How vets, pet food industry can fight pet obesity
A decade of research reveals that dogs and cats increasingly are obese, beyond overweight.
On October 12, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) marked the tenth anniversary of its annual dog and cat obesity survey. The founder of APOP, Ernie Ward, DVM, pulled from his decade of observations to suggest that pet food companies can gain veterinarians’ confidence and subsequent recommendations to consumers by informing those vets about innovations in pet food ingredients and processing, such as high pressure pasteurization of raw food.
“If the pet food industry keeps vets informed about new products, the vets can recommend them,” Ward told Petfood Industry. “When someone comes in with a brand that the vet's never heard of, it might be the best on the planet, but if the vet hasn’t heard of it or doesn’t understand the manufacturing process, they may dismiss it.”
Keeping vets in the loop can increase pet food brand recognition and trust, he said, which could lead to increased endorsement of those weigh-management and therapeutic pet foods to patients’ owners.
“What veterinarians have traditionally done is be loyal to a handful of brands, but I think those days are largely gone,” said Ward.
Better pet food, yet rising dog and cat obesity
Over the past decade, Ward says he’s witnessed a dramatic improvement in the quality and safety of pet foods. He believes that pet food today is better than it’s ever been.
“We are in a renaissance of pet food,” Ward told Petfood Industry. “When it comes to weight-loss, we have better choices and more creative formulations than I’ve ever imagined would be in…