Top Pet Food Trends of 2020

This year’s Global Pet Expo, a convention hosted by the American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association, highlighted some new product trends that are driving the pet food market this year.

A Switch from Grain-Free to Grain-Friendly Diets

The grain-free pet food trend, which was growing in popularity over the past few years, has faced a setback as an increased number of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) cases in certain dog breeds have been linked to ingredients found in grain-free diets.

The pet food industry is now focused on “grain-friendly” diets featuring healthy and wholesome grains such as barley, oatmeal, and brown rice.

Pet Foods that Target a Specific Health Issue

Solutions-based pet foods that are designed for a particular life stage or health condition are continuing to gain in popularity.  Some of the most popular address issues like obesity and skin, coat, and joint health.

Foods that Address “Rotational Feeding”

Rotational feeding is a growing trend among pet owners who like to feed their animals different formats of the same dietary formula.  Examples of this include wet, dry, and treat options that address a particular concern or contain the same combination of animal proteins.

Whole-Animal Nutrition

It used to be that pet foods containing animal by-products like organs, bone, and cartilage were frowned on.  Today’s quality pet food manufacturers are returning to “whole-animal nutrition” by adding some of these ingredients to their high-end diets.

Lickable Food and Treats

Pet owners are increasingly turning to pet foods and treats that have a very soft mousse or gel texture.  They can be served out of containers or tubes and include meaty broths and frozen, ice cream-like treats.

 

Large-Scale Study Examines Elbow Joint Disease in Dogs

The Royal Veterinary College recently completed a large study on elbow disease in UK dogs.  Researchers examined the records of over 455,000 dogs under veterinary care to determine the risk factors for elbow disease in dogs.

Here are some highlights of the study, you can read the full text of the results, published in Canine Medicine and Genetics HERE.

The breeds most prone to elbow disease are:

  • Rottweiler
  • Labrador Retriever
  • German Shepherd
  • Golden Retriever
  • English Springer Spaniel

Besides breed, other risk factors include obesity, advanced age, male gender, and neutering.

The main causes of elbow disease in dogs include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Traumatic injury

The most common signs of elbow joint disease are:

  • Pain
  • Lameness
  • Reduced range of motion

The authors note that while there are treatments to help manage the pain in canine joint disease, prevention is important.  They advise dog owners to keep their dogs at a healthy body weight, especially if they have other risk factors, i.e. male gender, neutering, and breed.

 

November is Pet Diabetes Awareness Month

Diabetes is a health issue that can affect dogs and cats as well as us humans.  Did you know that 1 in 300 dogs and 1 in 230 cats in the U.S. have diabetes?

November is Pet Diabetes Month, the perfect time to find out if your pet is at risk for diabetes.

You can take this diabetes risk quiz, for both dogs and cats.

Diabetes tends to be more common in cats than dogs.  And also in older pets that are overweight.

Managing your pet’s weight is key to preventing diabetes.  Studies have shown that high protein-low carb diets are the best approach.  Some pets have even been able to go off insulin with a change in diet.

Regular exercise is also key to diabetes prevention…and your pet’s overall good health.

While there is no cure, your pet’s diabetes can be managed and treated with a combination of medication, regular monitoring and veterinary checkups, and of course a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Be sure to talk to your vet if you have questions about diabetes in your dog or cat.

 

It’s National Walk Your Dog Week!

October 1-7 is National Walk Your Dog Week, an event designed to raise awareness about the importance of regular exercise for your dog’s health.

According to the official website, many dogs (and their humans) do not get enough exercise, which can lead to health problems like obesity as well as behavioral problems that arise from boredom and separation anxiety.

You can take the pledge to walk your dog for at least 30 minutes every day for one week.  The folks at National Walk Your Dog Week want to hear from dog owners who have taken up this challenge.  Chances are both you and your dog will be feeling better!

 

Large-Scale Study Finds Cat Obesity is on the Rise

Researchers at Canada’s Ontario Veterinary College analyzed the electronic veterinary health data of over 19 million cats and found that not only do cats tend to put on weight as they age, but they also have been getting fatter over the past few decades.

The study, published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that a cat’s weight will gradually increase until it is around 8 years of age.  Male cats tend to be heavier than females, and spayed/neutered cats tend to be heavier than unaltered cats.

Purebred cats reach their peak weight between 6 and 10 years of age, while non-purebred domestic cats peak at 8 years.

The mean weight of cats has increased overall from 1995 to 2005.  However, weight has held steady between 2005 and 2015.

Researchers note that many cats in the study had only one weight on file, suggesting that regular vet visits where weight is taken are uncommon for many pet cats.  They say that cats can be overlooked when it comes to health studies because they go to the vet less frequently than dogs.

In an article on the study, the researchers urge owners to monitor their cat’s weight regularly, including at-home weigh-in sessions.  They note that unusual weight loss or gain can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem.

Check out this video on the study here!