Thursday, April 30, 2009

Petfood sector still hot in sluggish economy

Marco Giannini's Los Angeles-based Dogswell LLC is poised to hit sales of $20 million this year, which is more than double its sales from 2007, according to a story from Reuters.
Amid the struggling US economy, the
American Pet Products Association says the US pet industry grew to about $43.2 billion in 2008, up from $34.4 billion in 2004, with sales for 2009 expected to hit $45.4 billion.
The key to success in the industry? Giannini says for his company, quality control, knowing the supply chain, product testing and good customer service all factor in.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BSE implementation delayed until October

The BSE Rule addressing the removal of brain and spinal cord of cattle over 30 months of age from all animal feed will be in place on April 27, with a compliance date of October 26, 2009, according to a Center for Veterinary Medicine update.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pedigree taps niche markets with vegetarian products

Mars International India, manufacturer and marketer of Pedigree, is seeking to tap niche areas of the petfood market in India by introducing new products, according to an article on The company has introduced vegetarian dog food, keeping in mind the sensitivities of vegetarian pet owners, and will soon launch snacks and treats as well as specialized food for older dogs.
The US$20 million market in the country for petfoods is growing rapidly and is set to evolve into a size of US$74 million by 2012, the company said.
“The 100% vegetarian food is eyeing mainly the Tamil Nadu and Gujarat markets. A city such as Chennai, with a pet dog population of [100,000], has a market potential of US$12 million. At least 30% of pet owners in the city prefer vegetarian food for their animals,” said Ajay Iyer, regional sales manager, south and east of Mars International India.
Mars has produced a vegetarian variant with the same nutritional and calorie levels as that of the non-vegetarian one. The company is also introducing specialized food for dogs of age seven and above.
Retail stores contribute 60% of the sales, with the rest coming through other distribution channels such as veterinary specialists, breeders and institutions.

Monday, April 27, 2009

FDA delays proposed feed regulations until 2010

The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine issued an update saying that it will be delaying the anticipated release of proposed new feed and feed ingredient regulations until 2010.
The agency noted that its Animal Feed Safety System team has completed writing the proposed regulations and is nearly done with the accompanying preamble, but developing the required economic impact analysis will consume much of this year.
The FDA/CVM update noted that the process-control regulations to be proposed will blend the requirements of a h
azard analysis and critical control point and current good manufacturing practice approach. The proposed process-control standards will apply to procurement, manufacturing, packaging, storing and distribution of feed ingredients and mixed feeds.

Friday, April 24, 2009

UK premium petfood market could slow in 2009

The value of the UK petfood market increased 7% last year to just under £2 billion (US$3 billion), according to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association’s annual report.
The PFMA said that there had been a marked increase in sales of petfood through specialist shops in the past year, particularly for complete dog and cat feeds.

However, it also said that the current economic situation could slow the growth of the premium food market in the year ahead.
Premium foods seemed to hold up well in the cat and dog food market last year; sales fell in volume terms in the cat market, but grew in value terms by 6%. The dog food market grew 1% in volume terms, but 6% in value terms.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CPI article prompts EPA to evaluate pet pesticides

The Environmental Protection Agency's announcement April 16, 2009 that it would intensify evaluation of spot-on pesticide products for pets comes on the heels of the Center for Public Integrity's Perils of the New Pesticides project, according to a CPI press release.
One of the project stories,
Pets and Pesticides: Let's Be Careful Out There, reported that at least 1,600 pet deaths linked to spot-on pesticide treatments had been reported to the EPA over the previous five years.
The number of deaths linked to such treatments was about double the number of fatalities reportedly tied to similar treatments without these pesticides, according to the CPI article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pet ‘soup kitchen’ to spread across US

Pet 'soup kitchens' are becoming more popular in order to establish a cheap, community-based means of supporting pet owners in need, according to an article on
It's part of a movement to keep pets with their families, and out of overloaded animal shelters -- a mission that has now been lent a helping hand by Best Friends Animal Society's new program, First Home, Forever Home.
"There are so many things that pet owners have to consider, like spay/neuter, boarding, and other types of vet care, but we are seeing that food is the primary concern," said Ellen Gillmore, Best Friends campaign coordinator, in the article. "There is such an immediate need for it that it jumps to the top of our list."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Soy may aid in canine cancer therapy

Researchers at North Carolina State University say soy may increase the benefits of canine cancer therapy.
Genistein -- a molecule in soy shown to be toxic to many cancer cells in humans -- was found to kill canine lymphoid cells in a laboratory.
"Humans have been using soy in conjunction with traditional chemotherapy for some time as a chemo potentiator,"
Dr. Steven Suter, assistant professor of oncology at the university, says.
Researchers hope it will work for canines, too.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Something To Chew On: The R word

Marco Giannini's Los Angeles-based Dogswell LLC is poised to hit sales of US$20 million this year, which is more than double its sales from 2007, according to a story from Reuters.
Amid the struggling US economy, the American Pet Products Association says the US pet industry grew to about US$43.2 billion in 2008, up from US$34.4 billion in 2004, with sales for 2009 expected to hit US$45.4 billion.
The key to success in the industry? Giannini says for his company, quality control, knowing the supply chain, product testing and good customer service all factor in.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pet expert gives tips for first dog

Celebrity pet expert Andrea Arden, dog trainer to Norah Jones, Robert De Niro and Conan O'Brien, and star of Animal Planet's "From Underdog to Wonder Dog," says the Obamas will succeed with their new dog, Bo, if they establish a routine of superior nutrition, exercise and regular veterinary check-ups right from the start, according to a press release.

"The family's first 100 days with a new puppy or dog is full of exciting experiences, but the entire first year can be a challenge for pet parents who aren't well prepared, even if they do live in the White House," Arden says.

A few of her tips:

  • Eat right with foods meeting their nutritional needs
  • Get regular vet visits
  • Get lots of exercise
  • Establish a bond between dog and owner

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

CVM to launch GRAS program for petfood

Starting late this summer, the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine is planning to allow animal ingredient suppliers to tap the Generally Recognized As Safe notification process, according to the April edition of the FDA’s Food Chemical News.
Commonly used food ingredients already qualify for the GRAS exemption managed by the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, but the feed industry wants to create a voluntary program to extend the GRAS process to animal feed ingredients.
The feed industry will get its wish, confirmed Sharon Benz, the CVM director of the animal feeds division, in an April 2 interview with Food Chemical News. The CVM is drafting a Federal Register notice that soon will announce the pilot’s launch, according to the article.
“This process will provide us with more information on the types of ingredients out there,” Benz said in the article. “We think there will be a lot of interest from petfoods.”

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Finding a place for organic petfood

Some organic petfood makers are finding it difficult to have their products carried at retailers for an extended period of time – a trend that may be due to the economic climate, according to an article from Britain’s The Telegraph.
For Rozanne Gallon, founder of Organic Pet Food Company, organic pet treats often are viewed as a special-purchase item.
“We’ve been trying to get a full listing in
Sainsbury’s,” she said.
“In the present climate, there’s insecurity among retailers and everyone is being very cautious.”
The upside? Gallon’s Christmas sales show demand, and she sees the organic petfood market as more than a fad.

Monday, April 13, 2009

US petfood pantries on the rise

Given the current economic climate, an increased number of petfood pantries are opening across the US, according to a story from zootoo.
Among those locations is the Buffalo Companion Animal Network petfood pantry in Buffalo, N.Y., which also has a special food donation program for seniors.
The story also notes some general food pantries are stocking more petfood, and the Humane Society of the United States now is compiling a database of petfood pantries.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Food allergies can affect pets

About 10% of dogs have allergies, said Sandra Diaz, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, in a recent health article by CNN.
"Allergies we cannot cure. We just manage them and keep them under control so the animal can have a good quality of life," she said in the article.
While some allergies are caused by allergens in the air, others can be caused by allergens in petfood. Diaz said it takes many weeks to determine whether an animal has a food allergy.
She suggested starting the pet on new food, and watch for allergic reactions to it for eight to 10 weeks. If there are no reactions, feed the pet with the original food. If the symptoms return, Diaz said in the article, the diagnosis is a food allergy.

New technology to control cargo moisture

ABSORPOLE, a new line of moisture control products by Buffers USA, overcomes limitations of traditional pouch type desiccants to reduce product loss and damage from moisture damage during shipment and storage, according to the company.
According to John Hove, president of Buffers USA, the supplier of a new line of moisture control products, "Traditional pouch type desiccants do not effectively remove moisture from inside a container due to the evaporation effects that happen when the temperature increases on a daily cycle inside the container. … Our new technology incorporates built in collectors that trap the moisture as it is absorbed, preventing it's re-release."
The technology is available in a variety of product designs that meet the needs of specific container load configurations and types of cargo.
For more information, visit

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Canadian petfood market grows

According to a recent report by Euromonitor, growth in the Canadian petfood market is expected to continue.
The Canadian pet industry performed well in the review period, due to a good economy, more disposable income in Canada and the humanization of pets, prompting pet owners to spend more on premium petfood, according to the report.
Euromonitor reported the 2007 recalls actually boosted the demand for superpremium dog and cat food, as some consumers wanted higher-quality ingredients.
Supermarkets/hypermarkets remain the number one shopping destination for both dog and cat food, according to the report.
The report concluded: “Pet health care and dietary supplements will remain dynamic growth categories, as will superpremium petfoods, as the population of aging and obese pets grows. Accessories, particularly clothing, as well as pet services, also show great growth potential, as consumers are willing to spend increasingly large amounts of money on luxury items for their pets.”

PFMA fights obesity in UK

A survey by the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association released March 26 showed that only 10% of pet owners are concerned about their pets' weight, despite one out of three pets in the UK being overweight, according to a press release by PFMA.
Petfood manufacturers are sometimes blamed for the problem because of the myth that daily food rations suggested on petfood labels are excessive. In an effort to counter this myth, the PFMA has started an awareness campaign, including a Pet Size-O-Meter and video, on how to assess pets' body condition.
“We urge pet owners to start using our Pet Size-O-Meter and make sure they and their pets have the best chance for a long happy life together,” said Michael Bellingham, chief executive of the PFMA.

Foreign suppliers forced to exit Russian market

Foreign petfood suppliers are forced to scrap their exports to Russia due to not being able to receive a license from Russia’s Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance to import the goods, according to an article on
The FSVPS began to decline licenses to many suppliers claiming that enterprises must be included on a special register of the department.
Imports make over 70% of the petfood goods in Russia’s US$1 billion market. Germany, Britain, France, China and the USA are included in the top five of the largest exporters of petfood to Russia.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

All-new social networking site for petfood professionals

The Web is quickly becoming the most efficient and easy way to connect with people for business. Petfood Industry has recently launched the new social networking site - - designed specifically for those working in any capacity in the petfood industry. Post a picture, create a profile, join a discussion, watch a video - your options are endless. Get online and get going!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

‘BARF’ diet plan meets criticism

Australian veterinarian Ian Billinghurst, who introduced his raw petfood diet known as BARF several years ago, is facing new criticism from veterinarians and petfood manufacturers, according to an article by the San Francisco Chronicle. BARF stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food.
Billinghurst wants dog owners to reproduce the elements of a prey animal when they feed their pets. He recommends a diet of muscle meat, organs and bones along with pulverized raw vegetables, probiotics, cultured foods like yogurt and a few supplements.
The article said that people perceive locally grown fresh foods cleaner, more humane and better for their animals and the environment, despite health warnings from veterinarians and petfood manufacturers stating that homemade raw diets cannot possibly provide all the necessary ingredients for pets’ health that commercial petfoods do.

Commercial food, treats ensure proper diet for pets fed raw foods

Raw food or home-cooked diets are appropriate for some pets, but not all, according to a recent article on
The article recommends commercially available foods and treats in order to ensure a healthy, well-balanced diet for pets.
When it comes to treats, the pet-specific real raw bones at holistic petfood stores are fresher than what someone would get from a butcher, according to the article, and are healthier, too, because the bones are meant to be fed raw or lightly cooked. Meat and bones for human consumption are intended to be cooked before eaten by people, and so hygiene considerations in the rendering plants may reflect that, according to the article.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Minn. petfood recipe bill dies in committee

The Minnesota bill that would have required petfood companies to register their product recipes with the Department of Agriculture has died in committee, according to a press release from the Pet Food Institute.
Under Minnesota legislative rules, bills not voted out of policy committee by March 27 are dead for the 2009 session. PFI was opposed to the bill.
In other legislative news for the industry, a West Virginia bill that would impose at minimum a $5 surcharge on the Commercial Feed Distributor Permit application fee to fund a spay/neuter program is not expected to pass. According to the institute, the bill will not receive support from the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

PetSmart sends relief to flood victims

In response to the flooding in Fargo, North Dakota, PetSmart Charities is sending an Emergency Relief Waggin' trailer stocked with at least 16 tons of much-needed petfood and supplies, as well as a back-up trailer loaded with essential care items.
"Initial reports are that at least 1,000 pets could be affected by this disaster, so we have doubled the amount of supplies we typically send,” said Susana Della Maddalena, executive director of PetSmart Charities.
Both the Emergency Relief Waggin' trailer and back-up trailer departed from the PetSmart Distribution Center in Ottawa, Ill., March 27 and are scheduled to arrive April 4 in Bismarck, North Dakota.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vegans say cats need some meat

Even vegans say that cats need at least some meat in their diets, despite the recent article in The New York Times suggesting cats should stick to a vegan diet to protect fish, according to a recent article on,
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals takes the position that felines require a meat-based diet, and Web sites such as and agree that cats need some meat.
Of particular concern is that cats are unable to synthesize the essential amino acid taurine, and so must get it through their diets. Taurine occurs naturally only in meat, and a deficiency can result in blindness and even death for a cat, according to the article.

Cesar launches petfood with dog newspaper

To celebrate the release of its newest product line Cesar Sunrise, a breakfast-flavored petfood line for small dogs, Cesar Canine Cuisine developed The West Highland Herald newspaper to go along with the new pet breakfast line, according to a press release from the company. Created to portray the world from a small dog’s point of view, the first edition of The West Highland Herald pertains to dogs.
“Our research indicates that breakfast time can be a bonding experience for small dogs and their owners,” said Anne Herrington, director of marketing for Cesar. “What better way to show your small dog you love them, then to offer a special breakfast meal prepared exclusively for them?”
The three flavors of Cesar Sunrise are Grilled Steak & Eggs, Smoked Bacon & Egg, and Chicken & Cheddar Cheese Soufflé.
Free copies of The West Highland Herald will be available in morning commuter areas, pet stores and breakfast-related establishments in eight cities in the USA from March 30 through April 5, 2009.

Durbin: Humane Senator of the Year

Illinois Democrat Sen. Richard J. Durbin's efforts to crack down on puppy mills and improve petfood safety earned him the title of 2008 Humane Senator of the Year, according to an article by The Washington Times.
The Humane Society of the United States announced March 25 the recognition of Durbin as part of its annual Humane Legislator Awards.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Banfield: Don’t skimp on petfood

Although many pet owners struggle to find ways to save on pet care, petfood should not be skimped on, suggests an article on
While it may be tempting to switch to lower-cost petfood, Banfield, The Pet Hospital said it’s important for pet owners to be aware of the long-term cost-efficiency of feeding their pets a higher-quality diet.
“Nutrition is the foundation of good health, and a quality diet can actually decrease your pet’s chance of developing costly health problems in the future,” said Karen Johnson, DVM, of Banfield.
High-quality food tends to include less filler and as a result, more nutrients are directly absorbed and used by the pet’s body, according to the article.
In addition, feeding pets a high-quality diet decreases the amount they need to be fed, according to Banfield.

Evidence destruction claim rejected in Menu Foods case

Allegations that Menu Foods destroyed evidence are the basis of motions in several court cases, according to an article on
Menu Foods settled a $24 million lawsuit last year that grew from the largest petfood recall in US history. The case was heard in New Jersey, and parties are still wrapping up various items on the docket, but now a Washington state litigant is charging that the company illegally destroyed thousands of samples of food, potentially leaving him without evidence to pursue his claim.
During discovery for the New Jersey suit, the defendants collected thousands of cases of petfood — both recalled and non-recalled — in their warehouse. In December 2007, the defendants claimed that preserving all of these samples was an unnecessary waste of time and money. The court agreed, and allowed the defendants to destroy all but 500 units of recalled petfood.
Donald Earl, a plaintiff in a Washington state suit, filed a motion objecting to the orders in January 2008. Earl’s suit involved “cake style” cat food, which does not contain gluten and was not implicated in the March 2007 recall.
Laboratory tests of Earl’s food showed that it was contaminated with acetaminophen and cyanuric acid, nitrogen-based chemicals often used to artificially boost a food’s apparent protein content. Neither chemical was discovered in the recalled food. Despite his allegations, the court dismissed Earl’s objection without comment in February 2008.
Earl also filed a motion in Washington state court, where his own suit was pending. That court rejected his claim in February 2008.
Undeterred, Earl filed a second objection and motion to intervene in January 2009.
In a two-page order issued in February, Judge Noel Hillman denied Earl’s motion to intervene, holding that Earl “has not demonstrated that he has an interest in the ‘unorganized inventory’ requiring that this Court vacate its prior orders regarding that inventory.”