Katie Petty turned to science for an easy way to keep her dog Sadie’s dirty tracks off the floors. Her invention ended up launching a business she is still running 14 years later.
“It was my 6th grade science fair project,” said Petty, who grew up in Louisburg, Kan. “I had to always clean Sadie’s paws.”
Rather than using a hose, Petty came up with the idea of putting the pup’s paw into something to pull the dirt off without hurting the animal. Trial and error resulted in using a PVC pipe with water creating a suction effect. It worked.
Michael Mulich, Katie’s father, created a limited liability corporation a year later for the The Paw Wash, and father and daughter entered into business together. They received a patent for the the Paw Wash in February 2006.
The Paw Wash is an hourglass cylinder-shaped, polycarbonate product that is placed on a dog’s paws to clean them. It comes in both small and large sizes.
“It is easy to use,” Petty said. “You fill it up with water, add a few drops of pet shampoo or soap, place the dog’s paw into it and pump it up and down a few times to create suction that pulls the dirt off. A squeegee on it keeps the dirt and water inside.”
A microfiber mitt is used to dry the pet’s feet after washing.
As the Paw Wash entered the market place, Petty continued her education at the University
of Kansas, majoring in film and media with a minor in business. After graduation, she took a full-time job as a video producer but worked on the Paw Wash on the side. Petty left the video field in July 2016 to concentrate fulltime on Paw Wash.
The Paw Wash is sold online through Petty’s website as well as in retail stores across the country. Paw Wash has even gone global, making it to stores as far away as Russia and Japan. While Petty sells The Paw Wash and mitt as a set for $28.95, retailers carry the products separately.
Sales of The Paw Wash continue to grow, especially in the fall and winter months when it tends to be muddy outside. The product also has found a new market.
“Veterinarians are using it when a dog gets burns or hurt to clean wounds and help treat,” Petty said.
Petty’s next move is to participate in ScaleUP!, a 16-week program for select entrepreneurs through the Kauffman Foundation.
“I am working on a pet line of products to go along with it and will create them as I get those funds,” she said.