A version of this article originally appeared on Boogie the Pug.
As protests continue across the globe over the murder of George Floyd and the continuous police brutality occurring against black people and people of color, many are asking what they can do to help.
Fortunately, there are so many things us dog parents can do! Plus, we’ve got the best teachers right at our feet; we could all be a little more like our furry friends.
The pet industry is a multi-billion dollar one. According to the American Pet Products Association, $95.7 billion was spent on pets in the United States last year, and an estimated $99 billion is expected to be spent in 2020. That’s a huge, multi-billion dollar pie, and it’s time to carve out a big fat slice for black-owned businesses and POC.
But first, here are a few general ideas to keep in mind moving forward.
- Educate yourself: You can find anti-racism resources here. Everything from books, to podcasts, documentaries, and more.
- Self awareness and reflection: To better understand what needs to be done to move forward and be allies, it is important to take a look at what you can do starting today.
- Support: There are plenty of ways to be an advocate! Keep the conversation going, reach out to black members of the community and listen.
It’s important to spread the wealth, put your money where your mouth is and support black-owned businesses.
There are free ways to support black-owned dog businesses:
- Follow them on social media.
- Interact with their social media accounts by commenting, liking, reposting or sharing.
- Shout them out, either on your own social media pages or blog, or by telling your friends and family.
- Write a positive review.
- Sign up for their newsletter.
If you are a dog parent, buy their products, tell your friends about them, and follow them on social. If you are a business, carry these products in your shop, or recommend their services to your clients. We can all do something.
Here are just a few black-owned dog businesses you can support right now.
1. Ava’s Pet Palace
When animal lover Ava Dorsey was just a girl, she recognized a need for healthy pet treats for her dog and cat. She started Ava’s Pet Palace, and began offering treats made with quality and tasty ingredients.
Today, at just 12 years old, Ava continues to push the importance of health and wellness for pets. Her treats — like Minty Woof Poppers and Cheeze Pleeze Bites — are made in small batches and are 100 percent organic.
She was recently awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the WDB Marketing Legacy Awards. Congrats Ava!
2. Beaux and Paws
When young Darius Brown saw the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and Irma, he went into action. He decided to hand make colorful bow ties to donate to the ASPCA, to help displaced dogs garner more attention in the hopes of getting adopted.
Since then, Darius has been hard at work building his brand. He’s the youngest designer to participate in the “New York Pet Fashion Show,” he was featured on Animal Planet’s “Dog Bowl lll,” and he was acknowledged by former President Barack Obama.
Today, 13-year-old Darius continues to donate and sell bow ties for animals in need. He’s currently on a mission to ship bow ties to animal shelters in all 50 states, and visit them, too. Go Darius!
3. Brock N’ Bone
Brock N’ Bone sells a curated collection of matching headbands and dog bandanas. Founder Elyssa makes each product by hand right from her home in Harlem, N.Y., and sources fabric locally in the garment district.
Her shop is named for and inspired by her Cavapoo Brock.
When veterinarian Joe J. Owens noticed that his furry patients were getting sick because of their diet, he invented the Enjoy-A-Bowl.
The Enjoy-A-Bowl is the only appetite stimulation bowl on the market. It works by placing good smelling food in the bottom tray, then placing your dog’s actual food on top, using a divider to separate the two. The bottom food’s aroma stimulates your pet’s appetite, without any of the bad side effects.
The bowl is great for picky eaters, diabetic patients, pets on prescription diets, those with pancreatitis or those managing obesity.
5. The Bark Shoppe
Bronx native Melissa Mitchner opened her brick and mortar location, The Bark Shoppe in Harlem back in 2012.
This top-rated, premier pet care facility offers grooming, boarding, daycare and dog walking, as well as their own house brand of grooming products.
Besides their dog services, The Bark Shoppe also gives back, and in a big way. Melissa uses her business to help others. They offer internships to underserved communities through partners like Bronx connect, Fedcap, Pathways to graduation and Friends of the Island to help motivate and introduce people of color to the pet care industry.
Learn more about Melissa and The Bark Shoppe in this podcast episode.
100 St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, New York
6. Harlem Doggie Day Spa
Brian Taylor has always loved dogs. What began as dog walking after work turned into The Harlem Doggie Day Spa, a dog spa owned and operated by Taylor with one brick-and-mortar location and another on the way.
The Harlem Doggie Day Spa offers pet grooming, doggie daycare, cage free boarding and pet transportation.
Besides providing Harlem residents with great customer service and dog care, Taylor gives back to the community. He launched an internship program for at-risk youth, teaching them useful skills and providing jobs, and often participates in community driven efforts, like food and clothing drives and fundraisers. In 2013, he started a “No Poop Left Behind” campaign to increase the number of dog poop bag stations in the area, something all New Yorkers, dog owning or not, can appreciate.
734 St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, New York
7. Homescape Pets
Husband and wife team Nana and Marcus started Homescape Pets after losing their beloved Schnauzer Beau to cancer. Towards the end of Beau’s life, they knew they couldn’t save her life, but they could give her a better quality of life. That included less hard-core drugs and more of what nature provides.
So they buckled down in Colorado and began creating simple, all-natural, hemp and CBD-based pet supplements, with an emphasis on all natural ingredients.
Fun fact: What’s in a name? Nana and Marcus moved four times in 5 years. Each time, they made their house into their little homestead, ensuring that their dogs were comfortable, plants were growing, and their surroundings were personalized. They believe that people create the landscape of their lives. Homestead + Landscape = Homescape. Perfect!
8. House Dogge
Inspired by her English Bulldog Wubbi and years of travel and design, former Nike design director Angela Medlin founded House Dogge, a modern, eco-friendly dog accessory brand.
Its beautiful studio is based in Portland, Ore., where House Dogge makes creative and sustainable dog accessories and clothing. Check out their beautiful rope toys and they’re personalized items.
9. Leela Ryan
When Vanessa brought her adorable peekapoo (Pekinese-Poodle) home, she was soon grossed out by the stinky treats on the market. So, this attorney-turned-entrepreneur invented Leela Ryan (named after her dog!), a brand of vegan, plant based healthy dog treats.
These yummy vegan treats are made with limited ingredients right in New York City. They’re packed with good, healthy, locally sourced fruits and vegetables, with no artificial flavors. They’re great for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs!
10. Little L’s Artisan Dog Treats
Little L’s Artisan Dog Treats was born when dog owner Lenny Forde began looking for locally-sourced, homemade dog treats that were a safe alternative to jerky for his two dogs, Lulu and Lilly.
Soon came delicious kookies, krak’ems (meat brittle) and a physical location called Little L’s Pet Bakery & Boutique in the Bronx.
Their treats are all made in house, right in New York City, and have expanded to include things like Woofulls (dog waffles!), krumbs appetite boosters and more.
Check them out in store or buy online on their website.
42 Bruckner Boulevard,
Bronx, NY 10454
11. LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls
When Cyndi Prince wanted to protect her family from the toxic chemicals found in household cleaners, she knew that normal chemical ridden dryer sheets had to go. So she created LooHoo Wool Dryer Balls, a natural alternative to toxic dryer sheets.
Her wool dryer balls are made with 100 percent wool, which is all natural, sustainable, biodegradable and durable. Plus, they soften our clothes and reduce our dry time. And lucky for dog owners, they make great and safe dog toys! Cyndi sells a durable braided dog toy that’s soft on teeth and great for a game of tug-of-war.
All LooHoos are American-made in Maine using 100 percent domestic wool from American sheep farmers.
12. Nova West Supplies
Nova West Supplies is committed to all natural body care, and that includes care for our canine friends too.
Their all natural dog shampoo effectively treats symptoms of dermatitis, seborrhea, mange and other parasitic or bacterial infections. It also helps soothe and eliminate scaling, rashes and inflammation. It’s great for allergy prone dogs with itchy skin.
Besides shampoo, check out their all natural anti-fungal.
A portion of their sales go to Denver Animal Shelter.
13. Pardo Naturals
When Pardo Naturals founder Rita Pardo couldn’t find a product to relieve her daughter’s severe case of eczema, she took matters into her own hands. She researched natural remedies, aromatherapy and medicinal herbs, and came up with her own concoctions.
That was back in 2014. Today, Rita has grown her company to include everything you need to live a toxin-free lifestyle, from lotions to bath bombs, dishwasher tablets and pets!
Check out her moisturizing paw and nose lotion bars for dry noses and paws. Great for dogs who need relief, especially in the winter time.
14. Paws and the City (P.A.T.C.)
When Brooklyn native Jae noticed a lack of quality pet products and services in Crown Heights, she decided to open her own store. Along with her friendly cat Fiona, Jae opened Paws and the City, a shop that features an array of pet supplies in a homey environment, with wood floors and lush plants.
They’re different than your average pet shop because they’re a one stop shop; they offer a top of the line grooming salon, custom-made boarding hotels, dog-walking services, in-house pet sitting services and free food delivery services to Crown Heights and nearby residents.
754 Nostrand Ave,
Brooklyn, NY, 11216
15. Pet Parent Allies
CPDT-KA dog trainer Curtis Kelley uses positive reinforcement to train dogs of all ages and sizes. He implements intimidation and fear-free methods that help you better communicate with your dog. Plus, he teaches dog agility and dog walking.
Pet Parent Allies offers private and group classes in Philadelphia and online.
16. Pet Plate
I’ve been a huge fan of Pet Plate since even before I saw them featured on Shark Tank.
Pet Plate is a subscription-based dog food that delivers all-natural, ready-to-eat meals, straight to your door. Their food is made with human-grade fresh ingredients and cooked in a USDA facility. Plus, you can get food personalized specifically for your pup.
Company founder Renaldo Webb started his career working as a consultant in the pet food space where he witnessed first hand how mass-market pet food was made. He witnessed the inferior ingredients and substandard processes, so he worked to find a healthy solution for his dog Winston.
Today, those healthy meals are shipped all across the country.
17. PupStars Pet Care
PupStars Pet Care service started out as a home-based dog-walking company in Chicago, and has grown into a first-class 10,000 square-foot brick-and-mortar operation with luxury boarding suites.
The location offers grooming, walking, boarding, training and puppy parties. If you’re in the area, check out their amazing (and huge!) dog park called Payton’s Playground, which offers a coffee shop, benches and lots of fun.
Plus, owner and founder Tara Robertson is only getting started. She also plans to host free events, mobile vaccinations and doga (dog yoga).
2337-2339, West Lake Street
Chicago, Illinois 60612
18. Scotch and Tea
Khrys Nikole is a devoted dog walker, sitter, and trainer. She lives in New York City with her partner, dog named Butter, and cat named Chai.
Besides working with dogs, Khrys has her own accessory and stationary online shop called Scotch and Tea, where she sells matching masks and dog accessories, among other things.
Khrys will be joining CUNY City Tech for their BA program in Business and Tech of Fashion in Fall 2020.
19. Sir Dogwood
Based in Chicago, Sir Dogwood was founded in 2016 by Chaz and her muse, Beatrix the Schnauzer. Their online dog shop curates chic and comfortable dog wear for dogs of all sizes and their sartorially-minded owners.
Their shop has everything from leashes and harnesses to sweaters, outerwear and dog beds.
Besides taking care of our pup’s fashion and at home needs, Sir Dogwood loves to feature other makers and creators in the pet space. Here’s their interview with one of our favorite crafty queens DWJ. Creators who support other creators? Yes please.
20. Smart Bitch Dog Training
New Orleans native Taylor Barconey is obsessed with dogs. After college, with the help of a mentor, she began her journey in dog training. She became certified, gained experience, and eventually linked up with a friend to begin making her own mark. Smart Bitch was born!
Today, Smart Bitch helps NOLA residents bond with their dogs using fun and force-free methods. They offer in person services, as well as virtual ones, like live living room groups classes and digital DIY coaching.
A few more This Dogs Life found!
21. Gerrard Larriett
Gerrard Larriett’s background working at big-name brands like L’Oreal, LVMH and Elizabeth Arden helped in his creation of a pet care aromatherapy product line for our furry best friend.
He was inspired after trying to soothe his dog, Dada, during a thunderstorm one evening. Despite being on dog medication, Dada remained petrified. Gerrard starting thinking about other solutions. Realizing our dog’s nose is sensitive to smell, he turned to aromatherapy and incorporated it into pet products.
Now he has candles, sprays, shampoos and more.
22. Grooming Extraordinaire
Ashley Ann opened her first dog-grooming business in 2015 after completing her master’s study program in Chongging, China at the Yin Li Pet grooming school.
Today, she is a highly sought-after groomer in New Jersey with a celebrity clientele, as she is known for favoring the finer “details of grooming which she incorporates in her practice while individualizing each breed’s unique look to further define a dog’s personality.”
Besides her grooming business, Grooming Extraordinaire, Ashley educates people on the pet industry, including writing guides about grooming and diets, along with discussing topics on her podcast, G’Rumor Has It, where she delves into the world of dogs, motherhood and entrepreneurship.
190 Main Street, Lincoln Park, NJ
If you know of a black-owned, dog-related company that we haven’t listed, let Boogie the Pug know. They’ll add to the list and keep it updated.