The variety of dog treats and chews is growing thanks to the premiumization of pet food, modest dog ownership growth and the demand for natural and healthy products. Limited- or single-ingredient dog treats and chew are trending, and overall treat and chew sales are predicted to increase steadily in the coming years.

Another sales influencer is the location of production and ingredient sourcing. Treats and chews made in the USA and regionally continue to gain favor, as pet parents focus on the environmental impact and sustainability of products.

TREATS

There is more to treats these days than just making dogs happy. Treats can be functional and fun. They can help guide behavior, affect dental health, hide medication and provide added vitamins, minerals and other supplements to support digestion, joint, hair and skin health.

Treats come in all shapes, sizes and textures, including crunchy kibble, chews, sticks, patties, biscuits, jerky, chips and crisps. There are a lot of treats available to fill store shelves, but there are definite trends driving sales.

Treat Trends

  • Natural Treats: Pet parents want to know and understand the ingredients in their dogs’ treats. They are looking for products that are grain-free, GMO-free, hormone-free and without artificial flavors, additives and preservatives. They seek limited-ingredient or single-ingredient treats, with proteins like lamb, beef, chicken, salmon, pork, fish or turkey, and they are willing to pay for human-grade treats (those that adhere to the same quality control standards as human food production facilities).
  • Unique Proteins: Venison, alligator and ostrich are just some of the unique proteins found in treats. Lung, tripe and other organ ingredients may be good for dogs with allergies.
  • Superfood Ingredients: Following the human trend toward a healthier diet with superfoods, dog treats now include pumpkin, berries, vegetables, flaxseed, oats, vanilla and coconut.
  • Cannabidiol-Infused Treats: The CBD and hemp craze continues. CBD-infused treats are positioned to promote relaxation, enhance the function of joint and connective tissues, and support digestive tract, brain and immune health.
  • Yogurt Treats: These nutritious, lickable treats are hot-weather favorites and include flavors like apple juice and cheddar, banana and peanut butter, and blueberry and vanilla.
  • Soft Chews: These are easier to chew for smaller and older dogs.
  • Fresh & Frozen: Pet parents seeking a raw diet for their dogs are turning to fresh and frozen treat options.
  • Freeze-dried: For pet parent seeking raw treats that aren’t fresh or frozen, freeze-dried is a growing seller.
  • Flavors: Peanut butter, cheese and bacon are favorite flavors for dogs.

CHEWS

Chews are often used to try to stop a dog’s destructive chewing, and they can help clean teeth. Today, wellness is another important factor when selecting chews.

Many dog parents are replacing traditional rawhide and highly processed chews with more natural products that are easily digestible, safe and have no fillers, chemicals or by-product ingredients. Consumers often look for USA-made chews that are wholesome but durable to satisfy a dog’s chewing urge.

Single-ingredient paleo-style chews are rising in popularity, as are soft chews and natural bully sticks. Chews with limited ingredients or single ingredients may include beef, chicken, duck, yak cheese and vegetables. Antlers, tendons, bones, horns and ears are some of the body part chews.

MERCHANDISING

Dog treats and chews should be front and center in a pet store – well before the dog food. Fun display options for bulk biscuits and chews include stainless steel tubs, buckets and small garbage cans. A wall display with angled plastic bins works well, and large jars with signage that identifies the product inside are popular. Have bags made from recyclable materials available for bulk treats and chews.

Baskets and crates work well for treats and chews that are already bagged. Endcaps and free-standing displays should include signage with identifiers such as “Natural Treats.” Also, don’t forget samples for your dog customers, who may be your best sales closer.

For ideas on displaying treats and chews, visit Pinterest and search for dog treat and chew displays.