Sometimes I get asked the question of how I ended up in the dog digestion business with my own custom-made canine probiotic formula. After all, it is not the first thing that you think of when you dream of starting your own pet product business, especially when there are so many fun things you can do with treats. Just like my Hemp Chicken Sweet Potato Jerky, the Iconic Paws Canine Super Probiotic Powder came about to solve a problem for pet owners at a price that they can afford.
My roommate used to give Jefe and Callie a probiotic powder that she sprinkled over their food, and I noticed that if she forgot it for some reason, both dogs got very gassy. As in, room-clearing-like-a-bomb-went-off gassy. I started to research what she was giving them and I noticed that the product she was giving them did not have a prebiotic in it. I also knew from taking both a prebiotic and a probiotic for myself that you really need both of them. You need the fiber from the prebiotic to give the good bacteria from the probiotic a place to shine and work its magic. It’s kind of like when you watch a movie or television show, you can have great actors and actresses, but without a good crew, the show just would never be the same, only this time the show is happening inside your dog’s gut.
So once again, just like with the Hemp Chicken Sweet Potato Jerky treat, I did my research and sought out existing companies that were offering a two-in-one product to see if someone was already fulfilling this need. After a thorough search, I did not find one that met my criteria. I am very conscious of the price for the pet owner, so after deciding that I wanted to pursue the creation of my own product, I set out to find a manufacturer where I could put an original formula together that would help dogs at a very affordable price.
I found my manufacturer and we were able to create a custom-made formula with the top three strains that could help dogs. I was adamant that I did not want to use a formula that anyone else was using, I was firm in my position that this had to be unique and the best a pet owner could find.
All in all, it took about seven months from our first meeting until we went into production because I believe that it is important to take your time and make sure the quality is the best when you are creating a product. For the probiotic formula, I started working with the manufacturer in March 2017 and the product was available for customers in December 2017.
Our Iconic Paws Canine Super Probiotic Formula is an odorless powder that has a beef flavor that you can mix into wet or dry food. I wanted to go with an odorless product because there are so many dogs who are picky about their food and this way they are less likely to refuse to eat their food with the powder in it. Of course, as with any supplement, it does not work overnight, so it takes a little while for your dog’s body to adjust and start to show the benefits of the three strains of bacteria that are in the powder.
The third product in the Iconic Paws line will be available soon. That treat is pretty exciting to me because it will be for both cats and dogs after I received a lot of feedback at the Virginia Pet Expo that cat owners were looking for healthy options for their cats. I am working on several other ideas, but I am not in a hurry to rush them. Some companies might be in a hurry to be the first to put out a particular product or make something just because it is trendy, but I refuse to do that. I have been working with the manufacturer since April and expect the new treat to be out by the end of this month.
I remain firm in my approach to creating a safe and healthy product and I do not rush or cut corners. In fact, I have friends who have teased me that I am OCD, but at the end of the day, I am a perfectionist and if something is not 100% right, I am not going to do it. I research every product thoroughly, I research my manufacturers thoroughly and actually try not to use the same manufacturer for multiple products. My jerky treat manufacturer is in Florida and my probiotic is made in California. That is a personal choice because I believe that when you start using them for multiple products they can get sloppy. Plus I want to evaluate them, see how they both work, see who is more customer oriented and customer friendly. I want to make sure they understand my vision and are someone I can trust, and then I will consider expanding with them.
As my product selection continues to grow, whether we have two products or ten, the most important thing is to put out a product that is the best quality for your dog at an affordable price and serves a real function in your pet’s life. That is the whole reason I have gone into this business in the first place. I am not worried about making money now, right now my sole focus is on helping dogs and their parents achieve better health.