This year, hundreds of retailers in the pet industry met in Las Vegas for the anticipated SuperZoo conference. There, pet food manufacturers and pet treat makers had the opportunity to share their products with retailers who have the potential to make them a household name. The American Pet Products Association reports that Americans spend over $23 Billion dollars a year on pet food. This number has only gone up over the past two decades, as more pet owners are willing to spend top dollar on their pet’s nutrition.
Is what we feed our pets really this important?
Retired veterinarian, Dr. Cathy Alinovi DVM says yes. “I treated 80% of what walked in my veterinary hospital solely through nutrition, food changes.” Now Alinovi serves as the President of Next Generation Pet Food Manufacturing Association, dedicated to representing pet food manufacturers committed to the absolute most integrity when it comes to their ingredients. No smoothly worded labels that deceive pet parents or fancy marketing that hides the profit-driven truth that guides “most” large scale pet food manufacturers.
“The manufacturers represented by Next Gen have a target on their back, drawing undue attention from compliance agencies. But these small batch pet food manufacturers are growing in number and growing by nearly 40% in revenue year to year.” says Alinovi, "This is because pet parents are getting smart. They’re sick of seeing dogs die from food contaminations that are kept quiet through big money. We’re making a dent in the industry but more importantly, we’re offering pet parents smart, safe, nutritious choices for their pets.”
Of course, finding pet food that is truly nutritious is easier said than done. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, a lot of deception, and — of course — a lot of profit.
Susan Thixton runs truthaboutpetfood.com, an advocacy group supported only by pet food consumers. Here, she reveals not only the recalls, but also deceptive language used on labels, educates pet parents about how to choose pet foods that are safe and nutritious and also produces the PetSumer Report, which provides information such as country of origin of ingredients, quality of ingredients on over 4,200 different pet foods.
"Many pet foods violate federal law. Regulatory authorities call it 'selective enforcement' - but we don't accept that.” says Thixton. "Consumers deserve to know what they are buying and deserve to know the product is safe for their pet to consume."
Dr. Karen Becker, a proactive and integrative wellness veterinarian and media personality, is also making waves in the pet food industry.
“My goal is to partner with pet parents seeking to improve their pet’s overall health and vitality through wise lifestyle choices.” says Becker.
Of course, food is a huge part of how we impact our pet’s health, and pet owners are actively looking for better options. Unfortunately, "More and more pet parents seem to be getting quite fed up with the shady marketing practices used by pet food companies to promote their products” says Becker.
These three women are all working hard to educate pet parents and consumers and are making waves in a huge industry... simply by doing the right thing and encouraging others to do the same.
Written by B. Michelle Pippin
Read more posts by B. Michelle Pippin