Kevin Swenke owes much of his business success to an overweight dog.

“We had a very overweight Labrador who had a tough time trying to lose weight,” he says. “Then we [discovered] the benefits of pumpkin.”

As a result, Fruitables Pet Food was founded more than a year ago. The Dallas company was founded by the head of research at Texas A&M University, with the primary goal of fighting obesity in pets.

Swenke is in charge of Fruitables’ strategy, product development, and corporate capital.

“We’re the first company to incorporate harvest-fresh pumpkin into pet food. Most people think [a pumpkin is] a vegetable, but it’s really a fruit,” Swenke says, explaining the Fruitables name.

The serial entrepreneur scored a big win when Pet Product News International recognized the company’s pet treats with one of its Editor’s Choice Awards for 2009.

Fruitables Pet Food is Swenke’s fourth startup, and last year had already exceeded $1 million in revenue. The company has 22 distributors in the U.S., is in nine foreign countries and, Swenke says, could generate more than $6 million in revenue by the fourth quarter.

Given the success of his pet treats, Swenke plans next to release a dog-food line.