Americans spend over $99 billion dollars per year on pets. Clearly, we have a lot of options when it comes to feeding, clothing, grooming, and treating our pets. If pet parents are able to work small, Black-owned businesses into the mix, we’re all for it.
But how is it to find Black-owned pet brands to support? Harder than you’d think. We recently surveyed 500 Black pet parents in the U.S. about their experiences, pet product shopping preferences, and more.
While 45% of respondents agreed they’d be “more likely” to buy pet products from a Black business owner, a full 44% noted it was “somewhat” or “extremely” difficult to find Black-owned pet products, services, or vets.
We’re here to make it easier. Read on to learn about some amazing Black-owned pet brands you can support. (And a quick shout-out to @blackpeoplepets on Instagram for creating a spreadsheet where we sourced some of these brands.)
Pet Food & Treats
We like: the Soft Jerky Cat Treats
The titular Ava of Ava’s Pet Palace started sketching plans for her brand at the ripe old age of six (!). She’s built her brand featuring organic and single-ingredient treats for dogs and cats with a sense of enthusiasm and some seriously impressive branding. While many of the items on this list are for the dogs, and her array of dog treats looks amazing, we wanted to highlight the delightful salmon cat treats that are sure to put you on every feline’s Favorite People List. (They take you off the list when you’re done giving them the treat — cats can be that way.)
We like: the Cat Birthday Cake
For too long, cats have been excluded from the pet birthday party trend. So let’s proclaim 2023 the Year of the Cat Birthday Bash. Little L’s Pet Bakery in Brooklyn is way ahead of us: They make purrfect cakes with two flavors to choose from (chicken-and-tuna or tuna-and-mackerel). One of our team members recently celebrated her cat Mowgli’s birthday with the latter; the cake was very well received. The cat party hats? Not so much.
We like: Maple Bacon Treats
Dogs Rule Everything Around Me (D.R.E.A.M.) was started by two global pet product industry veterans who set out to fuse pet products with the hip-hop culture they grew up loving. They’re growing their customer base of “dope diverse dog lovers” with high-quality ingredients like chia and flax paired with flavors like BBQ, Honey Cinnamon, and Chicken & Veggie. (Author’s note: The Maple Bacon treats are a big hit with German Shepherds…well, at least one. His name is Wiley.)
Pet Clothes & Accessories
We like: the “Hot Stuff” Bandana
Self-proclaimed “crazy British dog mum” Cassandra started sewing dog bandanas and accessories as a hobby. Six years post-launch, she offers a full line of fun bandanas, infinity scarves, grooming products, toys, and more. Even if you can’t find your preferred team in their lineup of sports-themed bandanas (*ahem,* go 49ers), we’ll happily recommend any of their other prints, like this one. Oh, and if you’re in the market for a cozy human-sized sweatshirt, this one gets our vote.
We like: the “Never Stop Dreaming” Knit Sweater
We’ve been trying to stick to the U.S. market, but this UK-based brand keeps popping up in our research, and we’ve really had to struggle not to buy everything on the site. Chunky knit sweaters with argyle prints? A limited edition blanket featuring elegantly understated prints of French Bulldogs?? A holiday jumper with emblazoned Christmas trees??? Yes yes and yes. This brand hits the nail on the head with class. (Wiley would be a fan.)
Leashes & Collars
We like: The Hybrid Rope/Biothane Collar
Looking for an excuse to buy a new collar or leash? Madison Ytterock of Blue Dingo Studios sells a rainbow of options. Many of them are crafted with BioThane, a low-maintenance tough material that also looks great in tasteful two-tones or paired with colorful rope as seen here. Put it to the test on your next hike.
We like: MLB Collab Collars and Leashes
The team at Fresh Pawz bills their offerings as streetwear for dogs, consistently teaming up with brands like Champion, Odd Future, and the NBA and MLB. We couldn’t resist getting the *officially licensed* Giants leash. (They’re Wiley’s favorite team.) To be fully transparent, that was our second pick after we discovered all the Spongebob gear was sold out.
ID Tags & Accessories
We like: Not All Who Wander Tag
Dog ID tags aren’t usually exciting to buy (even if that engraver machine is kind of cool). Thankfully, Rachel, the founder of LA-based Trill Paws, is on a mission to make your dog’s ID tag “unique, refreshing, and totally on-trend.” If you ask us, she’s succeeding in fine style.
We like: the 70's Flower Power Fashion Beaded Collar
If your preferred travel companion is your dog (or cat), Wanderlust Paws Company (WLP.Co) is your spot. And really, you don’t have to travel the world to appreciate how much a beaded collar will elevate the wardrobe of even the most cultured dog. The free-spirited 70s-style collar particularly caught our eye.
We like: the Cat Paw Pad Healing Balm
Simply Sage Dog Treats is about more than just treats. They’re also known for balms, skin salves, and soaps that help soothe sore paws and irritated skin. If your dog suffers from skin allergies and/or you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, Simply Sage has just the thing. We like the Cat Paw Pad healing balm, which is crafted with simple ingredients like beeswax and shea butter.
We like: the Dog/Cat Breath Freshener Spray
We don’t know about you, but “relaxing” is not how we would describe washing a dog – or brushing one’s teeth, for that matter. Gerrard Larrett is out to change all that. He built his brand on his passion for spa-quality products and years of experience in the cosmetics industry. We tested his natural breath freshener (Wiley volunteering yet again!) and neither human nor canine seemed to mind the experience. While it’s not a replacement for regular dental brushing and care, it’s a great way to help fend off plaque and tartar.
Home Goods & Beyond
We had to add this book. No, it’s not technically meant for your dog (although Wiley is an avid book eater). But it spreads an ultra-positive message for kids dealing with bullies AND educates about the oft-misunderstood Pitbull breed.
We like: the DogTravo® Dog Car Seat
Small dogs get a tough deal in the car. Unless they’re in your lap — which isn’t really safe — they don’t usually get the benefit of seeing out windows like their bigger companions. A dog car seat will solve that problem, and this one’s a great option — it’s waterproof, durable, easy to set up, and breathable for fluffier breeds. What more could your small doggo want (aside from being in your lap 24/7)?