In a huge leap toward better pet care, Petco announced they’re turning their backs on dog and cat foods that include artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. The pet supply franchise is upping their standards when it comes to pet nutrition, and they’re the first national pet specialty retailer to fully support all-natural diets for dogs and cats. The pet food aisles in all 1,500 store locations in the U.S., Mexico, and Puerto Rico will soon go through a major transformation.
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Citing thorough third-party research including surveys of over 1,000 pet owners, Petco says its decision stems from today’s pet owner’s concern for better nutrition. They say 87% of pet parents agree that all-natural food that’s free of preservatives and artificial ingredients is essential to the health and well-being of companion animals. People are more interested than ever in how diet plays a role in how long a dog lives, and possibly even more important, how well a dog lives. Those surveyed also expressed confusion and frustration when it comes to choosing the best diet for their dogs, and part of Petco’s new plan is to help make feeding pets a healthy diet an easy decision.
There are more than 40 banned ingredients that Petco is preparing to eliminate from their stores. FD&C Red No. 3, acetoin, methyl, benzoic acid, calcium sorbate, BHA, and BHT are only a few of the artificial and chemical ingredients often found in commercial dog foods that Petco will no longer sell. According to the Petco website, the company plans to thoroughly evaluate every currently stocked product to ensure it meets their new nutritional standards. Manufacturers that currently do not meet the new Petco expectations will be given the chance to the modify their recipes, or they will be completely eliminated from store shelves.
Petco shoppers can expect to see these changes starting as early as this January. All stores will begin the transition of removing certain dog and cat food brands from the shelves and expanding their already wide selection of all-natural pet foods. By May 2019, Petco promises the process will be complete. Any pet food that hasn’t been sold that doesn’t meet the new standards will be donated to local animal shelters. They say,
“It’s simple. We believe quality food leads to healthier, happier pets. We’d rather remove pet food containing artificial ingredients than wait to find out if they’re harmful.”
While most pet parents are applauding Petco for this dive into better diets for dogs and cats, there are some that are hesitant to make a change. In response, Petco encourages their customers to utilize their local store’s trained and highly knowledgeable employees. Their plan is to make feeding all-natural diets to dogs and cats as simple and stress-free as possible. Their goal is to spread awareness about how diet affects health and to make healthy pet foods more accessible.
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The dog food brands that are safe to stay on Petco shelves include big names like Blue Buffalo, Nutro, and Merrick. These are the brands that list ingredients pet parents instantly recognize as real foods. The first ingredients are typically whole meats and are followed by other proteins and vegetables for added vitamins and minerals. Petco employees are trained to help customers analyze ingredient lists and choose foods that are best suited for their pets.
Petco expects their transition will end up hurting their bottom line in the short term. New CEO Ron Coughlin admits it might take time for some Petco customers to grow accustomed to the new plan, but with the U.S. market share for natural pet products doubling in the past four years, he expects all-natural pet foods will soon be the country’s norm. Besides, he’s not as interested in profit as he is in pet health. He said in a letter to customers,
“My 10-year-old lab, Yummy, is 75 pounds of pure love and I would do just about anything to keep him healthy, happy and by my side, tail wagging, for as long as possible. I’m proud to lead a company that’s been putting pets first for more than 50 years. And when you love pets as much as we do, you always want to do more. To be better.”
What do you think of Petco’s plan to stop selling dog food made with artificial ingredients?
Featured image via Facebook/Petco
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