Our pets can’t tell the difference between a toy from a big retailer and an independent store. They are equally as excited about a new treat, regardless of its origins. However, as pet parents, we can make responsible purchases that benefit the greater good.
There’s never been a more important time to uplift the Black community. As the Black Lives Matter movement and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic brought to the forefront: Black Americans continue to face trauma and injustices. The Black community and businesses are disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of us marched in solidarity, gave donations, wrote letters to government officials, and started anti-racism book clubs. However, a direct and easy way to provide support is by shopping from Black-owned businesses.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of Black-owned pet brands across toys, food, treats, and more—all of which your pet is sure to love and benefit from. We encourage you to shop from these inspiring brands, not just today or during Black History Month, but every day because true solidarity is not an isolated event.
Ava’s Pet Place
Launched by 14-year-old pet owner, Ava Dorsey, Ava’s Pet Place provides a healthy alternative to big-brand boxed treats. The teenager drew up her first business plan when she was six, inspired by a desire to provide tasty treats with organic and natural ingredients for pets.
“I started my business because I wanted to create a healthier world for our pets, planet, and people,” Dorsey states on the website. Choose from delicious USDA Certified Organic small batch treats, such as Cheeze Pleeze organic baked dog treats to Salmon nuggets for cats, and be a part of positive change.
We love pampering our dogs and fresh food is all the rage these days. If a home cooked meal is not an option, check out Renaldo Webb’s Pet Plate meal subscription plan to reap the benefits without the hassle of cooking. A fresh food diet is associated with a healthy weight, shinier coat, more energy, and overall well-being, leading to fewer vet visits. It’s also a good choice for pets with particular food allergies.
“Every step of our process is about the most important thing of all — dogs living longer, healthier, happier lives,” shares Webb on the website. Pet parents can select from a variety of vet-designed recipes, including Tail Waiggin’ Turkey and Lean and Mean Venison made with real ingredients in a human-grade kitchen.
Beaux and Paws
Teenage dog lover, entrepreneur, and pet fashion designer, Sir Darius Brown, initially launched Beaux and Paws for dogs displaced by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, in an attempt to help them stand out and get adopted faster. Now, he has turned it into a business. For every stylish bow tie sold, one is donated to a shelter pet to help them get adopted. Choose from seasonal designs or go with a more classic look, and get your handsome pup something fun to bring out his personality while doing some good.
Former Nike designer, Angela Medlin’s House Dogge sustainable lifestyle brand offers eco-conscious dog toys, collars, and hoodies made from natural materials such as merino wool, vegetable leather, and cotton. On the website, Medlin shares that she is “passionate about disrupting the long standing production of toxic synthetic pet toys and products used by over 80 million people annually. House Dogge is my opportunity to create better, quality products that are safer for dogs and their people.” A percentage of every sale goes to a rescue organization to help dogs find their furever homes. Your dog is sure to love the colorful and durable Merino Wool Binky Bone Dog Toy!
Get your pet an ID tag that suits her personality from Trill Paws, founded by Rachel Jones and her crew. These fun pet tags feature popular sayings, memes, and pop culture emojis; they are a great conversation piece at the dog park or around visitors. “Pet ID tags on the market are dull and can be a bit boring, so we design tags and accessories that are unique, refreshingly fun and totally on trend,” says Jones on the website. Trill Paws is based in Los Angeles, California and also sells collars, leashes, pet toys, and even apparel for humans.
Does your pet suffer from itchy skin and allergies? Cleveland-based Apollo’s Paw has a remedy. These 100% natural, cruelty free, hand-crafted grooming products made with shea butter and essential oils give dogs much needed relief. Founder Jennifer Woodard is a registered nurse who was desperate to find a natural approach for her dog Apollo’s skin issues.
“I know that skin is a major organ that requires constant maintenance and care, that is no different for furry friends,” writes Woodard on her page. The brand’s paw and snout balms, shampoo, and spray are all made with quality ingredients that are vegan, natural, and cruelty free; they are designed to fight dry dermatitis, dry snouts, and cracked paws, while being gentle on sensitive skin.
If you’ve got a picky eater on your hands, Enjoy-a-Bowl will provide the perfect solution. This genius idea of a dual compartment bowl, from veterinarian Joe J. Owens, allows pet parents to hide the pet’s favorite food in a secret lower compartment to lure her to eat healthy food. The aroma of the food locked away underneath will get your dog’s appetite stimulated and licking the bowl of his own food clean. You can use any food – like lasagna, steak, or chicken – that your pet would love to eat (but never should) The bowls come in two sizes and a number of bright colors.
Fuzzy Pet Parent Company
Co-founder and CEO, Zubin Bhettay, alongside Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr. Cherice Roth, built a team of experts to revolutionize holistic pet care through Fuzzy Pet Health, a one stop shop for pet parents. The new service offers 24/7 vet chat and video call access, as well as vet-curated products for subscribers, to make pet healthcare more accessible to people everywhere. The goal of Fuzzy is to give pet parents peace of mind about their pet’s condition while alleviating the intense strain on the veterinary industry (by avoiding trips to the ER).
Lick You Silly
Lick You Silly’s boutique line of premium natural, wholesome dog treats are made from real meat and come in two flavors: Beef or Chicken Liver. You won’t find any complicated ingredient lists on the packaging: these treats have no artificial colors, chemicals, preservatives, dyes, grains, or any byproducts – just freeze-dried USDA inspected meats do not require refrigeration. They are even safe for dogs with sensitive tummies and cats. A portion of the proceeds goes to animal shelters.
If your dog goes nuts for jerky, look no further than Little L’s artisan, single-ingredient dog treats made in New York City. Named after twin doggie sisters, Lilly and Lulu, the boutique Brooklyn bakery began in an attempt to provide a locally-sourced, homemade alternative to jerky that is more brittle and crunchy rather than chewy.
Meat sourced from small farms around the city is sliced and tenderized by hand and then slowly dried in the oven in small batches, giving the treats a crunchy, yet soft feel that your dogs are sure to love. Give your furry friend Gobble-Gobble Krak’ems (Turkey Brittle for Dogs) or Salmon Krunchskins, and she won’t stop wagging her tail. These treats are also ideal for training, as they break easily in smaller pieces.