It’s a dog’s life. Rival treats companies fight for the pampered pooch market

Two companies offering monthly boxes of treats arriving right at the front paws are giving dog lovers more of a reason to indulge their four-legged friends.

The last six months has seen two doggy treats companies set up – Pet Parcel in May and Bow Wow Box in June. Both deliver monthly parcels of healthy dog treats – and Pet Parcel sells surprises for cats too.

Bow Wow Wow’s customers can choose from three box sizes – small, medium and large – each which contain different dog treats every month.

Founder Andy Evans says he didn’t do a lot research to start up the canine company but looked at what was working overseas.

“I noticed that a US company sold subscription dog boxes. It had been running for the past three years, had grown its customer base to over 100,000,” he says. “I knew New Zealand was right for some subscriptions for dogs.”

Andy Evans and Sally

The New Zealand Companionship Council found that in 2011 pet owners spent approximately $1.25 billion on their pets. The main costs were for pet food, vet bills and healthcare products.

Council secretary Michelle Clay says the organisation expects the total pet-spend sum to increase when they release results of surveys in 2015.

CBS News reported pet-spending in the USA is “creeping close to $US60 billion (NZ$76.3b) this year,” up from $US55.7b in 2013.

In its first three months of business, Bow Wow Box’s signed up more than 500 subscribers – largely using social media. The company’s Facebook page has more than 5000 likes and clients often upload pictures of dogs opening up their boxes, Evans says.

He says New Zealand is behind when it comes to online retail shopping availability.

Online competition

"Our biggest competitors are your typical bricks and mortar stores like supermarkets, pet stores as well as online pet stores.  The potential for growth is massive with online retail only accounting for 6% of sales in New Zealand where overseas online sales can account for up to 20% of all retail sales." (Paragraph updated)

Evans says the company should start making money next year, having sold 10% cent of the business to fund costs around design and website build. The company is also looking at catering for cats too with “Meow Wow Boxes”, he says.

Pet Parcel's husband and wife business partners David and Samantha Lochery say they moved into the dog and cat treat market because they saw a gap to provide cheaper treats than were available in shops.

“We are very high involved pet owners, having both grown up with dogs and we found going into stores that things are so expensive.

“Our business model is based on all natural treats and toys which are sourced from around New Zealand.”

They say the business boomed at first, although competition had affected growth.