As many people continue to deal with food allergies and turn increasingly to more natural products, the same can be said for pets.
And while it may feel like pampering, for many dogs around the region, natural treats are a wholesome alternative to commercially produced, full-of-filler products.
Among those in the business of offering fresh treats is Sara Bulygo of Riverbank, owner of Pure Paws Biscuit Bar. She creates colorful ‘pup’cakes, flavored cookies, bone-shaped treats, ‘pup’ tarts and other items perfect for your canine companion. She said getting involved in the small-scale production of natural treats was an easy path to choose.
“I was working at a dog grooming salon in Modesto and I realized there were so many dogs with so many skin issues that come from the food they’re eating,” Bulygo explained. “So, I came up with all-natural dog treats and they’ve been a hit; it has taken off so much faster than I had ever anticipated.”
She has been producing the treats for a little under a year and has taken advantage of the variety of outdoor venues for selling the product over the last several months.
“I do the Oakdale Morning Market every Saturday, the Turlock Market on Sundays, Escalon on every third Wednesday of the month; and then any other ones that come up,” she said.
Bulygo is also on Instagram at @purepawsbiscuitbar and enjoys the creative process as she transforms ingredients into fun and flavorful dog treats.
“I really like the pupcakes and the donuts,” she said of her favorite items to prepare, with both mini and full-size decorated donuts offered. “I really like the big donuts, actually.”
Some treats are plain, others are decorated with all-natural dog safe sugar free frosting and sprinkles, including some with peanuts, coconut and the sprinkles she gets from another company.
“They’re good for all dogs, all dog breeds, they’re all natural ingredients, no preservatives, additives, all human grade, no sugar, nothing like that,” she noted of the treats. “Everything is sugar free, dog safe.”
There isn’t any one specific item she can pinpoint as the top seller, however.
“Actually, every single market, every single event is different,” Bulygo said. “Every time, something different sells out. I would say all the peanut butter ones are the most popular; however, the apple cinnamon pupcakes and donuts sell just as well.”
For her donuts and pupcakes, ingredients include whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder and unsweetened applesauce. Key ingredients in the parmesan pretzels are whole wheat flour, eggs, oat bran, chicken broth, baking powder, parmesan cheese and sesame seeds. The poplar s’mores, pup tarts and dipped bones are made with a combination of whole wheat flour, natural peanut butter, baking powder and cinnamon.
One of the treats that gets a lot of attention is the dog-shaped bones, which come in a variety of breeds, Bulygo utilizing dog cookie cutters to offer up several different breeds.
“I try to have all of the most popular breed of dog faces so everyone can find their breed,” she added of the peanut butter flavored cookies.
Her slogan is “Because Your Pup Deserves Real Food” and the reasonable prices and all-natural ingredients can make owners feel good about that special treat they are offering to their pet.
She can also create specialty birthday cakes for your dog; contact Bulygo at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
“I love that they’re safe for all dogs. People love them; people say how cute they are and I just love it,” Bulygo added of the joy she has in the process. “I get to be creative with them, every week is something different, I can decorate them in different colors, different sprinkles … every week can be different.”
The businesswoman added that she had been involved in the same type of effort several years ago but has found the marketplace much more interested in the products now.
“Many years ago, before I had kids, probably about 15 years ago I had tried dog treats and dogs weren’t as important to people as they are now,” she pointed out. “They weren’t like their babies, like they are now. But people will always spend money on their dogs and their kids, you know, and so I tried it again and it has taken off so fast, faster than I could have imagined it would.”