Attention dog owners: next time you visit a farmers market or festival in the US, keep your eyes peeled for food trucks that cater to canines. From Seattle to Colorado to Texas, food trucks designed specifically for pups are a thing now. And if you’re lucky, there might even be one within barking distance of your house. Tail wags and joyful barks will certainly ensue.
Winnie Lou, The Canine Co – Boulder, Colorado
Your dog really hasn’t lived until it has wolfed down bison burger jerky from Winnie Lou, a dog-treat truck based in Boulder. It’s made with only three ingredients: bison, organic flax seed and cranberries. Or how about a pumpkin spice cookie or peanut butter sorbet?
Winston, a German short-haired pointer, and Louis, a vizsla, are the inspiration, taste-testers and faces of Winnie Lou. They are both energetic dogs who go nuts for their Winnie Lou treats. The owners use only human-grade ingredients from local Colorado farms. They also do not add sugar and use no preservatives, salt, wheat, soy, corn or dairy, so you can feel good about what you’re feeding you dog.
The Seattle Barkery – Seattle, Washington
Cheese donuts, turkey nuggets and pumpkin pretzels are not the only thing you can find at the Seattle Barkery, a 1968 Chevy Step Van turned food truck that specializes in treats for dogs. There are also peanut butter cookies and ice-cream sundaes topped with bacon and served in edible bowls.
As if that’s not enough, you can also buy doggie bow ties and crowns, and pre-order dog birthday cakes (starting at $38) served on frisbees – you know, for your next yappy hour, barkday party or barkmitzvah. Don’t worry, humans aren’t left out: they can order coffee, tea, sodas or delectable bites like banana bread and scones. The truck is often found at the Marymoor Park, dog-friendly breweries and Seattle events.
“Dogs are your most honest customer, if they don't like something, they won't eat it,” says Dawn Ford, owner of The Seattle Barkery. Case in point: her very picky pekingese, Sherman, was the official treat decider when the business first launched. If he rejected a treat, it was off the menu. Cats aren’t left out, either. Treats for felines include chicken hearts and cod skins.
Treats Unleashed Treat Waggin’ – St Louis, Missouri
The Treats Unleashed Treat Waggin', festooned with painted paw prints, has been making dogs drool since the summer of 2015. It began as a way for owner, Teresa Miller, to engage with her community. Fast forward to today and she has 13 pet bakeries around St Louis in addition to the mobile treat truck.
When summer rolls around, peanut butter or blueberry frozen yogurt "pup cups" are an instant crowd pleaser. And year-round, her soft bites, in cheeseburger and peanut butter flavors, are popular too. Plus, every pup who strolls by the Treat Truck gets a free snack for the road. Can’t beat that! Canola oil is used instead of butter, honey instead of refined sugar, and no salt is added.
Smart Cookie Cart – Denver, Colorado
Be prepared: Rover may refuse to leave the Smart Cookie Cart until he gets a treat. Have your dog sample the Hip + Joint Treats, which are made of chicken, oats, glucosamine, green beans and blueberries, and then maybe the rabbit jerky.
Other fun nibbles include the regional bites in flavors like Rocky Mountain trout and apple, or Texas Hill Country wild boar and sweet potato. Or customize treats by selecting the 'protein, fiber, fruit and veggie combo' from the menu of choices. There are 18 possible combinations. Last but not least, grab Food Toppers to sprinkle on top of dog food when you’re back at home.
Fido to Go – Chicago, Illinois
Donna Santucci, owner of Fido to Go in Chicago, says her "gourmutt” dog-food truck is to pups of today what the Good Humor ice-cream truck was to millions of kids across America in the 1920s. And she should know, with a professional education in animal nutrition, she’s been studying dog taste buds for years.
“The dogs chase after our trucks or cry when they have to leave,” she says. “All dogs and humans are invited to jump in the truck, and it's a pup party every day."
Since the truck launched in 2011, the business has steadily grown. It’s so popular, in fact, the truck now offers cat treats, too. And if owner and doggie want to share a snack, the Peanut Butter Rice Crisp will please both. Don’t forget to ask about the daily specials for doggy frozen yogurts.
The Snackin’ Waggin’ – Dallas, Texas
It’s easy to spot the Snackin’ Waggin’ thanks to the 3ft-long metal bone perched on top. Make a beeline to it for chicken jerky, donuts and ice-cream sandwiches made with a cottage cheese blend. Oh, and Bones Filled with Awesome, a naturally dried beef bone filled with yummy ingredients like peanut butter or pumpkin, to name a few. You can even buy an extra Awesome Filling for later and refill the bones.
“All of our food and treat recipes are made with human-grade ingredients, free of corn, wheat, soy and sweeteners,” says Melanie Fox, owner of Homegrown Hounds, which operates The Snackin’ Waggin’ in Dallas. “So, technically, you can eat them. And most people try them, but there's no salt or sugar, so you learn really quickly how addicted you are to salt and sugar.”