Healthy Gourmet Dog Treats with Puddles Barkery!

Puddles Barkery is a local Seattle small business that creates healthy preservative-free soft dog treats, cakes, hats, and more!

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Tell us about your gourmet dog treats small business!

At Puddles Barkery, it’s all about the dogs! Our Seattle pet treat bakery creates healthy, preservative-free treats for your next hiking adventure in addition to Cakes, Cannoli, and Pupcakes for every celebration. You’ll love the treats because we choose local, health-beneficial ingredients for each recipe. But your dog will enjoy them because they are taste-tested and approved by our super picky husky, Kora. 

We also crochet hats for dogs and humans and donate 15% of hats sales to local animal rescues quarterly. We ship around the USA, plus you can order online and pick it up from one of our 20+ retail partners to save on shipping costs. We are also at the Ballard Farmer’s Market every Sunday and participate in other in-person pop-up events too.

Gourmet Dog Treats made in Seattle Washington by Puddles Barkery!
Handmade Dog Hats!

Tell us about yourself and your team!

While you know about my talent for baking and crocheting, I am also a Soprano and I sing with the Seattle Choral Company. I also love to go hiking with our dog, Kora (this is her favorite thing in the world). You might be surprised that Kora is my first dog. I went absolutely head over heels for her and I’ve learned a lot about interacting with all sorts of dogs at my booth. I love all our furry companions.

I’m lucky to be assisted by my virtual assistant Hallie, my baking assistant Kara, my market assistant Sammy, and my content writer Janelle. Their talents have helped Puddles thrive and grow along with allowing me to have a life too.

I also have to thank the other small business owners who have been co-mentors and friends with me through my journey; Marika, Lauren, Erika, Freya, Amy, Laura, Phebe, Ellise, Malia, Whitney, Robin, Nathan, Eric, Shay, and more. From brainstorming ideas and solutions, consoling me on failures, and celebrating with me on successes, the friends I’ve made along the way have been invaluable.

What were you doing before you started your business?

I had gone to college for Music and Psychology at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. I worked in clothing retail and in in-home care for people with disabilities during college. Then my first job out of college was in a credit union in Albuquerque, NM. When I moved to Seattle I worked as an Administrator in a few different industries including property management.  

Puddles Barkery Natural Dog Treats
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What made you want to do this?

Kora was the reason I started. I solved the problem we had of finding dog treats that were high-value for her. Why is this? Kora is more adventure motivated than treat-motivated. She is happy to refuse a treat if she doesn’t feel like it, or if she thinks you have something better. 

How did you get started?

I started experimenting with recipes for gourmet dog treats in 2014. I decided on the name Puddles Barkery in July 2014 and registered the business then. I continued to finalize my first 4 treats, including getting the guaranteed analysis and registering them with the state of Washington before I activated my website and started selling treats in February 2015.

I wrote a blog on the progression of Puddles at our 7-year mark: 

What does a typical day look like for you?

I have a few different types of typical days.

Baking Day – it’s exactly that. Mondays are our full baking days of about 6-8 hours, mixing dough, rolling dough, cutting the dog treats, and then storing dog treats to be packaged later. We also have about 4 and half days for baking pup-cakes per month. I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks these days.

Event days – We need about 30 minutes to pack the treats and supplies, drive to the event, use at least 1 hour to unpack and set up our booth, work the event, then 30-60 minutes to pack up and leave the event. After the event, we check inventory and package or plan to package treats for the next event. Ideally, I try to use my foot spa after a day of standing at an event. During the events, I crochet the dog and human hats in between customers. 

All the other stuff – I try to hit my emails at least 1-2 hours per day. This is one of the hardest tasks at times, especially if it was an event or baking day. Then there is time for social media! I try not to spend more than an hour per day on socials and will try to schedule posts a few at a time so I can spend 1-2 hours a few times per week instead of more time each day.

January is taxes – preparing for tax season with all our documents (1099s, excise tax, sales tax, etc) plus renewing business licenses and insurance.  

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Where do you want to end up & what goals do you want to achieve?

I want to grow Puddles into a regional PNW staple. It would be great to get a physical location to supply our Seattle area customers and have a localized range in the PNW where many of our dog moms and dads have similar health values for the dog treats and food they give to their dogs.

What are some more memorable obstacles you’ve had to overcome?

Not having a physical storefront forced me to find in-person events and other small businesses to collaborate with as a pickup location in order to get my products close to my customers. Not everyone considers the benefits of partnerships. For both parties, you can develop by asking small businesses to be pick-up locations. Because of the storage issues (needing freezers/refrigeration), it was harder to convince large businesses to buy perishable products (at least when I started in 2014). Now many pet supply stores have freezers for raw food, so it’s not as hard to see the benefit of fresh treats.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own business?

Find a support network. While your family and friends can be helpful and supportive in your journey, finding other small business owners is crucial while you grow your business. They can offer you advice, collaborations, and hard truths, and are there to cheer you on as you do the same.

It took me 2 years to start to connect with other business owners and I got close to quitting. Once I found support from those who understand the trial and joys of being a small business owner, I was able to continue to grow in spite of the challenges I faced. 

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The Small Business Directory

What is your favorite thing about your business?

Meeting all the dogs! We currently sell in-person at events, both Farmer’s Markets, and other pop-ups. We always have samples, so even the picky dogs have the chance to find a new favorite treat. In addition, we get to meet so many of our neighbors and have the opportunity to make new friends because dog/pet people are wonderful.

What makes your gourmet dog treats business unique?

We are the only soft, preservative-free dog treats on the market. My dog, Kora, doesn’t like hard crunchy biscuits, so we keep some moisture in our treats instead of drying them out to be long-term shelf stable. Since I’m choosing the ingredients, I’ve elected to not use preservatives, including salt and sugar. This means that our treats are fresh and perishable, so storage is important.

Our dog treats will last from 3-6 months in the freezer and 1-3 weeks in the fridge depending on the type of treat, gourmet versus soft biscuits. We really are focused on small ingredient lists, and making the baked treats as healthy as possible so your dog’s tummy will like them as much as your dog does.

Business Partners

Puddles Barkery has partnered with local businesses that carry treats or are pick-up locations: Pups-A-Daisy, Metro Dog, Downtown Dog Lounge, Dogwood Play Park, Wally Pets Supply, Good Dog, Great Dog, Growlerz, Cone & Steiner, Whidbey Natural Pet, Traci’s Organic Paws Shoppe, Pickles Playland, Canine Matters, Bellevue Pet Spa, Down Pour Coffee Bar, Junkyard Bones, Renton Veterinary Hospital, and Ales & Tails.

We work with Shepherd’s Grain, Remlinger Farms, Full Circle CoOp, and farmer’s market farmers for our ingredients.
We also use local businesses like Working Wonders and McNamara Signs for our labels and event signage. 

Our Taste Test!

We headed to the Sunday Ballard Farmers Market with our own Lab/Whippet dog to do our own taste test and check out the booth!

During our visit to the farmers market (they had some wonderful local fruits & veggies!) the Puddles Barkery was a popular place! Our 3-year-old decided to pick the Blueberry Muffins for our 9-year-old LadyBug, and she was a big fan! On our next visit, we’ll grab a hat to go with her pajamas, which I’m sure she’ll love.

These small-batch soft dog treats even smell delicious! The neighbor stall had one as a snack while we were trying to decide which treat to get our puppy.

We like to feed our pets as healthily as we can without breaking the bank, and these treats do just that! They are healthy and our LadyBug loves them, and they are a reasonable price.

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