Wetbone Co. LLC, Kensington, CT, has introduced the first-ever pouched water for dogs. The patent-pending, portable, reclosable, 16-oz, dog-bone-shaped, stand-up pouch features two compartments.
The bottom compartment serves as a holding reservoir for the purified, vitamin-enriched water. The top compartment serves as the drinking bowl. The five-color rotogravure-printed pouch structure is a three-layer polyester/foil/linear low-density polyethylene lamination manufactured by Ampac Flexibles, a business unit of Ampac Packaging LLC
The Wetbone bowl relies on a 4-mil piece of polyethylene (an upside-down gusset), the middle section of which is heat-sealed to opposing inner walls of the pouch to create a hammock-like drinking bowl. Four voids in the heat-seal area (two on each side of the pouch) create small 9-mm channels that allow transfer of water from the lower compartment into the upper compartment bowl section when the pouch is squeezed.
The pet owner simply removes the tear strip at the top of the "bone" pouch and opens the press-to-reclose zipper. One hand squeezes the bottom of the pouch, while the other hand is cupped around the top compartment section, forming a round water bowl. Water is squeezed through the channels to fill the bowl so Fido can have a drink.Water recycled
Unconsumed portions of the water then trickle back down through the channels into the bottom receptacle. The press-to-reclose zipper enables the pouch to be resealed and transported for later use.
This packaging concept was two years in development, involving several prototype trials. From inception to execution, the vision was to give dogs the same drinking mobility that human consumers enjoy-packaging that is portable, lightweight, easy to drink from, and resealable. Design challenges included ensuring pouch structure thickness for stand-up use, drop-test durability, appropriate flow rates through the heat-seal-area channels, and cost effectiveness of the packaging.
Based on a packaging concept created by Wetbone Co. co-founders Sue Tyska and Tony Tropea, the water bowl pouch was ushered into commercial reality with the technical assistance of Ampac Flexibles. Tyska notes, "Several companies that we approached initially didn't want to work with a start-up operation. However, Ampac saw the potential of the idea from the very beginning. They shared our vision. If it weren't for them, we might not have gotten this off the ground. They partnered with us within our means to make this happen."
Wetbone is now distributing the product through pet stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores throughout the United States. Average retail price is $1.99 per pouch. The company also is planning to introduce multipacks and is hoping to expand the line to include additional water varieties, such as dental waters (with chlorophyll to promote fresh breath and healthy gums) and sports waters (with electrolytes).