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A Major Trend Could Soon Take Hold in Pet Food, Report Says

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PETS petfoodPackaged Facts releases a new prediction.

ROCKVILLE, MD — Ten years ago, organic pet foods appeared ready to become the next big thing in the pet world, but the trend never quite materialized, Packaged Facts reports.

But it soon may.

Packaged Facts identifies a few main reasons why organic pet food has yet to achieve significant market penetration:

  • Supply issues: The recent growth in popularity of organic foods in human markets means that suppliers are already stretched thin. Add to this the issue that many ingredients in pet foods, such as fish and other more novel proteins, are not readily available in organic form, and simply finding enough organic ingredients can be problematic for pet food makers seeking entry into the organic segment.
  • High prices: As anyone who has purchased human organic food products knows, organic products cost more. Higher quality ingredients mean higher prices, and pet food companies may be gun-shy about marketing what could amount to a super-superpremium product price-wise.
  • Organic regulations: With no firm federal mandate dictating what constitutes an organic pet food, pet food marketers seeking to use the organic label must adhere to human organic food standards. Rather than face regulatory scrutiny, pet food marketers may instead decide that it’s easier to label a product “natural” and call it a day.

There are signs, however, that at least some of the challenges facing organic pet food may soon be remedied, Packaged Facts explains in the new report “Natural, Organic, and Eco-Friendly Pet Products in the U.S., 6th Edition.”

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There are signs that organic pet food standards are moving through the approval process in the National Organic Program, the firm states. Additionally, demand from the human side of the market has been prompting more interest in organic agriculture and manufacturing practices, possibly increasing the supply of organic products.

Packaged Facts believes that as the obstacles to organic pet food diminish, the likelihood that organic will become the next big trend in natural pet food increases significantly. On the human side, retailers Kroger and Costco have begun investing in farms to ensure long-term supply of store-brand organic products, and under Nestlé Purina, Merrick’s well-established organic brand, Castor & Pollux, has gained access to the resources of one of the world’s largest pet food producers.

“As natural pet food marketers seek to distinguish themselves from the rest of the natural pack, offering organic options may soon become a next logical step,” Packaged Facts states.

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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