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Bone Appétit

Local Toronto pet shop, The Dog Market, is mutts about providing great products to furry family members, including raw food, squeaky toys and beef liver-flavoured birthday cakes.

The Dog Market - Puppies

For most the best part of any birthday party is the cake. Those ordering from The Dog Market can pick between multiple colours of icing and flavours including beef liver, peanut butter, sweet potato or banana. If that sounds a little unorthodox, it’s because the cakes are specially made to order for your pampered pooch. Like most of the treats at The Dog Market, the cakes are made with all natural, healthy ingredients. Keeping the pets of this Beaches neighbourhood in Toronto healthy and happy is a big motivator for Allen, who has owned the Queen Street store for just over 14 years. Offering everything from grooming to dog gear, the owner sits down and shares how he keeps pups and their parents coming back.

Rogers Business: What do you love about pets?

Allen: If you haven't owned a cat or a dog, I don't think you appreciate how different they all are and their individual personalities. They are pretty amazing and all the unconditional love they offer us can’t be matched.

Rogers Business: There are so many pet shops in Toronto. How do you stand out?

Allen: We take a much more holistic approach. Our team is very knowledgeable, and the service is incredible. When you come in, we're looking to keep your pet healthy for their whole life. We're not here just to sell you a bag of food, we're here to help you along their entire journey.

Rogers Business: What is the most common question pet owners have when they come into the shop?

Allen: Everyone asks if we have an indestructible toy. Unfortunately, that doesn’t exist. They’re meant to be tossed around and eventually be torn up. That’s the whole fun of it! But we do have some pretty tough toys that will last you a lot longer than most. The other question we get on a daily basis is, ‘Do we carry cat products?’ and the answer is ‘Of course’! We have a whole cat market inside our store.

Rogers Business: Your tagline for the shop is, “Who owns who?” How did you come up with that?

Allen: Well, it's true. I mean if you've ever owned a dog or a cat, you know full well they own your soul.

Rogers Business: How did you manage during the pandemic when on one hand shops were closed, but on the other, people were adopting pets at high rates?

Allen: We had the opportunity to meet a bunch of new people and help a lot of new pet owners out, but the pandemic wasn't easy. I mean, we were open, we were closed, we were open and then we were not sure if we were open. But we managed! Like everybody else, we pulled together. We started the delivery service and curbside pickups. We did everything that we could do to help as many people as possible.

Rogers Business: How popular are the birthday cakes?

Allen: You'd be surprised how many people have a birthday party for their dog. Our Instagram is loaded with dogs celebrating their birthdays and cake photos. We sell lots of birthday themed bakery treats, toys, hats, bow ties and other adorable accessories to help everyone celebrate their dog’s special day. We love seeing all the party pictures.

Rogers Business: What’s the best part of your job?

Allen: Obviously hanging out with the puppies all day! But I love helping people and showing them a more holistic approach to pet care. Even opening up their eyes to more natural ways of dealing with different aliments. It's surprising how many people will pay attention to their own health and then not consider their pet the same way. Pets are just like us. If you eat junk everyday, you’re going to feel a little sluggish. But if you switch to healthier food, you’ll feel a lot better and have a lot less health issues.

We get to see the progress of a puppy grow all the way into a senior dog, which is such a joy to be part of. We've been here for so long we have seen individuals get married, have kids and are on their 2nd or 3rd pup. It’s not just about the pets. We have a nice little community here.

Where can we find your business online?