Braxton’s recently had a chance to interview Jen Proetto of Butt Wigglin’ Good. She has a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to healthy nutrition in pets, and she has worked very hard to get her business going. She has some really great experiences to share with you! Stop by and say hi to her at our Annual Harvest Fest this year.
So, tell us a little bit about Butt Wigglin’ Good, and how you got started making all-natural pet treats.
Okay. Well, Butt-Wiggling Good is a family-owned and operated business right in Delaware County, and the way that we began is basically by going to the store and starting to read some of the back of the labels of the big mainstream dog treats, and realizing that I couldn’t even understand half of them, let alone want to put them into my animals. What I ended up doing was putting all of that together at night, going home, and taking my love of baking and love of my animals, using those two together, and starting to create.
So, basically, I started with a few different natural ingredients right from my own pantry, in my own kitchen, and made a couple combinations up, handed them to my rescue pit bull, who immediately told me what was good and what wasn’t. The ones that were good I took to some of my friends. Their dogs absolutely went crazy over them, and they immediately came back to me and started asking me where I bought them, and things like that.
It kind of evolved just out of a way to get a better product for my dog, and I realized how important it was to other people. So I decided, with the dedication that my in-laws decided to put into it as well, that we could make a go of this. It’s just grown, in the last year, from making a few bags of treats for friends to being in over six stores now, and having about 17 shows coming up.
What are the differences in commercially produce products vs. your products?
Yeah. It’s definitely something that you don’t realize, all of the preservatives and sugars and additives that some of these mainstream dog companies are using. Basically, the same thing that they’re doing to us is what they’re doing to the animals. They’re putting those addictive properties into the treats. Really, a dog doesn’t need added sugar, and a dog doesn’t need a preservative and things like that, just like we don’t.
So, my motto came up to be, “If I wouldn’t eat it, why would I feed it to my pet?” We’ve kind of gone from there, and we’ve transformed into – my idea of the perfect line of products is one that caters to those dogs that don’t get the treats because they have, say, celiac disease or diabetes, or something like that. Well, they deserve the same treats as the happy-go-lucky pound dog.
So I decided to kind of make them into a little bit specialized, where every one of my treats is gluten-free. I really started taking a look at the grain-free products, and my biggest seller right now is, I’ve created my own chicken jerky.
It went over like crazy. Everything’s going so well. It’s almost like it’s just meant to be. This is what I was meant to do in my life.
Oh, that’s the most important part. If you love what you do, all else will come.
That is the absolute best part of this business. Right now, I’m a new business. I’m not really turning a profit. It takes a little while to get going, and things like that. But the response that I get from the people is just, it’s so worth it.
I mean, just going to some of the shows in the beginning of this past year, and listening to the people saying, “Oh my gosh, you’re giving me a product that I can’t find in the big-name stores.” I’m thinking to myself, “Are you kidding me?” Here I am, just one little person, just came up with this idea, and I’m actually fulfilling a need in the market that isn’t there.
Considering it’s a multi-billion dollar a year industry, that’s kind of rewarding to me.
What are the pros are of using natural ingredients versus the commercial.
Oh, yeah, absolutely. When you have a naturally-grown product, as opposed to a synthetic flavor, or a synthetic this or synthetic that, you’re actually getting the nutritional value of that ingredient, not just the smell or the taste, or whatever the case may be. So I use a lot of, like, flaxseed, which has a lot of Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B. Even the flavoring, as far as my spices and my herbs, I try and get the freshest, best things I can. Ginger’s been known to help motion sickness and nausea, so some people buy the different treats to give a holistic type of property.
It’s great, when you start telling people, “Listen, this stuff doesn’t just have a smell to it that smells good. You’re giving something to your animal that’s also going to be beneficial.”
It kind of really opens people’s eyes to see all the chemicals and the junk that they’ve actually been feeding their animals. I’ve been feeding my dog primarily these treats, and the same food he’s been on since I’ve adopted him, and he’s lost the weight. He’s a rescue pit, and he’s getting that curve back in him, just from treat switching. It’s amazing that people are coming back to me after a couple weeks and they’re like, “My dog loves it, they feel better!”
Be sure to say hi to Jen at this year’s Harvest Fest!
photo caption: Delco Times