Amy Paris’ little dog Dora suffers from anxiety. When Dora was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, Paris searched the shelves of many different pet stores and all she found were pills and dog chews, neither of which her dog would take willingly. So she decided to solve the problem herself.
Paris was determined to find a natural solution to her dog’s anxiety issues, and she pulled from her background in research and development with a beverage company that used natural ingredients to get everything started. Taste was the first element that she worked on, and then she moved on to finding the right delivery method.
Paris started out using her kitchen as a test lab where she tried different combinations of the all-natural, U.S.-sourced ingredients. She started with over 230 different flavorings and tried different combinations of them all.
Once she was able to get the product activation time down under 10 minutes, she began sponsoring street festivals and doing taste-testings to get feedback from her target audience: dog owners. She raised nearly $450,000 in seed money with the help of her founding partner, who left the company last year. Now the company has four employees and is raising money for new developments.
Today, LICKS Pill-Free Solutions, liquid health supplements for both dogs and cats, are available to other pet owners who are struggling with the same issue that Paris was. These pre-dosed individual packets have been created to address many different issues including urinary tract problems, digestion issues, heart problems, and even hairballs.
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The product can be administered in dog food, on paws, or directly into the pet’s mouth. They are designed to absorb quickly, and of course, the company offers a “Zen” product to ease anxiety as well, which is available for both cats and canines.
LICKS was launched in 2011 with the help of the New Venture Challenge at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Paris currently operates the company out of a warehouse in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago.
Right now these products are only available online, at Pet Supplies Plus, and Unleashed by Petco, along with other small local pet stores. However, Paris is hoping to expand her company this year since she just debuted two new products at the Global Pet Expo early this month in Orlando, Florida. At the expo she unveiled a digestion formula for dogs and an immunity formula for cats.