Meet the Maker: Erin Tonning of Tukabear Treats

Meet the Maker is a new blog series on The Dapple featuring Q&As with the small businesses, creatives, and makers who are crafting unique products for dogs and dog lovers. Know someone we should include? Email us at

Tukabear Treats

Today on Meet the Maker, we're chatting with Erin Tonning, the founder of the Memphis-based dog treat company, Tukabear Treats. We talked with Erin about her rescue pups and what makes her freeze-dried dog treats perfect for pets.

Tukabear Chicken Dog Treats

Tukabear Chicken Dog Treats

Tell us what you make.

Tukabear Treats for dogs and cats are made in small batches using specialized freeze-drying techniques to ensure safe, nutritious, purely-natural, and grain-free alternatives to ordinary pet treats. Pets love our tantalizing flavors, which include Free-Range Chicken, Wild-Caught Fish, Organic Sweet Potato, and Organic Peanut Butter & Banana.

What’s special about your treats?

Each batch is lovingly hand-prepared for either dogs or cats. We’re proud that our discerning pet families can conveniently share Tukabear Treats with all their fur-babies!

Tell us about why you decided to focus on freeze-dried treats.

I wanted to make a simple-ingredient, healthy treat that was free of preservatives and easy for dogs and cats to chew. Freeze-drying was the perfect solution for making my treats because it removes the moisture—which naturally preserves it—while retaining the nutrients, flavor, color and original shape.

Erin Tonning of Tukabear Treats with her dogs

Erin Tonning of Tukabear Treats with her dogs

How did you come up with the name, Tukabear Treats?  

Tukabear Treats was named after my sweet pup, Vegas, nicknamed Tukabear. She passed away in April of last year due to congestive heart failure. I never knew how much it would hurt once she was gone. It’s a great comfort to know that so many pet families continue to literally share enduring delights in her namesake.

What’s your favorite product you’re selling right now?

My absolute favorites are “Pawsonlized” (a.k.a custom) treat packages. It’s great fun creating each custom label and seeing so many distinctive fur-faces, while knowing that customers are enjoying “one-of-a-kind” treats with their individualized picture and message for birthdays, holidays and other occasions. 

Any exciting upcoming plans for Tukabear Treats?  

We’re off to a great start in 2018 with a growing “Pawtnership Program,” which allows us to partner with four-legged sales reps who not only advocate our brand on social media, but also donate commissions to animal welfare organizations of their choosing. Tukabear additionally matches each of those contributions, with $255 donated thus far. We look forward to seeing what a difference our pet communities can make together in the coming year(s)!


Tukabear Treats is offering The Dapple's readers 5% off on their purchase and free shipping on U.S. orders with the promo code, DAPPLE. Offer expires February 28, 2018. Shop here, or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.