Niche sections of the petfood market are nothing new. Fresh petfood, refrigerated/frozen petfood and dehydrated petfood are all members of the niche pet market and are starting to gain enough popularity to be included in annual retail reports and breakdowns of market data. The petfood enhancers category, however, is just now starting to make waves with more products than ever finding pet store shelves and enticing pet owners with human food flavors, human-animal bonding and unique ways to add extra nutrition to a pet’s diet.
“There are a few products out there, but none of them have really succeeded and there could be a few reasons why," says Bill Kavanov, founder of Doggie Shotz from Pet Alternatives. "Lack of marketing, education, brand awareness, bad taste, bad timing, etc. I have tried a few of them with my dog and he would just walk away from it.”
Kavanov points out that a quality petfood enhancer should offer many benefits to the pet as well as its owner. “If it comes down to a better gourmet experience at mealtime, a nutritious supplement added to its diet, a better and healthier quality of life, or maybe just less trips to the vet, pet parents will be excited.”
Kavanov wanted to create a product that could help fight the overwhelming issue of pet obesity when he originally started formulating Doggie Shotz, a 90% fat-free, gluten-free formula with real chicken, beef, bacon, cheese and turkey, according to the company. The topper or gravy is meant to be added to a dog’s normal meal to supplement missing necessary vitamins and nutrients and enhance engagement without adding weight to the animal.
Doggie Shotz also contains an energy component in its fruit juice mixture that gives dogs an initial burst of energy followed by a longer-lasting span of energy, explains Kavanov. “This unique component can be beneficial to dogs while going on walks with their parents," he says. "A longer and more sustainable walk will increase metabolism and allow the dog to shed more pounds with more endurance which will give them a better quality of life.”
Indigenous Pet Products introduced K-9 Endurance Gel Formulas at SuperZoo 2013. According to Indigenous, their enhancement pet product uses proprietary scientific technology to promote health and wellness for dogs of all breeds and sizes and are grain- and gluten-free. K-9 Endurance Gel Formulas are ideal for active and sporting dogs and are made with easily digestible carbohydrates and protein to help enhance and replenish the energy levels of dogs.
The convenient squeezable tube fits in a bag or purse and is easily portable. Nutrients from lamb, chicken, venison and pumpkin help promote a healthy skin and coat, as well as maintain energy, says the company. The K-9 Endurance Gel Formulas also contain glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy joints.
According to Rebecca Gosik, owner of Pet Plenish, "Your best friend deserves some flavor, not to mention some room in the fridge! That is why Pet Plenish was developed!” Pet Plenish is a vitamin-enhanced dog beverage meant to help supplement a dog’s regular diet while adding extra flavor. The unique vitamin formula is water soluble so the blend of minerals and vitamins will not be absorbed by the pet if they are not needed in the body, according to the company.
The beef-flavored product can be poured directly into a dish or can be frozen to make flavored ice cube treats. The resealable bottle also makes it easy to carry and improves the longevity of the beverage product.
Groovy Gravy is for dogs and cats and touts its blend of 25 mg of omega-3s as the reason pets need to start gobbling it up. According to the company, the petfood topper improves skin and coat health, can improve renal and cardiovascular diseases, can help prevent congestive heart failure, and can improve immunologic functions in growing dogs. The topper is also low calorie and low fat and can be poured over a pet’s food once a day, says the company.