Business and Operations
Three dog bite
By Michelle Brisebois
By Michelle Brisebois
Pets have evolved from mascot to family member. In many cases, they
enjoy a quality of life that surpasses most people in third world
countries. The pet industry is a big business that includes health care,
grooming and yes, even baked goods.
Pets have evolved from mascot to family member. In many cases, they enjoy a quality of life that surpasses most people in third world countries. The pet industry is a big business that includes health care, grooming and yes, even baked goods.
It’s a trend with international appeal suggesting a mass cultural change is afoot in terms of how we relate to our pets. “Humanization,” according to trend watchers, sociologists and dog whisperer Cesar Millan, is the modern tendency to see our pets as junior members of the family. When tainted pet food started harming some animals a few years ago, many pet owners decided to take matters into their own hands and began baking or buying dog treats made locally.
Chains with names such as Three Dog Bakery capitalized on this passion for our pets. These bakeries offer treats made with healthy, fresh ingredients and marketed with catchy names such as dogalicious cakes. Personalized dog bones are marketed as 12-inch peanut butter-based baked dog biscuits with a carob coating, topped with the pet’s name. The Three Dog Blog covers a host of pet tips, including a post on how to host a perfect “K9 Paw-tee.” Lindy and Barkley’s Pet Boutique in Cambridge, Ont., offers dog cookies that are beautifully frosted with a yogurt-based icing.
“The yogurt helps with digestion,” shares owner Lindy Marchuk.
An entire event planning industry has sprung up around social pet occasions with names such as Petaholic party planners. These companies will plan your pet’s birthday party, complete with music, party favours, treats and dog wrangling for the many pooches in attendance. When I asked a friend of mine why she’d decided to hire such a planner for her dog’s birthday, she shrugged and said, “It was a great day for a bunch of friends to get together with their pets and have a barbeque and some drinks.” Herein lies the opportunity for traditional bakeries: the pet party is really more about the owners than the pets, and the owners want to eat too.
If people are inclined to buy baked goods for their pets, it stands to reason that they’d be receptive to buying baked goods for themselves, too. In fact, many celebratory pet occasions lend themselves to a celebration for humans too. It’s a trend that Jackie Krovblit of Big Dog Bakery in Toronto sees gaining strength.
Krovblit says people buy special treats for their canines for a variety of reasons. Homecomings when owners return after being away from their pets, and weddings where they want to include pets in the celebration are popular. So are seasonal holidays, such as Halloween, Christmas, Easter and Valentines Day. Pet treats are also popular gifts for housewarmings, following trips to the vet or pet illness, and to celebrate the arrival of a new puppy or puppy milestones.
Pet food is a different segment involving research and knowledge of what ingredients are best suited to meet the needs of our four-legged friends. As allergies increase, customers are demanding more holistic, high quality, human-grade ingredients. “We are constantly updating our formulations and product lines to make sure we deliver to these markets,” confirms Krovblit.
If you’d rather stay focused on Homo sapiens, consider partnering with a local pet bakery to supply a human cake to go along with the dog birthday cake. There may be cross-promotional opportunities for both businesses when it comes to catering the parties. A “dog and his best friend” package may be a great way to join forces and offer a service that truly makes it turnkey for customers.