Each year, I analyze the business from top to bottom. What is working, what’s not? What projects need to be done? What repairs need to be made? What training does the staff need? What can we do to provide a better service? And another part of this analysis is what is selling in our retail shop and what is not.
Shopping for your dog can be overwhelming. There are so many products out there and so many companies marketing to you. What food is best for my dog’s needs? What toys are durable, fun, and safe? What treats are safe? What supplements work to actually better my dog’s health? And what is not going to break the bank? Because seriously, our dogs should be tax deductions, considering how much we spend on them…right?!
I’ve taken some time to put together our Best Seller’s List, in hopes that it may guide you, as you consider all these questions. By sharing what other Pet Parents are buying, you may discover something new and wonderful for your dog. I will share the items, as well as provide a small explanation as to why I think the product is selling well.
We sell 3 brands of food at Play All Day. Nulo is a new brand that we just started carrying so we don’t have a sales history with it. We also don’t have a lot of experience with it. But they are an up and coming company, with a good reputation so far. We will be offering some incentives to try Nulo over the next few months, so be on the lookout for those opportunities. For this exercise, we will look at Champion and American Natural Premium, as we sell an equal amount of these two lines.
Champion is our top-shelf food and they have 2 sub brands, Orijen & Acana. They recently subdivided their Acana line into Regionals and Heritage. And this past year, the Heritage Line has been making a big surge. It has less meat, but still has a good amount of protein and is very balanced, as well as low carbohydrate content. And, of course, Champion is known for the quality of their products and excellent production standards. What is notable about the Heritage line is the price. It is not that much higher than some of the other high quality kibbles on the market…and I feel that it is a better food. For that reason, it has been selling very well. The other Acana line and Orijen both sell well, and offer more meat based protein.
American Natural Premium is a good quality food and a great first step into the Premium market. My only issue with it is that it does have a higher carbohydrate content. And some dogs just don’t do well with that. But if your dog tolerates carbs, it is a good quality food at a very good price point. If you are feeding Purina, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, or other similar foods, this is a great first step up.
Unsure of what to feed? I offer free Nutritional Assessments. All you have to do is email me and let me know what your dog currently eats, and what seems to be working with your current food, as well as what is not working.
We love to give our dogs treats. That is the primary reason I feel our top sellers perform as they do. Our Rabbit Jerky, Beefy Links, and Iced Cookies do really well. They are smaller treats with a smaller investment of between $1 – $2. They are a nice quick pick-up at the checkout counter and make a fun snack for your dog after a day of playing with buddies. Now these are not the highest quality treats, but hey, we all need a little junk food now and again. And the dogs sure love them.
For a little higher quality treat, pick up a “Bag ‘O Bones” or a bag of Coconut Colada cookies. They are economically priced and will provide a good amount of snacks for the week after daycare. They sell really well because the dogs love them and the price tag is not too bad.
The best sellers in our bigger bags and higher dollar treats are Diggin’ Your Dog Chicken Strips, Diggin’ Your Dog Charki Puffs, Pocket Trainers, Sojos Dehydrated Raw, and Bison Bites. Diggin’ Your Dog is just a cool company. Their love of dogs shows in the products they make. The Chicken Strips are a good option because there are quite a few in the bag and the break into smaller pieces easily. Dogs love them. The Charki Puffs are on the Best Sellers List simply because the PAD Staff buys them up as soon as they hit the shelf (me included). Take a tip from your Dog Care Professionals….dogs love these treats. Pocket Trainers and Sojos dehydrated are great for training your dog. They are small and calorie wise, won’t pudge up your pooch. Sojos is also a great option for dogs who can’t tolerate grains or other fillers. They are simply dehydrated meat. And last but not least, Bison Bites. In each play group, we have a jar of Bison Bites. They are the “special” treats for when dogs are really good kids or for when we need to grab their attention and work on behaviors. The dogs know they are special treats and they love them.
If you know me at all, you know I love to promote chewing for dogs. I also advocate safe chewing. No chew is entirely safe. You should always supervise your dog until you know what his/her chewing style is and each time you try a new chew, you should supervise that as well.
We have quite a few popular products in this category.
Antlers are a big hit with most dogs. They are durable and long lasting. But they are also hard. This is a chew that should be supervised for a while before turning your dog loose with one. Some dogs are such excessive chewers that they can break teeth or wear them down with too much chewing on a hard item such as an antler. But those dogs are the exception and most dogs do well with them. And they are very popular due to their durability. Note: If you buy your dog an antler and they seem uninterested, rub a little peanut butter into the marrow and around the edges. This will get your dog chewing and once they start, they will see the benefit.
Marrow bones are a big hit with our customers as a “special chew”. I advocate these chews in situations in which a dog needs a good distraction, or deserves a nice reward. Marrow bones entice the dog because of the raw meat and sinew on the outside, as well as the marrow on the inside. Your dog will work on a marrow bone until they get all the marrow out, and then most will chew on the empty bone for a long time. They are very durable and of great value to most dogs.
On the synthetic side, Benebone is a great, durable, and very popular chew toy. It is synthetic, and over time, your dog will tear off small shavings of the Benebone. I have not had any choking issues with this, nor have I had digestive issues related to this. But as always, supervise at first.
Our last category of Chews are those that are a hybrid Chew/Treat. These are digestible Chews. They are digestible, but every dog is different. Some dogs can eat large amounts of these types of Chews and do just fine, while others will get stomach irritation if they consume too much at one sitting. This category includes Bully Sticks, Himalayan Chews, and No-Hides. Bully Sticks are very popular. They come in 6”, 12”, braided, and pretzel shapes. Depending on your dog, a bully stick will last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. Himalayan Chews are an extremely hardened cheese. Dogs love them! They are pretty pricey, but your dog will thank you. And newest to this category are the No-Hide Chews. These were fashioned to replace the Rawhide Bones that are so popular, yet so bad for your dogs due to the way they are processed, and also the poor digestibility. No-Hides are made from meat, not animal hides, so are much more digestible. These are very popular with the dogs and can last for a few hours with a moderate chewer. NOTE: This class of hybrid Chews/Treats should always be supervised chewing. Because the dog will actually ingest the Chew, it will become smaller as the dog chews, and smaller means choking risk. I have 3 dogs. 2 are able to handle the smaller piece and keep chewing it appropriately until ingested. The 3rd is not. She looks at everything as a challenge as to how fast she can consume it. She is a choking risk.
Himalayan Chew Helpful Hint: When the Chew gets too small and becomes a choking risk, strike it with a hammer and break it into smaller pieces. Put on a plate and microwave for 35-45 seconds. It will puff up like popcorn. Let cool and feed to your dog as a treat.
This is short list because one product beats all the others out. That is our Fluff & Tuff line of stuffed toys. These are the adorable stuffed toys you see all over the store. And most of you say, “I could never give that adorable thing to my dog. He would destroy it”. This is a case of looks can be deceiving. While cute and adorable, these are by far, the most durable stuffed toys I have found. I will not go as far as saying they are indestructible. But they do hold up well, and even after a gutting, they still hold up really well. I would also offer that you can train your dogs to not kill and destroy every stuffed toy. I’ve been able to manage with it sweet little Dave who loves to eviscerate every toy he sees. Email me if you would like to know how I trained him.
Honorable mention in this category goes to our Planet Dog balls. These are safe, durable, washable, and they even smell like mint. J These are the balls we use in our play groups, and they are a favorite with the dogs.
While not the most fun topic, supplements do serve a purpose. Our two top sellers are Digest All and Diggin’ Your Dog Pumpkin powder. Digest All is a blend of prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. I promote it for the probiotics. These serve a role in creating a healthy gut. The gut serves a large role in a healthy immune system. Healthy Gut = Healthy Immune System. I’d like to see every Play All Day pup on Digest All. Diggin’ Your Dog Pumpkin is a great product to have on hand for when diarrhea (or constipation) hits your house. Or if you have a dog who has stools that are all over the place, sometimes soft, sometimes normal, and sometimes hard, Pumpkin will help to normalize this. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber, and helps to regulate the moisture content in the bowel. You can use pumpkin in a can. That is what I used prior to this product. But love this one due to its convenient storing and dosing. I believe that is why it is one of our top sellers.
Throughout March, we will have a “Top Sellers” table by the checkout counter. Take a look, ask questions, and give some of these a try. You will probably see why they made it to the table.