FDA Issues Proposed Rule to Improve Safety of Food for Animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a proposed rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act aimed at strengthening the safety of food for animals, including pet food and animal feed.

The proposed rule would help ensure the safety of food for animals, as well as help prevent food borne illness in humans and animals. This rule is part of the effort mandated by Congress to modernize the food safety system and focuses on preventing food safety problems, rather than relying primarily on responding to problems after they occur. The proposed rule works in concert with standards proposed in July 2013 for imported foods and the accreditation of third party auditors for foreign food facilities.

Under the proposed rule for preventive controls for food for animals, facilities manufacturing, processing, packing and holding animal food, both domestically and abroad, would be required to put into place procedures to minimize or prevent hazards reasonable likely to occur, as well as to follow new current good manufacturing practices.

The proposed rule for preventative controls for food for animals will publish in the Federal Register on Oct. 29, 2013. Comments on this proposed rule are due 120 days from the publication date.

Book Review: whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds

Lowenstein thinks the DIY mouse-catcher is a good idea.

From the publisher:

You’ve always wondered what your cat does when you’re not at home. But little did you know, he was spending all his time on the kitty classifieds-nonopposable thumbs be damned! Whether ISO A love connection, new bandmates, or a lightly-used litterbox, whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds is the go-to choice for internet-savvy felines.


My review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first heard about whiskerslist by Angie Bailey. I thought it sounded cute and since cats already rule the internet, it didn’t seem far fetched that they would have their own classifieds site. What I found was a hilarious book that I didn’t want to put down!

whiskerslist is full of ads that you can imagine any cat would place. Maybe Fluffy is looking to trade a jingle ball for a catnip mouse. Maybe Tom lives with a human who constantly takes pictures of him and posts them on the internet without asking his permission and he’s looking to take legal action. Or possibly Skippy is holding a nip festival in his basement. Of course, that could lead to looking on whiskerslist for someone to facilitate an intervention for that buddy who has hit rock bottom with the nip. You might even see an ad from a dog looking for help from a cat!

My personal favorite is the cat from Mason City, IA offering services of, well, fertilizing gardens. He claims to “eat an organic raw food diet” and that he leaves “tidy but generous deposits.” Ms. Bailey offers different levels of humor in the various ads, some leaving me giggling, grinning, or even snorting with laughter.

Recommended for:

Cat lovers, gift giving.

About the author:

Angie Bailey is a freelance writer, blogger, humorist, and professional member of the Cat Writers’ Association. She is the creator and writer of the Catladyland blog, which won the 2011 Pettie Award for Funniest Pet Blog/Blogger, as well as the 2013 BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose Pet Blogging and Social Media award for Best Humor Blog. She lives with her husband, two kids, and three cats in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota. Find the book online at whiskerslist.com, and Angie at angie-bailey.com.

Title: whiskerslist: the kitty classifieds

Author: Angie Bailey

Publisher: Running Press

Publication Month: September 2013

Paperback: 208 pages

ISBN: 978-0-7624-4981-1

Rating: 4 paws

Precise Pet Products Adds Three to Sales

Precise Pet Products, an American-based manufacturer and supplier of all-natural canine and feline foods, added three new team members to their growing sales team.

Bonnie Barnes, Scott Johnson and Tony Gutierrez were named territory sales managers for the brand.

“Adding Bonnie, Scott and Tony to the team strengthens our ability to further develop and grow our company’s reach across the nation and in Canada,” Kirk Young, executive vice president of Precise Pet Products, said. “Each professional brings unique sales and management experience that will enhance our brand. We’re excited to have these sales experts on our team.”

Before joining Precise, Barnes served as the western Canada territory manager at Tri Natural Products, where she established, managed and serviced accounts across western Canada. Barnes serves the western Canada territory for Precise Pet Products.

Johnson previously served as a key account manager at WellPet. In this position, he managed over 25 accounts, exceeded sales goals and coordinated product launch campaigns. Johnson represents Precise in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and parts of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Gutierrez brings 29 years of sales experience to the company, and previously served as a distributor for Veterinary Services, Inc. There, Gutierrez oversaw the pet food division and managed sales and customer relationships.

He represents Precise in Southern California, Arizona and Southern Nevada.

Hagen Names Aquatic Development Manager

Francis Yupangco was named aquatics development manager at Hagen.

His work experience ranges from designing and managing complex marine habitats to overseeing market development plans for global corporations.

“We’re very excited to welcome Francis on board,” Rolf Hagen Jr., president and CEO of Rolf C. Hagen Inc, said. “His skills and experience make him ideal for the position of aquatics development manager. He’s not only very well versed in marine biology, he also has a great grasp of marketing and market development, which enables him to look at things from a variety of angles.”

Prior to joining Hagen, Yupangco served as director of marketing and business development at Living Color Enterprises. Francis co-stars in the National Geographic reality TV series “Fish Tank Kings,” which features the company and its services. While at Living Color, he worked with a variety of corporate entertainment clients including Disney, Sea World, Rainforest Café and the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball team.

He was also director of operations at Issham Aquatics International, where he led aquarium operations at 30 locations across four countries, including major tourist attractions and government institutions, such as the Khalifa Park Maritime Museum, Prince Sultan Science and Technology Center and the Royal Palace Shark Encounter. Prior to that, Francis was employed at the Vancouver Aquarium for 7 years as an aquarist and researcher.

New VP Marketing at WellPet

Camelle Kent was named vice president of marketing at WellPet, the family of natural food for pets including Wellness, Holistic Select, Old Mother Hubbard and Eagle Pack.

She will lead all aspects of marketing including brand management, new product innovation, customer marketing, digital marketing, social media, marketing services and consumer affairs.

“We are excited to have Camelle join the WellPet team,” Tim Callahan, chief executive officer of WellPet, said. “As we continue to invest more in consumer acquisition, innovation and global expansion, Camelle’s leadership will be invaluable. She brings a unique combination of talent, experience and energy and is a great fit with our values.”

Kent will be based in Cambridge, Mass.

Sealy Introduces Its New Dog Bed

Sealy, Inc., one of the world’s largest bedding brands, in collaboration with dogPACER, has launched its new Sealy Dog Bed.

The Sealy Dog Bed, the brand’s first dog bed offering, uses a signature Quad Layer Technology, allowing dogs to enjoy a cooler, more supportive and restful sleep.

The Sealy Dog Bed provides a large variety of amenities to ensure dogs are receiving the best rest possible. The Quad Layer technology features: Cooling Energy Gel, a layer which absorbs stress on joints, and cools dogs for comfort; PetRest Memory Foam, inspired by NASA’s original invention, and proven to help increase circulation by conforming to a pet’s body shape; Green Tea Orthopedic Foam, to maintian natural weight distribution; HD Charcoal Base, which provides essential support and absorbs odors.

“At Sealy, we’re dedicated to helping the world sleep better, including our beloved pets,” Margo Borgione, director of international business development and licensing for Sealy, said. “We wanted to take dog beds a step further, align ourselves with a well-known and trusted brand in the pet industry like dog PACER, and collaborate on a product design that provides dogs with more comfortable and supportive rest.”

Del Monte Focusing on Pet Products

In May, Del Monte and Natural Balance signed a merger agreement. Del Monte has now reached an agreement to sell its consumer products business to Del Monte Pacific Limited for $1.675 billion.

Given the distinct operations and markets of Del Monte Foods’ two segments, pet products and consumer products, a sale of the consumer segment to Del Monte Pacific Limited will ensure that both business unites are best positioned for growth in their respective markets.

“Over the last two years, we have made significant investments – operationally, strategically and organizationally – to build the Consumer Products and Pet Products segments into businesses capable of capturing the significant opportunity available to each,” Dave West, CEO of Del Monte Foods, said. “We believe DMPL is the right company to build on the Consumer Products segment’s recent success and achieve its next phase of growth, and we look forward to focusing on expanding our Pet Products business, which operates in one of the most attractive categories across the U.S. consumer packaged goods industry.”

New CEO at Animal Supply Company

George Ristevski is the new CEO of Animal Supply Company. Ristevski brings more than 30 years of businesses leadership to the company from various industries.

“We welcome George’s experience and leadership to the Animal Supply family,” Randy Reber, chairman of Animal Supply Company, said. “George’s unique background in building and managing a world-class distribution platform will complement the deep industry relationships and knowledge of our current team. George will work closely with the regional presidents to enhance our offering of value-added retailer and vender services across the country.”

Ristevski has experience in building distribution companies to make them world leaders within their industries. Previously, Rivtevski was CEO of Maxum Petroleum.

“I am excited to work with great operators like Jeff Sutherland, Danny Selman, Jay Joyce, Clancy Lavins and Steve Thoeny to maximize our potential as a distribution platform for independent retailers and their vendors,” Ristevski said. “Together, we will strive to be the best and most value-added distribution partner in the industry. While we have a national business, we will continue to operate with an intense regional and local focus to serve our retail partners. Our mission of ‘delivering success’ to the pet specialty channel will continue to be our fundamental operating philosophy.”

New CEO at Animal Supply Company

George Ristevski is the new CEO of Animal Supply Company. Ristevski brings more than 30 years of businesses leadership to the company from various industries.

“We welcome George’s experience and leadership to the Animal Supply family,” Randy Reber, chairman of Animal Supply Company, said. “George’s unique background in building and managing a world-class distribution platform will complement the deep industry relationships and knowledge of our current team. George will work closely with the regional presidents to enhance our offering of value-added retailer and vender services across the country.”

Ristevski has experience in building distribution companies to make them world leaders within their industries. Previously, Rivtevski was CEO of Maxum Petroleum.

“I am excited to work with great operators like Jeff Sutherland, Danny Selman, Jay Joyce, Clancy Lavins and Steve Thoeny to maximize our potential as a distribution platform for independent retailers and their vendors,” Ristevski said. “Together, we will strive to be the best and most value-added distribution partner in the industry. While we have a national business, we will continue to operate with an intense regional and local focus to serve our retail partners. Our mission of ‘delivering success’ to the pet specialty channel will continue to be our fundamental operating philosophy.”

Merrick Pet Care’s Name The Can Contest

Merrick Pet Care is having a contest for dog lovers to come up with a name for its next summer seasonal dog food recipe.

Starting this week on Facebook, contest participants can submit an idea for a summer seasonal recipe, along with suggested recipe ingredients, for a new Merrick flavor to debut in the Summer of 2014, the winner will receive a year’s supply of dog food.

“Merrick has long been known in the natural pet food category for its high quality, innovative canned dog food recipes and their playful names – Merrick’an Pie, Ballpark Bonanza, Honolulu Luau and many more,” Mark Sapir, vice president of marketing for Merrick, said. “This contest – or “can”-test – is a way to tap into the creativity and passion of our pet parent community to help us name our next can. We’ll take the winning name and turn it into a delicious and nutritious recipe for dogs to enjoy next summer.”

To enter, visit Merrick on Facebook at www.facebook.com/merrickpetcare. Entrants may submit a recipe name along with suggested recipe ingredients before Oct. 21. Merrick will select four finalists based on the creativity and originality of their entries. These four recipe ideas will be put to a community vote on Facebook from Oct. 28 to Nov. 8, and a grand prize winner will be announced on or around Nov. 15.

The grand prize winner will receive a year’s supply of dog food, and their winning recipe will launch in time for the 2014 summer season with cans to arrive in stores by next May. Three first-prize winners will each win a 25-lb. bag of Merrick Grain Free Real Texas Beef dry dog food, one of Merrick’s newest grain-free recipes.

Size Matters When It Comes to Litter Boxes

While litter boxes aren’t the most glamorous part of owning a cat, it’s the part that can help make or break a relationship.

As customers continue to seek out quality and innovation in cat boxes and manufacturers are meeting that challenge. From traditional litter trays to fully automatic, self-cleaning boxes, the market has changed through the years.

Litter Boxes

Selecting a cat box is a very personal decision that will vary according to each domestic situation.

Automatic litter boxes with rakes allow more freedom and cleaner boxes, but some cats may not be comfortable around a motor. Many owners, particularly those of multi-cat households, prefer these types of units as they result in fewer boxes per cat throughout the house.

Automated boxes are now available in a wide selection. Popular classics include Nature’s Miracle Self-Cleaning litter boxes or the LitterMaid, both of which rely on the use of a clay-based scoopable litter. These quiet-running boxes offer superior odor control and ease of use, coming in several sizes to accommodate any type of cat.

For those who prefer the ease of automation, but prefer to avoid motors, CatIt offers a manually operated sifting system. Simple yet innovative, the SmartSift’s unique design does the scooping, but allows the owner to control the frequency of litter sifting.

“There is no motor, so it doesn’t frighten cats and it’s large design is perfect for multi-cat households,” Damian Hall, senior marketing manager for Rolf C. Hagen Corp, said. “It’s two steps: 1-2-clean.”

The newer automated boxes, such as the ScoopFree Self-Cleaning Litter Box, uses disposable litter trays that rely on a silica-based “crystal” litter, which is included in each tray. The litter is free of perfumes and dyes, and nearly dust-free. The scooping mechanism sits over the disposable tray and it is easily removed each month by simply covering the tray and disposing.

Size Matters

When it comes to litter boxes, size matters. Certain breeds of cats require larger litter boxes, while others prefer their own individual box. Some cats prefer privacy while others prefer an open environment.

It’s important for consumers to understand their cats’ needs, and it’s important for retailers to provide the knowledge and expertise in helping them select the best products for their cat.

The biggest drawback to litter and boxes is the shelf space it takes to keep them in stock.

“Retailers need to understand the needs of their customers in order to maximize shelf space,” Abby Bishop, store manager at Only Natural Pet in Colorado, said.

Most manufacturers understand this problem and have created POS displays that can help educate customers while saving room on the floor.

Traditional cat boxes are still a feline favorite and they now come in a large variety of shapes and sizes. Corner units are perfect for keeping litter in place, while the traditional rectangular litter tray can be easily placed in any location, including the interior of planters or chests for those who prefer to keep boxes hidden.

Hooded litter trays are perfect for the cat who demands privacy.  As they generally include a carbon or charcoal absorber as a form of filtration, they are effective at controlling odor.

Boxes like the LitterLoo from SmartyKat helps keep litter in the box with its special wall design and their DigDeep litter box, with its high walls, affords extra protection against cats who like to kick litter from the box.


When stocking litter boxes, retailers are presented with an opportunity to cross-sell other helpful accessories.

“SmartyKat offers a variety of stylishly designed and functional waste management, scatter control and odor control products that improve the litter experience for pets and pet parents,” Shannon McWilliams, vice president for product development at Worldwise, said. “Clean Exit is a scatter control mat that keeps litter off of the floor to decrease tracking.”

Odor can be a recurring problem in homes with even the best hygiene system.

“The CritterZone Air Naturalizer creates a natural, charged flow that fills the room and continually cleans the air,” Bill Converse, president of CritterZone USA, said. “CritterZone provides indoor air with the natural charge it needs to virtually eliminate odors, allergens, dust and bacteria.”

The Litter Genie Plus Cat Litter Disposal System reduces odor, makes clean-up quick and easy, hygienically seals soiled litter clumps and reduces trips to the garbage.

“The Litter Genie can hold up to two weeks of waste before emptying, eliminating the daily need to go to the outside trash and making it a convenient way to keep litter boxes clean,” Chikako Harada, brand manager of Litter Genie, said.

Choosing which litters and cat litter boxes to carry in a store should be a result of research and knowledge of your customer base. While cat consumables can be cumbersome, the market is expanding rapidly and as customers increase their knowledge thru well thought-out marketing programs from manufacturers, demand will be high for these new consumables.

Consumers Use Collars, Leashes to Express Personal Style

Every pet owner needs a collar and leash, and most also opt to use a harness at times, too.

For much of the products’ history, this ubiquitous demand resulted in less innovation. Consumers consistently purchased solid-colored nylon or leather leashes, collars and harnesses, so manufacturers weren’t forced to innovate to stay competitive.

Now, however, consumers are using these products to express their style and to reflect their dog’s personalities. Rather than simply being a commodity product, mass produced with little specialization,  leashes, collars and harnesses are becoming more unique in design, material and function.

Historically, function trumped style. This is changing for consumers who want to purchase products beyond the basics.

“Like most categories, innovation in both style and function are performing well,” John Cullen, principal at Bulldog Marketing & Sales, Inc., said. “Simply having something different and colorful beyond the blacks, blues, and reds can be a hot button for consumers.  Highly designed, high quality products can drive consumers to select certain items in the category.”

Keeping Current

In order to stay competitive, manufacturers need to innovate in material, design and even function.

Katie Pusateri, communication manager at Coastal Pet Products, Inc., reported its brand has success with leashes and collars, and that harnesses are becoming more in-demand.

“Collars and leashes consistently perform well for us and harnesses are on an upward trend,” she said. “Collars can be used as identification as well as a walking tool, while harnesses should be removed when not in use.  A leash can be used with a collar or harness, so it is always a big seller.”

Interestingly, Pusateri pointed out lifestyle changes are helping to drive increased sales.

“Working to combat pet obesity and become more active, an increased number of people are walking their pets,” Pusateri  added. “As a result, leash and harness sales are on the rise.”

Many dog product categories are beginning to reflect consumers’ lifestyles rather than just providing function.

Lifestyle brands usually can command a higher price point, too.

Consumers are willing to pay a slightly higher price for a collar, leash or harness that reflects their sense of style or their pet’s personality.

“Companies like Zee.Dog are coming to market with innovative designs that allow consumers much more self-expression than has ever been seen in this category before,” Cullen said. “That, mixed with higher quality materials and competitive price points, makes for a powerful force in the category which will ultimately steal share from entrenched competitors.”

Even traditional leather collars are receiving a lifestyle-driven upgrade.

Leather Brothers, an Arkansas-based company of legacy leather workers, produces a wide range of styles to appeal to varied consumers. These range from on-trend neon designs that are water resistant, to decorative collars embellished with rhinestones and spikes.

In addition, some of their traditional and fun designs include a quick-release buckle rather than the standard buckle.

Changes in hardware are another collar trend that is reflected across the board. Pusateri said they are offering more hardware options to consumers beyond the standard buckle, as well.

“Coastal Pet has also developed multiple new lines that feature unique hardware,” she said. “Our collars and leashes have multiple different hardware options and we want the owners to be able to choose the hardware they desire.”

Mix It Up

While some consumers will continue to purchase standard, basic leashes and collars, retailers should consider a product mix that includes expressive brands. Retailers can leverage their consumer demographics to choose products that will appeal to their unique shoppers.

For example, Coastal Pet Products provides a product mix that reflects consumer preferences that range from the fashionista to the eco-conscious traveler.

“Our fashion lines are continuously updated to keep the category fresh and introduce new products that correspond to fashion trends,” Pusateri said. “Coastal Pet Products also has products that fit lifestyles of pet owners. For example, K9 Explorer targets people with an outdoor lifestyle while New Earth Soy is perfect for the eco-friendly pet owner.”

Cullen sees the category continuing to evolve.

“I wish the category would continue to innovate, not just in design but in functionality,” he said. “There are companies out there pushing the envelope, but only few, like Zee.Dog are attacking on two fronts: unique, edgy designs combined with highly functional, high quality and in some cases new innovations in functionality.  Many will try, but few having the staying power of a true line of products within the category.”

Pusateri expressed a similar idea.

“We always want to retain our status as the quality leader and exceed industry quality standards,” she said. “Customers want fashionable items that are also safe for their pets. Our goal is to make new exciting products that continue to exceed industry safety standards.

“We would like to see the category continue to bring out unique and innovative products that meet pet and consumer needs. These innovative products should promote fun, healthy interactions between pets and their owners.”

Blue Dog Bakery’s Second Year of Pet Treat Pantry

Blue Dog Bakery has started its second year of  Pet Treat Pantry, a partnership between the Seattle-based all natural dog treat company and select food banks in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina and New Jersey. The partnership provides healthy treats to the canine friends of food bank clients.

Over the past five years Blue Dog Bakery has donated dog treats to more than 800 organizations, events and fundraisers dedicated to helping dogs all over the country with their “Say Yes” policy. The Pet Treat Pantry builds on the company’s long-standing tradition of community giving and engagement.

“Developing and launching Pet Treat Pantry in 2012 was hugely rewarding for Blue Dog Bakery,” Kyle Polanski, CEO of Blue Dog Bakery, said. “With the help of consumers, we were able to donate over 2.5 tons of healthy dog treats to our food bank partners. We are excited to continue the program, and are hoping we can top last year’s donation total!”

To kick off the 2013 Pet Treat Pantry, Blue Dog Bakery has already donated 3,768 pounds of Blue Dog Bakery treats to five participating food banks across the country. Over the next four months, shoppers and dog-lovers have the opportunity to help donate 20,000 more boxes, because when a box is bought, a box is given.

Those who purchase a specially marked box of Blue Dog Bakery treats are encouraged to visit www.bluedogbakery.com/community/pet-treat-pantry where they can enter the registration code found on the box and select one of five participating food banks to direct their donation. For each code registered, Blue Dog Bakery will send one box of treats to the selected food bank. Participating Pet Treat Pantry food banks include:

•    Rainier Valley Food Bank – Seattle, Washington
•    The Pongo Fund – Portland, Oregon
•    Empty Bowl Pet Food Pantry – Phoenix, Arizona
•    Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina – Charlotte, North Carolina
•    The Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties – Neptune, New Jersey

“Since Hurricane Sandy, our distribution has increased by 20 percent,” Linda Keenan, director of development for the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties in Neptune, N.J., said. “We recognize that a family includes pets and many of these families struggle everyday to provide for just their children. We want to make sure when we are assisting these families we are including their pets, and the partnership with Blue Dog Bakery and the Pet Treat Pantry program allows us to do just that, and make a difference.”

Specially marked boxes of Blue Dog Bakery treats can be found at national grocery retailers. To learn more about Pet Treat Pantry, where they can purchase Blue Dog Bakery treats, visit www.bluedogbakery.com.

Weighty Issues

In a culture of immediate gratification, food is often equated to love, so it’s easy to see why the animals we’ve spent thousands of years domesticating are dealing with the same obesity problems as their humans.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Risks of excess weight in animals are much the same as that of humans and include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart and respiratory ailments, many forms of cancer and a nearly 2.5 years decrease in life expectancy.

The pet industry as a whole has responded with a vast selection of products and marketing campaigns focused on educating pet owners about the epidemic.

Nutrition, Portion Control

Proper feeding and nutrition is one of the most important aspects of lowering a pet’s weight.

“The most important part of feeding is to know how many calories your dog or cat requires each day to maintain his ideal weight and then this amount can be fed once or split into multiple feedings accordingly,” Bettie Hamilton, vice president marketing/product development for Halo, Purely for Pets, said.  “Your veterinarian can help you determine how many calories your pet needs each day to avoid obesity.”

To combat pet obesity, pet food companies have developed specific formulations to address the issue. For example, Halo offers their Spot’s Stew for Dogs Healthy Weight FF Turkey and Duck, and Spot’s Stew Cats GF Healthy Weight Whitefish and Salmon formulas.

Companies, like Nutro, are also developing formulas geared toward specific types of dogs. For example, they offer weight management formulas for both large and small breed dogs.

To assist in caloric control, it’s important to use precise measurements.

“Portion control is a key factor in slowing the rate of obesity,” Jeff Logan, director of marketing for Dexas International, said. “Too many people estimate serving size or worse, pour directly from a bag. The collapsible KlipScoop attaches directly to the bag to keep food fresh and serve as a reminder that each serving should be measured.”

The award-winning KlipScoop and Popware line of pet bowls fold flat for easy storage and are dishwasher-safe.

Interactive feeders like the Nina Ottosson or Aikiou line of toys also provide important mental stimulation and slow the rate of feeding.

“The Aikiou encourages pets to eat more slowly, which can stimulate intellect and reduce digestive problems,” Alexandre Tremblay, president of Distributions Aikiou, Inc., said. “Both cats and dogs like to hunt for food and they also have the need to be mentally stimulated and entertained. Aikiou’s products satisfy both these needs.”

The Company of Animals offers several different types of products to help a pet eat slower, including their Green Slow Feeder for dogs, which also comes in a mini size, and their Catch Cat Slow Feeder. Pet owners scatter the desired amount of food across the Green and a dog ‘works’ to push the food out between the many blades of grass.

“The average dog can eat their meal in 2-5 minutes, whereas using one of the Green Feeders or Buster Dog Maze can get that time to 17-21 minutes,” Jeanette Holliday, marketing executive for The Company of Animals, said. “This helps prevent bloat and other digestive issues that have now become so common in pets today.”

But what if a pet refuses to eat a low-calorie food?

Additives like Doggie Shotz, a new product from Pet Alternatives are designed for pets that prefer flavors like BBQ Ribs and Bacon Cheeseburgers.

“Doggie Shotz offers great taste, enhanced nutrition and a gourmet experience for any dog,” Bill Kavanov, CEO of Pet Alternatives, explained. “The product line is 90 percent fat free, gluten-free and contains a unique blend of essential vitamins and minerals.”

Tempting Treats Without the Pounds

“Pet owners feel good when they give treats, but often do not realize how many unnecessary calories treats provide,” Hamilton said. “Only 10 percent of a pet’s daily calories should come from treats.”

When training a dog or cat, there are often many treats involved. These can pack on calories very quickly.

Consider sticking to a low calorie treat. LicketyStik from PetSafe offers a great way to treat pets with their innovative treat delivery system, and at only one calorie per ten licks, pets can be rewarded as often as needed. Quickies, made from 100 percent wild, line-caught Icelandic Haddock from The Honest Kitchen are high-protein, low-carb fish treats for dogs, with just 1.1 calories per treat.

“They are perfect for training,” Lucy Postins, founder of The Honest Kitchen, said. “Quickies are packaged in a 2 oz. eco-friendly tube that fit in your pocket while you’re on the go and allow owners to reward often without packing on the pounds.”

This also goes for pets other than dogs and cats.

Exercise Eliminates Pounds

While nutrition is an important part of the puzzle, exercise is an integral part of the solution.

You can’t out-exercise a bad diet, but neither can you out-feed a poor exercise program. It’s recommended that pets exercise at least 30-60 minutes per day.

“In a perfect world owners would take their pets on daily jogs, but bad weather, leash laws, limited open space and the hectic schedule of daily life don’t always allow this,” Krista Wickens, PetZen co-owner, said. “Dog exercise equipment like the DogTread is not intended as a replacement for healthy outdoor exercise for pets and owners, but as an option to ensure dogs get the exercise they need when circumstances like weather or time don’t allow otherwise.”

DogTread offers a variety of treadmill products for dogs of all sizes, plus other canine gym gear like the K9FITvest, which makes it easy to incorporate gradual therapeutic resistance training, cooling, sensory integration and safety into all of a dog’s activities.

“Pet obesity goes beyond nutrition and into mental and physical health,” Wickens said. “A holistic, three-pronged approach is imperative to guarantee results.”

While GoPet features a traditional treadmill for dogs, they also offer the TreadWheel, which is dog powered, requires no electricity and can be used anytime, anywhere.

Tracking Progress with Technology

There are tons of apps and other items, such as the Fitbit, that helps humans track their exercise progress. Well, not there are similar accessories for pets.

“It’s important for pet owners to understand their pet’s behavior,” Jeff Zotara, vice president of marketing for Snaptracs Tagg Tracker, said. “There is an initial adrenaline rush as pets rush to greet their humans. But, that’s not indicative of how active a pet is during the day. Tagg Activity Tracking allows an owner to judge the cumulative effect of a pet’s activity level and judge how active their pets are on an ongoing basis. If pets are less active than they were a week ago, it could be indicative of a physical or mental issue that needs to be checked out.”

Phone apps, such as SlimDoggy, are other valuable tools designed to empower pet owners.

“SlimDoggy is pre-loaded with nutritional information for nearly every brand of pet food and a canine calorie calculator,” Steve Pelletier, founder and CEO, said. “By simply listing the amount of food given to a pet and the type of exercise, owners are able to easily adjust their pets daily feedings and treats each day.

“The basic act of living burns nearly 90 percentof all calories they will burn for the day. This is why the amount you feed your dog is so mission-critical. Weight gain is insidious.”

Women in the Pet Industry Biz Book Closing Soon

Women in the Pet Industry Network is getting ready to close out its Top Women in the Pet Industry Winter Biz Book. Oct. 4 is the last date for businesswomen to take advantage of promoting their organization in the Biz Book, which serves as the definitive, digital resource guide of the top American and Canadian services, products and facilities for pets and pet owners.

The Winter Biz Book focuses on the Top Women in the Pet Industry, including the winners and finalists resulting from the WIPIN Conference and Pet Industry Woman of the Year Awards show held this past August in Portland, Ore.

“This is an opportunity for savvy businesswomen to fully support their pet businesses,” Shawna Schuh, the WIPIN president, said. “The WIPIN Winter Biz Book is a valuable resource guide used long-term by other like-minded entrepreneurs: Being in it ensures an increase in networking and business-building opportunities.”

Schuh said all new members who join WIPIN before Oct. 4 receive a free 1/4 page ad in the Winter Biz Book. There is also an opportunity to purchase space for a larger ad. Each full-page ad comes with a full-page profile about the member and her business. All advertising and editorial content in the book is in full-color format. Once included, entrepreneurs can use the Biz Book to position and leverage more visibility by announcing inclusion in the Biz Book in a press release, on their website and across social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook.


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