Their motivations might include believing fresh is better. - Tim Phillip

As the status of pets continues to rise, many pet owners seem willing to put more time into preparing meals for their pets. Their motivations might include:

  • Giving their pets more pleasure at mealtime;
  • Using variety to prevent boredom;
  • Adding variety in hopes of providing a more diverse and complete nutrient intake;
  • Being convinced properly formulated raw diets supply all the essential nutrients we know about and do not know about;
  • Believing fresh is better;
  • Strengthening the bond with their pet; and
  • Enjoying the satisfaction of home preparation.

New wave petfoods

Several companies are catering to pet owners who want to get more involved with feeding their pets. Following are some examples.

Nature's Variety . This company, with headquarters in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA, offers several products for implementing its "rotation diet" concept. Pet owners can feed various protein types (beef, chicken and salmon) and forms (raw, dry and wet).

Vitakraft. In May 2008, this German company introduced "Mix It" dog and cat foods throughout Europe. The idea is to provide variety without having to change the main food.

Wild Kitty. Based in Arundel, Maine, USA, this company sells a "Homemade Cat Food Kit." With the kit, cat owners can make raw or cooked cat food using boneless poultry.

Sojourner Farms. This Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA-based company offers three "natural petfood mixes." Pet owners add meat and water to one of the mixes for "fresh, homemade petfood in minutes."

Balance IT. Developed by a group of veterinary nutritionists, this is a web-based veterinary nutrition software that is used by veterinarians along with a line of Balance IT supplements. It enables veterinarians to try new concepts in nutritional therapies with homemade petfood recipes.

The Honest Kitchen. This petfood company, based in San Diego, California, USA, is family owned. It sells freeze-dried petfoods containing a combination of raw and cooked ingredients. Pet owners add water and their pet's choice of vegetables, fruits and raw or cooked meats.

Major marketers

What's next? If the market continues to develop, which seems likely, we can expect to see more major marketers of traditional commercial diets adding high-involvement petfoods to their product lines.

FDA worries

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is worried about people who feed their pets raw meat contracting food-borne illnesses. In 2004, FDA issued guidelines for companies marketing raw meat to pets that can be found at www.fda.gov/cvm/Guidance/Guide122.pdf .