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.

 

Retirement Homes for Senior Pets a Growing Trend in Japan

The BBC recently produced a heartwarming video about retirement facilities for senior pets in Japan.

When elderly pet owners enter assisted living and are no longer able to keep their pets, a growing number of animal retirement homes are taking in senior pets, many with special needs, to care for them in their final years.

But you don’t have to be a senior citizen to take advantage of these facilities.  One client profiled in the video travels overseas for work and has an older cat with kidney disease who requires regular IV treatments.

These homes provide the pets with lots of love and attention, including special services like water exercise, veterinary care, wheeled carts, and grooming.  Owners can get updates and check in on their pets via cell phone.

You can watch the full video HERE.

 

Vet Visit Checklist for Senior Cats

Cats are considered to be “seniors” when they reach 11+ years of age.  Senior cats can develop a variety of chronic health problems, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Dementia
  • High blood pressure
  • Thyroid disease

Other common health issues seen in older cats include weight loss, dehydration/constipation, and tooth and gum disease.

Because your senior cat is at a greater risk of developing chronic health problems than she did when she was younger, it’s important to make regular veterinary visits a part of your cat’s health plan.

Cat Care for Life is a feline health and wellness initiative from the International Cat Care charity.  They have created a handy senior cat checklist for cat owners to take with them on veterinary visits.  Checklists are a great way to remind yourself of issues and concerns you’d like to bring up with your vet.

You can download and print a pdf of the one-page senior cat checklist by clicking HERE!

 

Heartwarming Video: Best Friends Tito and Frank

In honor of Senior Pet Adoption Month, here’s a true senior pet adoption success story!

Tito is a 15 year-old Chihuahua with multiple health issues who was taken in as a foster.  Tito and his “brother” Frank soon became inseparable.

Tito had a collapsed trachea and cannot use his back legs.  Frank helped nurse Tito through his medical care and totes him around on walks.

Frank is a rescued Pit Bull, found emaciated and living in a junkyard.  His early trauma has led to anxiety issues, but feisty little Tito is helping Frank every bit as much as Frank is helping him!

Watch the story of these two special dogs here:

 

The 6 Cat Life Stages

The American Association of Feline Practitioners has outlined the 6 distinct cat life stages, and what cat owners can do to provide the best care for their cats at each stage of life, from kittenhood to geriatrics.

Here’s a quick overview, and be sure to visit the AAFP website for the full details, and for lots of other useful cat care information as well!

Kitten (0-6 months):  This is the easiest stage to introduce your kitten to children and other pets.  It’s also the best time to establish a regular routine for nail trimming and tooth and coat brushing.  Teach your kitten to become comfortable with the carrier and rides in the car.

Junior (6 months-2 years):  Cats become sexually mature as young as 6 months of age, so be sure to have your cat spayed or neutered by this stage to avoid unwanted litters and improve your cat’s behavior.

Prime (3-6 years):  While cats are often at their healthiest at this stage, it’s still important to bring your cat to the veterinarian for regular wellness checkups and preventive care like dental cleanings.

Mature (7-10 years):  Some cats become more sedentary and less playful at this stage.  Be sure to keep your cat at a healthy weight to avoid the health problems associated with feline obesity, a common problem in older cats.

Senior (11-14 years):  Cats at this stage are roughly equivalent to human seniors in the 70+ age range.  Consider increasing vet visits to once every 6 months at this stage of your cat’s life.

Geriatric (15 years and over):  While the average cat lifespan is around 15 years, many cats can live well beyond their teens and into their 20s.  Monitor your older cat for health and behavior changes and talk to your vet about managing chronic health issues.