The fact that they have a beloved canine as their ‘Chief Entertainment Officer’ is not the only thing that stands out about the homegrown dog care company producing treats for other beloved canines. Dogsee was founded by Bhupendra Khanal and Sneh Sharma, and the centre of their inspiration was Mowgli, the “CEO” of the company, whose remuneration includes only the best of treats. The dog-parents want to help other dog-parents offer the same love, care and effort – and vegetarian dog treats for their canines.
Khanal said that as dog-parents, they always struggled to find healthy treat options for Mowgli. “As pet parents, we used to struggle with finding healthy treats options for Mowgli. Most of the treats available in the market were made of rawhide, a byproduct of the leather industry. The particular rawhide is usually treated with strong chemicals and preservatives and ends up being very harmful to dogs, ” he said.
But during a trip to the Upper Himalayas, the duo discovered ‘chhurpi’, a hard yak cheese. “We saw that dogs would steal these treats and gnaw on them. With its bone-like hardness, we realised that this cheese could become a healthy alternative to rawhide treats. That’s when we decided to introduce this healthy treat to pet parents across the globe, ” said Khanal.
Khanal explained that chewing is crucial to a dog’s health and the most popular chew toy in the market is rawhide. This helps dogs maintain strong jaws, clean teeth and fresher breath. But as dog-parents become more and more cautious about the effect of rawhide, there is a general increase in demand for healthier substitutes. Khanal said that Dogsee Chew is the only all-natural substitute, but the rawhide market is enormous. In the US alone, the rawhide market is worth over $5 billion.
“Despite being vegetarian, Dogsee is nevertheless 60 per cent protein, high in calcium, and hard to chew. The pet food industry presents a huge potential in India, with pet parents increasingly looking for healthy and organic dietary options, ” said Khanal, further adding that there is an increase in the willingness to spend more on quality products that are healthy and natural.
While all-natural treats might ease the conscience of the dog-parents, what do dogs think of these types of “green” treats? Khanal quoted a study conducted in 2021 that stated that with regard to dogs, vegan diet is just as tasty as regular diet. “Vegetarian diets are healthier and safer for canines than conventional meat-based diets, as long as they are nutritionally complete. Some researchers found that will almost half the dogs fed conventional meat-based diet programs required non-routine medication, but only a third of the canines fed vegetarian diets did so , ” he said.
Khanal said that Dogsee treats are a good natural source of multi-vitamin, calcium (over 2, 000 mg of calcium mineral per 100 gm) plus sufficient protein (over sixty per cent).
Gluten-free, grain-free, and natural goodies control allergens but don’t pose any dietary restriction. Khanal said that several foods and treats in the market are made of over ten ingredients, which could make a particular pet allergic. But Dogsee is made entirely of milk – 99. 9 per cent. He said that Dogsee Chew and their single-ingredient freeze-dried treats in Dogsee Crunch are naturally hypoallergenic products.
To ensure these natural products, the company has five state-of-the-art carbon neutral manufacturing and processing plants across different parts in Karnataka, producing 200 tonnes of dog treats in a month. They work with over 25, 000 villagers in the hills and dairies to procure the raw material for these treats.
“A month-long process to make our chews is what makes them special. We still follow the centuries old traditional chew-making method, and the extra touch that goes into making the particular chews special is that they are smoke-dried for 30 days in the hills, ” said Khanal.
The carbon-neutral company aims to make its factories carbon-negative too. “Dogsee is built to be successful while looking after its customers, the environment, and making a profit. We are a real-people-backed business that rides the conscience wave carefully and finds gratitude in managing its responsibility towards the Earth, ” said Khanal, adding that making money is just a by-product. They have already gone 100 per cent solar and are working on reducing plastic usage by 50 per cent by the end of the year.
The company also plans to expand in the coming months and add more strength to the workforce. “We are also expanding our investments in factories for the production and processing of Himalayan Chews and other products, plus plan to add over 400 people in our factories this year. We have the global reach now, and our plan is to use the reach to launch more products, go deeper and increase revenue, ” he said.
Dogsee is present at over 5, 000 retail stores across 30 countries. They have over 30 stock keeping units and a sales volume of over 100 tonnes per month. Khanal said that 10 per cent of their business takes place domestically, and 90 % overseas, mostly in the EU, UK, Japan, US and China.
The business was more export-focused before the lockdown but COVID-19 gave them the opportunity to focus on the Indian market, refine their infrastructure and other internal processes, stated Khanal..
He declared that the goal is to become the top-most natural pet supplies brand in Asia, with a significant global presence. But when it comes to competition, he thinks there is enough space for everyone at this point. “The stage the pet industry is at right now, it offers anyone who’s making a difference to pet’s lives to co-exist and grow, ” he said.
As talks about expansion take place, so do talks on finances. The company has been growing quarter-to-quarter plus seen a growth of two hundred per cent in the last two years. “We were profitable till October 2021; that’s when we raised the first round of funding. And, we are already moving towards profitability again. We will be positive again by the end of this year, ” said Khanal.
This year they secured a funding of $6. 7 million in the Series A round from Mankind Pharma and Sixth Sense Ventures. In November 2021, they got $7 million in their pre-Series A financing round from Sixth Feeling Ventures.
Dogsee is also planning to increase its offerings. It recently added three new product lines – Dogsee Veda that offers a range of Ayurvedic shampoos for their dogs, Dogsee Singles, 100 per cent natural hard chew bars made from Himlayan cheese available in carrot and coconut flavours, and Dogsee Play Treatoy, non-toxic chew treat-cum-toys.
Also in the pipeline are usually their healthy cookies Dogsee Gigabites, nutritional treats regarding cats, Catsee Chew, and treats for small animals like guinea pigs plus rabbits, Petsee Bites.
Dogsee is also aiming to release products for cats inside September.
Also read: Keswani’s Dog Employees