A local couple has taken it upon themselves to solve a universal problem faced by dog owners – that of the short-lived chew toy.
Most canine lovers have been there, spending $20, $30 or more on a so-called dog-proof chew toy that will keep pets off the furniture and busy chewing. The toy may last as much as a day or two before it is destroyed and your pet is back to gnawing your shoes.
Cherie Falwell, owner of a power-chewing, 140-pound Labrador named Ollie, has come up with a solution that is satisfying dogs the world over.
“We set out to design a toy that was safe,” Falwell explained. “We have a dog that chewed shoes and couches and trees, so we bought him all these chew toys, and he would just annihilate them, so we decided to come up with our own.”
Falwell and her husband, Curtis, came up with a design and went to work creating their company, Bulletproof Pet Products. They set up shop in their own home, where they began manufacturing their chew toys with domestically sourced materials. Five years later, they and their Indestructibone product are still going strong.
“Our chew toy is made with rounded edges, so the dog can’t get a good grip, and it’s made to flake off in small pieces over time, not large chunks that can give the dog an obstruction,” Curtis said. “We’ve changed the design a few times, and we patented the shape. This toy will not break your dog’s teeth like antlers can – it’s softer than real bone or antlers.”
The Falwells are so confident in their product that they will replace it for free if it’s destroyed in 90 days or less. They also have a ‘Bad to the Bone’ hall of fame on their website, where they post pictures of super-chewing customers and their mangled Indestructibones.
“We have customers say they’ve had their (Indestructibones) last three or four years,” Curtis said. “We have sold over 80,000, and only 130 have been able to chew it down or destroy it in 90 days or less. And even when it’s destroyed, it’s still useable.”
Justin Tucker, owner of the 2018 American Humane Hero Service Dog, Roxy, said he loves the Indestructibone, and so does she.
“I had noticed that (Roxy) had chewing issues, and she would chew up her toys and destroy them in minutes,” Tucker said. “I was tired of buying these toys all the time. Then, I saw an ad for the Indestructibone, and I was skeptical at first, but we gave it a try, and she’s had it for about a year and a half. These things are tough, and it’s surprising to see something last this long.”
The Falwells have the distinction of seeing their product used in police departments all over the world, including Germany, Mexico, Brazil and France. K-9 officers locally use their toys as well in Oakley, San Pablo, Pinole and Sacramento.
As residents of Brentwood for over a decade, the Falwells are committed to giving back to their community. Their chew toys are kennel safe, and the couple likes to donate to local dog shelters. During the fires last year, they sent 2,000 pounds of dog food to an animal shelter in Sacramento. Bulletproof Pet Products can also be seen at pet-related community events like Bark in the Park.
As they continue to grow their business, the Falwells hope to expand to a larger shop. For now, Curtis said they are enjoying running their business and working with dogs.
“Our favorite thing about owning this business is the dogs,” he said. “We get to talk about dogs and see dogs. I think the most important thing is that we can help people find something for their dog that’s safe. We created these knowing that they were safe and wouldn’t hurt dogs. Five years in business and no broken teeth.”