Thursday, September 30, 2010

All American Pet expands sales team to accommodate product rollout

All American Pet Co. Inc., makers of the brands Grrr-nola Natural Dog Food, Grrr-nola Natural Food Bar and Bow Wow Breakfast, has expanded its sales team with the addition of a five-member lead sales team to accommodate the company's establishment of a national product distribution network.
"In today's challenging economy and ever changing retail environment, it is crucial to have personal relationships with accounts to successfully navigate the unique practices and procedures of each retailer -- this is especially true for new vendors offering first-to-market products like our Grrr-nola nutritional dog food bars," said Lisa Bershan, president and director of sales.

Article outlines dog food manufacturing process

A recent WAFB of Louisiana news story outlined dog food manufacturing for consumers, mentioning that multiple parties are involved, including highly trained scientists, nutritionists, veterinarians and taste tasters, and the process can take years to complete from concept to consumer.
It all starts with a concept, and then research, including formula development, product and process development, analysis, palatability testing and digestibility testing. Nutritional testing also must be conducted to meet Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) regulations for petfood in the US.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Healthy human food, diet choices translate to pets

A recent article from LiveScience detailed the transformation of a Fort Worth, Texas, resident, Maribeth Ashley, and her two dogs as they journey to a healthier lifestyle, and it explored how some petfood companies are tapping into this trend.
Nulo, under the direction of founder and CEO Michael Landa, not only offers food, but weight-tracking and meal-planning tools and home delivery, similar to myriad human weight-loss plans on the market today.
Companies are also selling exercise equipment for dogs, including treadmills and wheels (like a larger version of a hamster wheel), according to the story. The amount of food owners feed their companion animals can be another contributor to pet obesity, as well as nutritional content of food.
"We've switched from feeding a high-protein diet 40, 50, 60 years ago to basically a high-carbohydrate diet," said Ernie Ward, a veterinarian from North Carolina.

Petfood maker ordered to stop referring to himself as vet

The Minnesota state veterinary board has issued an order to Will Winter, a formerly licensed veterinarian, stating the man must cease describing himself as a vet, according to a Minnesota Star Tribune article. Winter, who calls himself a holistic veterinarian and runs Restoration Raw Pet Food, had his license to practice veterinarian medicine suspended 11 years ago after complaints.
Earlier this year, the board issued a cease-and-desist order against Winter since he had not ceased to refer to himself as a veterinarian.
"... his website claims that 'over the past 20 years of his holistic veterinary practice our staff veterinarian, Will Winter, has observed and effectively treated his client's pets with a natural diet of raw meat and greens,'" said the board's order.
Although Winter can use the academic designation of DVM after his name, he must be state licensed to describe to himself as a veterinarian.
The board's order happened weeks after an ongoing Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigation shut down Traditional Foods Minnesota, which Winter co-founded.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hill's petfoods available through home delivery service

Webster Veterinary Supply's Home Delivery platform now offers the full line of Hill’s Prescription Diet and Science Diet brand petfoods.
“Over the past two years, Hill's Pet Nutrition has worked closely with VetSource to develop a successful partnership and we are very excited to add this important product line to the Webster VetSource Home Delivery offering,” said George Henriques, president of Webster Veterinary Supply.
MWI Veterinary Supply will also offer home delivery of Hill’s petfood to Vetstreet Home Delivery subscribers.

NOSB scheduled to meet about organic petfood in October

The US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) will meet October 25-28 in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, to discuss NOSB Handling Committee’s recommendation that it adopt a plan to regulate organic petfood.
The recommendation is one of 66 items on the committee’s agenda, as part of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service's National Organic Program. The Handling Committee first recommended the plan in September 2008, following an initial report by the Organic Pet Food Task Force that was completed in April 2006.
Individuals and organizations may submit comments on this matter until October 12. The agenda and proposed recommendations can be viewed online. Comments can be submitted at (preferred) or via e-mail at Requests to speak at the meeting can be made to Lisa Ahramjian, executive director of NOSB, at or +1.202.720.3252.

Monday, September 27, 2010

'Natural' petfood may not be best, veterinarian says

"Natural" petfoods may not always be the best choice to feed to pets, according to veterinarian Susan Nelson of Kansas State University, in an article from
Nelson warned that cats and dogs do not have the same nutritional needs as humans, therefore "natural" petfoods with many fruits and vegetables may not meet all of a pet's nutritional requirements.
"Natural and veggie-based pet foods are based more on market demand from owners, not because they are necessarily better for the pet," Nelson said.
Nelson advised consumers to look for labels from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which sets minimum standards for the nutritional adequacy of diets. Consumers should be wary of any petfood company that claims to have organic or holistic food because these categories don't exist by AAFCO definition, according to Nelson.

Virtual PFF, Petfood Industry and all on Facebook

Although the internet provides easy access to more up-to-date, global information than ever before, it can often be a lengthy process of logins and passwords, multiple tabs and windows on your task bar, and link after confusing link. That's why we've made Facebook a one-stop-shop for everything petfood, so you can get the information and news you need without the hassle. 
Check out our event page for Virtual Petfood Forum and RSVP, while checking out our promotional video and posting a comment on our wall. Then, head over to our brand new Petfood Industry page, become a fan and get caught up with the industry with our daily updates from blogs, articles, videos and podcasts. Finally, go to our fan page and join a discussion, post an opinion on a blog thread or start a group.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Iditarod veterinarian to keynote Petfood Forum 2011

Learn about the thrill of the Iditarod from Timothy A. Hunt, DVM, during Petfood Forum on April 12, 2011. Dr. Hunt has not only worked the legendary race as a veterinarian but has run it himself. Dr. Hunt operates a small-animal veterinary practice in Marquette, Michigan, and is an avid musher who has competed in numerous events throughout North America and Europe. In 2005, he launched his own line of dog food—Dr. Tim’s Pet Food—due of the lack of high-quality feeds on the market for the hard-working Alaskan Husky and has since introduced additional formulations.
Petfood Forum 2011 will take place April 11-13 at a new venue, the Renaissance Schaumburg (about 10 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport). It will be followed April 13-14 by Petfood Workshop: Safety First.
Registration for both events is now available with savings of 15%
If you register by February 15 and an additional discount off Petfood Workshop registration if you also register for Petfood Forum.

Burns Pet Nutrition partners with UK colleges in KTP project

Burns Pet Nutrition joined the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, which helps small to medium-sized businesses access knowledge and expertise in colleges and universities.
KTP project is a UK-wide initiative, led by the Technology Strategy Board and the Welsh Assembly Government, involving over 100 universities, colleges and higher education organizations. Burns Pet Nutrition identified a weakness in its marketing strategy, which led the company and its partner college to develop a project proposal to help increase business using online marketing activities. After the implementation of social media marketing and new initiatives such as interactive brochures, the company saw a 38% rise in visitors to its website. The company also improved its customer relationship management systems as a result of its KTP project partnership.
“Since the project began we’ve developed a better website, which has helped us launch our new range in wet petfood," said Hamish Burns, project manager at Burns. "To complement that we’ve implemented a far more efficient procedure within our online buying and shipping process and this has improved customer service."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

AFIA comments on implementation of Sanitary Food Transportation Act

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the implementation of the Sanitary Food Transportation Act.
In its comments, AFIA highlighted the Safe Feed/Safe Food (SF/SF) Certification Program’s requirement that certified facilities have signed agreements with suppliers detailing the clean-out and inspection procedures for the transportation of feed and feed ingredients.
“AFIA expressed concern on the ability of feed and ingredient manufacturers to get information on previously hauled loads, especially by independent truckers and rail carriers,” said Keith Epperson, AFIA’s vice president of manufacturing and training. “Many companies own and maintain their own vehicles for transportation of products. This gives the company complete control over the vehicle with regard to feed safety.”
AFIA suggested to FDA that transporters should be required to maintain at least the previous supplier's records and items hauled in the containers, and make this information available to subsequent purchasers of products shipped in the same containers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nutrition and feeding practices survey

Dog Talk ( has launched a new survey: "What’s for Dinner: Nutrition and Feeding Practices” examines the foods that owners select or prepare for their dogs, daily feeding practices, and opinions about the role that nutrition plays in dogs’ health and vitality.
"About You” and “About Your Dog(s)”
The Five Most Important Healthcare Practices of Dog Owners"
“The 10 Most Common Behavior Problems in Dogs”
“Breed Preferences: Why We Love the Dogs We Do”
“Survey Lite: Does Your Dog Have a Sense of Humor?”

Possible link between dog food, hypercalcemia reported

Reports of a possible connection between hypercalcemia and a premium petfood have been reported on the Veterinary Information Network (VIN), an online community for veterinarians.
According to an article on the community's associated site, the VIN News Service, veterinarians have mentioned in message board discussions that they have observed hypercalcemia secondary to vitamin D toxicosis in dogs eating Blue Buffalo Wilderness Diet, chicken flavor petfood. Improvements were reported once food brands were changed.
No causal relationship between the food and illnesses has yet been determined, and there is currently no Food and Drug Administration recall in effect for this brand of petfood.
Blue Buffalo representatives report that “tens of thousands of dollars” and hundreds of hours have been spent analyzing dog food, including samples from bags potentially connected to cases of dogs with hypercalcemia and vitamin D toxicity.
Richard MacLean, vice president of business affairs for Blue Buffalo, said test results thus far have shown nothing unusual about the food's formulation.
“We really do take very seriously our commitment to providing health nutrition to pets,” MacLean said. “From the moment this issue came up, we are looking to find out if this is something we can do something about.”
MacLean also said the company’s tests of its dog food have returned low to mid-level vitamin D content.
“Everything that we have suggests that it’s not our food,” he said. “We have 30,000 bags of this stuff out there and literally a dozen animals that have a common symptom. On an incident rate, that doesn’t invite the conclusion that there’s something defective about the product.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dad's Pet Care renamed Ainsworth Pet Nutrition after company restructuring

Dad's Pet Care changed its name to Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, following a restructuring of the company and a series of acquisitions made to expand its product offering.
The new name comes from the company's original founder, George Ainsworth Lang Sr., and his father, who began Dad's in 1933. In addition to the renaming, the company was restructured so that Dad's Pet Care, Ainsworth Specialty Brands and Ainsworth Custom will operate as three business units, all part of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition. Ainsworth also made a series of investments to diversify its products and expand the company, including the acquisition of Hampshire Pet Products, Targeted Pet Treats, Gaines of Canada, Back to Basics and Arkat Animal Nutrition.
“We have made several acquisitions and investments to expand our capabilities and have added exciting new products to our portfolio,” said Sean Lang, chief executive of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition and the great-great-grandson of the company’s founder. “The company has evolved from a small regional business to a multi-tiered North American organization that makes a wide spectrum of pet foods and snacks.”
Internal product innovations are also paving the way for growth, according to the company. Rachael Ray Nutrish Just 6 dog treats and The Source dog treats were introduced this year.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Petcurean given kudos from pet owner

A pet owner in Tabernacle, N.J., referred to in an article from Consumer Affairs as Leslie K., said she was pleased with how Petcurean handled her finding a metal object in her cats' food.
The pet owner found a quarter-inch piece of metal in a bag of Petcurean Go! Natural dry trout food.
“When I saw the piece of metal it scared me,” she said. “I saw it when I knocked the bag over ... I grabbed the piece of metal as my two cats were eating the food on the floor.”
The company immediately apologized, and wanted to ensure this type of incident did not occur again.
"They actually responded to me twice – on a Sunday. They said they wanted more details and the piece of metal,” she said.
Michele Dixon, Petcurean spokeswoman, called it an isolated incident. “This lot of cat food (Go! Natural Grain Free Trout Formula, with a best by date of Dec 16 10, 91016 2B42258, UPC 15260 00040) successfully passed our four critical control points ... We are now awaiting the metal sample to complete our full investigation.”

Nestlé to acquire US-based Waggin’ Train

Nestlé has agreed to acquire the Waggin’ Train dog snacks business in the US. Waggin’ Train makes real-meat dog snacks.
Within the pet care industry, the dog snacks category has enjoyed higher-than-average growth, cites Nestlé, and Waggin’ Train has seen annual growth rates of approximately 30 percent during the last three years.
Waggin’ Train had sales of around US$200 million for the twelve months ending June 2010.
The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of September.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Do pets need variety in their diets?

Traditionally, veterinarians, breeders and other pet-related experts have preached that a pet's diet should remain consistent; if you do decide to change what you're feeding your dog or cat, the direction has always been to do so very slowly and gradually. And certainly, petfood companies want to build brand loyalty and follow this line of thinking.
But lately, we're hearing from
people who say, "Nonsense. If humans can eat a variety of foods, why not pets? And would you want to eat the same exact food meal after meal, day after day?" (See also this item and this column.)
In fact, some petfood companies, such as
The Honest Kitchen and Nature's Variety, have developed their lines based on this theory.
Is this just a case of anthropomorphism or a countering marketing strategy to traditional petfood promotion? Is there scientific evidence that feeding a variety of foods offers nutritional benefits to pets? For that matter, does research back the conventional wisdom that a dog or cat should stick to one food exclusively?
If you know of studies backing either theory (or something else entirely), please share!

Blog explores switching your pet's food

In her blog titled Fully Vetted, Dr. Patty Khuly recently discussed the importance of switching up your pet's food, citing that variety in petfood can offer more nutritional balance.
"If we’ve undertaken thousands of times more research on human nutrition and still can’t decide what’s best for us, does it not stand to reason that a 'nutritionally balanced' diet for our pets might elude modern science as well?" she writes.
Khuly said an "occasional formula change" can help combat getting stuck in a nutritional rut.
Although she said some colleagues disagree with her on this point, she stands "by the reasonable assumption that variety is a good thing."
Khuly also offers a
top 10 list of why to change up your pet's diet, including food allergies, gastrointestinal motility disorders and practicality (such as ability to obtain certain formulas).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Check out these petfood videos

In case you didn't see this video posted last week, it's a fun, brief look at what's coming with Virtual Petfood Forum: Innovation on October 21.
If you haven't yet
registered for this online event, please do so. It's completely free and a great way to see some expert presentations, plus network with other petfood professionals from around the world, without having to leave your desk.
Speaking of videos, the new features a beefed-up video section with clips from Interzoo 2010 and Petfood Forum 2010. Videos getting the most play include:
*Antonio Teixeira Miranda Neto, president of Total Alimentos in Brazil,
discussing the new sustainability program that will soon be part of the certification program from ANFAL-PET, the petfood trade association in Brazil;
*Justin Verstappen, general director of Brandenburch of the Netherlands,
describing the product development and other services offered to producers making petfood for small animals; and
*Vygantas Kirejevas, CEO of Bacterfield Ltd. in Luxembourg,
talking about the company's new ProBiotic Live, which it says is the first dry dog food to keep probiotics live and stable.
Don't forget, you can always post your own videos on Please be sure to share them!

Petfood bank aids in New Zealand quake relief

A group in Auckland, New Zealand, is preparing to launch a petfood bank and has stepped up before it's opening to help those affected by the Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquake.
Paw Justice Pet Food Bank will officially launch at the Champ Wag 'n' Walk dog walk and fun day in Auckland, September 26, but co-founders Craig Dunn and Shaughan Campbell are distributing petfood from Heinz Wattie's Ltd., with help from Mainfreight/Dailyfreight, to animal shelters in Christchurch, New Zealand. Heinz Wattie's has donated several pallets of Chef cat food and premium Nutri+Plus dog kibble.
Paw Justice Pet Food Bank will distribute food to animal shelters and food banks across the nation.
Additional Champ Wag 'n' Walk dog walk and fun days will be held October 31 in Wellington, New Zealand, and December 4 in Christchurch.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wenger introduces innovations focused on food safety

With 23 innovations and 11 new patents, Wenger Manufacturing has introduced new products including a high-intensity preconditioner for improved pasteurization and sanitation, a series of thermal twin screw extruders, an enhanced sanitary dryer that reduces the risk of contamination and systems designed to improve hygiene and petfood safety.
“There are a number of trends currently impacting the food industry that affected the design process behind each of these new innovations,” said Galen Rokey, process technology manager for Wenger.
“Among them are higher energy costs, concerns about water availability and the current economic recession, which is impacting consumer buying habits. Consequently, manufacturers desire the ability to react quickly to new market directions."
Rokey said food safety was at the forefront of the company's latest product designs. Wenger’s design criteria for its new sanitary dryer stated that no internal horizontal surface could be larger than 5 by 5 millimeters unless absolutely necessary. The design also called for a minimum 30-degree slope on all internal ledges, as well as the elimination of cracks and crevices in which fines and material could collect.

Halo and team up to feed homeless pets by answering online trivia questions

Halo, Purely for Pets will be the official sponsor of and, online dog and cat trivia games that feed shelter pets in need. and were created in 2008 by Mimi Ausland when she was just 11 years old. By simply answering the daily trivia questions on each website, regardless of whether the answers are right or wrong, 10 pieces of kibble will be donated to homeless dogs and cats. As official sponsor, Halo's Spot's Stew will be the exclusive food donated. To date, the websites’ daily visitors have helped Freekibble donate 3,846,737 meals to hungry pets in shelters, rescues and food banks across the country.
“We are thrilled to partner with such an amazing young woman and her organization,” said Steve Marton, chief executive of Halo, Purely for Pets. “Her desire to keep shelter pets fed, not with just any food, but with natural, healthy food, is commendable. We at Halo are honored to be able to help Freekibble fulfill their mission of feeding shelter pets in the best possible way.”

Monday, September 13, 2010

Texas private label petfood producer lays off 43 workers

Pied Piper Pet and Wildlife Inc. laid off about one-fourth of its employees, according to Workforce Solutions of west central Texas USA.
Following the layoffs of 43 people, 113 employees remain with the Hamlin, Texas, USA-based company, according to Mary Ross, executive director of Workforce Solutions in Abilene, Texas USA. Ross said the layoffs may be temporary and the result of declining demand for the higher priced petfoods produced by the company for various clients.
“They are hoping to get some new contracts in a few months and bring those people back,” Ross said.
Ross said representatives from Workforce Solutions have met with officials and employees at Pied Piper Pet and Wildlife to offer their services

Canidae offers new horse feed line at World Equestrian Games

Canidae Pet Foods, maker of dog and cat foods, will offer its new Equidae line of horse feed at the Candiae Pet Foods, maker of dog and cat foods, will offer its new Equidae line of horse feed at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.Canidae is an official animal health and nutrition partner for the games, which will be held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, September 25 to October 10.
Canidae is an official animal health and nutrition partner for the games, which will be held in Lexington, Kentucky, USA, September 25 to October 10. The new Equidae horse feed is produced using a steam extrusion process and is available in two formulations: Equidae Alfalfa Plus and Equidae Coastal Plus.
"This is an opportunity for us to expose the public to our new Equidae line of superpremium horse feed. As horse owners ourselves, we understand how critical proper nutrition is for the long term performance and health of our horses," said Mike DeNunzio of the Canidae Small and Large Animal Division.

Heartland Pet Care launches new daily petfood supplement

Heartland Pet Care LLC launched a new petfood supplement called Pro Active Balance, which will be available through pet specialty retailers beginning in October.
The supplement comes in the form of a granular substance that can be added to petfood. Pro Active Balance is available for both canine and equine care. A 30-day supply of sachets is available for standard and large breed dogs at a suggested retail price of US$6.99 to US$7.99. A 60-day supply for standard breed dogs and a 110-day supply for large breed dogs is also available. A 30-day supply of the equine formula is available at a suggested retail price of US$21.99 to US$24.99.

My Perfect Pet opens production plant to the public

My Perfect Pet opened its Poway, California, USA, factory doors, allowing the public to view petfood production daily during business hours.
The company produces cooked dog food that is sold frozen, with only human-grade ingredients from restaurant food distributors, it says. My Perfect Pet's 4,100-square-foot facility features a lobby with a window that looks into the kitchen where the food is made.
"We invite people to come into the facility here and watch the entire operation," said company owner Karen Scoggins.
A grand opening celebration took place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on September 11, at the My Perfect Pet plant. The plant is located at 12655 Danielson Court in Poway, California, USA.

Global petfood market forecast to reach US$56.4 billion by 2015

The petfood market is expanding at a steady rate worldwide and is considered one of the fastest-growing food industry segments, according to “Pet Foods: A Global Strategic Business Report,” a report from Global Industry Analysts Inc.
Market size and outlook are determined by factors such as number of pet households, consumer preferences, regional economic scenario and spending propensity of pet owners. Smaller families, decreasing birthrates and higher disposable incomes have led to a sea change in the attitudes of pet owners. Pets occupy an important place in today’s rapidly changing family structure and are looked upon as individuals and companions.
Innovations in specialty, premium and gourmet petfood products and packaging techniques will propel growth in the larger and relatively mature markets of the US, Europe and Japan, according to the study. Shift in preference for dry petfood, emphasis on nutritive and functional aspects and easy availability options are some of the key growth determinants in developing countries.
The UK petfoods market has seen strategic restructuring and development initiatives during the 2008-2009 fiscal year. Petfood brands were revamped through launch of novel pouch variants, innovative gourmet recipes and new product packaging.
The petfood industry is highly influenced by the trends and preferences in the human food market. Accordingly, the shift toward healthier, organic and natural human food finds a reflection in the petfood industry, too. This trend is particularly prevalent in developed markets such as the US, where organic food production is poised to become one of the fastest growing segments in the food industry.
The report also shows the US represents the single-most dominant global market for petfoods, trailed by Europe and Japan. Together, the US and Europe account for a consolidated share of more than 80% of the world petfood market.
The recession has done little to slow the petfood industry in the majority of the markets, particularly in the cat and dog food segment, which have shown positive results. The petfoods market is primarily categorized into the dog food and cat food segments.
Companies including Royal Canine, Hill's, Iams, Nestle and Mars/Masterfoods continued their growth trajectory. The rising trend is attributable to the increasing inclination among consumers to purchase mid-priced and premium brand products for their pets. The petfood market is characterized by the presence of a strong private-label segment. Major market participants include Del Monte Foods, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Hartz Mountain Corp., Mars Inc., Nestle Purina PetCare Co., P&G/Iams and C&D Foods Ltd.
The full report covers market trends, growth drivers, product profile, market share data, competition, new product introductions, recent industry activity and profiles of market players worldwide. Analysis is presented for markets including the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Historic data for insight into market evolution from 2000-2006 is also included.

Evermore Pet Food launches Yappy Gourmet line

Evermore Pet Food Inc., an independent, Brooklyn, New York, USA-based company, is now making Yappy Gourmet, its cooked petfood for dogs. The company drew on the trend of consumer awareness of dietary choices for self and the environment.
Evermore calls its Yappy Gourmet customers “foodies who are already committed to eating locally and sustainably and are looking to extend this ethos to their pets." It supports regional vendors in the Northeast and uses only human-grade, whole-food ingredients, the company says.
The products are cooked and then flash frozen to retain freshness, nutritional integrity and flavor. Available in beef and chicken recipes, Evermore can be purchased in various retail locations in New York.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Joe Inglis launches Vet’s Kitchen petfood

Vet’s Kitchen, a new range of petfood created by Joe Inglis BVSc MRCVS, was inspired by natural, high-quality foods, and the packaging, designed by Embrace Brands, was designed to evoke professionalism, veterinary expertise, nature and health.
Inglis is the veterinarian on the BBC’s ‘One Show.'
“Just like a top chef creating a delicious meal, our work for Vet’s Kitchen expresses the idea of the product’s premium recipe. The premium packaging tells the story of each of the products; it was important to communicate the brand’s passion and expertise, delivering the message of ‘naturally healthy pets,’” said Greg Vallance, co-founder of Embrace Brands.

New petfood designed to change with the seasons

Seasons Natural Petfood offers pet owners a diet that changes with the seasons—just like animals' metabolism seems to. (see earlier blog, Seasonal pet food?)
A 2006 study conducted by the US National Research Council reported that the metabolic energy requirements of pets change with the weather. In short, pets need more energy in the winter and less in the summer. To that end, Seasons has come up with two blends of petfood. One is formulated to complement warm-weather needs, the other to do the same for cool-weather needs. According to the company, both blends "deliver the proper amount of protein, fat and climate-specific nutrients when the pet needs it most." The food is offered in three flavor formulas: chicken meal and brown rice, lamb meal and brown rice and a multi-protein formula.

Authors address nutrition needs of small dogs

There are many factors that have to be taken into consideration when determining the proper diet for a small dog, according to Susan Lauten, PhD, of Pet Nutrition Consulting and Liz Palika, author of The Ultimate Pet Food Guide. Here are eight guidelines owners of small dogs should keep in mind when figuring out how much to feed:
1) Use food manufacturer's guidelines as the starting point for determining proper portion size.

2) Adjust food amounts depending on how active your dog is.
3) Give dogs that have been neutered or spayed less food than their intact counterparts.
4) Choose food designed for smaller breeds if your dog is picky.
5) Understand the serious health risks of improper feeding.
6) Offer the right size treats.
7) Be prepared to adjust to changing dietary needs as your dog ages.
8) Regularly monitor changes in your dog's weight.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Safety speaker announced for Virtual Petfood Forum: Innovation

All the media coverage over the past few weeks about the huge recall of eggs contaminated with Salmonella -- not to mention the continuing spate of much smaller, less serious, mainly precautionary petfood recalls -- ensures safety stays top of mind.
But how can you be sure your safety practices are as robust as possible? Are there other protocols or technologies you should consider?
You can find out by
signing up for Virtual Petfood Forum: Innovation on October 21. It's free and completely online, so you don't need to leave your office or home to participate.
One of the five expert presentations will be by Jim Marsden, PhD, Regent's Distinguished Professor of
Food Safety and Security and associate director of the Biosecurity Research Institute, both at Kansas State University. His research has focused on the safety of food products, particularly controlling dangerous bacteria and other contaminants in meat, and he's now applying that research to petfood.
The other presentations during Virtual Petfood Forum will be:
*Innovation in nutrition and ingredients by Serge Boutet, agronomist and manager of petfoods and nutriton for
Mondou Ltd.;
*Innovation in petfood packaging by Scott Whiteside, PhD, associate professor of the
Department of Packaging Science and associate director of the Center for Flexible Packaging, both at Clemson University;
*Innovation in marketing: exploring social and online media by Julie Lenzer Kirk, CEO and chief Muse of
Path Forward International; and
*Innovation in petfood processing by Mian Riaz, PhD, director of the
Food Protein R&D Center at Texas A&M University.
Besides viewing the presentations and participating in live Q&A with the speakers, you can also chat live with other industry peers and with leading industry suppliers from around the world.
You can come and go throughout the day as your schedule permits -- or, if you can't participate on October 21, you can view an archive of the event for 90 days afterward.
Sign up today!

Tractor Supply sees growth in petfood sales

Tractor Supply Co. has seen an increase in its petfood sales as non-traditional customers come in looking for a deal in the current economy.
According to the company, its second quarter same-store sales surged by 6.1% due to core consumable categories, which include animal and pet-related products. In addition, the livestock and pet product segment is outperforming all other product categories and in 2009 represented 39% of sales, up from 33% in 2007. "In good times or bad times, it's convenient to go in and get a large bag of feed," said Morgan Keenan Analyst John Lawrence.
As more and more households add pets, Tractor Supply has adjusted accordingly. "We've continued to grow our offerings as pets went from outside the home to inside, and the pet population has grown," said Tractor Supply Vice President Ken Wilmes. The company has even launched its own brand of dry dog food called 4health, with plans to expand the line to include wet dog food and cat food.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fatwa leads to ban of pet ads in Iranian media

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has released a statement banning all Iranian media from publishing any advertisements about pets or pet-related products in response to a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi.
According to Advertisement and Information Dissemination Office Director Alireza Karimi, publishing any ad about keeping, buying or selling pets is now forbidden. In addition, ads promoting petfood and shops selling pet accessories, especially for cats and dogs, have been banned. Shirazi has declared dogs to be "unclean" based on shariah, a Koran-derived law.

North Carolina clarifies law regarding pets in restaurants

North Carolina has clarified a long-standing rule banning non-service animals from restaurants by adding a caveat to exclude outdoor seating areas from the restriction.
Animals in restaurants are regulated as part of health inspections, said Larry Michael, head of the food protection branch of the state's Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Enforcement, however, has not been consistent due to varying interpretations of the rule. The clarification states that restaurants can choose whether to allow pets in their outdoor seating areas. Pets must be leashed, can't enter the restaurant and can't come in contact with employees preparing food or food service items.

The Honest Kitchen promotes variety for pet diets

The Honest Kitchen is working to dispel the idea that table scraps—and variety—are off the menu for pets with its line of natural, human-grade petfood.
"There is nothing wrong with table scraps as long as they are healthy and given in moderation," said Honest Kitchen CEO Lucy Postins. "Pets, like people, need dietary variety and seasonal foods to get a semblance of balance over the week for healthful benefits and to eliminate boredom from a monotonous diet." The Honest Kitchen
provides natural petfood that meets American Association of Feed Control Officials standards. Recipes call for human-grade food and are taste-tested by company employees. The dehydrated final products include a protein (chicken, beef or fish) and a range of fruits and vegetables. No fillers, byproducts or artificial preservatives, colors or flavors are used, according to the company.
There are, however, five ingredients that should never be fed to cats or dogs, said Postins: Grapes, raisins, chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions can all be detrimental to pet health.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Petco, Natural Balance team up to support National Guide Dog Month

Petco and Natural Balance Pet Foods will team up during September to support National Guide Dog Month.
One dollar for each bag of specially marked Natural Balance dog food purchased in September will be donated to participating guide dog schools, up to $50,000. In addition, monetary donations can be made at any Petco in-store register (through Sept. 18) or online at the checkout page (through Sept. 24).

RECALL: Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs

The Hartz Mountain Corp. is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs due to Salmonella concerns.
the petfood company is recalling 74,700 8-oz bags of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs, lot code BZ0969101E, UPC number 32700-11519, which were imported by Hartz from a Brazilian supplier, Bertin S.A., and which were distributed to a number of customers in the United States. While regular testing conducted by Bertin (prior to shipment to the US) did not detect the presence of Salmonella in any packages of this product, random sample testing conducted by FDA did indicate the presence of Salmonella.
Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 at any time with any questions they may have and for information on how to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Seasonal Dog Food?

When I first read Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, updated and published by the National Research Council in 2006, my marketing persona wondered (among other things) if someone would pounce on the seasonal aspect of pet nutrition.
To be honest, I laughed it off. The variances are easily covered by a quality diet and clean water, so why bother?Apparently I was wrong, as we now have Seasons Natural, which appears to be based on the information in this publication.The Seasons Natural website states "In the wild, animals forage the seasonal foods presented by nature in preparation for the upcoming season.
A wild animal's diet changes with the seasons. At Seasons Natural®, we have employed the latest advances in pet nutrition to provide your pet a diet that is seasonally appropriate, just as nature intended."We're becoming very focused on what is natural in the wild.
This isn't a new concept in a field I specialize in - aquatic creatures. From environment to food, it's been well researched and discussed to exhaustion. What we've concluded is that we should definitely consider the wild diet when formulating captive diets, but that information must be adjusted to captive conditions.
For example, a livebearing fish in the wild normally has seasonal breeding cycles, diapauses, etc. In captivity, they usually breed all year so their captive diet should be modeled after their breeding season diet in the wild. Fishkeepers have also learned that behavior in the wild is often centered on survival, not because it's the ideal. A good example of that is the well known Betta splendens or 'Fighting Fish', It is a common belief that these fish can be kept in very small bowls because they can be found in shallow puddles in the wild.
However, while Bettas are capable of surviving in mud puddles during dry season, it isn't their ideal environment by a long shot.This is summed up well by Dr. Stephen Dreyer in his book, Feeding Tropical Fishes the Right Way, "What Nature has constructed as aids to survival must never be the rule for aquarists."This makes me wonder if we should be considering the seasonal diet of 'wild animals' when formulating the diet of domestic dogs at all.
Most dogs live in warm homes, so their metabolic changes due to a change of seasons should be nil. Their digestive evolution seems to have little to do with seasonal foraging, other than enabling them to uptake nutrients from various sources so they can survive. I wish this brand well with their idea and it looks like it would be fine to feed the food if it makes pet parents feel better.
They're pushing marketing limits though, and I think they're going to find that even the most 'natural' enthusiast will be a tough sell for this concept. I'm not concerned so much as intrigued by just how necessary it is. It would be interesting to have the experts weigh in on this notion. Is there really a notable difference in seasonal nutritional requirements?

'Pet fest' distributes 70,000 pounds of petfood to struggling families

A "pet fest" held in Louisiana resulted in 70,000 pounds of petfood distributed to help pet owners struggling in the wake of the recent US oil spill.
Local companies and individuals donated time and products to make the event a success, according to organizers. "It was a miracle—putting it all together," said Dennis Breaud, a manager at Petco and one of the event organizers. In addition to the petfood, $15,000 was collected to help pets in need.

FTC may crack down on 'greenwashing'

For the first time in 12 years, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will reportedly soon release a new set of "Green Guides," environmental marketing guidelines for how companies market and label their products, packaging and corporate initiatives as "green."
According to, which consulted advertising law specialist Christopher Cole, the guides could make many of the 300+ environmental seals of approval now being used on packaging and products "largely useless and possibly in violation of FTC standards." The Ad Age article also said the guides could affect initiatives by Walmart and other large retailers to establish sustainability ratings for products.
And besides tightening standards and possibly even regulating how companies use claims such as recyclable, biodegradable and carbon neutral, the guides "may also attempt to define such legally and linguistically squishy terms as 'sustainability' or tackle the central issue of many 'greenwashing' controversies," the article says. (Greenwashing, in case you're not familiar with the term, is when marketers try to paint their products or practices as environmentally friendly when they actually aren't.)
In my view, "legally and linguistically squishy"--besides being a great phrase--really hones in on the issue. No one, whether consumers, marketers or regulators, can really define what sustainability is; everyone has their own definition. (Actually, I see it as more of a continuum of practices, including development and use of specific types of products, but that's still very vague.)
consumers are demanding sustainable products and corporate practices--including from petfood manufacturers--even if they don't know exactly what that means. Perhaps the new FTC guides, expected to be out by the end of this month, will move at least the US market closer to clarity. In any event, they're likely to change the green landscape as we now know it.