Wholesaling dog treats – what’s Marketing got to do with it?

The wholesale market for dog treats has a little bit of a murky past. Who do you trust?  What can you get and for how much.  But as you might notice, these are all ‘pesky’ financial considerations.

The reality is, that once you have found a dog treat wholesaler you like the ‘value of’ – then the hard work really starts.  For instance, while you need to get dog treats that your business can afford to retail.  You also just as much need to consider the core issues of the product.  Namely.


The main marketing and sales considertions

Customisation –  Will the wholesaler customise any of the treat varieties for your or give you exclusive rights to a range? 

Unless you are big, that answer is probably no – but we discuss this more, below.

Product differentiation – this can go either way. Either you want a product that everyone easily recognises, or you want something different that makes your offering unique. Again, we review this below.

3  Brand differentiation.  This goes to the heart of your business philosophy behind using white labelling.  Do you want their brand or your brand on the package, and what considerations does that involve –  read on below …

The 3 marketing considerations of dog treat wholesaling, in detail.

1. Customisation.   

As a small business, often with many different product lines besides dog treats, you are likely to have customers with specific preferences in their treats. For instance you might mainly supply a dog training industry, a grooming industry,  big chewing hunting/ guard dogs association, or smaller more house bound dogs.  

You might even be a café, or a convenience store whose main trade is NOT in the dog food/ treat industry.  These businesses might require very different wholesale solutions.

Depending specifically what you are after, if you buy from a very big dog treat manufacturer, these companies often don’t provide a ‘white labelling’ service to the smaller players.

They might demand that you sell under their brand only. OR they might try to force you into buying in quantities that far exceeds your requirement.  This then spills over into storage issues and product life issues.

2. Product differentiation. 

If you buy off a large supplier, they are unlikely to value your needs and concerns anywhere near as much as their biggest customers who buy by the pallet or cargo container.  It also means that either they might offer you a much smaller range or products or require that you buy several other products that you don’t want, in order to access the core products that you do want.

We personally have had borderline threatening calls from some driers, who demanded that we increase the number of non-core products if we wanted anything interesting (ie things there were actually a demand for). 

This kind of blackmail unfortunately is very common within the industry. And it means that many smaller players might be able to get white label products under their own brand, but only generic treats like beef jerky, chicken jerky or pig’s ears.

Remember with white labelling, they might either demand that you supply the bags, or charge you a hefty premium to pack their product into your bags.

Product differentiation can also spill over into the SIZE of the bags that a wholesaler is willing to supply you with.  Some wont pack smaller bags at all, and pour all of the treats into a large box that you have to repack into smaller bags. Others might offer 2 pound size bags, that you can more easily just sell directly, or break down into smaller bags again. 

3. BRAND differentiation.   

This is typically the main reason that businesses want products produced under their own brand.  The reasons are varied, but one major consideration is that if you buy off a very large brand, and are forced to sell it under that big brand name, they you are forced to be a ‘price taker’. 

You have to trim your margins to very low levels to compete with a product that any consumer can find anywhere, like in all major supermarkets, or all pet speciality retailers.

You can take any quality seemingly commodity product like beef jerky, but if your brand image or some other tweak to your marketing is strong, you can ask for a premium price. This is particularly true of single ingredient meat-based dog treats where shoppers won’t be able to directly compare your ingredients list with the big brand you are buying off.


There are many marketing decisions that go into working out how much of a premium you are willing to pay, to have something different. This weaves into the heart of your business model. Choose wisely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *