Monday, September 15, 2014

New spay and neuter campaign aims to benefit Alaska villages

    Unwanted stray dogs are a significant problem in rural Alaska, due in part to the nearest veterinarian being a plane ride away. A spay or neuter appointment most often requires heading into the city, a difficult undertaking. But a Fairbanks nonprofit aims to cut out that plane ride for pet owners and strays by bringing veterinarians to them.
    The nonprofit and Bethel-based Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corp. are arranging for veterinarians to bring their surgical equipment by boat so they can operate on pets and strays in the villages themselves. Since 2013, more than 250 dogs have been spayed and neutered in at least 14 Yukin-Kuskokwim Delta villages, and there has been interest in bringing the same services to Interior villages.
    The services are free and are funded mainly through donations. Previously, veterinarians from out of state were not allowed to provide their services free of charge in Alaska villages without an Alaska license. The state Veterinary Board has made an exception for remote communities that lack medical care for animals, similar to the exception made for visiting Iditarod veterinarians, making it easier for mobile vet programs to organize and to include out-of-state veterinarians like Tim Hunt, DVM, of Dr. Tim's Pet Food.
    Another nonprofit effort, headed by Anchorage-based Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach, has held spay, neuter and vaccination clinics in remote communities since 2012. Overall, the projects continue to gain momentum, but organizers say there is still a lot of work to do.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Google tests drone delivery prototype with dog food drop

    Google is in the prototype testing stage of its drone package delivery system, which it has been developing for more than two years, and its latest test involved a dog food drop in Australia.
    While Google says the prototype is years away from a product, Project Wing has produced the first possibility the company is willing to stand behind. So far, Google has conducted at least 30 test flights as part of the project. “Throughout history there have been a series of innovations that have each taken a huge chunk out of the friction of moving things around,” says the test run video's narrator. “Project Wing aspires to take another big chunk of the remaining friction of moving things around the world.”
    The video shows a drone delivering dog treats to an Australian farm. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

September is National Guide Dog Month

    September is National Guide Dog Month, a celebration of the work of guide dogs in the US. The month-long event, established in 2009, is a way to raise awareness, appreciation and support for guide dog schools across the country.
    National Guide Dog Month was inspired by Dick Van Patten, who became impressed by service dogs after a visit to the campus of the Guide Dogs of the Desert in palm Springs, California, USA. After learning the costs to raise and train a guide dog—US$40,000—and the two-year time commitment per dog, Van Patten decided to help raise awareness and money for guide dog schools. Van Patten currently serves as an honorary board member for the Guide Dogs of the Desert. Through his petfood company, Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, he has underwritten all costs for the promotion of National Guide Dog Month to ensure that all money raised will directly benefit non-profit, accredited guide dog schools in the US.
    In 2014, Petco and Natural Balance have teamed up with CSI: Miami's Eva La Rue and Omar Miller to support guide dog organizations.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Petfood may contribute to pets' behavior

    Petfood can obviously affect the health of pets, but it may affect more than that. Petfood ingredients, for example, might affect pet behavior, according to some studies.
    The fatty acid DHA (docosahexaeonic acid), sometimes added to puppy and kitten food, has been shown to increase mental acuity in puppies and kittens, according to Dr. Lorie Huston, DVM, a small animal veterinarian in Rhode Island. Puppies eating dog food with DHA may also be more trainable.
    Certain antioxidants have been found to be beneficial to senior pets in terms of cognitive maintenance. A series of studies conducted on dogs found that older dogs provided with an antioxidant-rich diet were able to learn complex tasks with more success than those on a control diet. Another study used an antioxidant-rich diet and found that older dogs were less likely to suffer from age-related behavior changes associated with cognitive decline. Dogs on this diet were also able to recognize family members more easily and retained more agility than the control group.
    Petfood can affect other areas of a pet's life, as well, through feeding times and unbalanced diets, both of which can play significant roles in a pet's mood and behavior, according to experts. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Blue Buffalo opens Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing facility

    Blue Buffalo Company has opened its new Heartland Pet Food Manufacturing facility in Joplin, Missouri. The 416,000-square-foot facility includes a state-of-the-art dry petfood manufacturing plant and an attached full-service distribution center, according to the company.
    “This is a very big day for Blue Buffalo,” said Chairman and Founder Bill Bishop of opening day. “We now have the most modern manufacturing facility in the petfood industry. And we are proud to have created 150 full-time jobs which will contribute to Joplin’s great recovery from the catastrophic tornado in 2011.”
    Joining Bishop and Schmidt at the August 20, 2014, ribbon cutting ceremony were Blue Buffalo founding Bishop family members Jackie, Billy and Chris, Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Choo Lim, who was responsible for the construction of the Heartland facility, and representatives of the Blue Buffalo management team. Missouri State Senator Ron Richard offered words of welcome to all in attendance at the Heartland Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Also participating were Joplin Mayor Michael Seibert, Rob O’Brien the Chairman and President of the Joplin area Chamber of Commerce and representatives of the state of Missouri.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Lincoln Bark treats featured on Chicago news show

    Lincoln Bark's pet treats have been featured on WCIU Chicago news show "You & Me This Morning" as must-haves by Charlotte Reed, a celebrity spokesperson who has been traveling the US in search of the best products in the pet industry.
    According to Reed, she selected Lincoln Bark's treats because they are powered by the chia seed, highlighting the company's holistic approach to dog treats. The treats are made with human-grade ingredients and contain no wheat, corn, soy, preservatives or artificial color.

Friday, September 5, 2014

PetSmart to acquire online pet retailer Pet360

    PetSmart will acquire Pet360, an online pet specialty retailer, for US$130 million with the possibility of additional performance-based payments totaling up to US$30 million by the end of 2016.
    “We are delighted to announce our planned acquisition of Pet360, the most comprehensive online resource for pet parents," said David Lenhardt, PetSmart president and CEO. "This transaction is a smart and efficient way to make PetSmart a leader in the online retail space. [A]lthough online sales are still a relatively small part of the pet products industry, we expect them to become a more relevant source of revenue in the future. Combining PetSmart’s unparalleled strengths in traditional outlets with Pet360’s established digital footprint will perfectly position PetSmart to capitalize on this evolution and enhance our ability to serve pet parents across all distribution channels.”
     Pet360 is an integrated media company dedicated to connecting pet parents with the information, products and advice they need to raise happy, healthy pets, according tot he company. The Pet360 network is comprised of more than nine of the top pet websites and reaches over 12 million pet parents per month, making Pet360 the most comprehensive source for online pet information and products in the US. Its family of brands includes Pet360.com, petMD.com, PetFoodDirect.com and BlogPaws. The company is headquartered outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    Combining Pet360’s family of e-commerce websites, digital media programs and content sites, with PetSmart’s existing web platform and store network, will allow PetSmart to provide customers with an omni-channel information and shopping experience, according to PetSmart. It also brings cost savings opportunities through increased scale, merchandise assortment and valuable web platform and fulfillment capabilities.
     The transaction is expected to close in September 2014.