In the opinion of Geoff Bowers, founder and director of K9 Natural, since the 1950s pet owners all over the world have been convinced that feeding cats and dogs is difficult and they need expert help. “Fortunately, with the Internet and its access to unsolicited information, people are realizing that’s not the case,” he says. “With the help of social media and the Web, the world is changing—for the better, in my view—and that is also impacting our best friends, those that rely on us to provide a diet they are designed to thrive on.”
Bowers believes this holds important lessons and challenges for the petfood industry. “Members of the industry and other professionals have been telling people that feeding a raw diet is wrong or dangerous— e.g., cats and dogs cannot eat bones or raw food contains Salmonella or that a balanced diet can only be guaranteed by feeding a premium kibble,” Bowers says. “Well, that is not entirely correct, and premium raw food companies now go to great lengths to ensure their products are balanced and safe, and people are beginning to realize cats and dogs do not die from eating raw meaty bones. If they did, they would have been extinct thousands of years ago.
“The dilemma for those in the industry perpetuating those myths is, how do they now adapt to this reality?” he continues. “You will never hear K9 Natural or its employees comment on another petfood manufacturer’s products; we do not make them so we have no right to do so. The petfood market is huge and there is plenty of room for everyone. We will never be able to supply the world’s cats or dogs with a raw diet; there is not enough land to sustain the livestock we would need.”
Bowers adds that K9 Natural is a team—the company philosophy is based on the wolf family and its values—and also part of the overall petfood industry team. “The petfood industry is also a part of our team. For us all to survive, we need to work together and accept that the consumer needs to be told they have options. I firmly believe no company set off making a food for companion animals in the belief it would harm them; as an industry we need to work together to make sure that never happens. But we also need to realize that raw feeding for cats and dogs is here to stay.”
Debbie Phillips-Donaldson is editor-in-chief of Petfood Industry and Petfood Forum.
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