The Pathfinder GPS e-Collar from Dogtra

Track and train your dog with Dogtra’s Pathfinder e-Collar. It can keep track of a dog’s location within a 9-mile range, is easy to use and is waterproof. Each session with the Pathfinder is recorded, so users can track where their dog has searched or where evasive game was found.

Animal Specialty Center Introduces TrueBeam Radiotherapy System for Pet Cancer Treatment

In a promising development for pet cancer patients in the Northeast, Animal Specialty Center (ASC) introduced its new TrueBeam Radiotherapy system to leading veterinary professionals with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon cutting for the TrueBeam system was part of a continuing education seminar that included a presentation entitled, “Combining Surgery and Radiation,” by ASC’s Kendra Hearon, DVM, DACVS, fellow in surgical oncology.

“We are very excited to introduce this new technology to veterinary professionals because is it a real game-changer that will enable us to treat even the most challenging cases with unprecedented speed and pinpoint precision,” said Kari Rosen, DVM, DACVR RO at ASC. “With a broad spectrum of new capabilities, TrueBeam breaks the mold in just about every dimension, making it possible for us to offer faster, more targeted treatments to tumors even as they move and change over time.”

“VCA is on the forefront of cancer treatment using the most sophisticated technology available to fight cancer,” said Karen Oberthaler, VMD, DACVIM medical oncology. “It’s vitally important for our profession to learn about new modalities and how they can be combined for maximum effectiveness, especially since there is very little in veterinary literature about this, despite its increasing frequency. This is a breakthrough that lets us bring a wider spectrum of advanced radiotherapy treatment options to many more patients.”

More than 60 veterinarians and veterinary technicians were in attendance for the seminar, which was followed by a lively Q&A session. Among those participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony were Drs. Rosen, Hearon and Oberthaler from ASC, along with 40 industry colleagues.


21st Century Animal HealthCare to Launch Calm Paws Featuring First Calming Gel Patch

21st Century Animal HealthCare announced yesterday the launch of Calm Paws, a natural calming support product line featuring the first-ever calming gel patch to help dogs and cats. The innovative new product can be attached to any smooth surface and is ideal for use with recovery collars and pet crates when traveling.

The Calm Paws natural essential oil products consist of gel patches, collars and disks and are compatible with Calm Paws e-collars providing calming support to help post-surgery and stress-related behaviors in dogs and cats.

21st Century Animal HealthCare will officially introduce the new products March 22-24, 2017, at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida. Pet product buyers will have an opportunity to experience the new Calm Paws products and view end cap and spinner pole displays at booth #3775.

21st Century Animal HealthCare designed the Calm Paws products in response to a collaboration with E-Collar manufacturers and a nationwide survey of veterinarians that found better recovery collars are needed, according to Colin Brodie, vice president of marketing for 21st Century Animal HealthCare.

“We discovered vets desired recovery collar improvements addressing compliance, comfort, fit, ease of drinking and durability,” Brodie said. “Our company launched a collar and calming initiative to study research and design better alternatives for collar selection and calming support for dogs and cats.

“As part of our collar initiative, we found that research data shows pets prefer the calming effects of blue, so we utilized a cool blue color in the design of both our plastic, soft and inflatable e-collars,” Brodie continued. “We designed a Calm Paws gel patch application pocket for our plastic e-collar to assist with compliance and have a patent pending on this new design.”

Brodie added that the company is also introducing a new soft e-collar called Caring Collars. The product is made of felt fabric that is secured by Velcro strips, allowing multiple size adjustments. Four collar sizes are available to cover all pets. A special patented, break in the collar fabric allows a section to be folded back to allow the pet to easily get at food or water in its bowl. A patent pending net pouch was included on the collar for the Calm Paws gel patch.

“As part of our calming initiative, we did extensive clinical trials to ensure the efficacy of our Calm Paws purified essential oil blend,” Brodie said. “Dog products use a proprietary blend of Valerian and Lavender oils and cat products use an extract of Nepeta cateria.

“Calm Paws products provide a variety of calming options for dog and cat behavior support,” Brodie added. “Our new gel patch is the first of its kind that can be used with e-collars post-surgery or when traveling. We also offer a protector for the gel patch when it is used on pet crates or e-collars. Velcro strips allow the patch to be located on any clean smooth service.”

Brodie stated that Calm Paws also offers “glow-in-the-dark” calming disks that can be paired with the pet’s regular collar, harness or inflatable collar, as well as essential oil blend collars that use the same blend as the gel patch and disk.

“We know the pet industry wants premium alternatives and a variety of options in collar selection and calming behavior support,” he continued. “We’re excited to showcase Calm Paws products to pet industry professionals at Global Pet Expo.”

World’s Best Cat Litter Launches Zero Mess As First Product in New Advanced Series

World’s Best Cat Litter is answering cat owners’ demand for specialized litters with the launch of its Advanced Series, a line of products made to address specific litter box problems. The Advanced Series begins its rollout next month with Zero Mess and Zero Mess Pine Scented, two litters purpose-built to make cleanup easier than ever before.

Zero Mess, and all future Advanced Series products, will be available in pet-specialty stores and select online retailers. The Advanced Series line delivers the brand’s hallmark concentrated power to help cat owners do more with less litter, but adds unique ingredient combinations that address the top issues facing today’s pet parents.

“Our Original Series products will always be long-lasting and deliver outstanding overall performance,” said Jean Broders, brand manager of World’s Best Cat Litter. “However, we are dedicated to innovating new products that meet the unique needs of each individual cat owner. Our Advanced Series pushes the boundaries of what a litter is capable of and Zero Mess does that by making cleanup easier than ever.”

Zero Mess is the multiple-cat-strength litter that guarantees fast and easy cleanup with double better clumping and double more odor control. It is the only litter that combines the concentrated power of corn with super-absorbent plant fibers that quickly trap liquids in tight clumps. The end result is a litter that promises no chiseling, no scraping and no crumbling. Zero Mess Pine Scented delivers all these benefits, plus it adds a blend of pine ingredients for a gentle, natural scent.

“Pet-specialty shoppers want products that meet their unique needs. All Advanced Series formulas will use innovative ingredient combinations to provide solutions to issues other litters fail to deliver on. And Zero Mess is just the beginning,” Broders said.

World’s Best Cat Litter will now consist of an Original Series made up of Clumping, Multiple Cat Clumping and Lavender Scented Multiple Cat Clumping formulas, and the new Advanced Series, featuring Zero Mess and Zero Mess Pine Scented. All World’s Best Cat Litter formulas use the concentrated power of corn to allow cat owners to do more with less litter. They offer outstanding odor control, quick clumping and easy scooping, and are lightweight, flushable and septic safe, 99 percent dust free and pet, people and planet friendly.

Preventing Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is one of the most common and overlooked disease in veterinary medicine, according to Forever Freckled’s Dr. Alison Birken. Just like in humans, poor dental health can result in serious health issues, such as heart disease, and an increased risk of cancer, diabetes and pancreatic disease. So why is dental disease an epidemic? What can pet owners do to ensure our pets live longer and happier lives by preventing periodontal disease? The first step is to have pets’ teeth evaluated by your veterinarian. Many of Dr. Birken’s pet parents do not realize their pets have dental disease. Commonly, her clients bring their pets to see her with complaints that their breath smells horrible or eating habits have changed. These are the most common signs of periodontal disease. Recognizing the signs of periodontal disease is the first step in improving pets’ oral care and overall health.

The following are some clinical signs Dr. Birken gives that may suggest a pet has periodontal disease:

  • Halitosis (bad breath. Persistent bad breath is generally the first sign people notice.
  • Gums that bleed easily. Is there blood on pets’ bones or toys? This is a sign of possible gingivitis and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.
  • Changes in eating behaviors. If a pet is eating slower or chews only on one side of their mouth, this can be a sign of pain and possible periodontal disease.
  • Loss of appetite. Always have pets evaluated by a veterinarian when they are not eating.
  • Pawing at the mouth. This can be a sign of oral pain.
  • Sensitivity around the mouth. If a pet no longer allows people to rub their chin or mouth area, this may be a sign of discomfort due to dental disease.
  • Loose or missing teeth.
  • Yellow or brown hardened material on the tooth. This is usually tartar and needs to be cleaned professionally with a scaler and ultrasonic cleaner by a veterinarian.
  • Discoloration of a tooth. This may be a sign of a tooth root abscess or decaying tooth.
  • Purulent exudate (pus) around the tooth. This may be a sign of an infection.
  • Gums that are inflamed (red), hyperplastic or receding. This may be a sign of gingivitis.
  • Swelling under the eye. This may suggest a possible tooth root abscess and needs to be addressed immediately with a veterinarian.
  • Constant nasal discharge. This may be a sign of periodontal disease.
  • No signs at all. Many pets will not show any clinical signs that they are suffering with periodontal disease. It is imperative to visit a veterinarian for a thorough examination and dental cleaning annually or biannually.

Poor oral health can also be painful and uncomfortable for pets, and sometimes our pets have difficulty expressing that they are in pain, especially if the pain is minor or dull oral pain. So now that we recognized our pets have periodontal disease, what can we do to help improve their dental health? There are many things that can be done at home to not only improve the overall health and wellbeing of pets’ oral hygiene, but also improve their quality of life. The following are some great ways to improve the oral hygiene of our pets, and their overall wellbeing.

Proper Dental Care and Disease Prevention

  • At Home Dental Care. This is the single most important measure someone can take to prevent periodontal disease and promote dental health in pets. We need to start brushing our pets’ teeth. Whenever Dr. Birken sees new puppies and kittens, she says she motivate her clients to start teaching pets how to tolerate and even enjoy getting their teeth cleaned. With an adult pet, although more challenging, Dr. Birken encourages people to try and start cleaning their teeth using lots of positive reinforcement. The key is to use a soft bristle toothbrush and pet formulated toothpaste. It is important to make sure the toothpaste is specific and safe for pets, as pets will swallow the toothpaste. Follow-up with a proper rinse that is pet safe to finish the cleaning. We recommend brushing every day, but if you can do it twice weekly, you are way ahead of the game.
  • Dental Rinses and Wipes. Use dental rinses or wipes daily.
  • Prescription Dental Diet. Dental diets are formulated for reducing the amount of plaque and tartar that accumulate on the teeth and in some cases may even prevent serious oral diseases from occurring. The larger kibble is composed of fibers that actually scrub the teeth’s’ surface to reduce plaque. Ask your veterinarian if a prescription dental diet is appropriate for your pet.
  • Dental Chews.
  • No Sugars. Avoid treats that are high in sugar as sugar may worsen or cause more dental health problems.
  • Veterinarian Dental Check-Ups. Visit a veterinarian for a thorough dental cleaning and examination annually or biannually. Dr. Birken stresses that even if owners are brushing their pets’ teeth regularly, it is still important to get them in at least once a year for a proper teeth cleaning under anesthesia with an ultrasonic scaler and polisher. Just like humans, pets need a thorough cleaning that removes the plaque and tartar under their gum lines that you cannot reach with a toothbrush. The oral examination is imperative to check for disease and ensure dental and overall health.

Active and Retired Philadelphia Police K9s Receive Orthopedic Beds from Local Company 

Every Philadelphia police K9, from districts across the city, will be resting comfortably after receiving a donation of orthopedic beds on Tuesday, February 21. The high quality beds, handcrafted by Philadelphia-based Big Barker, are designed to reduce the pain and soreness caused by the joint problems in large dogs and improve their quality of life as they age.

The donation ceremony, which took place in front of Philadelphia Police Headquarters, outfitted all active—and a number of retired—police K9s with luxury orthopedic bedding designed to prevent and alleviate joint pain/disease that large dogs are susceptible to.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross Jr. addressed media at the event, saying: “These dogs work very hard each and every day. They are unheralded heroes, and they do a fantastic job in helping us in a myriad of ways and deserve to rest comfortably after a hard day’s work.”

Police dogs have great physical demands put on them during regular training and day-to-day police work. Large breed working dogs such as German shepherds and Belgian malinois can suffer from painful joint diseases as they age, issues that the donated orthopedic beds are specifically designed to combat.

“Most large dogs will develop joint disease at some point in their lives, which will lead to pain, soreness and potentially life-shortening loss of mobility,” said Eric Shannon, founder and president of Big Barker. “We make the Big Barker to reduce the pain and soreness that the dogs are feeling and to restore mobility as much as possible to extend their quality of life as long as we can.”

Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo Sponsor $1 Million Grant for Bone Cancer Studies

The Petco Foundation and the Blue Buffalo Foundation have partnered to sponsor a $1 million grant for Morris Animal Foundation to help fund the foundation’s research initiative in osteosarcoma, the most common bone cancer in dogs.

“Morris Animal Foundation continues to invest in groundbreaking osteosarcoma research, and we are deeply appreciative of the Petco Foundation and the Blue Buffalo Foundation for their support of this important work,” said John Reddington, DVM, PhD, president and CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. “This grant will help in our efforts to develop interventions to improve quality of life and survival time for our canine companions with this devastating disease.”

Current osteosarcoma statistics are grim:

  • 10,000 dogs are diagnosed in the United States each year
  • 4,000-8,000 dogs die every year from metastatic disease
  • In 90 percent of dogs, osteosarcoma already has spread upon diagnosis
  • 80 percent of dogs die within two years of diagnosis

While safe and effective treatment options currently are available to treat the primary cancer, better treatments are needed to stop metastasis. The new grant will help fund innovative approaches to combat metastatic osteosarcoma. Recently funded studies at Morris Animal Foundation have zeroed in on ways to optimize chemotherapy selection, control pain, and find new therapeutic targets, all aimed at improving treatment outcomes.

“The Petco Foundation, established in 1999, is focused on creating a better world for animals,” Petco Foundation Executive Director Susanne Kogut said. “Osteosarcoma research holds the promise of improving treatment for dogs with this disease, giving them heaMorrislthier lives and more time with the families that love them.”

The Blue Buffalo Foundation was established in 2003 with a specific focus on cancer research.

“So many of us have lost beloved pets to this deadly disease, and we are committed to advancing science that will make a difference in the fight against pet cancer,” Blue Buffalo Foundation President David Petrie. “We are pleased to partner with Morris Animal Foundation to fund innovative studies that will not only help our companion animals survive cancer, but thrive and have good lives.”

The Petco Foundation and Blue Buffalo Foundation’s eighth annual Pet Cancer Awareness fundraising campaign takes place May 6 – May 28, 2017. Animal lovers and pet parents nationwide can help continue this important work by donating at any Petco store or at A portion of the funds will be donated to Morris Animal Foundation for ongoing research in osteosarcoma.

Quality Marine Receives Aquacultured Harlequin Shrimp

This week, Quality Marine welcomed a new aquacultured species, Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans).

Aquatic Technology of Ohio and the Columbus Zoo started the journey of culturing Hymenocera elegans back in May 2015. The Columbus Zoo had early success on a small scale and succeeded in raising more than 50 individuals from two batches to settlement. As with many aquaculture ventures, they had to overcome obstacles like larval feed types, cannibalism and pests. By December 2016, Aquatic Technology succeeded in getting a substantial number of larvae to settlement. At one point, prior to settlement, larvae were consuming nearly 50,000 parvocalanus copepods daily. After they settled, the juveniles were switched to Asterinas and then to Chocolate Chip Stars. Aquatic Technology is currently working on getting them on an alternative proprietary food.  This has been a triumphant success not only for the Columbus Zoo and Aquatic Technology of Ohio, but for culturing popular ornamental shrimp overall.

The Harlequin Shrimp can be found on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific. They are popular in the aquarium trade because of their cartoonish, elaborate carapace and oversized, paddle-like claws.

For those of you who consider Asterina stars a pest (as many do) the Harlequin Shrimp will make quick work to reduce them to substantial populations. However, as obligate sea star eaters, they won’t stop at Asterina stars, likely consuming any other sea star they can find. With large, very durable sea stars, the star will likely survive this behavior, however, sensitive stars like those kept in most aquariums will eventually succumb to the constant picking.

Hymenocera elegans remain relatively small (3” or less), are peaceful and easy to care for as long as a steady diet of sea stars (and the occasional urchin) are supplied. Pairs can be kept in the same aquarium as long as there is adequate space, as these shrimp can be territorial. Provide tank mates that are peaceful and not known invert eaters.

According to Quality Marine, it has always gone to great lengths to ensure that if there are sustainable, aquacultured fish or invertebrate available in the industry, that they can be sourced through the company, just like what has happened with the Harlequin Shrimp. Quality Marine says it is “extremely excited to have the aquacultured Harlequin Shrimp (Hymenocera elegans) available, and we thank the Columbus Zoo and Aquatic Technology for all their hard work.”

Lucy Pet Foundation Promotes World Spay Day

Joey Herrick, founder of the Lucy Pet Foundation, and Dr. Karen Halligan, the foundation’s chief veterinary officer, will appear on Hallmark Channel’s “National Home and Family Show” on February 24 and 27 to promote World Spay Day. Held on the last Tuesday of every February, World Spay Day shines a light on the power of affordable and accessible spaying and neutering to save the lives of companion animals.

“World Spay Day is designed to help people realize the importance of having their pets spayed or neutered,” says Joey Herrick. “This is a very special day for us because that is what the Lucy Pet Foundation is all about. We operate mobile clinics that provide low or no-cost spay and neuter services across southern California, and our mission is to reduce pet overpopulation and the euthanasia of over 80,000 cats and dogs per week in the United States.”

According to Dr. Halligan, dogs who are spayed and neutered live 40 percent longer and live happier healthier lives.

While on “Home and Family,” Herrick and Dr. Halligan will discuss the importance of World Spay Day and take viewers on a tour of the Lucy Pet Foundation’s state-of-the-art mobile clinic. These rolling operating rooms can provide spay and neuter services as well as low-cost vaccines, licensing, deworming, microchipping and other essential medical services.

In conjunction with World Spay Day, Lucy Pet Foundation will be offering its low-cost vaccine and spay and neuter services to Los Angeles residents and their pets on February 28 at the Superior Grocery Store located at 10211 S. Avalon Blvd., Los Angeles, California. Residents wishing to avail themselves of these services can call 1-855-499-5829 or email to register for surgery.

Groom Expo West

Groom Expo West took place February 16-19 in Pasadena, California.

Tikr: A Snack Activity Toy for Dogs

Watch the tikr in action! New from SBARK Dog Toys, the tikr provides dogs with entertainment and fun as they work for their treats. The tikr has a built-in timer and strategically-sized holes. Load it with different sized snacks, then set the timer. As the timer unwinds, the holes will slowly line up, allowing snacks to casually fall out according to size.



Open Wide

By Eric Stenson

Cats face many of the same dental challenges faced by humans—plaque and tartar buildup, periodontal issues and bad breath. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center at the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, about 85 percent of cats above the age of six will wind up suffering from periodontal disease.

Often, extraction is the final result of these types of maladies. It’s costly to cat owners and potentially devastating to felines, who need to be placed under anesthesia to undergo the surgical procedure.

So, what can be done? The Cornell Feline Health Center website points out a lot of issues in the diet of today’s housecat—namely, soft foods have replaced the flesh and bones of birds, rodents and other prey, the chewing of which kept cats’ teeth clean and strong.

Preventative Products
Fortunately, there are products to help counteract these issues. One of the best preventative steps the Cornell Feline Health Center suggests is daily tooth brushing for cats. Virbac Corp. of Fort Worth, Texas, for example, manufactures toothbrushes for animals, as well as a full line of toothpastes in pet-friendly flavors, such as poultry, seafood, beef and malt.

Virbac’s toothpastes are intended for veterinary use, but there are also several pastes that retailers can market directly to cat owners. Frank Frattini, CEO of the Hungry Puppy, an independent retailer in Farmingdale, New Jersey, carries products from Nylabone, which makes a molasses-flavored cat toothpaste, and TropiClean, including brushes, pads, pastes and liquids.

Frattini admits it’s not easy to get a cat to allow an owner to brush its pearly whites. He suggests starting when they’re kittens, when they’re most likely to accept using brushes, pastes and gels.

“The trick with those is getting them used to them when they’re young,” he said. “Cats are pretty independent to begin with. As they get older, it’s much more difficult.”

He also indicates that food choices can be an important point in feline oral health. His store carries a number of teeth-cleaning treats, including Feline Greenies and Oral Care by Hills Science Diet cat food.

“It’s a bigger kibble,” he explained. “When they bite into it, it helps clean their teeth as they chew it.”

At-Home Dental Care
Kathy Hillestad, a staff veterinarian for Drs. Foster and Smith, a Petco company in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, acknowledges that brushing a cat’s teeth presents a challenge. While the best way to ensure sound dental hygiene for felines is for a vet to do the cleaning under anesthesia, Drs. Foster and Smith provides a line of products that make follow-up care at home a bit easier.Finger toothbrushes offer a good alternative to brushes used for dogs, which are too long and too hard to use with cats. Drs. Foster and Smith’s feline toothbrushes are only about 15/8 inches long, fit on a fingertip and are extremely soft. The company also makes Advanced Tartar Control Toothpaste, which is gentle on gums, non-foaming and uses an enzymatic action to help clean teeth. The chicken flavor is popular with cats.

Hillestad agrees that it is easier to get cats used to brushing when they are young, but maintains that adult cats can become accustomed to a dental care regimen over time. Cat owners who might be skittish over the idea of sticking a brush into Tabby’s mouth are advised to start slow.
She suggests getting the cat used to licking something tasty off your finger, like chicken broth or canned cat food, then over time gently beginning to insert your finger into the cat’s mouth along the side of the teeth, using a wiping motion. It takes patience—don’t be discouraged if the cat only lets you wipe a few teeth at a time. Keep it short, then come back later.

Eventually, you can progress to using the brush. For cats that really can’t tolerate the brush, Drs. Foster and Smith also makes Dental Clens Pads. These contain a chlorhexidine solution that helps kill bacteria that can lead to the formation of plaque. They are soft, disposable and easily wrap around a finger. Hillestad suggests them as a good alternative to a brush. The solution is also available in a squirt bottle or spray.

Drs. Foster and Smith also makes a line of teeth-cleaning, breath-freshening Daily Dental Treats for cats in tuna, chicken and salmon flavors.

Let the Cat Work
For pet owners with cats who don’t take well to brushing or even having their teeth wiped, there is an alternative. Let the cat do the work for you!

TropiClean of Wentzville, Missouri, produces Fresh Breath Oral Care Water Additive for Cats and Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel for Cats. The water additive is tasteless and odorless. Just add a capful to a cat’s water dish each time it’s filled.

“It’s made with natural ingredients such as green tea leaf extract that naturally defends against bad breath,” said James Brandly, marketing coordinator for TropiClean. “It’s easy to use—no brushing required.”

The Fresh Breath Clean Teeth Gel for Cats is also made with natural ingredients that fight plaque and tartar and freshen breath, and it’s similarly easy to use.

“We found that cats are very independent and would rather groom and care for themselves,” Brandly said. “That’s why we introduced our gel that lets them brush their own teeth with one simple dab to their mouth. After application, you’ll notice your cat licking her lips repeatedly; this is normal and helps the gel coat the teeth and gums.”

Bentley’s Pet Stuff Named Breakout Retailer

Bentley’s Pet Stuff, one of the fastest growing independent pet retailers in the U.S., announced it has been awarded a 2017 Breakout Retailer Award by Chain Store Age, the nation’s leading provider of retail news and analysis across all sectors of the industry. This award coincides with the grand opening celebrations of 31 Bentley’s Pet Stuff stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, Colorado and Illinois happening February 24-26.

Honoring emerging retail and restaurant concepts, Chain Store Age‘s 2017 Breakout Retailer Award recognizes innovative companies that show strong potential for growth. Sponsored by Paint Folks and selected by the editorial board of Chain Store Age, this year’s winning lineup features five forward-thinking brands in five different industries.

“Bentley’s Pet Stuff is proud to be among this year’s Breakout Award Winners,” said Lisa Senafe, president of Bentley’s Pet Stuff. “We are humbled to be among this class of innovative retailers who are mission driven and want to change the world for the better.”

Other award recipients were Altar’d State (a women’s apparel retailer with a mission), MOD Pizza (fast-pizza innovators), Sugarfina (luxury sweets makers) and Warby Parker (online eyewear retailer).

“Retailers have to go the extra mile to succeed in today’s highly competitive and disrupted marketplace,” said Marianne Wilson, editor-in-chief of Chain Store Age. “In their own unique way, each of the five winning brands has done just that. Although these retailers are widely diverse, they are alike in their ability to engage and delight customers, online, in-store, or both. And they all have a very clear pathway for growth.”

Bentley’s Pet Stuff will be honored at Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS Conference. For additional information regarding the 2017 Breakout Retailer Awards, please visit here.


Pet Supplies Plus Reveals Expansion Plans

It has been another year of people treating their pets better than their human friends and family. The pet industry has seen another year of consistent growth, up 4.1 percent from $60 billion in expenditures in 2015 to $62.75 billion in expenditures in 2016. Continued growth is attributed to the rising number of “pet parents,” or people who treat their four legged friends as members of the family who are lavished with all-natural and organic pet foods and treats. Pet Supplies Plus, the largest pet franchise in the country, has gained ground on the national front thanks to industry growth in 2016 and expects to see its most successful franchise development year in 2017.

The 28-year-old pet retailer with more than 385 stores signed a total of 33 franchise deals for 75 units in 2016, including 13 deals with multi-unit operators. The new locations continue to build the company’s presence in existing regions like the South, East and Midwest, but also introduced new markets to its signature neighborly shopping experience. Last year, Pet Supplies Plus locations open in Colorado for the first time. Additionally, the brand acquired regional chain Pet Extreme (California) during the year’s first quarter and the 10 locations became the first Pet Supplies Plus stores on the West Coast when they opened in the fall.

Founded on the idea that convenient, quality service for busy neighbors was lacking in the pet industry, retail veterans Jack Berry and Harry Shallop opened the first Pet Supplies Plus store in Redford, Michigan. Now, the neighborhood-style pet store has become a household name in 29 states, thanks to its ease of opening process, helpful team members, in-and-out quickly mindset and great pricing.

Pet Supplies Plus has already opened 14 new stores this January and has four more on the way in February to bring the total to 18 in just the first two months of 2017 alone. With a steady stream of new franchise deals, Pet Supplies Plus is scheduled to open 60 new stores this year, which would bring its national total to nearly 450 locations, more than half of which are independently-owned businesses.

“Pet Supplies Plus put together a milestone year in 2016 and we are already locking in deals and opening brand new stores at an excelling rate in 2017,” said Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus. “The openings and franchise opportunities create tremendous amounts of homegrown career and business opportunities, all while introducing our brand to neighbors in new U.S. towns so that they can experience a warm, welcoming, local pet store in their community.”

In the year ahead, Pet Supplies Plus will continue its strategic growth plan moving the brand into new regions. Most notably, after years of requests by entrepreneurs eager to join the franchise, it will open in the Oklahoma and Kansas markets through franchise expansion. The retailer is also actively seeking qualified franchise partners to develop its presence in Florida, Houston, Atlanta, Virginia, New England, New York and California. Franchise growth can be linked back to the high level of franchisee satisfaction the company sees.

“Every Pet Supplies Plus locations offers innovative, specialized and premium products that have fueled our expansion in 2016,” said David Leonardo, senior vice president for Franchise at Pet Supplies Plus. “Because of the strong work our current franchisees have done, the demand for our stores has continued to rise and our pipeline is filled with new stores for 2017. We are proud to welcome new franchisees to the Pet Supplies Plus family and remain committed to providing a support system for strong unit-level economics.”

For more information about Pet Supplies Plus franchising opportunities, visit or contact Steve Olson at (734) 793-6532.

Free Pet Retail Business Webinar Announced

Instagram now has 600 million users. To help companies use Instagram to the fullest and make an impression on some of those 600 million people, Pet Age and Pet Store Pro are holding a free webinar titled, “How To Use Instagram to Grow Your Pet Retail Business,” on Tuesday, February 28.

Words are becoming harder and harder to find in the context of marketing for a business. Today it’s all about the picture and the video to help tell a story and share information about brands. Instagram is the latest social media site that everyone is talking about. This site, which allows the simple sharing of pictures and videos, has people engaging and sharing with friends and brands constantly. In this session, you will learn how Instagram works and what you can do to help share information about your retail business on this popular social media channel.

Anyone in the pet retailing industry, including, owners, managers and employees of pet specialty stores, could find interest in this webinar, whicwebinar spekaerh will be held from 11 a.m. to noon EST.

The webinar will be presented by Lynn Switanowski-Barrett, founder and president of Creative Business Consulting Group, (CBCG) a Boston, Massachusetts-based retail strategy consulting firm.

Using more than 29 years retail experience as her guide, Switanowski-Barrett leads the CBCG team to engage with retailers, e-trailers and manufacturers, helping them create and implement profit improving sales, marketing and inventory management strategies. CBCG helps retailers of all sizes understand the opportunities created by changing consumer trends and helps retailers learn to harness the power today’s most powerful marketing tool – social media – to create programs that will engage with their consumers each and every day. Switanowski-Barrett speaks frequently at retail trade shows, like Global Pet Expo, Animal Supply Buying Shows and others.

To register for this first in a series of educational webinars, follow this link:


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