Many pet owners continue to consistently buy the same brand of dog food for their pet, but some experts argue that it’s important to add variety into your dog’s diet. On the other hand, changing the dog’s food too often can cause digestive problems. The key is to find the right balance.
I spoke with Brooke Sloate, director of product development at pawTree, a company that developed superfood toppers for pet foods that add balance, nutrition, variety and flavor to the diet without having to switch your pup’s food. Brooke explained in more detail why such variety is important, and how you can use toppers to improve your dog’s diet without having to switch between different pet food brands.
Listen to the episode in the video above and find the full podcast transcript below. For more, visit this episode’s post on the official Theory of Pets website.
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Adding Variety to Your Dog’s Diet
Samantha: You enjoy variety in the food you eat, right? We all do. Of course. Sometimes you feel like spicy foods. Sometimes you enjoy pasta. You might want different foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You don’t want to eat the same meal day in and day out for every meal every day.
Did you ever think about the fact that your dog probably doesn’t want to do that either? Research shows that pets like variety, just like we do, and you can see that reflected in the pet industry with all the different flavors of dog food, treats, cat food, cat treats. There’s so much out there.
The problem is if you’re feeding your dog a commercial diet, changing that food every day, going from one kibble in the morning to a different type of kibble at night, that’s going to have an effect on your digestive system. Every product is made with different ingredients and switching those ingredients quickly like that is going to upset the digestive tract.
Today I had the chance to speak with Brooke Sloate, and she is the director of product development at a company called PawTree. PawTree has found a really unique way to help us add variety into our pet’s diet without having to change food constantly and have any digestive problems.
Brooke has over 20 years of experience developing a wide range of innovative pet products from pet food and treats to pet accessories. She learned from some of the best in the pet industry when she worked for a variety of pet companies that include Nature’s Variety, Hills, Mars, Pet Mate, Applica, and Sergeant’s. She’s also worked for Tupperware early in her career, which is where she was first introduced to the powerful model of direct selling.
Now, if you don’t know what direct sales is, I’m sure you’ve come into contact with it. Things like Tupperware, Pampered Chef, any of those companies. There are some nutritional supplement companies. Thrive is really big right now. Clothing does it like LuLaRoe. So basically instead of having a storefront or retailers all over the country that supply or keep their products in stock, they have direct sales consultants that work with people to sell products.
This is a really great model for selling products because whoever is selling it to you, they have their own personal story. Chances are they’re in your circle somewhere. They know you through work. They might be part of your family. They’re in your circle of friends.
It’s usually someone that you know and trust or someone very close to you knows and trusts, and they have their firsthand experience that’s been great with this product. So now they feel so strongly about it and passionate that they’re selling it. That’s direct selling.
Brooke got experience with that with Tupperware. She’s an accomplished marketing executive with diversified experience in marketing, advertising and sales and has worked on both the corporate side with fortune 500 companies as well as the agency side of marketing.
She was actually named one of the 2018 top women in the pet industry by Top Women magazine. So that’s really exciting. She earned a bachelor of science in Business Administration with a major in marketing from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
So today I spoke with Brooke. She is, as I said, the director of product development at PawTree. PawTree is a direct sales company and they are one of the only direct sales companies in the pet industry. So I wanted to learn more about what makes direct sales so different and so effective. And also, like I said, the PawTree products, they have found a really unique way to add variety into your pet’s diet. They also offer commercial cat and dog food. So if you’re interested in commercial products, they certainly offer that. But they’ve found a unique way to add variety. So I’m going to let Brooke tell you more about that.
Interview with Brooke Sloate
Samantha: So can you tell me a little bit about PawTree?
Brooke: Wow. Where shall I start?
PawTree was founded by Roger Morgan, who had been a CEO in the pet industry for more than a decade. Roger realized that there was a need for quality pet products and a need to empower parents to care for their pets with better pet nutrition. Its ultimate goal, is to make a significant difference in both pets and their people’s lives. In fact, our company vision — it’s, create a world filled with unconditional love for pets and their people thrive.
People mistakenly think that PawTree is about just selling pet nutrition. And yes, we do sell phenomenal pet nutrition, like dog and cat food, delicious treats, and amazing stuff in it. But what we’re really all about is changing the lives of pets and their people.
PawTree is different because we’re a direct sale company, which means our products are not sold to retail outlets. Roger chose the direct selling industry because he knows that people listen to the people they know and trust when it comes to making decisions for their pets. So our sales people known as our pet pros, share our PawTree products with the people they know through their relationship. This way of selling also enables us, PawTree, to control our product quality, which is very important to us.
We develop products based on their efficaciousness — basically how well they work. And it’s imperative to us that our product makes a difference in pets life, which ultimately makes a difference in a person’s life. It’s important to us that PawTree pets thrive in their lives, and not just survive.
Samantha: Great. And I just want everybody listening also to know that I had the opportunity to try some of your PawTree seasonings with our girls. And they can see my review of those products. There’s a link underneath this interview for anybody that wants to check that out.
But our dogs loved them and I love the direct sales concept. I think, like you said, when you hear it from people that you know and that you trust, you’re definitely more apt to do it yourself.
I thought that was kind of unique, especially in the pet industry. You don’t see a lot of direct sales companies. So that was interesting to me.
How did the concept of Paw Pairings, the pet food super food seasonings come about in the first place?
Brooke: Well, we knew the reality that pets crave variety. This was actually researched. And we know that they enjoy it. But unfortunately if you think about it, they eat the same exact thing every single day of their entire lives. And we considered the concept of giving them a different food every day, to give them that variety that they crave, but unfortunately their digestive tracts are very sensitive and eating a different food each day would cause stomach upset. So this really wasn’t a viable option.
So the challenge was how to change their food, to just give them a different taste sensation every day without the tummy upset. And that’s how our Paw Pairings super food seasoning was born.
See, the seasoning is just that. It’s a seasoning. It’s not the mainstay of their diet so they can have something different every day or every meal in fact, and not have any digestive issues. We have 10 different varieties so they never know what they’re going to get. They just love this stuff.
Samantha: And what type of ingredients do the seasonings include and why would those ingredients be valuable to our pets?
Brooke: OK. So I mentioned we have 10 different varieties. And we have medleys, which is the chicken liver, turkey, duck, beef, salmon, ocean fish and chicken. We also have three blends, our Asian blend, Mexican, and Italian. Each of our medleys include real meat protein that’s freeze dried, eight nutritious super foods, which are pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kale, tomatoes, carrots, cranberries, pomegranates and blueberries, and a proprietary vitamin blend. The super foods and the vitamin blend, provide micronutrients that are very important to a pet’s overall health. We also use very high quality ingredients in our products and that makes a big difference.
Samantha: A lot of those ingredients are ones that a lot of pet parents use themselves and would commonly have in their kitchen. Could we just take those same ingredients, that same concept, and mix in, say sweet potatoes or something similar into our dog’s regular food and get the same effect?
Brooke: Well, actually, no. The answer is no. You wouldn’t have the same effect. Because if you did that, you’d often see that the pet would eat around it or spit it out. You see, like kids, it’s sometimes difficult to get our pets to eat fruits and vegetables. So we carefully formulated our Paw Pairings so there’s a good mix of these nutrition super foods, blended in with it so much it’s freeze dried protein that they love.
Samantha: Wow, that’s excellent. And I know you had veterinarians involved in the development of these products as well. What input did they provide and why do veterinarian support Paw Pairings?
Brooke: We have an amazing veterinary advisory council as well as various accomplished vets…