Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pedigree responds to consumer complaint about chewy dog treat

Pet food manufacturer Pedigree said claims made in a TV ad for the Jumbone chew treat are "mere puffery," after a dog owner complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that his dogs consumed the treats in seconds.
The TV ad features a small dog gnawing on the Jumbone and giving up after it could not finish what the commercial called a "long-lasting chewy treat." The dog owner complained to the ASA, claiming his dogs took "under one minute" to finish off the bones.
In its response to the complaint, Pedigree said the man should not have believed the claim of the "lighthearted" ad, saying it was "mere puffery". In Pedigree's view, "long lasting" meant "several minutes." The ASA weighed the evidence and dismissed the consumer complaint, siding with Pedigree that its chewy dog treats lasted an average of about "three minutes and 21 seconds," which it considered long lasting, in comparison to softer treats. 

Petfood not necessarily to blame for US pet obesity epidemic

A recent Chicago Tribune article focuses on the epidemic of overweight cats and dogs in the United States.
A 2011 survey, conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, found that more than half of the dogs and cats in the US are overweight or obese, which is defined as being at least 30% above normal body weight.
"It comes from the fact that they are beloved," says veterinarian Louise Murray, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York, USA. "We see them as part of the family, and we feed them. (The obesity) comes from a good place because we love them. But we need to get it under control because it can cause health problems."
Many pet owners, however, do not see the problem of pet obesity. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has a chart to help pet owners determine whether or not their pet is overweight, though a veterinarian visit is still recommended. 
"There are medical conditions that can cause obesity and weight gain," says Thomas Graves, a professor of veterinary clinical medicine at the University of Illinois' College of Veterinary Medicine. "So any animal with a weight problem needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian. That way, a proper weight loss program can be designed by the veterinarian."
A good pet weight loss regiment usually involves a combination of diet and exercise. Graves does not recommend one brand over another, but advises consumers to select a premium-brand petfood, appropriate for the pet's lifestage, and check with a veterinarian for the appropriate feeding amount.
"The truth about petfood is that most pet foods are really good," Graves says. "The petfood companies spend lots of money researching proper nutrition. They want pets fed healthy food that keeps them alive a long time — and buying more food."
Murray says that most weight problems in dogs are the result of feeding too many leftovers, snacks and treats that are high in calories, not the dog's regular food.
In cats, Murray says weight problems come from a diet that is too high in carbohydrates. She recommends canned or moist cat foods.
"Cats are nature's pure carnivores," she says. "They were never meant to eat carbohydrates. Their bodies are not designed to handle them at all. Unfortunately, a lot of the cat foods on the market are high in carbs, especially dry foods. It's easy for us to leave a bowl out all day, but then they're snacking on carbohydrates all day."
Exercising your pet is another important part of keeping it at a healthy weight. For dogs, Murray suggests long walks, three or four times a day, or playing active games like fetch. For cats, she says exercise can consist of waving a simple toy around or getting the cat to chase a laser pointer.
"Any kind of exercise for them is good," Graves explains. "And it's really important that they get mental stimulation too. One way to keep dogs' brains in better shape as they age is to expose them to new things. Don't take them on the same route on the walk every day. Vary it. Go a different way. Let them use their brains more."

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FDA says petfood Salmonella testing is 'routine'

A spokeswoman for the US Food and Drug Administration says media coverage of a recent FDA announcement that it will sample pet food, pet treats and supplements for possible Salmonella contamination has been misleading to pet owners.
Laura Alvey, a spokeswoman in FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said the focus on Salmonella in petfood was planned as a part of FDA's fiscal 2012 assignments.
“I'm afraid that what has been reported in the media on this topic has been a bit disingenuous,” Alvey said. “This is a routine surveillance sampling assignment that we have been doing since 2007.”
According to Alvey, the sampling surveys have been used every year, with the only change this year being the title of the survey, which she says may be a cause of the sudden media interest. The previous Salmonella surveys were entitled Nationwide Assignment to Collect and Analyze Samples of Direct-Human-Contact Feed from Interstate Commerce in the United States for Salmonella. “Direct-human-contact feed” includes petfoods, treats and supplements, as well as food for animals in petting zoos and agricultural fairs. The new Salmonella survey is titled Nationwide Assignment to Collect and Analyze Samples of Pet Foods, Pet Treats, and Supplements for Pets from Interstate Commerce in the United States for Salmonella
Alvey said the FDA sampling is not in response to previous Salmonella outbreaks or to previous journal articles.
“Our goal here is to get an idea of how common Salmonella is in dry pet food, and then to determine which serotypes are most common and whether they are disease-causing pathogens,” she said. “There is no reason to believe petfood is unsafe.”  
In this latest FDA survey, samples are being collected from nationwide outlets where pet food, treats or supplements are offered for sale or for consumption. Imported products and canned petfood are not included. The sampling was scheduled to begin in October 2011 and run through September 2012. The agency did not give a timetable for reporting results. launches Rescue Tales Facebook Contest launched the Feeding Fido & Friends Rescue Tales Facebook Contest. The nationwide contest invites pet lovers to tell their rescue tales of inspirational pets and the rescues or shelters that helped them beat the odds.
Now through December 18, pet lovers can submit their rescue tales on’s Facebook page. A team of judges will select 10 finalists with the most moving stories and post them on Facebook in early January 2012. Facebook users may then vote for two weeks to select the winning, most inspirational rescue tale.
The winning rescue or shelter organization will receive US$5,000 in pet food and treats from the contest’s sponsors–Eukanuba, Fancy Feast, Greenies, Halo, Pounce and World’s Best Cat Litter. Each of the nine finalists will receive a US$100 gift certificate from
“As a company built on providing food for our four-legged friends, it’s important to us that we do our part in caring for animals in need,” said Brock Weatherup, CEO of “We launched this contest to help support the amazing work done by rescue and shelter organizations across the country. They’re giving pets a second chance each and every day.”  

Monday, November 28, 2011 founders launch successful pet food delivery site using marketing knowledge

Just over a year ago the pet food delivery service was launched, yet the pet food delivery service has been so successful that it now does more than US$1 million in business every month, according to a recent blog that tells the retailer's success story.  
One reason has been so successful is that the founders, Alex Zhardanovsky and Joe Speiser, found a niche in a market that is growing, despite a tough economy. Another reason for the success is that Zhardanovsky and Speiser already had a background in Internet marketing before starting the company. The two used a 40% share of their proceeds from the sale of their company, Azoogle, to start The use of marketing schemes like online petfood coupons, flyers, Facebook and search/banner marketing to advertise the pet food delivery service to the pet industry. Through the use of images of cute puppies, kittens and other animals, PetFlow created ad campaigns that appeal directly to its customers.

Chicken jerky treats from China may sicken dogs, FDA warns

The US Food and Drug Administration is warning pet owners to be award of chicken jerky products from China that may be associated with reports of Fanconi-like syndrome in dogs.
In its alert to dog owners, FDA says chicken jerky products should not be substituted for a balanced diet and are only intended to be fed occasionally, in small quantities.
FDA advises consumers who choose to feed their dogs chicken jerky products to monitor them closely for any or all of the following Fanconi-like symptoms that may occur within hours to days of feeding the products: decreased appetite; decreased activity; vomiting; diarrhea, sometimes with blood; and increased water consumption and/or increased urination. If the dog shows any of these signs, pet owners should stop feeding the chicken jerky product and consult a veterinarian if signs are severe or last for more than 24 hours. Although most dogs appear to recover, some reports have involved dogs that have died, according to FDA.
FDA and several US animal health diagnostic laboratories are working to determine why these products are associated with illness in dogs. FDA's Veterinary Laboratory Response Network is available to support these animal health diagnostic laboratories. To date, scientists have not been able to determine a definitive cause for the reported illnesses. FDA continues extensive chemical and microbial testing but has not yet identified a contaminant. Veterinarians and consumers alike should report cases of animal illness associated with petfoods to the FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator in their state or go to

Pet Food Manufacturers' Association executive recommends breed-specific dog food

Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (UK) chief executive, Michael Bellingham, recently recommended that dogs should be provided with the correct food formulated specifically for their breed.
Certain breeds of dogs are prone to specific health problems, making it important they receive the proper diet, Bellingham said. Additionally, he said, size, energy requirements and health issues should all be considered in selecting a pet's food. According to PFMA, all dogs must have 37 "essential" nutrients in their food.
"We see variation in the nutritional needs of dogs depending on their characteristics," said Bellingham.
Petfood manufacturers offer a range of breed-specific dog foods, including Royal Canin Yorkshire Terrier dog food and Eukanuba German Shepherd dog food.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Canine health company receives nutrigenomics patent

Canine health company Hemopet received its fourth patent for the company's nutrigenomics portfolio.
Hemopet says its business strategy calls for launching nutrigenomic pet food supplements in 2012, formulas which are currently being tested in Europe.  
“Our intellectual property protects and confirms Hemopet as a leader in nutrigenomic petfoods. It validates our being at the forefront of petfood issues and further builds on our philosophy of individualized care for pets,” said Dr. Jean Dodds, president.

Provimi Pet Food renamed Partner in Pet Food

The pet food manufacturer formerly known as Provimi Pet Food is renaming itself as Partner in Pet Food.
The decision to rebrand follows the sale of the business by Provimi Group to Advent International, a global private equity firm, the company says.

German pet product company Rondo Food buys Ireland pet treat manufacturer

German pet product company Rondo Food GmbH & Co. KG bought Ireland-based Gaines Europe Ltd., a manufacturer of treats for dogs and cats.
Rondo Food will continue production in Ireland with approximately 70 employees on the present scale. The company belongs to both managing directors, Dirk Wellen and Thilo Kühne.
“With the acquisition of Gaines, we want to strengthen our activities outside Europe,” said managing director for sales, Thilo Kühne.

UK petfood manufacturer named regional finalist in HSBC Business Thinking Initiative

UK pet food manufacturer MPM Products was recently featured in aUK Telegraph blog for being named a regional finalist in the HSBC Business Thinking initiative.
Set up in 2002, MPM Products is a premium-quality pet food manufacturer with two brands: Applaws and Encore. The business generates annual sales of £12 million (US$18.93 million), according to the blog, which represents an increase of 87% over the past three years.
Julian Bambridge, MPM Products managing director, said: “We have just opened an office in Atlanta and will be shipping products very soon, and this trip has confirmed our excitement about the opportunity that British companies have in the US. It has certainly given us more confidence that we are doing the right thing and with HSBC we have the right partners to do it. This trip has also given us the confidence that we can go beyond the US to explore the opportunity in other countries.
“I also think that we can take home with us the positive approach of the US markets. It’s tough out there but that doesn’t mean that we cannot achieve growth provided we make sure we target the right demographic.
“We have searched hard for the right international partners who have the same vision of growth as we do, and we will certainly do that again. Likewise, we will also make sure that we seek out and use expert local advisers in every market we choose to expand in.”

Wellness ranked top cat, dog food brand among Pet Sitters International members

Pet Sitters International’s recent State of the Industry Survey polled more than 7,000 member businesses on several of the professional pet care industry’s product preferences, including cat and dog foods.
The top-ranking dog food brand among PSI’s professional pet sitter members was Wellness. Purina ProPlan placed second and Science Diet ranked third. The preferred dog chew among PSI pet sitters was Nylabone, followed by Greenies and rawhide chews, of no particular brand. For cat foods, PSI members also preferred Wellness brand. Science Diet ranked second and Purina ranked third. 
The majority of professional pet sitters said they shop for their pet products at a retail store, though online shopping continues to gain ground.

Global pet food industry worth $50 billion in 2010, Markets and Markets report estimates

In 2010, the global pet market was estimated to be worth more than US$50 billion in 2010, according to Markets and Markets' petfood industry report, "Global Pet Food Market by Type, Animal, Geography Trends & Outlook 2011-2016." 
The report says that North America dominates the global petfood market, with more than 40% of the total market share in 2010. Countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as India and China, as well as Brazil are expected to be high-growth markets for petfood, according to the report. The report also includes trends in the global petfood market, such as the shift to organic and natural petfoods.
A copy of the report may be purchased online from Markets and Markets.

ACSI finds customer satisfaction with pet food down in 2011

The third-quarter 2011 American Customer Satisfaction Index found that customer satisfaction with pet food purchases has dropped for the second year in a row, down 1.2% to a satisfaction index ranking of 82 out of 100.
According to the ACSI report, the decline at the industry level is driven by a large drop for petfood manufacturer Mars Petcare as well as aggregate satisfaction declines for smaller petfood labels. The report also attributes price to the depressed satisfaction in pet food purchases.
In 2010, both Mars and the smaller petfood brands led the petfood category with a ranking of 85. However, small brands now tie the industry satisfaction average, following a 4% drop to 82, and Mars dropped 6% to last place with a score of 80. Hill’s Pet Nutrition gained 2% satisfaction, making the company the industry leader with a score of 84. Procter & Gamble’s Iams petfood brand gained 1% to a score of 81, while Del Monte's satisfaction ranking fell by 1% and Nestlé Purina PetCare's ranking remained unchanged, both with scores of 82.  
“When there is little or no industry growth, the only way for many companies to expand is to take market share from competition,” said Claes Fornell, founder of ACSI. “In an anemic labor market with tight household budgets, this leads to more price competition, deflationary pressure and a further weakening of aggregate demand. The best defense a company can have against competitive efforts to take market share is to have satisfied customers.” 

UK packaging company introduces single-serve cat food can

To help petfood manufacturers meet the UK's growing demand for premium cat food, Crown Food Europe - Cans and Closures, a business unit of Crown Holdings Inc., introduced an 85-gram package that provides single-serve portions to consumers and shelf differentiation for manufacturers.
Crown says its 85-gram container helps manufacturers address consumer demands through features such as superior metal packaging barrier characteristics to protect the nutritional value of the cat food and extend its shelf life, while providing convenience to consumers through the smaller, single-serving sizes. 
“Consumers are paying greater attention to the overall health and wellness of their families, and that mindset has extended to their beloved cats,” said Ana Neale, marketing director, Crown Food Europe. “This desire for cat food with higher nutritional value has led many brands to launch premium products, including lines that are natural or organic, focus on special diet needs or contain health-fortifying ingredients. Since consumers are often paying more for these products, it’s critical that the packaging delivers value on multiple levels. Along with protecting the quality and taste of these upscale products, it should also respond to consumer demands for convenience and environmentally friendly packaging.” 
Additionally, Crown says the containers are compatible with its range of easy-open ends to ensure easy and safe opening for consumers. The can, 100% metal, is recyclable and is produced with more than half recycled materials.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Raw dog food manufacturer switches to 'green' flexible packaging

Raw dog food manufacturer Steve’s Real Food has switched to using an environmentally friendly flexible packaging for its pet food products, which is constructed of renewable and compostable materials, printed and laminated with low-VOC, water-based inks and adhesives.
The Utah, USA-based dog food manufacturer chose Eagle Flexible Packaging's NVIRO because the company says it is committed to following strict environmental standards.
"I really wanted a solution that was green, not just one that sounded green,” said Nicole Lindsley, project manager at Steve’s.
NVIRO packaging is derived from corn and plant starches, allowing it to compost in a municipal composting environment. The packaging is produced using water-based inks, which Eagle says contain less than 5% volatile organic compounds. This makes NVIRO packaging "green from the zipper to the sealant,” according to Eagle.
Not only did Steve's consider environmental impact in selecting the packaging, but the company also took into consideration consumer convenience. The new package incorporates ZIP-PAK's Press-to-Close solution, made from the same compostable material as the pouch film, which makes it easier for the consumer to open and reclose the petfood packages.

Pet retailers not selling live animals may get recognition in San Francisco

The San Francisco, California, USA, Commission of Animal Control and Welfare is looking into ways to highlight pet stores that do not actually sell live animals, one of which includes a special sign that would be displayed in the window of pet retailers that only sell pet food and accessories, The Examiner reported.
Animal commission director, Ryan Young, suggested the new initiative after a June 2011 recommendation to ban stores outright from selling pets made little progress with the city's Board of Supervisors, which would need to approve the ordinance.
Young suggested the city issue official signs to be placed in the storefronts of all pet stores in San Francisco that do not sell live animals, serving as a reminder to customers that these businesses have chosen not to engage in the practice of selling pets when so many are already in shelters. 
“The idea would be to highlight and reward the pet stores who have chosen not to sell live animals,” Young said.
However, Michael Maddox, general counsel for the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said that Young’s sign program would unfairly condemn all pet shops.
“This is making a blanket comment about pet stores that is not based on fact,” Maddox said. “This would essentially amount to a city-wide boycott, irrespective of the quality of care at pet stores.” 
The commission will further discuss the animal sign program at its meeting on November 10.

Pet supplier to hold Thanksgiving weekend webcast sale

Pet product supplier and pet treat company Drs. Foster & Smith will reward online shoppers with discounts, prizes and four hours of live video streaming to kick off the holiday shopping season over the Thanksgiving weekend.
The live webcast sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST on Friday, November 25, and Monday, November 28, broadcast at
Each four-hour webcast will feature expert guests, veterinarians answering viewer questions, pet care tips, and the chance to enter every 15 minutes for free prizes. Each sweepstakes will only run for that 15 minutes and winners will be notified immediately. Winners will receive a unique coupon code to enter on the site and also get an additional 10% off any other products in their orders with free ground shipping.
Viewers interested in having their questions answered on-air by one of the company’s staff veterinarians should visit the company’s Facebook or Twitter between now and Thanksgiving weekend. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hill's names veterinary technician as second Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes winner

Nakia Ritchie was selected as the second Smart Car winner in Hill's Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes.
Hill's Pet Nutrition's Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes selected the second of three national winners of a new Smart Car.
Nakia Ritchie of Saline County Animal Clinic in Benton, Arkansas, USA, was randomly selected as the recipient of a new Smart Car from 587,000 sweepstakes entries.
The Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes called for veterinary technicians to register and complete activities, such as attending a Hill's event or  pet nutrition seminar, calling the Hill's Veterinary Consultation Service, posting photos of themselves with pets/clients and a "Drive Nutrition" flag to the online gallery or answering educational nutritional trivia questions.

Canidae pet food founders honored with entrepreneur award

Canidae petfood founders John Gordon and Scott Whipple were presented the Inland Empire Spirit of the Entrepreneur award.
Canidae was recently named among recipients of the Inland Empire Spirit of the Entrepreneur award. 
The natural pet food company was started by John Gordon and Scott Whipple as a way to keep their pet food store in business after a national petfood chain store moved into the neighborhood. Today, the company's products are sold by more than 7,000 pet food retailers worldwide.
The annual awards ceremony, organized by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino in California, USA, recognized the top winners from a pool of 25 finalists and more than 140 nominees. 
Mike Stull, Inland Empire Center director and founding organizer of the event, said the awards are a way to recognize inland California businesses and inspire others. 
“It reinforces that we do have a good region,” Stull said. “In spite of the economic challenges, there are a lot of good things happening.”

UK small animal food manufacturer receives British Retail Consortium's 'A' grade

UK-based Cranswick Pet Products, a manufacturer of wild bird food and small animal pet food, retained its "A" grade from the British Retail Consortium, following an inspection of its manufacturing facility.
To comply with BRC requirements, the company had to meet 10 key manufacturing requirements, covering everything from processes, to hygiene and safety, to traceability of the ingredients. For an "A" grade, companies are allowed up to nine non-conformances; Cranswick Pet Products says it received just one minor recommendation across the whole site.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our business practices, and to be recognized by the BRC for our commitment to quality is fantastic. We aim to maintain these high standards through continued investment in people and our facilities," said James Farnsworth of Cranswick Pet Products.

Monday, November 14, 2011

New Zealand raw petfood manufacturer named to Deloitte's Fast 50

New Zealand petfood company K9 Natural Food was named among the top five fastest growing companies in Deloitte's Fast 50 ranking, which the petfood company attributes to huge export growth.
Christchurch, New Zealand-based K9 Natural was named the top manufacturer in New Zealand and top exporter in the Canterbury/upper South Island, New Zealand, region. The Deloitte Fast 50 is a ranking of the top 50 fastest growing companies in New Zealand.
K9 Natural Food CEO Calvin Smith said the company's annual export growth climbed 1,875% with increased sales in Japan, Canada, the US and Australia. Overall growth resulted in a 797% increase.
"Sales in the later part of this year have been stronger than the early part of the year. The sales growth has been driven by expanding the domestic distribution network and the launch of Feline Natural cat food. The sales growth for the next six months will be driven by launching the frozen product into North America and Australia," Smith said. "Exports are currently accounting for approximately 70% of total sales at the moment. Our huge export growth was due to the company focusing primarily on export sales. More recently we have looked at the domestic market and have doubled domestic sales in the last six months."

Petco to share petfood, pet product sales data with Nielsen

Petfood and pet product retailer Petco named Nielsen as its provider of census-level sales information from Petco stores. 
Petco will be among the first pet specialty retailers to join the consumer product goods industry’s information sharing model, adding to existing market information provided by many US food, drug, mass, convenience and dollar store retailers.
By sharing sales data with Nielsen, Petco will be able to gain a better understanding of consumer purchasing behavior, the company's competitive position in the marketplace, and new marketing and pricing strategies. For petfood manufacturers, Petco's cooperation with Nielsen will improve the level of available data and analytics in the growing pet specialty product market. Once available, manufacturers will have access to several levels of market intelligence and insight on both a regional and national level.
“We’re delighted to be working side-by-side with Petco as they enter the industry’s cooperative information-sharing model,” said John Lewis, president and CEO, Consumer North America, Nielsen. “With information from Petco stores, Nielsen is better able to meet the needs of our clients in the pet business and help them and Petco grow their businesses through better analytics and deeper insights into their core consumers.”

Australian petfood manufacturer undergoes strategic business review

Privately owned Australian petfood manufacturer VIP Petfoods is undergoing a strategic review of its business, including a possible sale, according to Reuters.
Tim Miles of Miles Advisory Partners, the company advising VIP Petfoods on its strategic review, said the petfood manufacturer has been approached by private-equity firms and trade buyers in the past.
"We're looking at what the options are that are available to the family. We may make acquisitions or we may make a sale," Miles said.
Miles declined to comment on the value of the business or its revenues and a VIP spokesman declined to comment on the strategic review. 

Common artificial sweetener can kill dogs, FDA warns

A common artificial sweetener found in sugar-free baked goods, candy, oral hygiene products and chewing gum can be deadly if ingested by a dog, the US Food and Drug Administration warns.
The ingredient, Xylitol, can cause a sudden drop in blood sugar (hypoglycemia), seizures and liver failure in dogs, which may lead to death, according to FDA. Signs that a dog may have consumed Xylitol can occur within minutes or days of ingesting the sweetener, and include depression, loss of coordination and vomiting.
FDA advises pet owners immediately contact a veterinarian or pet poison control center if they suspect their dog may have ingested the product.
"One explanation as to the increase in the number of pets accidentally exposed to xylitol may simply be an increase in availability," said Mindy Bough, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Animal Poison Control Center. "Xylitol seems to be becoming more popular in food products because it is a useful sugar substitute for diabetics and has been shown to decrease the development of cavities in humans."

WATT eLearning companion animal nutrition course receives RACE approval

WATT eLearning’s online pet food nutrition course, Building Blocks of Companion Animal Nutrition, was approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ Registry of Approved Continuing Education program. Petfood and veterinary professionals can log on to to sign up for immediate access to the course and earn six continuing education credits upon completion.
Building Blocks of Companion Animal Nutrition, developed by Linda P. Case, M.S., owner of AutumnGold Consulting, provides an introduction to the science of companion animal nutrition as well as the nutrient needs of dogs and cats. This specific online course is ideal for petfood and veterinary professionals who are either professionally required or seek to have a scientific understanding of basic nutrients and their functions, companion animal nutrient needs and feeding behaviors. Enrollment includes an accompanying textbook and certificate of completion for participants.
The American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ RACE program was developed to apply uniform standards related to providers and programs of continuing education in veterinary medicine. While continuing education requirements are not standardized among veterinary state boards, many states require continuing education credits for license renewal. This course meets the requirements for six hours of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize AAVSB’s RACE approval. However, participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education.

Mars named among top places to work internationally

Petfood manufacturer Mars Inc. ranked 19th on the list of the “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces,” compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute.
The rankings recognize the 25 best companies to work for worldwide. The list, published in cooperation with, is based on all rankings of the best employers published between September 2010 and August 2011.
To qualify for the global ranking, candidate firms must appear on at least five national Great Place to Work lists and have more than 5,000 employees, 40% of whom must be based outside the country that the company has its headquarters in.
According to Mars, the reasons for its selection included the development and introduction of an employee participation program, the appointment of an ombudsman at local sites and a larger percentage (27%) of women in senior management positions. 

Raw petfood company adds yak, llama to petfood line

TheDogMaOnline LLC expanded its raw pet food department with the addition of yak and llama as new petfood options, targeted at pets with allergies.
According to the company, Yak and Llama are exotic proteins that are not used in prepared raw food diets currently, so the new food may be a good option for pets with allergies. The company currently offers beaver as another option, and says it will be adding kangaroo to its raw petfood line soon.
“We see customer pets everyday suffering from allergies,” said Valerie Marshall, president of TheDogMaOnline LLC. “Our mission is to seek out hypo-allergenic options for our clients that have been battling petfood allergies for years.”

Illinois pet food manufacturer accused of 23 violations by OSHA

The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration found 23 violations at an Illinois, USA, pet food manufacturer, the Chicago Tribune reported
According to OSHA, petfood company All-Feed Processing and Packaging Inc. exposed its workers to high levels of dust and excessive noise, and used trucks powered by liquid propane in areas where combustible dust was present. The company's petfood production plant is located in Galva, Illinois, USA. 
The agency proposed a fine of US$758,450. The company has not commented on the matter, according to the report, and OHSA says the company has 15 days to respond to its accusations. 

FDA now testing petfood, pet treats for Salmonella

The US Food and Drug Administration has started to test pet food for Salmonella contamination to prevent pet owners from getting sick by handling the pet food.  
In October 2011, FDA investigators began taking samples of dry pet food, pet treats and pet diet supplements from distributors, wholesalers and retailers such as PetSmart, Petco, WalMart, Costco, Sam's Club and Target. 
In a memo, FDA said it is "particularly concerned about Salmonella being transmitted to humans through petfoods, pet treats and supplements for pets that are intended to be fed to animals in homes, where they are likely to be directly handled or ingested by humans."
While people usually get Salmonella poisoning by eating contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they can also become sickened by handling a product that is contaminated with these germs, like pet food or treats. Facebook contest offers a year's supply of free petfood

Online pet food retailer is hosting a Facebook sweepstakes to give away one year's supply of pet food to one winner.
Now through December 9, pet owners may enter the sweepstakes on's Facebook page. All entrants will receive a special code for US$10 off their next purchase of US$60 or more at 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hill's Science Diet Senior cat food given top ranking by GoodGuide

Hill's was awarded the highest ranking for its Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying cat food by independent consumer rating website
GoodGuide rated a variety of petfood products earlier this year on nutritional performance, caloric content, life-stage specificity and desirability of ingredients. Hill's Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying was given the highest rating with a score of 7.4. Introduced in August 2011, Hill's Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying cat food is specifically formulated for cats over the age of 11.
"We recognize that receiving a top rating from is one of the highest achievements in the pet foods industry," said Liliana Bernal, DVM, Hill's Pet Nutrition. "Passing the stringent review process validates to consumers that Hill's Science Diet Senior 11+ Age Defying is made with breakthrough, quality nutrition that specifically targets the needs of cats as they enter their golden years."

Pet industry growth follows human trends

The pet industry is expected to maintain a steady pace of growth, increasing by 33% over the next five years to US$67.7 billion in 2016, according to Mintel. Pet industry trends mirror the same trends and innovations in human markets, such as those in food quality and social media, according to Fiona O'Donnell, senior analyst at Mintel.
"While humans are not the end user of pet products, they are the ones making the purchase decisions, so it make sense that product are developed with humans in mind as much as animals,” O’Donnell said.
“Functional” foods have become popular with American consumers as they promise better health benefits. According to the Mintel Global New Product Database, petfoods that also claim to be "functional" have increased by 130% over the period from 2006 to 2010.
Social media sites that allow visitors to share animal stories, post pet pictures and interact with other animal lovers are becoming an important marketing tool for petfood companies, O'Donnell said. Some example are Purina ONE’s Facebook page promotion, in which the brand donates a dollar to homeless pets in its shelter network each time a consumer views a Purina ONE Beyond video posted on the page. Pedigree uses Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in its social media efforts, along with a smartphone website with pet product and pet-related information. In its marketing campaign, Fancy Feast uses a combination of traditional marketing in its "the best ingredient is love" themed commercial, which then draws consumers to the Fancy Feast Facebook page to help the couple in the commercial plan their wedding day.
“Overall, their marketing effort is a good integration of traditional TV advertising joined with an online initiative,” O’Donnell said. “As of September 2011, the Fancy Feast Facebook page had more than 72,000 fans and appears to have achieved its goals of increased engagement.” 

New ISO standard on traceability of fish products to improve food safety

A new ISO standard on the traceability of finfish products, ingredients often used in dog and cat food formulas, is expected to improve food safety by supplying stakeholders throughout the supply chain with accurate information about the origin and nature of these products.
The new standard, ISO 12875:2011, Traceability of finfish products - Specification on the information to be recorded in captured finfish distribution chains, specifies the information to be recorded in marine-captured finfish supply chains in order to establish traceability. The new standard specifies how traded fishery products are to be identified, and the information to be generated and held on those products by each of the food businesses that physically trade the products through the distribution chains.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pet Product News names petfood, treat Editor's Choice Award winners

Pet Product News International announced the 40 winning products and product lines for its 2011 Editors’ Choice Awards in the November issue, which includes a number of petfoods and pet treats.
Winners in the petfood and pet product awards were selected based on innovation, function, design or a combination of the three.
Among the petfood winners are Alpha Dog and Cat Formulas by Natural Balance Pet Foods; Instinct Limited Ingredient Diets by Nature's Variety; and Timothy Complete Plus by Kaytee Products Inc. Pet treat winners include: Extreme! Natural Treats by F.M. Brown’s Sons; Freeze Dried Chicken Liver Plus and Freeze Dried Peanut Butter Plus treats by Pet ‘n Shape; Freezy Pups by Head of the Pack; Organic SuperVeggie Treats and Chews by Clear Conscience Pet; Oven Fresh Bites by Caitec Corp.; Petite Cuisine Grilled Treats by PetPlay; and Stewart Pro-Treat Plus by MiracleCorp Products.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rolf C. Hagen discusses the pet product company's founding, future

Rolf C. Hagen immigrated to Canada 56 years ago, bringing his import/export pet product business with him. The company, Rolf C. Hagen Inc., is now a large privately held pet product manufacturer, headed by his son, Rolf Hagen Jr. An interview by Pet Product News International caught up with Hagen Sr. before his death, and his son, Hagen Jr.
After completion of his schooling, Hagen Sr. began an apprenticeship in importing and exporting raw materials for the fish and petfood industries in Hamburg, Germany. During the apprenticeship, Hagen Sr. sold petfood ingredients to contacts in countries around the world, allowing him to network with companies like Tetramin and Vitakraft in Germany and Hykro in Denmark.
"These three major manufacturers of excellent pet products had one thing in common: They had established good markets in their home countries and some European countries, but had no sales to North America. What’s more, the Hamburg trading house had difficulty getting ready access to some Canadian specialty seeds, such as sunflower, rape and mustard, Hagen Sr. said. "After successfully completing my apprenticeship, I could not make ends meet with the salary offered, and my decision was an easy one: Leave the country and try my luck elsewhere."
Hagen Sr. said the USA was his first choice for relocation, but that due to the draft in 1955, he did not want to be sent back to Germany so he opted for Montreal, Canada, instead. In September 1955, Hagen Sr. attended his first pet trade show in the New Yorker hotel in New York City, hosted by the National Association of the Pet Industry. Here, he met Julius Cohen of Spartan Distributor, who gave Hagen Sr. his first US order for a shipment of pet supplies from Hykro of Denmark. 
When asked about joining his family business, Hagen Jr. said: "There was never any doubt about joining the family company. All of the kids started working at Hagen at 16 and we spent all of our summers in the warehouse picking orders, keeping shelves filled or working at the plant. Later, we worked in the office and took orders or helped the receivable team with the daily deposit—a little bit of everything. I have a memory of telling my father that since we shared the same name all we have to do is change the middle initial of the company!"
In 2004, Hagen Jr. took over as president of his father's company. Hagen Jr. said the company transitioned from pet product distributor to manufacturer after a number of pet industry acquisitions, including the sale of Hykro to Carnation and later, to Nestle, the sale of Metalframe to Mattel, and distribution and manufacturing aqcuisitions by Central Garden & Pets. Hagen Industries Ltd. set up manufacturing facilities in Montreal, Canada, and Hagen Pet Food Inc. set up operations in Waverly, New York, USA. Initially, the companies focused on aquatics, reptiles, birds and small animals, but have since branched out to the dog and cat product market with the Dogit, Nutrience and Catit pet product lines.
Hagen Sr. said that some highlights of his career were being voted into the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame in 1999, and earning a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pet Industry Distributor Association in 2003. Hagen Sr. is also an honorary member of the Canadian Pet Industry Association, of which he is one of the founders.
"More needs to be done to make known and to promote the joys, pleasures and educational values of pet ownership. Parents must be convinced of the benefits of letting their children keep hamsters, Guinea pigs and other small animals, an aquarium with some life bearing community fish or a well-kept terrarium," said Hagen Sr. "The elderly and lonely folks must know about the precious companionship a budgie, canary or other cage bird, a cuddly cat or a loyal dog will provide."
On the topic of the company's expansion, Hagen Jr. said: "With every company, your strength can eventually become your weakness. The days of being a generalist are numbered and increasingly we see that specialization is required. Some companies get their start by being great at one thing and then go from there. Our roots are a little different and as you mentioned we offer nearly everything possible for pets. But that is our weakness as well.
"For example, we have improved our dog and cat product mix tremendously but are not considered, at least in the U.S. market, as a dog and cat company. It will take years to change that perception. We have changed our overall product mix more in the past five years than we did in the 20 before that. But is it enough? The market moves quickly and when you compete against 'everybody' it is hard to get all of it right.
"Our focus over the next years will be to reconcile our ranges and focus on the nuts and bolts of our strategy. We need to make it easier to deal with us—we have made huge investments in operations and are very well managed in that area. High fill rates, perfect shipping and competitive prices are a given today. We have nearly all of this right. What we need more of is online training, in-store merchandising services, B2B platforms—even proprietary POS systems—as we feel our independent customers will need this from their key suppliers. We need to make our customers successful. I think we have enough product and now need to support it better. That will be our focus."
Hagen Jr. said he is unsure of whether the pet humanization trend will continue to grow as it has, though continued innovation will mean new pet product replacements. As consumers become more educated, Hagen Jr. predicts the market share for organic and all-natural petfoods will grow, subject to the amount of growth in pet ownership.
Hagen Jr. said: "We believe a great opportunity is aquatics. Aquatics today are under a lot of pressure, but we have to also understand that there are less store fronts doing it right...The second thing that needs to happen is the way aquatics are merchandised within the larger pet retailers. Simply put, we need to find a way to sell an aquarium to a dog owner. The industry needs it and so do our retailers. We must inspire the consumer and not confuse them.
"Lastly, we need to improve the livestock offer and sell hardier fish—species that are not overbred or transshipped. This is possible; other countries have proven that. Aquatic differentiates pet specialty from the mass channel—as they focus nearly exclusively on dog and cat. The biggest challenge will be to find a way to convince our retail customers to give aquatics a proper opportunity—literally to give it the oxygen it needs. We are excited about the prospects of doing this right and seeing what happens."

Hill's Pet Nutrition gives away Smart Car to veterinary technician

Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes selected Kelly Kline of Neffsville Veterinary Clinic in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, USA, as one of three national winners of a new Smart Car.
Kelly Kline was randomly selected as the winner of a new Smart Car from Hill's Pet Nutrition's Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes.
Three cars will be given away in the United States and one in Canada as part of the sweepstakes. The Drive Nutrition Sweepstakes called for veterinary technicians to enter and complete Hill's activities, such as attending a Hill's Martinis and Manicures event, calling Hill's Veterinary Consultation Service, posting photos of themselves with pets or clients to the company's gallery, or answering educational nutrition trivia questions. Kline was randomly selected out of 587,000 entries in the US. The other US and Canadian winners will be announced soon.

Pet product company founder Rolf C. Hagen dies

Rolf C. Hagen Inc. founder and chairman, Rolf C. Hagen, died October 23, at the age of 79 in his home in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Hagen, born in Hambug, Germany, in 1932, entered into an apprenticeship with a fish and pet food industry importer and exporter in Hamburg following completion of his schooling. He later moved to Montreal, where he founded the Hagen group of companies in 1955. The companies grew into a manufacturer and distributor of pet care products. For his success, Hagen was inducted into the American Pet Products Association Hall of Fame in June 1999 and earned a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pet Industry Distributors Association.

UK-based BARF Pet Foods introduces new beef dog bones

A UK pet food maker, BARF Pet Foods, introduced a range of new bone treats for dogs, following the principles of the Biologically Appropriate Raw Food diet. 
The new dog treats include Beef Neck Bones and Beef Hock Bones. Company co-founder, Andreas Dauer, says BARF diets should contain 60% to 80% raw meaty bones, and the other 20% of the diet made of meat, offal, vegetables and some dairy.
“All our products consist of high quality, human-grade free-range meats chosen from specialist suppliers and from traceable sources,” Dauer says. “All our products are good enough to be used by top chefs and it is important to feed your pets the highest quality foods possible. Bones provide a lot of the vitamins and minerals that a dog needs. They are good for their teeth, exercise the jaw and provide stimulation for the dog.”

Human food trends not necessarily adequate for pets, vet cautions

As people opt for more organic foods, the trend is also crossing over to pet foods, but a veterinarian is cautioning pet owners that these human food trends may not always meet the nutritional needs of pets.
In a recent Huffington Post article, Dr. Karen Becker says that dogs and cats need wholesome, "living foods," just as people do. She says these "living foods" consist of uncooked foods that contain unheated and unprocessed, natural enzymes. Dr. Becker says she feels the most nutritious diet to feed a pet is one that is prepared at home from real, whole, human-grade foods. She says the next-best option is to buy a premium pet food, especially canned or rehydrated options. 
However, Dr. Becker warns that all human food trends should not be carried over to petfoods, as pets have different nutritional needs than humans do. For example, Dr. Becker says there should be no need to specially market a petfood as a "gluten-free" pet food formula, since gluten is found in grains, which are not an ingredient dogs and cats biologically require. Other terms like "organic" and "holistic," she says, are used as marketing tactics as well. While Dr. Becker does not believe these foods are bad to feed a pet, she says the first thing a pet owner should look for is that the diet is species-appropriate and balanced, not for words on the package.
Another concern of Dr. Becker is that pet food manufacturers market a food for a specific group of animals, such as for older or obese animals, despite the fact that each animal is different with its own, unique needs. She recommends that pet owners consult a holistic veterinarian to develop a custom nutrition plan for their pet. Experimenting, she says, is a good way to decide on what type of food is best for your pet, re-evaluating your pet's needs as they age.
For commercial pet foods, Dr. Becker says pet owners should do their research on the ingredients and quality of which ever petfood brand they choose. Basic species-appropriate ingredients in a food would include a high-quality protein source from animal muscle meat that does not come from by-products of animals, moderate levels of animal fat, high levels of the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, a high moisture content and a few fresh-cut vegetables and fruits.

Nutro Co. scientist discusses using poultry by-products as pet food ingredients

USPOULTRY and the Poultry Protein and Fat Council recently discussed using poultry by-products as pet food ingredients at the 2011 Poultry Protein and Fat Seminar in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
In his presentation, The Importance of Rendered Ingredients in Pet Foods, Jim Eastin, supplier quality assurance scientist for Nutro Company, provided an overview of the dry pet food process and examined the benefits of chicken meal and poultry fat in pets' diets.
“The petfood world is very reliant on poultry byproducts. Chicken meal and poultry fat are important ingredients in pet food,” said Eastin. “Chicken fat is more than just an energy source. It also provides healthy skin and coats, enhances the aroma of the pet food, provides a nice sheen, and seals and shields dry kibble to increase shelf life.”
He referred to poultry by-products as "value-added ingredients" and described rendering as "environmentally responsible" by converting by-products into ingredients Nutro uses in its petfood products.
Kent Swisher, vice president of international programs for the National Renderers Association, gave a presentation on Emerging Markets: Exports and Domestic. Swisher said that production of animal protein meal in the United States is about four million metric tons, comprised of 56% meat and bone meal, 15% feather meal and 25% poultry by-product meal. He provided information from an Informa Economics report that found the two biggest U.S. markets for rendered products are poultry and pets, with pets being the larger growth market.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Veterinarians claim 'free' Hill's Prescription Diet cat food samples not really free

Veterinary clinics across the United States are complaining after accepting offers of free “starter kits” of Hill’s Pet Nutrition’s Prescription Diet y/d Feline Thyroid Health formula, but then being billed for and shipped more pet food that the clinics claim was not ordered. 
On a message board of the Veterinary Information Network, an online community for veterinary professionals, the veterinarians claim they accepted the free petfood samples, but were unaware that doing so automatically signed them up for paid orders from Hill's, as well.
“As far as I know, I never signed any type of documentation that would initiate the auto delivery,” said a veterinarian in Florida, USA, who posted the experience on VIN. “The Hill’s representative did not mention that more food would be ordered and billed.”
Hill’s Pet Nutrition denied using unauthorized automatic ordering to market the product. In a statement to VIN News Service via email, the company said:
“Hill’s intention is to ensure that veterinarians providing starter kits of Prescription Diet y/d have an adequate supply to meet the ongoing feeding needs of pet owners for their cats. Our integrity and our relationship with the veterinarian community are of paramount importance to Hill’s Pet Nutrition.
“Hills does not participate in, nor does it condone, unauthorized automatic shipment programs. We strive to be clear with all our customers about our ordering and delivery process. We regret any confusion and as always, are prepared to honor our generous return policy for veterinary customers.”
“If you’re going to engage in this kind of marketing practice, which can be legitimate, you’ve got to disclose upfront: ‘This is what to expect. This is what we’ll be sending you every month, and what we’ll be billing you.’ You must give full disclosure upfront,” Frank Dorman, Federal Trade Commission spokesman, said.
In a consumer alert titled Free Trials' Aren't Always Free, FTC urges anyone who feels he or she has been wrongly charged for a free trial offer to report it to the agency.