News Hound

Tim Wall, senior reporter for Petfood Industry, explores interactions among culture, media, science and pet food. Wall presents his opinions on how animal behaviors, both human and pet, influence global dog, cat and other pet food markets.
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6 media questions to answer during a pet food recall

Dog bites man isn’t news, but man recalls dog food is. When reporting on a pet food recall, journalists aim to answer six essential questions in every article: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?

Dog bites man isn’t news, but man recalls dog food is.  When reporting on a pet food recall, journalists aim to answer six essential questions in every article: Who, What, When, Where, Why and How?


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Dog brain scan suggests dogs see actions more that objects

While Dr. Doolittle’s dream remains elusive, advances in brain scanning and analysis have opened a window into how dogs’ brains reconstruct what they see. Researchers at Emory University found evidence that we should probably be using more verbs when overdubbing our dog’s antics.

While Dr. Doolittle’s dream remains elusive, advances in brain scanning and analysis have opened a window into how dogs’ brains reconstruct what they see. Researchers at Emory University found evidence that we should probably be using more verbs when overdubbing our dog’s antics.


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3D printing pet treats with plant, insect, algae protein

A pet food and treat company could offer a 3D-printing device optimized for producing pet treats, then sell the ingredients to pet owners via a subscription service. For large, established companies, 3D-printed pet consumables could streamline the new product development process or allow specialized services for pet owners.

Ordering a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea from a Star Trek-style replicator remains for the next generation. However, small-scale 3D printing of pet treats may not be science fiction for long. Those futuristically created treats may themselves contain equally unconventional ingredients, such as insect and algae proteins.


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Stop fake news, beliefs about dog and cat food with games

Games may help inoculate both pet owners and those in the industry from inaccuracies and prepare pet owners to debunk fake pet food news on their own.

From dilated cardiomyopathy to by-products to pentobarbital, a wide range of topics in the pet food industry have spawned their own sets of rumors and false beliefs. Along with these specific myths, pet owners often harbor wider misunderstandings about pet food formulation, processing and regulation.


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Inspirational stories help underdog pet food start-ups

Everyone loves an underdog, especially in an industry catering to canines. Pet product start-ups by lower-income groups, ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants and refugees already start off with a strong underdog origin story.

Lower-income groups, ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants and refugees could find business success in the U.S. pet food industry. Their plights are often well-known, yet many feel largely powerless to help. Buying a dog biscuit to help people escape suffering turns a banal buy into a social statement.


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He/she/it: how pronouns grant personhood to pets, wildlife

While much of the globalized economy has moved far from concerns over reciprocating with nature, pet owners form relationships with their animals that benefit all involved. Pet ownership serves as a vestige of that ancient connection to other animals, plants and aspects of nature.

While much of the globalized economy has moved far from concerns over reciprocating with nature, pet owners form relationships with their animals that benefit all involved. Pet ownership serves as a vestige of that ancient connection to other animals, plants and aspects of nature.


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Clashing trends create pet food sustainability dichotomies

The economic viability of the pet food industry may depend on how well businesses can adapt to use only the resources they need, while minding what others need now and in perpetuity.

For the pet food industry, competing trends create contradictions that challenge the development of sustainable business models from ingredient sourcing and manufacturing to marketing, packaging and distribution.


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How is shark in pet food despite Mars, Purina standards?

A 2019 study found DNA from two shark species in pet foods sold in the United States. More recently, researchers identified shark genetic material in cat foods purchased in Singapore.

Neither Mars Petcare not Nestlé Purina PetCare use sharks in any of their recipes. Both have supply chain protocols that should screen out ingredients made with sharks, along with other endangered species.


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Branding pet food ingredients suppliers for consumers

Developing positive relationships directly with consumers could benefit pet food ingredient suppliers.

No one uses an Intel chip by itself, but the company advertises its product to computer buyers. Likewise, pet food ingredient suppliers could use component branding to make consumers aware of their product, develop a brand's reputation and increase transparency.


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