Keeping Pooches Cool With A Pop

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - November 18, 2009
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Darlene Tokunaga with a fan of her Icy Pooch Pops

Darlene Tokunaga’s dog licks off the ice, then goes for the meaty part of an Icy Pooch Pop.

Tokunaga has concocted two flavors of the cool doggie treats, which have no added sugar or salt and are veterinarian approved.

“The Pooch Pop reflects the Hawaii lifestyle,” she says.“We have banana-peanut butter flavor, which is popular, and a loco moco.”

For the holidays, she will offer two additional flavors: Pumpkin Pie, and the turkey-cranberry flavor called the Gobble Gobbler. The banana-peanut butter pop, called the Plantation, is made with banana, peanut butter, yogurt and vanilla. The loco moco flavor is called the Loco Moe, which was inspired by her Shih Tzu Moemoe. It’s made with rice, egg, chicken, Spam Lite, honey and parsley.

Tokunaga began making the treats for her dogs - pug Chin, mix Chunks and French bulldog Mufasa. Soon she started expanding her crew of taste-testers to her friend’s dogs, and eventually her Makiki neighbors’ dogs. With the help of her adult son Adrian, they first introduced Icy Pooch Pops at the 2008 Pet Expo.

A graphic designer by trade, Tokunaga gets the word out by manning a booth at many of the doggie events around town.

“What makes our booth stand out is we have a freezer with the samples,” she says. “We also have our surfing blue dog banner and a blue umbrella that attract attention.”

She admits that one of the challenges of running the business full time is the economy.

“We are trying to keep things steady,” she explains, “and not get too anxious about what’s next. We go with the flow, and something good will happen soon.”

Icy Pooch Pops are sold at Pet Spots at Ward Warehouse, Koolau Pets at Windward Mall, Bark Avenue at Koko Marina, and Ohana Doggie Day Care in Honolulu.

In the stores, you can find the cool treats in freezers that may have a logo magnet on the front and/or a sign on the top.

“I love making dogs happy and meeting dog owners,” says Tokunaga.

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