What was your motivation for starting up Collar Club?
We got Winston when he was 7 months old. He was super skinny with poor skin, teeth, and coat. Oh, and his gut wasn't great either! Months were spent researching what he should be eating, and what he definitely shouldn’t, which sparked my interest in dog nutrition. I started to research what products were available on the market and I was utterly shocked by the poor quality of treats and commercial dog food that is available in the majority of UK retailers.
I made it my mission to find brands big and small that supported only wholesome natural foods for dogs so that I could provide Winston with what I feel is a great quality diet. A year down the road, he is healthy and full of energy. Being a Collie he keeps me on my toes!
I wanted to share my research and promote the brands that shared my values so started thinking of ways that I could do this. Eventually, I decided that a discovery box of wholesome treats and safe but fun toys delivered to your door every month would be a great way to promote brands and start a business too.
What is the benefit of using all natural ingredients for your sourced dog food?
I must state that I am by no means a qualified nutritionist, however, I have seen first hand just how important it is for dogs to get a great quality diet.
If we look at it this way, as people, we are constantly reminded about the worries of heart disease, obesity and various other chronic diseases caused by our excessive consumption of processed foods; Why would dogs be any different?
Sadly, lots of commercial products contain fillers, additives and preservatives to make their products bigger, bulkier and last longer. All of these things are not appropriate for anyone, let alone dogs.
Something that I found really scary is just how many dogs are estimated to be obese In the UK. I think the last report showed an estimate of between 30-50%. That's crazy! Dog’s don’t need sugar - but if you check the packets of the majority of well known corporate dog food manufacturers, this is listed as a key ingredient.
By stripping back all of these things, you can ensure that your dog is receiving the nutrition they need, without the additional calories helping you to keep your dog healthy and happy.
All our treats contain 100% natural ingredients, and for meat/fish based treats, we try to pick those that are air dried or dried at low temperatures to preserve as many of the nutrients as possible. For biscuit treats, we ensure that they contain no sugar, and are grain free too!
How much is a subscription? Is there a standard fee for a year or can someone opt-in and out if they wanted?
Priced at £32.99 p/m, Collar Club subscription is completely flexible meaning you can pause (or cancel!) your subscription at any point. We have people for instance that skip every other month so that they only receive a box once every two months. Each subscriber gets their own account from which they can manage their renewals from our website.
When you sign up you can tailor the box to your specific pup - first by choosing their weight to allow us to pick size appropriate toys & treats and then also exclude any ingredients that you know are likely to upset your pup's stomach.
We have also added a new option this month where you can exclude plush toys - while we never claim to provide indestructible toys we can make sure not to provide soft toys to those that have a track record of creating fluff trophies around the living room within seconds of being given a lovely new stuffed toy!
What sort of goodies and treats can we expect to find in one of your subscription boxes?
Each month varies greatly and there is usually 6-8 high-quality products in each box. We will always include an eco-friendly toy and one fish and one meat treat (unless these are excluded by our customers of course!)
Our June boxes which have just gone out contained;
A Jive ball from West Paw Design in the appropriate size for your dog - These balls are bounceable, floatable and chewable, great for all dogs. And the can be recycled at the end of their life too!
A packet of Beautiful Joe’s Air dried Liver treats which contain nothing but liver. For every pack that we buy, Beautiful Joe’s donate a pack to a dog in need. We will be selecting a shelter to support in the coming months!
A handy treat tin from Beautiful Joe’s to store those tasty treats on walks.
A paw, nose & skin balm from the Dog & I made from hemp oil. Perfect for soothing tired paws after long summer walks.
A pack of duck and cranberry sausages from the Innocent Hound which has improved Winston’s recall massively!
A pressed tripe bone from JR Pet Products so that your dog can chew to their heart's content without the worry or splintering or rough edges.
And a couple rolls of 100% salmon Pate from JR Pet Products, great for putting in a treat toy or dispenser like the Beco Balls from last months boxes!
How do you resource toys that are non-toxic to dogs?
Sadly there are little to no legal regulations when it comes to pet toys. The standards for hygiene for pet food, however, are on the increase which is a good sign and I hope that regulations and safety marks for toys will soon follow and become compulsory.
We look for brands that create toys that have been voluntary tested for things like Phalates &BPA (commonly found in plastics) or are 100% natural rubber. We also have some amazing toys that are made from recycled rice husks.
We also try to do our bit for the environment by selecting toys that have been made from recycled materials, natural materials such as hemp or jute and ultimately be recycled at the end of their lives.
What is your beloved taste-tester’s favourite dog treat that you include in your box?
Winston is a very lucky boy… Between him and his deputy, PT (Lexie the Westie!) all of the treats that are in the Collar Club boxes have been passed by them for a seal of approval.
Winston’s favourites so far have to be the sliced sausages from Innocent Pets - he actually helped himself to the bag off the table when we were looking at these which is very unlike him, he normally he’s very good! His other choice would be the salmon fish sticks from Armstrong’s twisted fish, which are soon to feature in next months box.