Hello Folks & Furkids!
March 2013 Newsletter
What’s happening right now?
We are now on the back cover of the Modern Dog’s magazine once again! Give it a look, and don’t forget to check out the ‘Stuff We Like’ section for a mention on our amazing Mega Morsels and how convenient they can be!
Thinking about checking out one of the trade shows coming up? We’ll be setting up shop for March 9th and 10th at the Vancouver PetExpo, located at the Forum at the Pacific National Exhibition Centre! For more information, please visit www.petexpos.com for show times and exhibitor information!
Check out the article below recently printed in The Province regarding dog owners’ struggles when it comes to making a decision on pet food, and be sure to read what our President and owner of Amore Pet Foods, Barb Fellnermayr, has to say:
Paws on nutrition
Dog owners struggle to make heads or tails of all the canine food options
By Paul Luke, The Province February 17, 2013
Do table scraps and kibble bring you down? Take your palate for a walk on the wild side with kangaroo steaks from Oz.
Or try these vegan bones slow-baked in B.C. or slurp Dawg Grog, a canine craft beer brewed in Oregon.
Welcome to the golden age of dog food. It may be the best time in history to be a dog’s stomach. And it may be the most befuddling moment in history to be a dog owner.
Family pets are living longer than those in any previous generation, thanks to advances in nutrition and veterinary medicine, says Martha Wilder, executive director of the Toronto-based Pet Food Association of Canada.
But experts may have wildly differing views on proper pet nutrition.
“There are a myriad of choices of diets that can be selected,” Wilder says. “Because there are many choices, it can be confusing.”
The dog food business is scampering in at least three directions: premium-priced raw meat, vegan, and cost-conscious convenience – which means canned food and kibble. And a small but growing number of consumers across the spectrum are opting for organic chow.
The changing structure of the dog food industry reflects dog owners’ shifting tastes.
PET LOVER SHOW
Many of B.C.’s dog food producers will converge as exhibitors on the Pet Lover Show in Abbotsford Feb. 17.
Canada’s $1.34-billion pet food market remains firmly dominated by multinational chains – which are in consolidation mode, Wilder reports.
But springing up on the edges of the industry are small, innovative companies. They’re the ones that buy local meats and veggies, bake treats in their founders’ kitchens and serve a consumer niche willing to pay more for raw meat.
In the Lower Mainland alone, a pack of tiny dog food producers has emerged, retailers say.
Consumers should carefully scrutinize the claims of the big dog food producers, and do their best to resist marketing come-ons, says Lisa Robinson, owner of Elemental Canine, a dog food and nutrition store in Cloverdale.
But they should also ask questions about the purchasing and preparation practices of the new breed of small players, she says.
“I have 10-15 small pet food companies that come into my store on a regular basis,” says Robinson.
“They’ve made their own raw food and they’ll offer me these great deals. But for me it’s not just about the list of ingredients. I have to have confidence in the company.”
Many of B.C.’s dog food producers will converge as exhibitors on the Pet Lover Show in Abbotsford Feb. 16-17. Ashley Harris, a nutrional scientist with pet food producer Royal Canin Canada, will be at the show to talk about dog obesity.
Experts such as Harris say owners’ impulse to humanize pets’ diet can be misguided. Trends in human nutrition come and go, and many have little scientific research to support them, Harris says.
“Dogs are not little people in fur suits. They are a completely different species,” Robinson adds.
“Their have different nutritional requirements. Their digestive tracts are shorter. Their teeth are made for chewing meat, not grinding grains.”
Sheryl Bourque, a naturopathic vet with Harmony Veterinary Home Care in Cloverdale, says people may impose their own ideology of eating on pets whose nutritional needs are vastly different. Healthcare professionals may tell dog owners that their animals have meat allergies and that they should go on a vegetarian diet.
Bourque argues that an all-vegetable diet for dogs is a mistake. Allergies may be caused by vaccines in meat rather than meat protein itself, she says.
“It’s not a species appropriate diet. They can end up with nutritional imbalances that can lead to chronic diseases.”
Raw meat diets, supported by experts such as Bourque and Robinson, have been growing in popularity.
B.C. companies, many using hormone-free meat sourced in the province, are responding to that rising demand. Richmond-based Amore Pet Foods, founded in 1998, produces frozen and dehydrated raw food for dogs and cats.
“We set high standards,” says owner Barbara Fellnermayr, an MBA and former manager of the Vancouver and Coquitlam city pounds.
“Every bit of meat I have in my factory you could take home and eat yourself and it’s probably better than the meat you buy in stores.”
Victoria-based Buddies Natural Pet Food was launched in 2005 after the family-owned butcher closed. The owners found another demand for their meat. Buddies Pet Food, which has grown to three retail outlets on Vancouver Island, has surpassed the human-focused butcher in sales.
Is it really the golden age of dog food? Robinson says that dogs whose owners make poor decisions may find it’s one of the worst times.
“We are the ones who control what they eat. It’s not like they have a choice,” she says.
“We have a real responsibility to ensure that what we give them is of some nutritional value.”
SHOULD YOU DO IT RAW?
A raw meat diet can bring a breath of fresh air to a dog’s life, raw food producers say.
Barbara Fellnermayr, owner of Amore Pet Foods, says dog owners who switch pets to raw food are often surprised by changes in their dog’s breath and stools.
“People tell me they can’t believe their dogs’ poops have got so small and that they don’t stink,” Fellnermayr says.
“Smells come from inside a dog. When you clean up the inside you clean up stink problems.”
Raw food makers like Fellnermayr make no bones about the relatively high cost of their product.
A raw food diet for a 20-pound dog may average $2.50-$4 a day, depending on the protein type, Fell-nermayr estimates.
Daily kibble for a 20-pound dog may range from 25 to 50 cents, she says.
“It’s the equivalent of you eating at McDonald’s every day versus having a steak when you get home,” Fellnermayr says.
Dog owners who scrimp on food quality may find their pets pay a price in terms of health, raw food believers say.
The do-not-scrimp rule also applies to raw food, says Lisa Robinson, a dog food store owner in Cloverdale.
“In raw food, price is an indicator of quality,” Robinson says. “As in most areas of life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Raw meat balanced with veggies and bones mimics the diets dogs’ wild ancestors enjoyed when they took down a deer, Robinson says.
“Their digestive systems haven’t changed,” she says “We can prevent chronic illnesses and allergies by paying attention to proper nutrition.”
Cooked veggies – dogs lack the enzymes needed to dissolve the cell walls of many veggies – should comprise 20-25 per cent of a dog’s diet, Cloverdale veterinary Sheryl Bourque says.