Wellness in the Bowl
Dogswell's Brad Armistead, vice president of marketing and innovation, discusses how the company's nutritional products appeal to pet palates while ensuring optimal health.
Pet Business: What makes Dogswell stand out from other food and treat manufacturers in the pet industry?
Brad Armistead: At Dogswell, we pride ourselves on being the first and the best at providing complete nutrition with our innovative food and treats. Since Dogswell was founded in 2004, we have been offering premium treats and food that do more than just taste delicious. Dogswell products are thoughtfully crafted to be protein forward and fortified with vitamins and supplements that support immunity, digestion and joint health, to help dogs play harder, smile wider and wag that tail like there’s no tomorrow. At the end of the day, we believe that better nutrition leads to a longer, healthier and happier life for pets.
PB: What makes Dogswell a particularly good vendor partner for pet specialty stores?
Armistead: At Dogswell, we are committed to providing the highest-quality food and treats that are within our customers’ reach. We maintain healthy relationships with our retail partners and have cultivated strong partnerships that have enabled us to expand our business into thousands of independent pet retailers across the United States.
PB: Last summer, Dogswell introduced the LiveFree food line. How does it fit into the trend toward holistic pet nutrition?
Armistead: We created LiveFree for discerning pet owners who actively seek pet nutrition that can help their pet live longer, healthier and happier lives. Available exclusively at independent pet retailers, LiveFree is specially formulated to address what pet owners seek in a premium dog food. We started with recipes that are packed with high-quality animal protein, low in carbohydrates, and made without grains and potatoes, to align with a dog’s natural diet.
LiveFree promotes holistic wellness, so we also added health benefits to support digestion. This is important because 70 percent of the body’s immune system is contained in the digestive system, so food is the single best way to keep dogs healthy. We did this by adding a proprietary bit to the dry food recipes, called DigestiBits. This natural bit is a blend of pumpkin, eggs, prebiotics, probiotics and 11 antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies to deliver digestive fiber. All LiveFree recipes are also ultra-low glycemic and don’t contain high-glycemic ingredients, which speed up digestion, causing blood-sugar levels to spike. When it comes to nutrition, it doesn’t matter if you have two legs or four. In order to live life to the fullest, a body needs good, healthy fuel, not junk.
PB: How has the LiveFree line been received by independent pet retailers since it launched? Have there been any developments since its introduction?
Armistead: LiveFree has been very well received; independent pet retailers have been very supportive of this product line. They were especially excited about the campaign creative and how we bring it to life in stores with point-of-purchase kits. The items include posters and shelf signs with clever slogans promoting LiveFree such as, “We created our ground-breaking DigestiBits so your dog can have an A-number-one #2.” We also supported stores with a geo-targeted marketing campaign that launched this January, resulting in month-over-month growth for the brand.
PB: What are some of the other recent developments from Dogswell? Have you launched any other new products/lines over the past year?
Armistead: At Dogswell, we listen to our customers and work hard to develop products that exceed their expectations. Many of our new product innovations are a direct result of conversations with dog owners, coupled with striving to provide the best-tasting, most-nutritious products that support overall pet health. This summer we are excited to introduce Dogswell Grillers, Artisan Meats Sliders and Artisan Meat Deli Slices. They are delicious additions to our treat line, just in time for barbeque season.
PB: What does the future hold for Dogswell and its role in the pet specialty retail channel?
Armistead: The specialty retail channel will continue to be important for Dogswell as we continue to grow our hugely successful treat business while expanding our food portfolio and pushing the envelope on innovation in the pet food category. In the immediate future, our new product offerings—Grillers, Artisan Meat Sliders and Artisan Meat Deli Slices—will be available in select specialty retailers this summer.