Committed to Quality
Mike Thomas, vice president of development for QT Dog, explains how the company has become an important player in the dog treats and chews category while maintaining its position as a leading innovator of pet bowls and feeders.
Pet Business: QT Dog was originally built as a manufacturer of hard goods like dog bowls and diners. What made the company get into the natural chews and treats category?
Mike Thomas: Actually, we started out in fancy dog collars, then moved into elevated feeders and bowls. This was the late ‘90s, early 2000s, and the boutique sector was going crazy.
Up to 2003, we were focused on hard goods, and then we figured out that dogs like to chew on deer antlers. We introduced the first antler chew with the Antlerz brand, and that opened the door into super-premium treats and chews.
PB: What sets QT Dog apart from other manufacturers both in the bowls/diners and natural chews/treats categories?
Thomas: I like to think that we have been innovators from day one. We look for outside-of-the-box solutions to everyday issues. We were among the first in elevated and adjustable feeders. We bought the Brake-fast slow bowl patent and built on that. We pioneered antler chews, as well as Himalayan yak chews. The pet business is a cauldron of innovation, and I like to think we are the spoon that stirs it up.
PB: What are the latest trends that retailers should be paying attention to in each category?
Thomas: Food bowls and feeders now come with built-in health benefits for dogs. Retailers should offer and educate their customers about alternatives to the traditional bowl on the floor.
In treats and chews, it’s all about exotic and natural proteins from trustworthy sources.
PB: What are the latest and most exciting product introductions from QT Dog?
Thomas: We have partnered with a body parts factory in Turkey that is both USDA and EU inspected, and developed our Steer Jerky line of premium chews. The line features a variety of whole tendons and exotic parts like complete cow tails and head hide. We have been bringing in water buffalo horn chews for the past year, and those are really catching fire.
On the bowl front, the stainless version of the Brake-fast bowl has been expanded to nine SKUs and can now be mated to many of the elevated feeders on the market.
PB: What does the future hold for QT Dog, as well as the categories in which it competes?
Thomas: The future is bright. Come by our booth at Global Pet Expo in March and explore it with us.