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Pet parents are looking for more than just a reward for their furry friends

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(BPT) - As many pet owners have spent more time at home during the pandemic, there has been an opportunity for dog lovers to enhance their relationship with their pet, like they never have had before. Thanks to newfound work-life balance and more quality time together, the bond between dog owners and their furry friends has strengthened over the past year, and many dogs have found their forever homes. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the number of pet adoptions as a percentage of intake rose more than 13% from 2019 to 2020.

With the abundance of time spent at home, pet owners are spoiling their four-legged companions. Consumers are counting on treats to keep their pets occupied and ease the guilt when they are too busy to give their dog attention. In a Cargill survey conducted last April, 18% of dog owners said they were giving their dog more treats, and 12% said they were giving their dog more chews and bones.

What are pet owners looking for when purchasing treats? Research from Packaged Facts points toward four main motivators: function, entertainment, training and bonding. Consumers want treats that are healthy, transparent with their ingredients and can serve multiple usage occasions and purposes, such as rewards and long-lasting entertainment.

To address these trends and the needs of dog owners, Cargill recently launched The Chompery, a new brand of butcher-quality dog treats. The products are all natural, single-ingredient, sourced and produced in the U.S., and span an expansive portfolio consisting of bully sticks, pig ears, slow-roasted bones, organs, jerkies and more.

Pet treat buyers are particularly concerned with pet health and treat origin. More than half of dog owners seek out pet treats that are made in the USA. Consumer research revealed that the most important product claims for American treat buyers include easily digestible, made in the USA and natural, demonstrating that pet owners want only the best for their four-legged friends.

Consumers are also seeking bones and chews that provide dental hygiene benefits. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends daily teeth brushing for pets but says brushing several times a week can also be effective. Busy schedules can make it hard for pet owners to brush that often, so they look to products that can help decrease plaque accumulation.

While humans keep in mind what is best for their dog’s health, dogs are returning the favor. During the pandemic, people have counted on their pets for emotional support, daily interaction, comfort and companionship. Some dogs even help their owners with physical health by accompanying them on walks and routine exercise.

Of course, there is nothing a dog loves more than hearing “do you want a treat?” after a long walk. Whether you’re offering your pup a treat following good behavior, exercise, the completion of a learned trick or just because, seeing the immense joy on your pooch’s face can ease stress and be a bright spot each day.

Fortunately for pets, financial concerns are not curbing owners’ willingness to bring home tasty treats. In a survey conducted last July, 90% of dog owners reported spending the same or more on their pet as they did before the pandemic.

Pet treat purchases are also frequent and often spur of the moment, commonly picked up in the midst of a routine grocery store run. Nielsen data revealed that 72% of dog owners said they purchased treats in the past 30 days, and 65% of dog treat purchases are unplanned. To provide consumers with a new dog treat option outside the pet aisle, The Chompery products will be available in the meat aisle at grocery stores.

As many organizations continue to encourage a work-from-home policy, it looks like life will continue to be anything but ruff — and filled with tasty treats — for our favorite furry companions.

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