Pets live a life that can fill their owners with jealousy. All of their basic needs are taken care of, money is no object and they pretty much get to do whatever they want with little consequence (though some do show remorse once they realized they did something wrong). In return, pets give their owners unconditional love and affection (this is mainly true for dogs, but applies for most animals, with the exception of some cats that just want to be jerks). Finding a high quality treat is the least a responsible owner can do.
Jonathan Zanger lived with cats most of his life. At his wife’s request, a little furball of fun named Bubba joined their family. As Bubba adjusted to his new home, Zanger came to the realization that some dogs (including Bubba) have difficulty digesting commercially made foods due to their use of preservatives and other necessary ingredients. Zanger set out to create a better product for Bubba — one using the same ingredients he uses when cooking his own food. He liked the products he was making and felt that there was a market, which led to the creation of Treats My Dog Eats.
Zanger spends his week making the all-natural treats in his home kitchen. He uses a combination of yams, pumpkin, peanut butter, beef, eggs, cinnamon, turmeric, salmon, oats, apples, almonds, chicken, blueberries, fish skin, turkey, whole wheat flour and pork. His key is to dehydrate the treats instead of using preservatives. This enables Zanger to keep the unnecessary ingredients to a bare minimum (he will use extra ingredients in some of the ground meats and fish to keep them more stable).
“Baked treats are packed with as much flavor as possible with the least amount of ingredients,” Zanger says of his products. “And everything I make is made from food I will eat.”
Zanger puts a lot of thought and effort into making his treats something pets can’t get enough of and educates owners on what ingredients what could be unhealthy and even unsafe. Zanger says that it’s important for pet owners not to feed their animals the following ingredients, which can be toxic: chocolate, raisins, garlic, onions or peanut butter that has been sweetened with Xylitol.
While Zanger dreams of one day opening a storefront that would include a day care, veterinarian services, pet owner meet and greets and adoption services to coincide with treats and other items (“maybe after I win the lottery”), he currently sells his products online and at farmers markets. He is a regular at the Providence Flea and can also be found at either the Huttleston Market in Fairhaven, Mass, or Pawtuxet Village Farmer’s Market at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet in Cranston on Saturdays. He will be participating in the indoor markets when the weather starts getting colder in the fall and will be at numerous holiday shows. Zanger can be seen wearing a button that asks if he can treat your dog, offering samples to more-than-eager recipients.
“Come to all the outdoor events with your pups,” he says excitedly. “I will treat your dog on the spot!”
In addition to being available online and at pop up locations, Treats My Dog Eats can be purchased at The Emerald Frog in Cranston, with more locations to be announced.
Zanger relies heavily on word of mouth to promote Treats My Dog Eats, in addition to his website and social media platforms. Zanger takes the time to talk to, and most importantly, listen to his customers (both human and pet). This has led to the addition of cat treats in April 2021 and the development of softer treats for older dogs.
“Come talk to me,” Zanger requests of customers to better know and understand their needs and preferences. “If your pup has a favorite that I do not make, please tell me about it. This is the beginning of my second year in business, and it has changed a great deal in that year alone.”
Treats My Dog Eats is available on Instagram, Facebook (@TreatsMyDogEats), Twitter (TreatsMyDogEats1) and the website: treatsmydogeats.com.