Pet Insight talked to Shelley Mikkelson, president and co-owner of Pawduke All Natural Dog Treats, about identifying food allergy symptoms in pets, and how her company’s offering of treats are designed with dogs and their dietary needs in mind.
How is Pawduke Treats addressing consumers’ demands for cleaner, healthier dog treats?
Pawduke offers two lines of all natural dog treats, both are wheat-free, corn-free, soy-free and vegetarian. Our newer and most popular product line is Grain-Free. These recipes have only five to seven ingredients, and all are easily recognizable.
How does your company determine which ingredients to use?
At Pawduke, we believe every dog deserves a great tasting, nutritious treat. But with so many food allergies these days, it can be quite difficult for dog owners to find a treat that fits their dog’s dietary needs. People spend a lot of time researching food that their dog can tolerate, but then they struggle to find a treat that fits their needs as well. We keep our ingredients simple and nutritious. No guesswork or research needed to know what an ingredient is. We listen very closely to pet owners as well as pet industry professionals regarding common allergies, and formulate new products based on what we hear. When we consistently heard of allergies to oatmeal and rice, we created our Grain-Free Vegetarian line of treats, made with a base of garbanzo bean flour and potato flour, which is now our biggest selling line of treats.
Why is this focus on offering pets increasingly nutritious and clean diets so important to pet owners?
More and more pets are showing reactions to various foods. They itch, lose hair, have hot spots or ear infections and are just plain miserable. Most pet owners treat their pets like their own children and they hate to see them suffer. They will do whatever it takes to make sure their pets quality of life is as good as it could be. The pet industry has also seen many recalls in the last few years and it has made pet owners more aware of what they are feeding their dogs and where it is coming from.
What have been effective methods retailers have used to educate consumers about treat safety and how your company is ensuring treats are safe for pets?
Retailers get to know their customers and spend more time talking with them. More importantly, they listen to the consumer and their needs and offer only products that fit. Retailers today, especially the smaller independently-owned shops, do quite a bit of research before putting a product on their shelves. And their customers can see that and trust their judgment.
How does Pawduke Treats strengthen trust amongst retailers and consumers when it comes to ensuring your treats are safe?
Pawduke is a small family owned and operated business. We are typical pet lovers, experiencing many of the same issues our consumers are experiencing. We talk to retailers and pet owners and we listen. We work through challenges together. When you contact Pawduke, you will be speaking with one of the owners. And, if you have ever seen us at a trade show, you have probably seen one of my own children, eating our treats, proving that they are safe for human consumption. I certainly wouldn’t let my own kids eat something that was questionable.