Trail Dog Treats:
Fuel for Adventure


When founder Nancy Thompson moved West from New England she instantly connected with the active lifestyle and the endless opportunities to explore in the outdoors. As with any good Coloradoan she loved sharing these adventures with a canine companion. Enter Tatum, an overweight and under exercised Chocolate Lab rescue who she adopted away from a sedentary life in foster care. Thompson quickly bonded with Tatum on their weekly hikes as the pup took to the hills with excitement and gusto. With a new routine of exercise, training and healthy eating, Tatum transformed into a trim, active dog and enjoyed a new “leash” on life. Noticing that Tatum preferred the human snacks of apples, trail mix and peanut butter sandwiches, she began packing extra human snacks to carry on the trail to keep them both nourished. With the desire to make sure she was offering Tatum the proper nutrition she began research and experiment with recipes to create healthy, human-grade dog treats with ingredients best suited for dogs. Their connection grew strong as Tatum served as a willing assistant and taste tester, staying happily energized with samples as Thompson developed a line of all natural, dairy, soy and wheat free treats baked in her Denver kitchen, calling it Trail Dog Treats (TDT).


When the 2008 recession hit and Thompson was laid off from her job, she found herself at a crossroads. With a new chapter ahead and extra time on her hands, she decided to pursue her passion for dogs and the wellbeing of our furry family members. Her dog treats had been popular with friends and dog-sitting clients so she took a few small steps that allowed her to market them for public sale. She registered her business, received approval on her ingredients and labels from the Department of Agriculture and began researching retail outlets. While she had some success placing the products in local boutique pet stores and getting the name out, she quickly discovered the challenges of managing multiple small accounts. It was time-consuming and most importantly, not profitable. The inefficiency of the process also took her away from her first love—spending time on the trails with Tatum. During this time, she also became a vendor at the local farmer’s market and found a knack for promoting her products face-to-face, connecting directly with her community. It thrilled her to meet the neighborhood pups and relay Tatum’s story as a reminder that much like humans, a clean diet is important for a dog’s physical, mental and social well-being. Tatum remained at her side serving as TDT’s canine brand ambassador while she began promoting at animal-focused charity events and connecting with seniors at a neighborhood nursing facility. Tatum offered the seniors much-needed pet therapy and together they solidified their desire to make giving-back an integral part of the TDT brand.


With an eye on efficiency and profits she pulled product out of the small shops and narrowed her focus. She enlisted help and carefully analyzed her costs, baking process, packaging and branding. Launching a crowdfunding campaign afforded her the opportunity to further develop her brand, present to potential investors and begin the lengthy application process for consideration to be carried Whole Foods Market. Her patience and persistence paid off and after a grueling year and a half process she fulfilled her first orders from an area Whole Foods store. Working with Whole Foods to test the market and hold in-store demos, she quickly expanded into much of the Rocky Mountain region finding success in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. She was thrilled to be featured by Whole Foods as a highlighted retailer in their “buy local” campaign, lending her brand and image to promotional materials and store displays. Once established in Whole Foods Market, Thompson was able to promote her brand to other retailers, successfully product to independent retailers within the Denver Metro area, the high country of the Colorado Rockies, and spanning all the way to New Orleans, LA. Thompson’s growth as an individual came with the hard loss of Tatum who, at 15 yrs old succumbed to old age after living a healthy life full of adventure. A year later she was ready to welcome a new rescue into her heart and continues to bake treats with Trooper, her new Chocolate Lab adventure partner. Her love of animals and goals for more personal wellness led her to a new-found vegan lifestyle. As she continues to explore new opportunities Thompson is clear about her immediate goals with TDT. She would love to expand nationwide with Whole Food and establish a presence at outdoor brands such as REI, LL Bean, and Outdoor World. And of course, with a new dog partner by her side, Trail Dog Treats continues to fuel her outdoor and business adventures, as well as her community and charitable connections.

How we met

In her former life, my Chocolate Lab, Tatum was an overweight and under exercised foster dog. I welcomed her to her new home on Easter Sunday, where she soon discovered she hit the Labrador jackpot! Tatum quickly transformed from a lazy homebody to an active and adventurous 3 year old. I couldn’t wait to hit the trails with my new companion. She took to the hills with excitement and gusto, just as I expected.

Throughout the years, we’ve ventured up mountains, camped in remote valleys, and strolled through the Colorado forests. With each adventure Tatum and I bonded not only through the exercise and training, but also during snack time. It started with granola bar crumbs falling on the ground for the taking. Soon enough, I was sharing my apples, trail mix and peanut butter sandwiches. We both looked forward to these snack breaks, and before long I was packing Tatum’s very own treat bags to carry on our hikes.

From trail treats to experimental baked goods, Tatum and I work tirelessly in the kitchen mixing and tasting. Together we’ve created a line of homemade dog biscuits called Trail Dog Treats. A variety of all natural, wheat-free treats, perfect for any dog on the go!