Friday, March 30, 2012

GA Pet Food Partners creates ‘Just Fresh Meat’ dry petfood concept

    GA Pet Food Partners, a super-premium dry pet food manufacturer, recently created the “Just Fresh Meat” concept, in which all of meat ingredients in the dry pet food are fresh.
    GA has invested in a patented “Just Fresh Meat” extrusion technology, which the company says means that there is no need for dry rendered meat and bone meals to be used in a complete, dry petfood.
    “‘Just Fresh Meat’ technology means that we no longer have to use dry meat meals, which have a greater carbon footprint than fresh meat, can add high ash levels and tainted flavors to a dry petfood through prolonged processing and storage. The result is a new generation of highly digestible and palatable dry petfood that is packed with a fresh meat content of up to 70 percent,” said James Lawson, GA’s joint managing director.
    The “Just Fresh Meat” concept is available to any private-label dry pet food makers looking to offer a sustainable dry pet food, GA says. The company will display the concept at its Interzoo stand in Nuremberg, Germany.

Pet food flavoring company AFB awarded for 2011 customer satisfaction

    Pet food palatability product manufacturer AFB International was awarded the 2011 Experience Award in the Customer Experience category by research agency Integron.
    AFB says the award, given at a March 15 awards ceremony in Rotterdam, Netherlands, recognizes its consistent dedication to customer satisfaction. Award nominations were based on satisfaction surveys conducted by Integron and companies with the highest scores were named as winners. 
    AFB’s 2011 survey included 124 responses from customers across the globe. AFB received an overall customer satisfaction score of 8.3 out of 10, above the industry benchmark of 7.7, the company says.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Interzoo 2012’s 1,500 exhibitors to cover all pet industry segments

    Show organizers of Interzoo 2012 say they expect more than 1,500 pet product manufacturers distributors and retailers from more than 53 countries will present their latest products for all segments of the pet industry at the show, taking place May 17-20, in Nuremberg, Germany.
    Out of all exhibitors, 46 percent are expected to exhibit products for the dog and cat segments of the pet industry, while 20 percent of exhibitors are expected to represent the aquaria segment and another 20 percent will represent the small animal and rodent segment. About 14 percent of exhibitors are expected to show products for birds, 12 percent will exhibit products for animals in the garden, and 12 percent are also expected to represent the supplementary pet supplies segment, according to Interzoo organizers.
    "There is a demand for food supplements in the form of functional food with ingredients and raw materials suitable for curing or reducing the everyday problems of pets. The new products in the food supplements segment will certainly also include healthy snacks as rewards and as treats for between times,” said Hans-Jochen Büngener, chairman of the exhibition committee. “In addition, I expect to see new special food that takes into account the individual needs of pets and certain sensitivities."
    Also at the 2012 show, 11 percent are expected to exhibit products for the terraria segment, 3 percent will exhibit shop fittings and packing, 3 percent will exhibit new petfood technology, 2 percent will exhibit trade literature or represent the media, and 2 percent will exhibit miscellaneous pet industry products.
    Additionally, with nearly 79 percent of currently registered exhibitors coming from abroad, Interzoo 2012 organizers made it easier for those all over the world to receive updates about the show with the launch of its new mobile website. Smartphone users around the world can browse Interzoo’s mobile site with modified navigation features and information regarding travel, accommodations, exhibitor search function and exhibit hall map. 

Global Pet Expo 2012 featured 3,000 new pet products, broke attendance records

      The 2012 Global Pet Expo saw a record number of attendees with more than 5,000 buyers.
    The Global Pet Expo 2012 saw record-breaking buyer and media attendance and total pet product exhibitor booths sold, say sponsors American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributers Association.
    The 2012 show, held in Orlando, Florida, USA, February 29-March 2, featured 5,011 buyers in attendance, more than 3,000 new pet product launches, 896 exhibitors and 2,487 booths sold – the highest post-show numbers reported in Global Pet Expo’s eight-year history. International attendance accounted for nearly 25 percent of the total buyer attendance rate, while 145 international companies exhibited at the show.
    "The buyers, exhibitors and media who participated in this year’s show all contributed to making this our largest event to date,” said Andrew Darmohraj, American Pet Products Association senior vice president. “The overall success of this year’s show sent a clear message that the pet industry is stronger than ever, and continues to attract entrepreneurs and innovators offering pet owners more products than ever for their pets. As owners continue to demonstrate that they value pets as members of the family, demand for the latest and greatest products is at an all time high.”  
    Special sections at the show included the “International Pavilion,” “Natural Pet,” “Boutique,” “Everything Aquatic” and “What’s New!” Additionally, "TODAY" show correspondent and animal advocate, Jill Rappaport, was honored with Global Pet Expo’s annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award” for her commitment to the industry.  
    The American Pet Products Association also announced its pet industry spending for 2011, which grew by 5.3 percent from US$43.35 billion in 2010 to US$50.96 billion in 2011. The American Pet Products Association projected a steady 3.8 percent growth rate through 2012, bringing overall pet spending to nearly US$53 billion.
    The 2013 Global Pet Expo will take place February 20–22, 2013, in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pet food companies Mars, Heinz Watties dispute over trademark

    Pet food manufacturer Mars and New Zealand pet food company Heinz Watties are in a dispute over whether Mars can trademark the marketing slogan for its Advance pet food line in Australia, according to a local report
    Mars wants to trademark the slogan "Advance Advanced Pet Nutrition," but was denied by assistant trademarks commissioner, Jennie Walden, because she said the trademark phrase was likely to confuse consumers due to its similarity to what Heinz Watties says is its unregistered trademark of "Champ Advanced Dog Nutrition." Under the Trade Marks Act, trademarks cannot be legally registered if they seem likely to confuse or deceive consumers, the report says. 
    Mars appealed the decision, with lawyer Earl Grey claiming the phrase merely described the product and was not a significant part of the packaging, and that Heinz Watties never applied to trademark its slogan.
    "Consumers pay more attention to the distinctive and dominant elements of a sign," Grey said.
    Heinz Watties' lawyer, Nigel Robb, said that while the phrase was not registered as a trademark, it has been a recognizable part of Champ petfood packaging since 1998.
    "We are here considering what the public will perceive," said Robb. "It is inevitable that members of the public who have seen this product on sale for 10 years or longer will make a connection with that tagline ... it is part of the branding."
    The appeal was heard by former solicitor-general, David Collins, who has not yet given his final ruling. 

Pet food manufacturers fined by France antitrust authority

    Pet food manufacturers Nestlé SA, Mars Inc. and Colgate-Palmolive Co. were fined a collective €35.3 million (US$46.7 million) by France's antitrust authority for pressuring petfood distributors to mark up prices, the Wall Street Journal reported.
    The Autorité de la Concurrence in France said "vertical agreements" between the three petfood companies and their respective distributors between 2004 and 2008 "limited competition on the markets for dry food for dogs and cats." According to the report, France's antitrust authority said Nestle and Mars were fixing prices, taking over policies and pushing competing pet food products off of store shelves. The antitrust authority also said that Colgate-Palmolive's Hill's Pet Nutrition brand forbid its wholesalers from exporting products from the US to France without prior explicit consent from Hill's. 
    A spokesman for Colgate's petfood brands said the company was reviewing the decision and "continues to assert that it has never impeded or attempted to impede parallel trade at any time."
    Nestlé was originally fined slightly more than €19 million (US$25.1 million), Mars was fined €11.6 million (US$15.3 million) and Colgate-Palmolive was fined €4.7 million (US$6.2 million), though the fines for Nestlé and Mars were reduced by 18 percent and 20 percent respectively, because the antitrust authority said the companies did not deny the charges and took action to meet antitrust regulations.
    "We believe the fine is high given the facts and the limited impact to the market," a Mars spokesman said. "Royal Canin and Mars Inc. take very seriously competition law compliance."
    "As soon as we began discussions with the competition authorities, we made a commitment to reorganize our commercial structure in order to address any concerns regarding commercial practices at the wholesale level," said Sophie Dubois, general director for Nestlé Purina Petcare France.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring Naturals pet food launches 'Spring Into Action' to help dogs in need

    In honor of the arrival of spring, the newly launched Spring Naturals pet food line recently unveiled its community relations portion of its business, called “Spring Into Action.”
    Starting in May, Spring Naturals will be looking for everyday heroes that “spring into action” to help animals in need. Each month an everyday hero will be chosen and the animal rescue group they support will be highlighted on the Spring Naturals Facebook page. Each winner will receive a 26-pound bag of Spring Naturals dog food along with a 6-ounce treat pouch. In March 2013, a selected grand prize winner’s favorite animal rescue organization or shelter will receive US$2,000 in Spring Naturals dog food plus a US$500 cash donation.
    Spring Naturals also teamed up with Project Rescue Chicago to name one of the adoptable dogs, Spring. When Spring is adopted, Spring Naturals will provide food and treats for the dog for one year. 
    “At Spring Naturals, we value the pets in our lives and wanted to find a way to give the spotlight to everyday heroes working day in and day out to save the lives of pets in need,” said Rob Cadenhead, vice president of sales and marketing. “With the idea of supporting those on the frontlines of animal welfare, ‘Spring Into Action’ was born!” 

Meow Mix relaunches jingle, releases cat-owner study to celebrate launch of new cat food

    Pet food manufacturer Del Monte Foods is bringing back its "Meow Mix" brand cat food jingle after 16 years to celebrate the launch of its new Meow Mix Tenders Centers cat food. Along with the launch of the new cat food and relaunch of the jingle, Meow Mix commissioned a study of US cat owners and their cats. 
    In a study conducted by Kelton Research, 31 percent of pet owner respondents said they would rather speak with their cat after a long day than their best friend, children or parents. The study found that a third (33 percent) of respondents believe they communicate better with their cat than their significant other and 39 percent said their cat is more likely to pick up on their current mood than a romantic partner. 
    “Cats are members of the family and we rely on them for companionship,” said Sue Resnicoff, director of cat food marketing for cat food maker Del Monte Foods. “There is a bond formed between pet parents and their cats that extends well beyond meows to an intuitive relationship that provides a deeper understanding.” 
    When it comes to communication between cats and their pet owners, 20 percent of owners believe their cat is trying to communicate with them through gestures or sounds, and on average, pet owners said they thought their cat knew 13 words. More than four out of five people (82 percent) said they felt they could identify their own cat’s “meow” among many others making the same noise. According to the survey, almost all (97 percent) of them can name at least one emotion or state of mind that they can easily decipher from the way their cats act, with the top cues being those that signify hunger (86 percent), happiness (82 percent) and fear (78 percent).

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 Iditarod dog sled race won by youngest winner ever

    The 2012 Iditarod was recently completed and won by the youngest person in the 1,000-mile dog sled race's history.
    Dallas Seavey, age 25, and his team of dogs ran to the race's finish line in Nome, Alaska, USA, making him the youngest winner of the race ever. Seavey feeds his racing dogs Momentum Dog Food made by Dr. Tim's Pet Food Company, Dr. Tim's says. Seavey will receive US$50,400 and the keys to a new truck for winning the race.

Ainsworth Pet Nutrition executive discusses pet food company's success

    Jeff Watters, who will become president of Ainsworth Pet Nutrition on March 31, recently discussed the growing pet food company's success with the Erie Times-News.
    In the article, Watters said the once-regional company now sells pe tfood in all 50 states in the US under several different brand names, with a focus on value-priced products that appeal to a wider range of customers. 
    "It's been a really great (period) of long-term growth for the company," Watters said. "We have been growing 20 to 25 percent a year for the better part of a decade."
    Ainsworth sells pet food products in three different divisions, including a branded line of foods for Food Network chef Rachael Ray, a brand that mimics the diet of dogs in the wild and higher-priced products that compete with Iams and Hills' Science Diet.
    "This really complements nicely what we have been doing in the more mainstream market," he said. "It allows our footprint to cover a brand new set of consumers."
    The company is also moving some of its administrative offices to a new building in Meadville, Pennsylvania, USA, to give the 275-person company more space. 
    "As a practical matter, we are busting at the seams in our Mill Street office," Watters said. "There was a need to accommodate the growth. We also wanted to remain committed to Meadville. We felt the move would be a good fit for downtown commerce."
    He said the move gives the company more room for growth as it continues to watch its budget while also investing more in food safety.
    "A continued long-term track record of growth is one of our objectives," Watters said. "We need to make sure our structure is more competitive."

Friday, March 23, 2012

JRS to host fiber seminar for pet food, pet treat manufacturers

    J. Rettenmaier & Sohne will host a fiber seminar for the needs of pet food and pet treat manufacturers at its headquarters in Rosenberg, Germany, on May 16.
    The company will feature industry experts and pet food specialists sharing knowledge on the latest trials in pet nutrition and new EU labelling practice for pet foods. A free shuttle bus service will be available on May 16 from the Congress Hotel Mercure Nürnberg, Germany, at Interzoo to JRS Headquarters and back. 
    Those interested in attending can register until April 6 via email to

Burgess Pet Care offers new small animal food with fiber

    Small animal food manufacturer Burgess Pet Care recently introduced a new line to cater to pets' dental, digestive and emotional needs. 
    The company says these pets, known as "fibervores," require a high amount of fiber in their diet, which is why the company says its new Excel Complete Food Cubes are a complete food to meet the needs of rabbits and guinea pigs
    “Once again we are incredibly excited and proud to be launching a pioneering new product to the market. Our studies revealed foods labelled ‘complete’ are generally fed alone, without the hay necessary for fibervores. As the UK’s leading veterinary brand for fibervores we felt obligated to create a truly healthy, 100 percent complete food to ensure that pets are being correctly fed. The additional beauty of this product is that it really drives home to fibervore owners that hay is food," said Justin Heaton, head of marketing for Burgess Pet Care.
    Excel Complete Food Cubes consist of compressed cubes of long fiber Timothy hay for dental and digestive health, with nuggets that contain short fiber, supplements and prebiotics to promote digestive health and foraging, topped with flowers and herbs, according to Burgess. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spanish RECALL update: Compy dog food wants consumers to contact them over pet illnesses

    After supermarket chain Mercadona pulled Compy wet dog food off shelves in select stores in Spain due to reports of pets suffering from kidney failure, dog owners are submitting claim forms to a new website set up by those living in Spain. But, the dog food’s manufacturer is urging concerned consumers to contact them directly instead.
    “We believe it is easier and faster for those affected to contact us directly,” said manufacturer Tunaliment’s pet division spokesman, Miguel Fernandez.
    The manufacturer’s veterinarian reports found that excessive vitamin D levels in the wet dog food, which is sold in aluminium-lined cartons, may have caused kidney failure in pets. According to the manufacturer, this relates only to the new packaging and not to the previous, tinned wet dog food.
    Consumers can contact the manufacturer of the Compy wet dog food directly at or +1.619.113.976.

Bloomberg reviews 'human-grade' pet foods for appearance, taste

    All-natural dog food, including foods that meet Association of American Feed Control Officials' requirements to claim “human-grade,” make up 10 percent of all sales in the US$18.9 billion petfood industry, according to Packaged Facts. 
    To determine what this "human-grade" dog food really tastes like to humans, Lucy Postins, founder of pet food company The Honest Kitchen, says her employees sample every ingredient when formulating a new dog food recipe. Yet, a Bloomberg Businessweek article that taste-tested the foods reveals that not all "human-grade" pet foods are really made to be palatable to both for humans and pets.
    The article says that Weruva's Cirque de la Mer, which includes ingredients like tuna, pumpkin, carrots and sweet potatoes, claims "Actual Food" and "Made in a Human Food Facility" on the label, but the fine print cautions, "For Pets only." The article says that the food does taste like tuna with fresh vegetables, even to humans. The taste-tester was not as fond of Weruva's Jammin' Salmon food, however, which was said to have "stringy" chicken and "store bought" salmon, with vegetables like tomatoes, peas and sweet potatoes that were hard to taste. Michael's Soul-Stew Chicken's label claims the food contains only "USDA certified human-grade meats and farm fresh vegetables," but the taste test for humans proved the food to lack seasoning, though it includes many healthy ingredients like carrots, yams, potatos and rice, the article says. 
    Other foods taste-tested were Merrick's Little Italy and Burger Pie & Sweety fries. The taste tester says both foods were edible but not very platable, and the Little Italy food looked like "nearly square gelatinous meatballs float in a gooey brown stock," while the Burger Pie & Sweety fries recipe consisted of potato chunks in a brownish meat blend.
    Another food tested was The Honest Kitchen's Embark food, a dehydrated food that looks like "chopped broccoli in a recycled, biodegradable box," the taste-tester said, with fruits and vegetables such as coconut and kelp. The article says this one has hints of cage-free turkey with hints of rosemary and a spinach-celery base. The taste tester's most preferred petfood was Nature's Variety SweetSpots Sweet Potato & Molasses formula. The food, the tester says, looks like "burnt-orange frozen yogurt" in a brown box, and has a light hint of sweet potato mixed with molasses. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Cat food maker Friskies releases iPad app for cats, owners

    Cat food maker Friskies recently released what it says is the first iPad app that lets cats and pet owners compete against each other.
    The "You vs. Cat" app is an arcade-style game in which the pet owner tries to shoot petfood into a goal box before the cat can stop the food with its paw. The app was recently demonstrated by Buddy the cat at the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, USA.
    The app is available for download from the Apple iTunes store.

FDA issues interim final record-keeping rule for pet food companies

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vet discusses pet food myths, proper pet nutrition

    Tufts University's most-recent lecture in its weekly series featured Dr. Lisa Freeman, a professor from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, presenting and discussing her research on companion animal nutrition
    The lecture, part of the "A Taste of Tufts: A Sampling of Faculty Research" series, focused on exposing pet nutrition myths and educating pet owners on how to select an optimal diet for their pet.  
    In her lecture, Freeman emphasized that, contrary to the beliefs of some, the pet food industry is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, which establishes the petfood regulations that set standards for individual states and nutrient profiles for petfood. 
    "The key is that a pet food label is an advertisement as well, and it has to appeal to us as consumers," Freeman said. "Unfortunately, when I talk to owners, what they base their decision on is the advertisement, not the legal part."
    Freeman polled her audience during the lecture about the most important information on the petfood label. While the majority of the audience said that the pet food ingredients list was most important, Freeman said this is not true.  
    "The … most important thing is the manufacturer," she said. According to her, a pet food manufacturer must employ at least one full−time, qualified nutritionist, a research and development department, self−operated plants and internal quality control standards.
    "You would be shocked at how many of these pet food companies do not have a nutritionist," Freeman said. "I also don't want them to be spending all of their money on marketing. I want research and development [so they] continue to enhance their own foods, to enhance our knowledge collectively about nutrition."
    The second−most important fact on the petfood label, Freeman said, is the nutritional adequacy statement, which reveals three key pieces of information following  Association of American Feed Control Officials guidelines: whether or not the pet food is complete and balanced, how the company knows that it is complete and balanced, and the animal's intended life stage of the food.
    "If you're feeding this to your pet, you want it to meet all the nutrient needs for that animal," Freeman said. "The best way to decide that is with feeding trials. AAFCO has regulations, and they make sure that animals fed these foods actually stay healthy on these foods. And finally, the intended lifestage — who it's marketed for can be really different from who it meets the requirements for. That one little statement tells you a tremendous amount of information."
    Freeman said the ingredient list is important because some pet food manufacturers include ingredients that are beneficial to humans, who are purchasing the food, but are not necessarily beneficial to the animal consuming it. She gave an example in which a petfood manufacturer listed flaxseed as an ingredient in cat food, which is metabolizable in humans, but not in cats.
    "They used it for us, because we see flaxseed and think it's great. That is marketing to us," Freeman said. "People get really deceived by the ingredient list. But that's how I use it — to look for red flags that say they don't know very much."
    Freeman concluded the lecture by addressing several other pet nutrition myths. She said that animal by-products are not necessarily poor-quality meats and that terms like "human-grade," "premium" and "holistic" are also used as marketing terms but are not defined by AAFCO, like the term "natural" is. 
    "It's a really important issue because there is so much confusion out there," Freeman said. "[Pet owners] should find out the basics, talk to their veterinarian and be careful about what they read on the Internet. There's good and bad information, and it's often really difficult to discern which is which."

Chinese pet owners import American-made pet food for safety

    Amid calls by American pet owners for the US Food and Drug Administration to recall chicken jerky treats from China, Chinese pet owners are importing "made in America" petfood in an effort to prevent their own pets from becoming sick by eating pet foods made in China.
    A number of US pet food companies currently export pet food to Hong Kong,  according to a recent article, which says that petfood manufacturers Innova, Solid Gold, Pinnacle, Canidae/Felidae, Nature’s Variety, Oma’s Pride, Wellness, Castor & Pollux Pet Works, Holistic Select and Best Breed all export to distributors in Hong Kong.
    "The more well-to-do pet owners in China want the best,” said a US dog food manufacturer in the article. “That means food that is made and sourced in the United States. We have just sent off our first shipment to Hong Kong because we have to keep up with our competitors. 
    “The purchasers don’t even want the ingredients translated to Mandarin, because it would appear suspicious to Chinese customers,” the pet food manufacturer said.

My Perfect Pet releases lower-calorie grain-free dog food

    My Perfect Pet, a frozen fresh pet food company, released a lower-calorie, single protein source food for dogs called Knight’s Blend.
    Knight’s Blend is grain-free, formulated with fresh lean beef and vegetables like broccoli, green beans, zucchini and spinach, and is 100 percent complete and balanced based on Association of American Feed Control Officials' nutrient profiles to provide nutritious energy for adult dogs, the company says. Knight’s Blend can be purchased in the standard quantity of a 4-pound retail bag with eight food bars or in a 24-pound case with 48 bars total.
    My Perfect Pet says it plans to release Ultra-Low Glycemic Chicken and Ultra-Low Glycemic Beef blends in select markets in the next month.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Therapeutic pet food diets aid in managing pet health condititions

    New research has led pet food manufacturers to develop therapeutic diets that are created specifically to manage many different medical conditions, such as pet obesity or allergies, says a recent article from
    Typically discussed when a pet's lifestage changes, from puppy to adult to senior, or when the pet develops a specific medical condition, veterinarians say pet nutrition is now being more regularly incorporated into check-up visits as nutrition becomes increasingly important as a form of preventative pet care.
    “There are a lot of important factors in keeping a pet healthy, and many are interdependent,” says Richard Hill, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, professor of small animal internal medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “Nutrition is very important in this respect, as it affects other aspects of overall health. For example, vaccinations are important to help prevent certain infectious diseases in pets. In order for vaccinations to be most effective, the pet needs to have a healthy immune system. Certain nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and taurine act as antioxidants and help reduce damage to the cells of the immune system, improving function. Thus, nutrition plays a role in disease prevention.”
    Veterinarians say that although therapeutic diets can be misused if fed to a healthy pet, they can be effectively used as a non-pharmacological means to managing specific diseases or conditions in pets.
    “Some therapeutic diets have a nutritional profile that would not be ideal for a healthy pet, but since they are only used under the supervision of veterinarian, misuse is not common, in my opinion,” Dr. Brent Mayabb, manager of education and development at Royal Canin, says. “As far as being overused, I think it’s the opposite. While vets are good about recommending diets, pet owners don’t always understand the benefits and as a result, don’t take the recommendation. Sometimes they take the recommendation initially, but don’t continue on the food, causing a compliance issue.”
    In addition, these therapeutic petfoods typically cost more than grocery store maintenance diets because of the extensive research behind them, which can also deter pet owners from following a vet's recommendation.
    Therapeutic pet food diets can prove very beneficial in managing a condition such as pet obesity, but owners must recognize the health risks associated with their pet's obesity to stick with the new therapeutic petfood regimen.
    “The incidence of obesity in pets is high in the US,” Mayabb says. “I’m not sure owners always recognize the health concerns associated with obesity. The incidence and severity of many conditions–joint disease and diabetes, as examples–increase with obesity. But I believe some owners only view obesity as a cosmetic issue, instead of the serious health issue it is.”

Iams pet food brand offers new senior cat, dog diets

    P&G Pet Care's Iams pet food brand introduced a new line of Senior Plus diets, specifically designed for dogs and cats over age 11. 
    Senior Plus diets are available in Iams' ProActive Health and Premium Protection formulas for cats and small to medium breed dogs over age 11, and ProActive Health for large breed dogs age 9 and older. According to the company, the new dog food Senior Plus diets include ingredients such as antioxidants like Vitamin E to restore immunity, a fiber blend with prebiotics and beet pulp for healthy digestion, L-carnitine to help pets utilize dietary fat, and protein from chicken and egg to help maintain muscle mass. The products are sold at pet specialty stores, mass retailers and grocers. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pet food ingredient L-carnitine aids in maintaining pet health

    An important pet food ingredient, L-carnitine, may provide many benefits to pets that consume it as part of a regular diet, a recent article says
    Dr. Johhny Lopez, who holds a Master's degree in animal science and a PhD in monogastric nutrition, says that L-carnitine aids in transporting fatty acids inside the pet's body to the cell's mitochondria, or "furnace," where they are converted into extra energy for the pet's body to use in breathing, eating, resting, metabolism and activity.
    Dr. Lopez says the molecule is also important for heart health, in addition to helping the body produce more antioxidants for overall immune support. L-carnitine, with fat, helps the heart beat properly and optimizes blood flow, as the largest concentration of L-carnitine in the body is stored in the heart and skeletal muscles. L-carnitine helps keep capillary bed clamps open, allowing muscles to receive the nutrients and oxygen needed to maintain proper functioning and recovery, and, in senior pets, can also help maintain muscle mass. 
    He says that it is estimated that the body can only produce about one-third of its L-carnitine needs on its own, and the rest must be supplied from food and dietary supplements, which makes it even more important that a pet's regular diet includes sufficient amounts to meet its nutritional needs. 

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Study finds decline in vet visits among pet owners in recession

    A survey of 1,200 dog and cat owners by the Pert Group and Brakke Consulting found veterinarians continue to be key in influencing pet product purchases and are the primary retail channel for items like medications and prescription pet food diets, yet pet owners are visiting the veterinarian less thanks to the recession.
    The survey, conducted in November 2011, found that 77 percent of respondents reported taking their pet to the veterinarian, down 20 percent from 88 percent in 2007, the first year the survey was conducted.
    “Dogs and cats are feeling the bite of the recession as pet owners put a leash on pet care expenses,” said Susan Spaulding, executive vice president and principal at the Pert Group. “The recession has not only decreased what consumers spend on their own health, but what they spend at the veterinarian.”
    Spending by cat owners who had not taken their pet to the veterinarian within the last year was also down, with these cat owners saying they spent 28 percent less on heartworm prevention, 23 percent less on dental products, and 20 percent less on flea and tick control compared to 2007.
    “Pet owners confirmed that veterinarians and their staffs are key sources of education and highly influential in product choice. Veterinarians could capitalize on their client relationships to compete more effectively with the growing internet and pet super store channels,” said John Volk, senior consultant at Brakke Consulting. “Online ads and in-store displays can’t compete with one-on-one interaction and expertise.”

Purina launches small animal treats in PetSmart stores

    Pet food maker Purina recently launched two new lines of food and treats for small animals, available in US PetSmart stores. 
    The new products, Purina Garden Recipe and Purina Small Animals, are specially formulated diets for gerbils, hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, rats and mice, Purina says, made from ingredients like seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Products include Purina Garden Recipe Rabbit Diet, Purina Garden Recipe Rat and Mouse Diet, Purina Garden Recipe Guinea Pig Diet, Purina Garden Recipe Gerbil and Hamster Diet, Purina Apple-Flavored Flips, Purina Gourmet Bites with Tasty Vegetables, and Purina Treat Sticks varieties for guinea pigs, hamsters and rabbits.
    "All pets, no matter how small, quickly become cherished family members,” said Gabriela Bonadonna, senior marketing manager for Land O’Lakes Purina Feed. “With years of experience feeding animals large and small, people have trusted Purina to provide quality products backed by more than a century of scientific research and an abiding passion for the health and well-being of animals of all sizes. With the launch of Purina Small Animals, we can be sure that even the smallest family members are getting the nutrition they need, the variety they love, and treats that taste good and satisfy.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Online pet food retailers growing popular among US pet owners

    With 232.1 million Americans having Internet access at home or at the office, according to Forrester Research, a growing number of online pet food and pet product retailers are popping up in hopes of finding more success among pet owners, according to an article on
    Online pet supply retailers like, and are among those that have emerged in recent years thanks to changes in Internet commerce, online pet retailers say, as well as reduced marketing costs and consumers' desires for convenience. In fact, it cost an online retailer three to five times as much to launch a decade ago, said Brian Walker, online-commerce analyst for Forrester Research.
    So, following the failure of, a pet food start-up founded in 1998 that raised US$110 million and went public in 2000 before going out of business shortly after, PetFlow was founded in 2010 after raising US$10 million in venture capital. The company's co-founder, Alex Zhardanovsky, said the company now ships one million pounds of petfood per month, and he expects the company will break even by the second quarter of 2012 with sales of US$30 million, up from US$13 million in 2011. PetFlow also stopped using its third-party storage and distribution warehouse in 2011 because Zhardanovsky said it would be too costly as PetFlow ships greater volumes of pet food. The company instead now leases a 65,000-square-foot facility in Cranbury, New Jersey, USA, and said it also plans to seek another round of venture funding in the next year to continue operations.
    PetFlow, Wag, launched in July 2011, and Mr. Chewy, launched in September 2011, all say they differ from because they focus on convenience, rather than price, by carrying mostly higher-end, premium dog foodsS that have a higher margin. Traditional retailers like PetSmart Inc. and Walmart have also expanded higher-end offerings online, with estimates that US online sales of pet supplies will reach US$4.8 billion by 2015, up from US$2.5 billion in 2011, according to Forrester.  
    "There are going to be some 99-cent cat food, dog food, lower-price-point items that may not make sense for us to carry online," said Ravi Jariwala, Walmart spokesman. "We'll bundle them together, so you might buy a six pack."

Petfood Forum Asia draws record attendance in Thailand

    On February 16, more than 135 petfood professionals from 15 countries attended Petfood Forum Asia 2012, co-located with agrifeed show Victam Asia, at the Bangkok International Trade & Exhibition Centre in Bangkok, Thailand.
    Petfood companies in attendance included Royal Canin, Mars Petcare, Procter & Gamble, Del Monte, Unicharm, Perfect Companion, Nippon Pet Food, Betagro, Total Alimentos and more.
    Attendees at Petfood Forum Asia heard David WhyeTyeNg, executive director and CEO of Pet Lovers Centre, describe how his pet retail chain grew sales in 2011 by 25 percent in Singapore, where the company owns more than 43 percent of the pet retail market, and 35 percent in Malaysia. WarangkanaAnuwong of Euromonitor International also discussed the petfood market, including rising pet ownership in the Asia-Pacific region, a projected increase in cat and dog food sales in the region through 2016, and sales growth in all pet product retail channels — led by 168 percent growth in Internet sales, 118 percent growth in pet superstores and 63 percent growth in supermarkets/hypermarkets from 2006-2011.
    “Considering that the worldwide economy is still shaky, it would not be a surprise for members of our industry to worry about the near future,” said Debbie Phillips-Donaldson, editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry. “But I believe most people who attended Petfood Forum Asia walked away with a ‘glass half full’ view of our industry.”
    Upcoming Petfood Industry events include Petfood Forum and Petfood Workshop, April 2-5, in Schaumburg, Illinois, USA, and Petfood Forum China, October 12, in Shanghai, China.

Rush Direct offers new dog treats, bones, herbal supplements

    Rush Direct is expanding its product line with new Ultra Chewy bones and treats and new Ferrera Farms Naturals brand herbal supplements for dogs.
    Supplements in the new Ferrera Farms line, Bee the Best, contain Brazilian Red Propolis, a natural supplement produced by honeybees, using a mix of tree sap, beeswax and natural oils, the company says. The Bee the Best line includes: Hip & Joints, Immunity, Relaxing, and Skin & Coat chewable supplements.
    Additionally, Rush Direct is expanding its Ultra Chewy brand with its newest product for dogs: Ultra Chewy Tropical Bones. Rush Direct says its Ultra Chewy Tropical Bone line features extruded bones with a crunchy outside and a chewy center, flavored with papya, mango, passion fruit and avocado. The Ultra Chewy Double treat line is also being expanded with the addition of a new Twisted Bone, a double-layer, twisted-shape bone in a chicken flavor.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

RECALL: More pet owners call for China chicken jerky dog treat recall

    An increasing number of pet owners are speaking out on the Internet, calling for the government to force a recall of chicken jerky dog treats from China that have been reportedly causing illness and even death in some pets that consume the treats, according to Food Safety News.
    The US Food and Drug Administration tested the treats, but has not confirmed a link between the chicken jerky treats from China and the pet illnesses being reported by owners, yet owners and lawmakers continue to call for further investigation and FDA's recall of the product. On March 1, the agency released a one-page document outlining findings from 241 tests for potential contaminants and 130 tests with pending results. Though the 2012 test results are still pending, none of the results released found a conclusive link of the jerky treats to dangerous levels of contaminants.
    Consumers are calling for action, as a private Facebook group called "Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China!" grew over the past month from having nearly 100 members to more than 2,500 currently, and pet owners are also creating and signing online petitions to ban the products.
    "A lot of these pet parents are just wringing their hands, hoping the FDA will find some sort of answer," said Poisoned Pets blogger, Mollie Morrisette. "If this was [potentially contaminated] baby formula, we would have had the answer when it started five years ago. It would all get pulled off the shelves out of caution as soon as anyone suspected it might be contaminated." 

Mexico Pet Expo launches online registration

    Organizers of Mexico Pet Expo Show & Conference launched a new website for exhibitors and visitors that allows those interested in attending the pet products tradeshow to register online.
    Mexico Pet Expo, taking place June 27-29, in Guadalajara, Mexico, will co-locate for 2012 with the Mexico Forum on Pet Food, hosted by La Asociacion Mexicana de Productores de Alimentos, AC. Industry seminars will be held on topics including retail/pet shop management, veterinarian services, product/service marketing and management, pet business management and more. Both Mexico Pet Expo and the Mexico Forum on Pet Food are open to pet industry professionals. 

Freshpet introduces new ready-to-bake cookies for dogs

    Fresh, refrigerated pet food company Freshpet introduced a new line of ready-to-bake cookies for dogs, available in the pet food aisle refrigerator at grocery stores and pet specialty retailers.
    Freshpet says Ready to Bake Cookies are made from scratch, are 100 percent natural, and are made of ingredients such as crunchy peanut butter, whole oats and dried cranberries. The dough for the cookies is pre-shaped, so consumers only need to bake the cookies in the oven.

Monday, March 12, 2012

LM Farms introduces new dog, cat treats line, pet food sprinkle

    LM Farms, a maker of bird food and small animal food, introduced a new nutritional supplement sprinkle for pet food as well as a line of pet biscuits and treats for dogs and cats.
    LM Farms Nutrition Boosters is a sprinkle for dog and cat food, which the company says provides an essential balance of nutrients, including omega fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics, and contains farm-sourced natural ingredients like flaxseed and sunflower seed. The company also introduced the Hearty Slow Baked Dog Biscuits, Hearty Small Batch Dog Treats and Natural Bone Treats for dogs. All LM Farms products will be available at Petco and other pet specialty retailers. 

Royal Canin expands petfood offerings with X-SMALL dog food line

    Pet food company Royal Canin is launching a new Royal Canin X-SMALL canine nutrition line, formulated for the needs of very small dogs.
    The new line, introduced at the recently held Global Pet Expo, includes four formulas: Puppy, Adult, Mature +8 and Aging +12. To celebrate the new line's launch, the company is kicking off "The Royal Canin Treatment" sweepstakes, which runs through June 1. Royal Canin says the sweepstakes will award a winning pet parent with free dog food and grooming for life, along with an accessory shopping spree. Pet owners can also participate in "The Royal Canin Treatment Instant Win Game" for a chance to win one of more than 500 other prizes.
    Royal Canin is expanding the formulas in its MINI dog food line, for dog weighing 9 to 22 pounds, with the new MINI +8 and MINI Aging +12, MINI Indoor formulas and MINI Spayed/Neutered formula.

PetSmart reports higher earnings for fourth quarter, fiscal year 2011

    Pet product retailer PetSmart Inc. reported its earnings per share rose 18 percent to US$0.91 in the fourth quarter of 2011, while earnings per share rose 27 percent over 2010 to US$2.55 for full-year 2011. 
    For the fourth quarter of 2011, PetSmart reported comparable store sales, or sales in stores open for at least one year, grew by 5.5 percent, benefitting by comparable transactions growth of 2.9 percent. Total sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 rose 8 percent to US$1.6 billion, partially impacted by US$1 million in unfavorable foreign currency fluctuations. Services sales, which are included in total sales, grew 11 percent to US$168 million. For the 2011 fiscal year, PetSmart's comparable store sales grew by 5.4 percent, benefitting from comparable transactions growth of 2.5 percent. Total sales for the year rose 7 percent over 2010 to US$6.1 billion, including a favorable impact from foreign currency fluctuations of US$11 million, and services sales grew by 9 percent to US$675 million. During 2011, the company generated US$575 million in operating cash flow and spent US$121 million in capital expenditures. “Based on our fiscal year calendar, 2012 will contain a 53rd week. For all of 2012, we anticipate comparable store sales growth in the 3 percent to 4 percent range, and total sales growth in the 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent range. We expect earnings per share between US$3.02 to US$3.16, and spending for capital expenditures projects to be between US$130 million to US$140 million. The impact of the extra week is estimated to be US$120 million in sales and US$0.16 in EPS,” said Chip Molloy, executive vice president and chief financial officer. "For the first quarter of 2012, we are expecting comparable store sales growth in the low- to mid-single digits range, and earnings per share between US$0.70 to US$0.74.” 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Canadian pet food co. files to market MOJO petfood brand in US

    Canadian pet food manufacturer Paw4mance Pet Products International Inc. announced that it plans to submit filings for its MOJO brand pet food label registration in Nevada, California and Utah, USA.
    The pet food company anticipates that it will file for approval during the first quarter of 2012, and it will begin distribution and sales of MOJO petfood in the three states as soon as it receives clearance. The company says its strategic plan is to eventually file in every state in the US.

Online human-animal bond resource launched at Global Pet Expo

    The Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative recently launched HABRI Central at Global Pet Expo to serve as an online resource for data collection, research and collaboration for human-animal bond studies.    
    Sponsored by the Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation in collaboration with the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine and Purdue Libraries, the HABRI Central resource provides researchers, pet industry professionals and pet owners with access to scholarly material, an online publishing platform for peer-reviewed content and a virtual collaborative community for those involved in studies of the human-animal bond. Examples of current database topics include how pets affect humans with autism, Alzheimer's, depression, coronary heart disease and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as information on the benefits pets have on the health and well being of people. 

Pet insurance company lists top pet poisoning causes of 2011

    According to the North American Pet Health Association, more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning were reported in the US in 2011.
    Embrace Pet Insurance looked into its claims database to find the top causes of pet poisoning in dogs and cats in 2011: chocolate, raisins, mushrooms, xylitol sweetener and grapes. Among other top poisonous foods were vitamins, bones, rawhide, corn cobs, macadamia nuts, coffee and avocado.
    Embrace Pet Insurance says pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma and even death, depending on the type and amount consumed.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Animal food production report includes pet food industry trends, statistics

    IBISWorld recently updated its "Animal Food Production in the US: Market Research Report" to include the latest animal food production industry statistics and trends, including in the fast-growing pet food industry, which has some animal feed producers changing products from livestock feed to food for companion animals.
    According to the report, steady growth in pet ownership, spikes in feed prices and increasing demand from farm supplies wholesalers have contributed to industry revenue gains at an annualized rate of 3.8 percent since 2007. "The industry's future prospects are modest, with slow but sustained growth anticipated through the next five years...a forecast increase in disposable incomes and, subsequently, pet ownership will likely drive demand for petfood, a segment typified by high profit margins and brand-loyal consumers," said IBISWorld industry analyst, Josh McBee. IBISWorld's report expects industry consolidation to continue in the future, with mergers and acquisitions primarily driven by major companies such as Cargill, Archer Daniels Midland and Mars, and economies of scale contributing to fewer animal food manufacturers servicing wider geographic markets over the next five years. 

Preventive cat food diets become more available over the counter

    In recent years, petfood manufacturers have began creating more over-the-counter preventive pet food diets that help cat owners manage their cat's special health condition, says a recent article in Pet Product News International.
    Previously, cat foods to manage cat health issues, such as allergies, urinary problems, hairballs and diabetes, were only available from a veterinarian, but petfood retailers are now offering special cat diets from grain-free to novel protein-sourced formulas, all without a prescription.
    Pet food companies like Halo, Purely for Pets and Wellness have began creating more grain-free diets to respond to consumer demand. These grain-free diets are usually selected for cats with digestive issues or allergies, according to Halo's Donna Spector, DVM, because the formulas usually do not contain grains, like corn or wheat, but instead contain vegetables and meat. Spector says that refined grains like white rice should be avoided in cat food because these overprocessed grains lose much of their nutritional value, and can lead to blood sugar spikes and obesity in cats. 
    Feline allergies may also be caused by the protein sources in traditional petfoods, like chicken, beef and lamb. But, new over-the-counter petfoods, such as those made by Addiction Foods, are formulated by a veterinarian and nutritionist to include unique proteins such as venison, bushtail, kangaroo and rabbit, which are less likely to result in allergies, according to CEO Jerel Kwek. Another specially formulated cat diet being made more available on retailer shelves, rather than by prescription only, is a high-water content food that can help cats with bladder problems, according to Spector. She also recommends pet owners feed a diet formulated with proper pH levels. The wider availability of these new cat foods means also that pet food manufacturers and retailers must do a better job of educating consumers about preventive diets, rather than relying on a veterinarian to do so when prescribing the food. David Yaskulka, vice president of marketing communications for Halo, says his company provides an educational website to help retailers understand the special cat diet products they are selling to customers. Petfood retailer Holistic Pet Center says it, too, goes to great lengths to educate consumers on preventative diets for cats by providing these foods with more space and signage in stores, as well as by bringing the special diets to street fairs, business events and other marketing opportunities.

Pet industry spending at record US$50 billion in 2011, report finds

    The American Pet Products Association's annual pet industry spending and data report found that pet industry spending grew by 5.3 percent to an all-time high of US$50.96 billion in 2011.
    The American Pet Products Association projects a 3.8 percent growth rate through 2012 and US$53 billion in overall pet spending, driven by new, innovative products including petfood, pet supplies and over-the-counter medications, veterinary care, live animal purchases and other pet services. Pet services, like grooming, boarding, pet sitting and others, experienced the largest growth, rising 7.9 percent from 2010 to US$3.79 billion in 2011. The report projects pet services will grow by 8.4 percent in 2012 to US$4.11 billion in spending. Pet food spending had a slower, but steady increase in 2011, rising 5.8 percent to US$19.85 billion, and is projected to rise 3.1 percent to US$20.46 billion in 2012. Spending on pet supplies and over-the-counter medications also grew in 2011, up 7.6 percent from 2010 to US$11.7 billion in 2011. According to the association's president, Bob Vetere, two reasons for the slower growth in petfood sales are that pet sales and adoptions are flattening, and most consumers have already been drawn to high-end petfoods so the segment is reverting back to a more traditional growth pattern. "As the total pet population continues to grow, despite a slower pace, we still see the overall industry expanding year after year," Vetere said. "As pet owners continue to pamper pets and treat them like members of the family, we see positive growth and a response to consumer demand for more products and services which we expect to see through 2012.” 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Compy petfood allegedly linked to kidney failure in Spain pets

    Spanish pet food brand Compy has removed its products from some Mercadona supermarket shelves in Spain after complaints that the pet food is allegedly linked to kidney failure in pets, according to a report.  
    The pet food products are being tested by Compy's technicians to determine whether or not the pet food is connected to the kidney failure reports in dogs. “At this stage we have only removed the product as a precaution," said Mercadona spokesman, Jorge Romero. “We have received various calls, six complaints, and it has been removed from shops in Albox, Garrucha and Mojacar. This is not all over Andalucia." According to the manufacturer, the products in question are only wet petfood products for cats and dogs produced by Escuris, in Tetra Brick (cartons of 375ml). Compy said that a test was done in 190 out of 1365 Mercadona stores with wet food in tetra brick as a substitution for canned wet pet food. Consumers who are concerned can call a helpline, in English and Spanish, at +900500103.

Evermore Pet Food earns top dog food review, expands retail network

    Evermore Pet Food announced that since partnering with Rhode Island, USA-based distributor Pet Food Experts in May 2011, the pet food company has quadrupled its accounts.
    Evermore says its network now includes retailers in Maine, USA, and Pet Sage in Virginia, USA. Following being granted the Animal Wellness Magazine seal of approval in August 2011, the pet food company also says it earned its first five-star review on dog food review website Dog Food Advisor in December 2011.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Food Safety Validation team presented on safety of low-moisture pet foods

    Members of a food safety validation team met at the 2012 edition of the Global Food Safety Initiative's Global Food Safety Conference, February 14-17, in Orlando, Florida, USA, to give a presentation on food safety of low-moisture foods, including pet food.
    The Food Safety Validation team presented to the GFSI board, including representatives from Yum! Brands, Walmart, petfood manufacturer Cargill, Danone, Kroger, COFCO Corp. (China), Tyson Foods and others. Steve Akins of Petfood Industry magazine began the presentation with an overview of the team and its members, made up of representatives from Extru-Tech Inc., Del Monte Foods, Food Safety Validation LLC and Petfood Industry magazine.
    Norm Schmitt of Extru-Tech presented the team’s goals and how they align with those of the GFSI. These goals are to reduce food safety risk and build on the competency of workers responsible for ensuring food safety, with a focus on low-moisture foods including petfood and pet treats that are manufactured using extrusion and baking and drying processes. Schmitt said the team aims to enhance existing food safety programs, increase food safety awareness across the food industry, reduce the number of recalls and strengthen consumer trust.
    David Anderson of Del Monte Foods provided a description of the team’s extrusion equipment enhancements and plant layout and safety changes. Anderson and Schmitt also spoke about the team’s upcoming milestones, such as planned May 2012 extrusion thermal process validation testing on an Extru-Tech production machine.
    Finally, Frank Yiannas, GFSI board vice chairman and Walmart’s vice president of food safety and health, encouraged retailer promotion of low-moisture food safety, including in the fast-growing petfood market, through universal adoption of the GFSI standards and a common validation approach. 

Pet Food Institute urged state Senate committee to strip pet food tax provisions from bill

    The Pet Food Institute expressed its appreciation to the West Virginia, USA, Senate Agriculture Committee for amending a bill to remove pet food tax provisions.
    The Senate Agriculture Committee passed an amended version of S.B. 479 that removed the pet food tax provisions, which would have funded a spay and neuter assistance program with supplemental money from the fee increase on pet food retailers and distributors, the group says. Instead, the bill now funds the program through the general state budget, and supplemental revenue is raised through an income tax refund checkoff. As part of its initiative to fight the petfood tax provisions, the Pet Food Institute launched a Facebook campaign called "Save our Pets from Onerous Taxes," which the group says received the support of more than 1,300 Facebook users within the first two days of being created.  “It is not fair to tax responsible pet owners to fix a situation they did not create. We are grateful that the concerns of West Virginians were heard and that the unfair tax provisions were stripped from S.B. 479,” said Duane Ekedahl, president. “Every state that has debated a proposal to tax petfood to fund spay/neuter programs ultimately rejected a tax on pet food. Now West Virginia joins that list.” 

Obese dogs may have lower vitality, more pain, UK study shows

    Researchers at the University of Liverpool in the UK recently conducted a study to determine the effect of weight loss on obese dogs.
    The study enrolled 50 obese dogs of various breeds and genders at the University's Royal Canin Weight Management Clinic. Prior to the attempted weight loss, dog owners completed a questionnaire on categories such as activity, pain, aggression, sociability, anxiety, happiness, mobility and enthusiasm.
    The weight loss program involved feeding the dogs either a high-protein, high-fiber dog food or a high-protein, moderate-fiber food, along with making changes in exercise. To determine the amount of food to give to each dog, the investigators estimated the maintenance energy requirement using target weight and factors such as gender and presence of associated diseases. During the course of the study, 30 of the dogs reached their target, with an average weight-loss percentage of 24.4% of their starting weight. Following the study, owners again completed a questionnaire, from which results were evaluated based on the dogs' vitality, emotional disturbance and pain. The study found that all of the dogs that lost weight experienced an improvement in quality of life, as judged by improvements in vitality scores and lower scores for emotional disturbance and pain. Dogs that did not attain their ideal weight after the survey had lower vitality scores and higher emotional disturbance scores. “This research indicates that, for obese dogs, weight loss can be important for staying both healthy and happy,” said Dr. Alexander German from the University of Liverpool. “Obesity is a risk for many dogs, affecting not only their health, but also their quality of life."