Pet Age recently spoke with Janis Gianforte-Horner, president of Nutri-Pet Research, to learn more about her brand and the pet supplement market.
Why did you get into the pet supplement business?
I was training harness racing horses and I found the NUPRO Supplement for horses at a tack shop. I loved the ingredients, they were so different from anything else on the market at that time, and still are holistic and clean with nothing artificial added, so I gave it a try.
I saw major improvements in my horses in just a couple of weeks. Attitude, more energy, coat condition shinier, better digestion and just overall wellness changes. I was totally sold on the product. The owner of the tack shop, who was a former racehorse trainer, introduced me to the originator of NUPRO, a nutritionist, and the rest, as they say, is history. He had made me a product that I tried on barn cats with great success and based on what I saw with the health improvement in them and my horses, my husband and I joined the company, and we are now the sole owners. We just had to tell pet lovers what this product will do for their furry friends, spread the word about good health with whole food and how to boost immune system support to help them lead a longer, healthier life. Don’t we all want all our pets to be happy and live as long as possible? We certainly wanted that for our pets and being the animal lovers that we are, we could not keep this awesome stuff all to ourselves. So, I figured the most concentration of dogs in one spot would be at the AKC Professional Dog Shows so off we went, setting up our tent at the weekend showing events. It took time, but eventually it started taking off as those show handlers, breeders and trainers realized what NUPRO was going to do for their dog’s coat, which means everything in the show ring, the difference between getting a ribbon placement and not.
I’ll never forget the day that we had a professional handler come into our booth at a show, just raving about what the NUPRO did for her dog’s coat. She noted how the judges commented on how soft the coat felt and the improvement in coat growth and that’s what caught their eye, which is why she won that day. I congratulated her and said, “I guess you’ll be sharing this with everyone you know!” She said, “Oh, heck no! They are my competition!”
I remember looking at Bruce and saying, “This is going to be a long road!” Like the horse business, when someone has an edge, they never tell you about it, they want to win as long as they can before the secret is out.
Bottom line, if it didn’t work, we wouldn’t still be here more than 32 years later, amongst the fiercest competition in the pet industry.
How would you describe the different formulas in the NUPRO lineup?
Our different formulas grew out of the need of what the pet parent is looking for to improve the health of their pets. Our original NUPRO Gold Supplement is for any dog, any age, from puppies to seniors, and it’s our all around, all-in-one product. Our NUPRO Joint Support contains all those original ingredients plus the added extras to make it a functional product specifically targeting the joints for active athletes or seniors. We also have an electrolyte product for working or sporting dogs to support them during hot summers or stressful events as they do their jobs. NUPRO Nuggets for Cats is a crunchy supplement that can be added to dry or wet food and helps the cats in all aspects of health. NUPRO for ferrets is our small animal formula designed to help them achieve great health benefits as well.
Our newest product is NUPRO Lyfe-Spyce which contains curcumin and turmeric with medicinal mushrooms for different health needs, especially for going deep into the cellular level for pets who may have some challenging health issues.
What are NUPRO’s health benefits?
By using the best whole food ingredients made for every aspect of what the immune system needs, it gives the body the fuel to improve skin and coat, help with allergies, joint mobility, digestion, etc., and these ingredients for whole health improvement are not found in processed foods. Pet parents see the changes in the way they feel and act, they shed less because the fresh nutrients enrich the hair, so it tends not to fall out constantly. Senior pets become more active and with the delicious gravy that the NUPRO makes, it helps them to eat better too. Active, athletic and working dogs get an extra bonus as it improves energy and builds muscle, perfect for sports and police K9 work.
What can a brick-and-mortar expect from a relationship with NUPRO?
Brick and mortar stores get the benefit from our 32+ years in the pet industry, understanding the health of our pets from our experience and knowledge and we are here to help the pet owner improve the lives of their best friends. That in turn makes the store owner very happy with return sales and stories of how the NUPRO made a significant difference in keeping their pets in great shape. We always answer the phone during business hours (a big bonus there) to help with any questions a store owner or customer may have.
How have your own pets impacted your life?
Our pets are our life and we enjoy every minute we have with them. Tucker is a perfect example of a dog that does multiple sports. I have to keep his energy and stamina at it’s best because he loves to do FAST CAT lure coursing, his fastest time for 100 yards right now is 7.13 seconds keeping him in the top 100 of the All-American Dog category earning his DCAT title. He also excels at CAT, Barn Hunt, Scent Work and Dock Diving. Especially since Tucker is a rescue and we don’t know his breeding or early puppyhood, we need to make sure his body receives the best nutrition to hopefully prevent any health issues in the future. I also volunteer doing nursing home pet therapy with 2 rescued cats, Kitchi and Jasper. They bring lots of joy to the elderly and we are happy to give back to those in need. We also donate to many rescues and police K9 Officers across the country.