“I’m the president and founder of thedog8it! Inc. The company manufactures premium dog cookies. The business started in my kitchen, in the summer of 2001. It eventually took over the entire house, and this is our second year in our full commercial production facility where we have 3,200 square feet and a dedicated staff in production.

Originally I became interested in companion animal food when my own dogs were poisoned by contaminated food back in the mid 90s and I started making all of my own home-made dog food. And I loved baking and I felt passionate about dogs, so I started seeing if there was a market out there for the cookies that I was making for my own dogs.

The domestic dog dates back more than 12,000 years ago.

Our products are available in every province in Canada, including the North West Territories. We’ve started exporting to the United States. In November of 2004, Amazon.com started selling our products all over the continental U.S.

Canada does not regulate pet food. The reason we are regulated in Canada is because one of the conditions that USDA puts on our import permits is that we must have a veterinarian come in to inspect us to issue our export permits. So we’ve gone from being not regulated at all to being the most highly regulated food item going into the United States.

Approximately 69% of dog owners buy Christmas gifts for their pets.

Believe it or not, one of my biggest single expenses is my product liability insurance, because of our U.S. exposure. For every dollar it costs us in Canada, that same coverage for the U.S. costs us $8.

Amazon.com came to me. We were attending and exhibiting in the Canadian pavilion in the New York Fancy Foods Show, and their people came by, saw our product, loved it, thought it was suitable for Amazon and started selling our product.”