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Why We Made a Food Puzzle

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Gone are the days when dogs were thought to be eating and sleeping machines that simply needed a quick walk around the block once a day to stay fit. Today, dogs are understood to be thoughtful and emotional members of our families that need a well-rounded diet of engaging activities to stay physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.

We believe many pet parents already knew this about their dogs, but now that the scientific community has started focusing on canine communication, enrichment and wellness, there has been a surge in the development of, and demand for, pet products that entertain, engage and enrich.

This category growth, along with the overwhelming benefits of environmental enrichment and the opportunity we saw for innovation, is what set us down the path of creating PAW5. And although there are quite a few dog bowls and feeders on the market already, here’s why we decided our first product would be a food puzzle:

1: A puppy came into the world. More specifically, into our world.

It’s not until you are looking a fifteen-pound ball of fur in the face that you realize you are solely responsible for the health and happiness of this creature and you haven’t the faintest clue where to start beyond a bag of food, a bag of treats and a bowl of water. And so began our research into how to offer Dory a rich, well-rounded and fulfilling life.

Our trainer introduced us to the idea of environmental enrichment, and all of the ways we could create an experience-rich world for her, but we knew we had to balance Dory’s needs with the busy schedule our family already had to manage. The answer was to find products that could make everyday activities more interesting…and so off to the store we went.

2: What was on the market didn’t work for us. We want to make meals better, not harder.

There are two main problems we found in the puzzle products that are on the market now. The first is that most of them are more work for the human than we, as busy pet parents, want to do. We really don’t want to lift and twist and tighten and shift. We are more of the “pour and go” type of people. And we don’t think we’re the only ones.

The second issue was that many of the feeders we found were “slo-bowls,” attempting to slow the dog down through frustrating designs. These products offer a very important health benefit for some dogs, but we wanted Dory to have a better meal, not a harder one. We were looking for a food bowl that was designed to tap into a dog’s natural behaviors and instincts, bringing out the essential “doggy-ness” in our dog. Needless to say, we left the store empty-handed.

3: We want to keep Dory around as long as possible.

Mental exercise is a great way to keep your dog young. In fact, Stanley Corren, professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia writes in an article for Psychology Today:

“For those of us who want to give our pet dog the advantage of a more efficient brain, the trick is simply to keep the dog’s mind active, exposing him to new experiences, giving him new things to learn and puzzles to work out.”

This cognitive exercise also has the ability to ward off a common condition in older dogs called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction. By keeping your dog active both physically and mentally, research has proven that it can slow down the progression of the disease and increase senior dogs’ quality of life.

4: We think we can do this right.

Our goal is to give every dog an enriching experience every day. Lofty, we know. Parallel to this, we are determined to provide pet parents safe, high-quality products that are grounded in sustainability. We manufacture our products in the United States, just 300 miles from our offices in Philadelphia, and utilize a closed-loop, zero-waste manufacturing process. Each product is guaranteed BPA and phthalate-free. We believe you and your dog deserve this kind of integrity in the products you buy and the brands you trust. You can learn more about our Four from Five™ promise on our website.


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