Canine confections prove popular

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, November 17, 2011

Off the Water photos/KATIE ROHMAN Kate Russell, owner of Pavlov’s Pet Treats, teases her dog Ozzie with a treat. Russell sold her human-grade treats at the Three Oaks Farmers’ Market last season.

Sometimes the smell of Thanksgiving dinner wafts through Kate Russell’s log home, which is nestled in a thick forest at the end of a winding road, just off M-60 in Niles.
But the succulent aroma does not come from a regular feast Russell prepares in her kitchen.

Pavlov’s Pet Treats include Apple and Cheddar Flowers, Minty Bones, Oats and Carrot People Crackers and goodies containing carob, a dog-safe chocolate substitute.

It’s dog treats.
“I have a cinnamon one that smells like Thanksgiving,” said Russell, whose husband, Steve, loves the smell.
The taste, however, is terrible — at least to the human palate.
Russell started Pavlov’s Pet Treats last year after she decided to sell her wares outside her workplace at the University of Notre Dame. The business’ namesake is Nobel Prize-winning physiologist Ivan Pavlov, who first demonstrated the classical conditioning method, which resulted from a digestion study of dogs and their reaction to food.
Dogs’ reactions have, in fact, been quite favorable to Russell’s homemade treats. Her affectionate 8-year-old Labrador, Ozzie, taste-tests all her experiments.
Russell may bake three to four batches of her human-grade, no preservative, gluten-free treats in a night.
“The labor is intensive,” she said. “I used to collect cookie cutters and now I collect rolling pins. It’s really therapeutic for me.”
Her products range from Apple and Cheddar Flowers to Ozzie’s Flea Challengers (with garlic and brewer’s yeast) to treats containing carob, a dog-safe chocolate substitute.
Russell said she perfected her recipes after reading “every book I could find on it” and selling her merchandise at the Three Oaks Farmers’ Market.
“I fell in love with that market several years ago,” Russell said. “That’s the first place I even thought of looking.
“Eventually, I would like to have a retail store,” she said.
Russell has also begun marketing her treats to dog boarders and groomers.
Russell points out that, although her treats have no sugar or salt added and are safe for gluten-sensitive canines, they are specialty items.
“They are not intended to replace your regular (dog) food,” she said. “They are carnivores.”
Pavlov’s Pet Treats are available at The Wine Shop at the Acorn in Three Oaks and P. & E. Mullins Local Sustainable Foods & Cured Meats in New Buffalo, as well as online at
Contact owner Kate Russell at (269) 362-4098 or