Building a Smarter Dog Chew
Martin J. Glinsky, Ph.D., chief science officer for PetMatrix, LLC, discusses how his company is improving the dog chew category by leaps and bounds.
Martin J. Glinsky
Pet Business: What inspired you to create an alternative to traditional rawhide products?
Martin J. Glinsky: My partners and I, who collectively have over 90 years of pet industry experience, were keenly interested in the dog chew area.
We did a large focus-group study, and we discovered that almost 40 percent of dog owners never or rarely ever fed rawhide to their dogs. When asked why, the responses were: “I consider them unsafe,” and “My vet suggested I find a non-rawhide alternative.”
Not only is rawhide considered by some to be poorly digested and inherently a choking threat, there are serious negative environmental issues surrounding rawhide manufacturing. We wanted to manufacture an environmentally neutral and nutritionally safe alternative. We saw an opportunity to develop a non-rawhide chew to satisfy a void in this area.
PB: How has PetMatrix been able to improve upon the edible chew products that came before?
Glinsky: We spent almost four years developing and testing a non-rawhide product that would meet the following criteria: high palatability, very high digestibility, improvement in dental health and a good value. Our SmartBones line of products meet and exceed all of these parameters.
Our bones are also usually consumed in one chewing episode. This eliminates the waste seen with less palatable rawhide that is often chewed for a few minutes and left in the corner for a few days, especially with smaller breeds.
PB: PetMatrix fortifies its chews with vitamins and minerals. What are the benefits to this?
Glinsky: While dogs should be receiving satisfactory levels of nutrients in the food they eat, our vitamin and mineral fortification provides a small but sometimes important additional intake of some key trace nutrients. Rawhide and other animal parts cannot do this.
PB: What are the latest developments from PetMatrix?
Glinsky: We recently began shipping a sweet potato-based chew bone, and we will be introducing a line of functional treats (skin and coat, joint care and calming) early next year at Global Pet Expo, along with other novelty chews.
PB: What does the future hold for PetMatrix and the dog chew category overall?
Glinsky: The non-rawhide chew category is poised for significant growth in the future. As more dog owners look for alternatives to rawhide, this category will be an important one for retailers to focus on. When the pet supply retailer understands that almost 40 percent of her customers are walking right past the rawhide area, there’s a considerable opportunity to offer a unique alternative.