Bernie’s Best founders Jim and Christie Finnigan discuss how the company is addressing the full spectrum of dog digestion needs with one, easy-to-use product.
Tell us about Bernie’s Best. When was the company founded? What inspired you to get into the pet business? We founded Bernie’s Best in 2018 to address the need for a safe, comprehensive and healthy digestion support product line for dogs that also makes life easier for pet parents. The company’s namesake and motivation is Bernie, our three-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. After experiencing the benefits of probiotics, fiber and other digestive supplements ourselves, we began to serve Bernie probiotics for his general health. Over time, we also added fiber and enzyme supplements to help solve specific digestions issues Bernie was having.
Bernie was feeling great, but we became frustrated with the cost, hassle and mess of having to buy and mix multiple single-ingredient digestive supplements. That’s when we decided to create our own comprehensive product that addresses the full spectrum of dog digestion needs into one, easy to use product.
The cornerstone product line from Bernie’s Best is Bernie’s Perfect Poop natural digestion support supplements. How was this product line created? What sets it apart from other digestive support supplements on the market? Our journey began with hours of research and development in the family kitchen and was fueled by the guidance of Ph.D. veterinary science researchers, formulation gurus and ingredient experts. The result is an optimal combination of natural fibers, prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes that promote healthy digestion—the foundation of a healthier dog. Our motto is that “Health Starts In The Gut.”
We’ve sourced the highest quality ingredients from tested and trusted suppliers to create a digestion support product in which our customers can be 100 percent confident. Our primary ingredient—miscanthus grass fiber—is relatively new to the market and has shown amazing results in university studies. It’s extremely high in insoluble fiber, environmentally-friendly (carbon negative), naturally-processed and grown by local Midwest farmers. We’re confident that our formulation offers the ultimate digestion support for dogs.
There are a wide range of digestive supplements available, but there are several things that make Bernie’s Perfect Poop unique:
• We combine four vital digestive ingredients (fiber, prebiotics, probiotics and enzymes) in a high-fiber formation. Most other digestive supplements lack one or more of these four ingredients or don’t have an effective amount of fiber. A significantly lower fiber content is common in treat formulations, since it’s difficult to get a high-fiber formation to stick together as a treat.
• Our “Grass Bit” formulation is unique. Most supplements are either in a powder form, which is messy, or are served separately as treat. Grass Bits are easy to mix in with wet or dry dog food. Unlike powders, the Grass Bits actually get eaten and don’t leave a mess at the bottom of the bowl. These ingredients are most effective when consumed along with a dogs normal meal. This is in contrast to a treat that is often served after or between meal times.
• We use fun and humorous branding that helps capture customers’ attention on the shelf. It also makes the uncomfortable gut health subjects more approachable.
• We use hardy spore-forming probiotics that survive the trip through a dog’s harsh stomach acids and last longer on the shelf.
• Dogs love the taste.
Aside from offering high-quality products, how does Bernie’s Best help retailers drive business? What types of sales and marketing support do you provide pet stores? At the end of the day, our products give retailers a way to help, advise and build credibility with their customers. If a retailer recommends Bernie’s Perfect Poop to a customer, and Bernie’s solves the issue their dogs is having, a strong-trusted relationship will form between the customer and retailer. They will likely visit again to get help with other issues and buy more bags of Bernie’s.
To help retailers learn and educate their customers, we are in the process of developing a digestion-focused e-book that will help retailers learn about digestion: how it works, why it’s important and what you can do to help with digestive issues. More and more pet parents are learning how important digestion is for themselves and pet retailer needs to point out to them that it’s important for their pets, as well.
What does the future hold for Bernie’s Best and its Bernie’s Perfect Poop line? Do you have any new products in development? Although we couldn’t be happier with how our product has been received and the rapid growth we are experiencing, there are still millions of dogs and pet parents who need to hear the “Health Starts in the Gut” message and can benefit from Bernie’s Perfect Poop.
With that in mind, we’re working hard to rapidly expand our marketing, education and distribution efforts to make sure every pet parent knows that “Health Starts in the Gut” and the benefits of the four key ingredients in Bernie’s Perfect Poop.
Although we have far to go on our main goal, our research pipeline includes a specialized formulation for cats (miscanthus fiber has been shown to eliminate hairballs) and a line of all-natural, healthy treats that are high in fiber, (especially miscanthus grass and other natural ingredients), and will complement our focus on gut health. PB