Healthy pet food is the latest trend, while fillers, additives, and other controversial ingredients are going out the door. Over the past few years, there has been a real push on Americans to eat healthy, as diet fads and information overflow has spread throughout the internet. Now that we as humans are more aware of the food we are putting in our bodies on a daily basis, we are starting to consider our pets and their food as well.
All around the world, and especially in the United States, obesity in pets is a growing problem, and a serious cause for concern for all loving pet parents. According to research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 58 percent of cats and 53 percent of dogs in the U.S. were overweight in 2014. With over half of the pet population being so overweight, many people are pointing fingers at different aspects of a pet's lifestyle to find the root of the problem. As we work to discover why pet obesity is an issue, there has been a larger focus on healthy pet food that promote health, well-being, and weight loss in pets.
Pet Obesity: What's Causing It?
One issue concerning obesity in pets is that it can be difficult to narrow down the exact cause for the extra weight. This is because different pets live different lifestyles often based on their owner's lifestyle. For example, a dog whose owner is an entrepreneur and isn't home often may not get his daily walk, and will therefore end up not getting as much physical activity as he needs to stay healthy. On the other hand, an owner who goes running with their dog on a daily basis may be going home and feeding him food that isn't high quality or even human food scraps which have extra fat and can lead to weight gain.
While the exact cause can't be narrowed down to one particular culprit, some of the reasons for overweight pets includes extra (or unhealthy) food and treats, spaying and neutering too early, a lack of exercise or not enough exercise, and overall lack of pet owner understanding. Many pet owners don't actually realize their pet is overweight, and very often pets are only taken to the vet when something is wrong, instead of on a regular check-up basis.
Any number of these activities, or lack thereof, is a large contributor to the widening gut of many of our pets. Whether it be cats, dogs, small mammals, or any other pet, it's an issue that many Americans are slowly becoming more aware of. As they become aware of the problem, it's understandable that they will want to seek out a solution.
Healthy Diets for Pets
There's no doubt that an obvious solution includes a change in diet to more healthy and all-natural pet foods. Just like with us humans, two of the most important factors to a crucial weight are diet and activity. Ensuring pet owners are feeding the healthiest options for their budget is a great way to assist in lowering the average pet weight. Fortunately, many pet food manufacturers are picking up on the healthy pet food trend, and ensuring they are either cleaning up their ingredients list or at least offering products that meet stricter dietary needs.
For example, Applaws Pet Food offers cat and dog foods that not only contain all-natural ingredients, but are also very limited in their ingredients. The pet food doesn't have any of the additives you might find in other pet foods. This means there is no Guar Gum, Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, or any other ingredients that aren't part of a cat's natural diet. Each of their products contains at least 75% meat with three or four additional natural ingredients (such as pumpkin or shrimp, for example).
When it comes to small mammals, Supreme Petfoods is on top of their game ensuring even the little guys aren't left out in terms of healthy food options. Their Science Selective line of small animal food offers some of the highest fiber nuggets for rabbits and other small pets. Both of Supreme's brands (Tiny Friends Farm and Science Selective) are also manufactured with absolutely no added sugars or molasses, unlike their competing brands. These factors ensure that small animals like guinea pigs, chinchillas, and rabbits are getting the highest quality nutrition possible. Just because they're little doesn't mean they aren't as important as their feline and canine counterparts!
These are just two examples of brands who are doing it right in the pet food industry, but there are many others as well. This also includes a new dog food truck in Australia. Unlike the one in Seattle, this food truck is very limited to one category of pet food: BARF. No, it's not what you're thinking. It actually stands for Biologically Appropriate Raw Food and includes pet food that you wouldn't even think to eat for yourself, much less give to your dog. The food truck, called Canine Wellness Kitchen, offers delicacies such as green-lipped mussels as well as Golp's Vanilla & Green Tea ice-cream for dessert.
Merchandising for the Healthy Pet
Offering healthy pet food is only the first step to the process of fighting obesity in pets. As we all know, merchandising correctly can go a long way to educating consumers on top, or recommended, products for their pets. Many pet retailers will merchandise end caps based on current promotions or vendor sponsorships, but there are times when more creative and engaging merchandising techniques will go a long way.
Featuring products that are especially marketed toward helping a pet's diet together is one way to show consumers that helping their pets stay healthy is easier than they may think! In addition to placing health-minded pet products together, another way to educate consumers may be to feature signs with simple bullet points about pet obesity and how they can either prevent it, or help solve it with their pet. Coming up with the information needed to educate your consumers may be easier said than done, so be sure to take advantage of your vendors and their sales reps to get you the sales material you need to educate your customers.
Do you currently have your store merchandised in a way in which educates consumers on healthy pet food and pet obesity in general? Share them below in the comments, or post them on our Facebook page! We'd love to share them as inspiration to help educate pet owners all across America.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Hoffman – E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Manager joined the All Points family in April of 2015. Ashley brings a fresh outlook to the marketing industry as well as a constant desire for learning something new. She is dedicated to consistently improving her skills and efficiency in the marketing industry and using those skills to promote APM and all brands we represent. Ashley has grown up with many animals throughout her life and is currently the loving owner of two cats.
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