LOS ANGELES — The Pet Innovation Awards, an independent platform that recognizes the most innovative companies, products and services within the pet care industry, announced the winners of its fifth annual awards program on Aug. 17.

“The winners of the 2023 program are truly at the forefront of innovation as they work to revolutionize and strengthen an industry that revolves around beloved members of our family — our pets,” said Travis Grant, managing director of the Independent Innovation Awards. “From the food we feed them to the way we bathe them to technology that makes them live longer, better lives, pet parents are becoming more discerning with the products and services they buy. It’s the drive for top quality and the creativity of innovation that we look for in our award winners. This years’ class represents a whole new level of ingenuity and we couldn’t be more pleased to recognize them for their hard work.”

This year’s awards received more than 2,000 nominations from around the globe.

In dog nutrition, winners include:

  • Dollar General for Dog Food Dry Product of the Year
  • Natural Balance for Dog Food Wet Product of the Year
  • Tucker’s for Dog Food Frozen/Raw Product of the Year
  • Portland Pet Food Company for Dog Biscuit of the Year
  • Badlands Ranch for Dog Food Functional Diet Product of the Year
  • Vital Essentials for Dog Treat Alternative Product of the Year
  • Barkworthies for Dog Treat Product of the Year
  • Paw Power Nutrition for Health Focused Dog Treat of the Year
  • Phelps Pet Products for Upcycled Dog Treat of the Year
  • HappyTails Canine Wellness for Jerky-style Dog Treat of the Year
  • Pets Best Life for Dog Dental Treat Product of the Year
  • Snif-Snax for Natural Dog Treat Product of the Year
  • Natural Farm for Rawhide Alternative Product of the Year
  • Paw CBD for Dog Hip & Joint Product of the Year
  • alchemypet for Health Focused Dog Food Topper Product of the Year
  • Brutus Bone Broth for Dog Bone Broth Product of the Year
  • Bosco and Roxy’s for Dog Cookier Product of the Year
  • The Bones & Co. Pet Foods for Dog Food Keto Product of the Year
  • Omni for Plant Based Dog Food Wet Product of the Year
  • Tender & True for Dog Food Freeze Dried Product of the Year
  • Big Country Raw for Dog Food Frozen/Raw Patties Product of the Year
  • Rawz for Dog Food Grain Free Product of the Year
  • Protenga for Dog Food Innovation of the Year
  • Green Paws for Dog Food Organic Product of the Year
  • Rockster for Dog Food Bio-Organic Product of the Year
  • Natural Balance for Dog Food Wet Product of the Year
  • Frankly for Treat Roll Product of the Year
  • Ryoken Instinct for Functional of the Year
  • Yak 9 for Flavored Dog Treat Product of the Year
  • Yummy Combs for Dog Dental Treat of the Year
  • Stashios for Lickable Treat Product of the Year
  • American Ostrich Farms for Dog Treat Innovation of the Year
  • Bailey’s CBD for Overall Dog Health Product of the Year

In cat nutrition, winners include:

  • Love, Nala for Cat Food Dry Product of the Year
  • Solid Gold for Cat Food Wet Product of the Year
  • Kelly & Co’s for Cat Food Freeze Dried Product of the Year
  • Biophilia for Cat Food Frozen/Raw Product of the Year
  • Top Ration for Cat Food Functional Diet Product of the Year
  • Ultimate Pet Nutrition for Cat Treat Product of the Year
  • Zesty Paws for Cat Digestive Product of the Year
  • Paw CBD for Dog Hip & Joint Product of the Year


Dog Food Frozen/Raw Product of the Year

Tucker’s won Dog Food Frozen/Raw Product of the Year. Tucker’s frozen/raw dog food formulas are developed by carnivore nutrition specialists. Each diet is formulated with a single-source of novel proteins and packed into a patty shape, frozen, and then vacuum-sealed to offer pet parents a convenient way to serve their pets human-grade, raw nutrition.

“Our food was thoughtfully formulated and packaged, taking the needs of both retailers and pet parents as our number one priority,” said Jeff Kalish, founder of Tucker’s. “We set out to create the most biologically appropriate food promoting our dogs innate eating instincts.”

The diets boast a 95% meat, organ, bone and marrow content and also include pumpkin to help support digestive health. Tucker’s uses meat that is human grade, federally inspected and responsibly sourced from USDA-certified suppliers.

Tucker’s uses an emulsification process to create its formulas, allowing dogs to absorb more nutrients which, in turn, helps further support their skin and coat health, oral health, energy levels and digestion. Recipes include Beef-Pumpkin, Chicken-Pumpkin, Pork-Beef-Pumpkin, Pork-Bison-Pumpkin, Pork-Duck-Pumpkin, Pork-Lamb-Pumpkin, Salmon-Pumpkin, Turf & Surf, and Turkey-Pumpkin.

“Tucker’s Frozen Raw pet food offers a complete and balanced diet suitable for puppies to senior dogs,” Grant said. “The new  frozen raw bulk boxes add even more convenience, ensuring pets receive the benefits of a healthy raw diet."


Cat Digestive Product of the Year

Zesty Paws has won Cat Digestive Product of the Year for its Hairball Bites™ for cats. The Hairball Bites are bite-sized soft chew supplements that may help minimize hairball formulation in felines, while also supporting gut, skin and immune health.

“Humans aren’t the only ones in need of good gut bacteria,” Grant said. “These premium chews from Zesty Paws provide great digestive and skin health support as well as immune system function to our feline friends. Hairballs are a common problem with a few different causes. Zesty Paws is helping combat the issue with an innovative product in the pet food space that offers delicious taste while also addressing the problem at its root.”

Each chew is formulated with microcrystalline cellulose to help prevent hairball formation, psyllium to support digestive and gut health, and a proprietary blend of zinc and biotin.

“We’re focused on continuing to bring innovation to the pet supplement space, and humbled to have another one of our supplements for cats become an award-winning product,” said Yvethe Tyszka, vice president of marketing for Zesty Paws. “We value and appreciate the distinct recognition from the Pet Innovation Awards Program. As pet parents, we know how important it is to feel like you’re supporting your pet’s health and wellbeing each and every day, and our Hairball Bites were designed to be both efficacious and craveable, a satisfying option for both pets and pet parents.”


Dog Wet Food Product of the Year

Natural Balance Pet Foods won the Dog Wet Food Product of the Year for its Limited Ingredient Stews for dogs, which debuted at Global Pet Expo 2023. The Limited Ingredient Stews are formulated with premium, single-source animal proteins, vegetables and broth. They contain no added fillers, artificial colors or flavors.

Natural Balance's Limited Ingredient Stews for dogsSource: Natural Balance Pet Foods

The stews are available in three flavors: Chicken Stew with carrots and green peas, Beef Stew with potatoes and pumpkin, and Reserve Duck Stew with carrots and potatoes. The product can be served as a completed-and-balanced meal or used as a meal topper when paired with Natural Balance’s completed-and-balanced Limited Ingredient kibbles.

“Natural Balance knows the importance of our Limited Ingredient recipes for pets with food sensitivities, and we are proud to have won this award for our newest Limited Ingredient product,” said Michael Lopes, director of product development, Natural Balance.


Overall Dog Health Product of the Year

Bailey’s CBD won Overall Dog Health Product of the Year for its Omega Hemp CBD Soft Chews. The product is formulated with a combination of Omega 3,  6 and  9 fatty acids to support joint health, boost cognitive function and promote skin and coat health in canines. The supplements also contain premium, full-spectrum CBD extract to provide anxiety relief, immune support and other wellness benefits.

“This award from Pet Innovation is a celebration of the dedication and passion we have for improving canine health,” said Jay O'Keefe, founder and chief executive officer of Bailey’s CBD. “Our mission is to provide dogs with a holistic approach to wellness. We believe in the power of nature and the potential of hemp-derived CBD to enhance the lives of dogs in a safe and natural way. We are proud to have gained the trust and loyalty of dog owners who prioritize the health and well-being of their furry companions. Our chews support overall dog health while also offering a delicious taste that dogs simply adore.”

According to Bailey’s CBD, the chews are designed to serve as a key component in promoting longevity in dogs. The Omega Hemp CBD Soft Chews have undergone rigorous testing to ensure purity and potency, according to the company.

“[Bailey’s] Omega Hemp CBD Soft Chews are a testament to canine well-being and our choice for ‘Overall Dog Health Product of the Year,’” Grant said. “Bailey's demonstrates the importance of providing dogs with a well-rounded diet and the benefits of essential fatty acids. These delicious chews offer a comprehensive approach to dog health and have captured the hearts of proactive pet owners who seek a tasty and wholesome snack for their beloved dogs.”


Dog Hip & Joint Product of the Year

Paw CBD, and its parent company cbdMD, Inc., has won Dog Hip & Joint Product of the Year for its Hip+Joint Soft Chews. The chews are formulated with functional ingredients, including glucosamine HCL, chondroitin sulfate and Omega 3 fatty acids to support mobility and hip and joint health, as well as help ease inflammation in dogs.

“A common reason dog parents turn to CBD products is the aim of supporting mobility, especially if they have overly active, large-breed, or aging canine companions,” said Ronan Kennedy, interim chief executive officer of cbdMD. “CBD alone is sought after for its powerful properties that enhance wellness, but we wanted to go beyond the basics to create our soft chews. We’re so excited to be recognized with the ‘Dog Hip & Joint Product of the Year’ award from Pet Innovation. This product was formulated specifically to make life better for dogs who need mobility support.”

Hip+Joint Soft Chews also contain a clinically studied broad-spectrum CBD formula made from US-grown hemp, which is third-party tested to ensure purity, according to Paw CBD. The supplements are free from THC to ensure safety, and are also formulated without unnecessary fillers and artificial ingredients. The chews are available in a bacon flavor and offer a soft texture for small and aging dogs or those that have issues chewing.

“Activity, breed, or age-related discomfort can keep our faithful friends from enjoying everyday play, exercise, and even activities like jumping on the couch or into bed,” Grant said. “When it comes to our beloved dogs, we want more walks, more play, and more cuddles. Paw CBD offers a product that makes every day happy, healthy, and comfortable for pets. Whether for a canine companion experiencing a little stiffness or a breed that’s prone to hip issues, these CBD hip and joint chews are the perfect option for the proper support of any dog’s mobility.”


Pet Food Solution of the Year

Petcurean Pet Nutrition won Pet Food Solution of the Year for its new Go! Solutions Boosters products, which launched earlier this month.

Go! Solutions Boosters are functional, single-serve wet food toppers. Each formula is specifically designed to offer a tailored solution to different health concerns, from joint and digestive health to calming and weight management, and everything in between. The toppers are formulated by companion animal nutritionists.

Petcurean's Go! Solutions Booster line for cats and dogsSource: Petcurean Pet Nutrition

“At Petcurean, our commitment is to give dogs and cats happy, healthy and long lives,” said Natalie Asaro, nutrition manager at Petcurean. “Our all-new Go! Solutions Boosters recipes build upon the success of our existing solutions-oriented collection, which provide functional and nutritional benefits to support animals’ overall well-being. We’re grateful to Pet Innovation for the ‘Pet Food Solution of the Year’ award, and as innovation is central to every aspect of business at Petcurean, we’ll continue to invest in driving the market forward through the creation of products that offer a variety of choices — sure to satisfy every pet and pet parent.”

The Go! Solutions Boosters line is tailored to differing species-specific needs for cats and dogs. For cats, the line provides complete-and-balanced nutrition available in eight varieties, supporting health issues such as weight management, digestive health, immune function and brain health. For dogs, the line offers supplemental wet toppers to help enhance a dog’s existing complete-and-balanced meal, while also offering support for various health concerns, including joint, digestive and immune health.

“Pet parents are always looking for ways to boost mealtime for their dog or cat family members,” Grant said. “There’s certainly strong purchase interest for wet food meal enhancers and consumers want convenient and mess-free packaging solutions. With Go! Solutions Boosters from Petcurean, there’s finally a healthy and delicious product that meets these demands. Go! Solutions Boosters offer multiple protein options that address a range of common pet health concerns, allowing consumers to mix and match their desired solutions because no two pets are the same.”


Cat Food Wet Product of the Year

Solid Gold has won Cat Food Wet Product of the Year for its Nature’s Harmony™ Wet Cat Food line, which seeks to address felines’ picky palates while also providing premium nutrition.

Nature’s Harmony offers four premium wet diets formulated with chicken broth and chicken proteins that, according to Solid Gold, are gentle on cats’ stomachs and provide high hydration. Real meat is the first ingredient in each formula to help support lean muscle, while also supporting sensitive stomachs, according to the brand.

“It’s an honor to receive this recognition from the Pet Innovation Awards for our products for the second year in a row,” said Tyszka, vice president of marketing for Solid Gold. “At Solid Gold, we aim to provide craveable and nourishing pet food that helps your pet thrive, while supporting your pet’s hydration, digestion, absorption and more. Our holistic approach is inspired by our founders’ belief that high quality food is the best way to impact our pet’s overall health and wellbeing.”

The wet food takes a holistic approach to cat nutrition, offering immune, skin and coat health benefits. The formulas are also low in calories and suitable for cats of all ages, from kittens to seniors.

“The Nature’s Harmony™ line from Solid Gold is a culinary delight crafted to satisfy our feline companions who may be pickier with what they want to eat,” Grant said. “Its use of premiere ingredients and delicious flavor make it a perfect choice for cats who deserve the best for their overall health. We’re proud to award Solid Gold with another Pet Innovation award and celebrate their efforts over the last 45 years as they continue to revolutionize the holistic pet food category.”


Dog Food Functional Diet Product of the Year

Badlands Ranch has won Dog Food Functional Diet Product of the Year for its Superfood Bites Beef Liver Treats.

The products are bite-sized “nutritional powerhouse” treats, according to Badlands Ranch. They are made only from premium freeze-dried raw beef liver, offering functional benefits to support muscle and body weight in canines. The treats are free from fillers, preservatives and byproducts. Superfood Bites Beef Liver Treats are designed for daily snacking, training, or on-the-go treating.

Dog Treat Product of the Year

Barkworthies received the Dog Treat Product of the Year for its extensive line of hickory-smoked dog chews launched in May.

“We are so proud to win this prestigious award for our new naturally smoked line of dog chews,” said Andrea Blades, chief marketing officer for Barkworthies. “Barkworthies' innovative cold-smoking process (patent pending) results in just the right amount of smokey aroma and unbeatable flavor while maintaining the integrity of the chew and our steadfast commitment to an all-natural product. You won’t find smoke powder or liquid smoke on these chews just natural chews, smoke and love.” 

The new line offers eight new chew and treat products: Smoked Bully Sticks, Smoked Thick Bully Sticks, Smoked Trachea, Smoked Yak Cheese, Smoked Chicken Breast Fillet, Smoked Beefy Sticks, Smoked Rib Bones, and Smoked Beef Burgers.

“Barkworthies all-natural smoked dog chews scored high in the overall quality of ingredients used,” Grant said. “The ethical sourcing and processing of the all-natural ingredients of Barkworthies chews also scored high with our judges.”


Pet Company of the Year

Among the numerous awards for nutrition products, the Pet Innovation Awards also recognized many pet care companies for their leadership in the industry. W.F. Young was named Pet Company of the Year.

“We are honored and grateful to receive Pet Innovation’s Pet Company of the Year award,” said Jaime McKinley, president and chief executive officer of W.F. Young. “To be recognized by pet care professionals as the global industry leader speaks to the care, quality and hard work our dedicated team puts into offering pets, and their owners, the absolute best products possible.”

W.F. Young was founded in 1892 and serves as a leading manufacturer and distributor of various high-quality animal health and wellness products, like Absorbine® and The Missing Link®. The company is committed to innovation, growing its pet care business by more than 25% during the last few years.

“W.F. Young’s rich history, heritage and culture instills trust in its partners and customers around the world,” Grant said. “The company is actively thriving as it continues to innovate and drive advancements in topical pet care and nutrition. Its dedication to quality and science-backed wellness, combined with its experienced leadership team and ability to be nimble to ever evolving market needs speaks to the legacy W.F. Young has forged over more than a century.

“The company’s global reach and mission to bring health and happiness to all animals makes W. F. Young our ‘Pet Company of the Year,’” Grant added. “We’re eager to watch as W.F. Young continues to meet the changing needs of pet owners around the world despite the ongoing hurdles that the macro-economic environment may pose.”

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