of package and size of cookie. There are many small dogs out there that would benefit. Also, people are more apt to buy a small package of something new to try. — Sandy House, Paws N Effect, Hamden, CT

Fresh Requests

  • We struggle to get frozen cow femur bones for dogs. Having a steady supply of them would help us out a lot. — Andy Wiltz, Woof’s Play & Stay, Merriam, KS
  • More raw frozen treats. I’d like fresh fats rather than freeze dried and dehydrated. — Becci Scott, Fetching Dog, Scottsdale, AZ

Ready To Bake

  • Premade dough you can thaw out and bake at home for the holidays. — Caroline Gunther, Wag! A Unique Pet Boutique, Hendersonville, NC

Wrap It Up

  • Because of COVID-19, people want individually wrapped body parts. — Dorothy Stewart, Dorothy’s Pet Shop, Junction City, KS

The Why

  • More training as to why a store should consider stocking a new treat. — Marvin Schaffer, J & M Aquatics & Pet Center, Grand Junction, CO

Ew!

  • More hair-on, freeze-dried treats. The grosser the better. — Danielle Cunningham, Lewis & Bark’s Outpost in Red Lodge, MT

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+ editors at [email protected].

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