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Amazon Steps Into Animal Healthcare Market

Owners can use voice commands to manage pets’ healthcare.

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Pet owners can now receive their pets’ healthcare reminders and book appointments through Amazon Alexa.

LOS ANGELES — VCA Animal Hospitals announced that pet owners can now receive their pets’ healthcare reminders and book appointments through Amazon Alexa.

VCA said in a press release that it will be “the first in the animal hospital industry to introduce voice command to manage pets’ healthcare.”

“As a leader in the pet healthcare industry, we’ve made it our mission to provide pet owners with the best possible experience through continued innovation and digital transformation,” said Brendan Lynch, VP of Digital Strategy for VCA Animal Hospitals. “For us, that means making every interaction between pet owners and our animal hospitals as convenient and easy as possible.”

According to eMarketer, smart speakers are the fastest growing consumer technology since the smartphone, and a recent study by Adobe forecasts that nearly half of U.S. households will own a smart speaker by the end of 2018.

VCA has focused on technology in recent years. Currently, VCA has more than 3,000 iPads in its animal hospitals which include proprietary mobile apps for checking in pets, two-way text messaging with pet owners, and giving medical staff on-the-go access to their patients’ medical records. VCA also launched the myVCA pet owner app earlier this year, offering services such as access to healthcare reminders and medical records.

“The ultimate goal of introducing these newer tech-forward offerings like the VCA Animal Hospitals skill is to create a more seamless customer experience when it comes to pet healthcare, and to make sure we have healthier pet patients,” said Aaron Frazier, vice president of client experience for VCA. “Whether it’s at your local VCA Animal Hospital or through Alexa, we want to be part of every pet’s healthcare journey while helping pet owners along the way.”

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The VCA deal is not Amazon’s first foray into the pet market.

In May, the company said it was launching its own pet product brand for Prime subscribers. The brand, called Wag, started with dry dog food.

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Pet Food Startup Appears On ‘Shark Tank,’ Gets $550K Investment from Mark Cuban

The money comes from Mark Cuban.

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BERKELEY, CA — Wild Earth, a biotech startup company focused on pet food, announced that it has accepted an investment of $550,000 from serial entrepreneur, investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban on the ABC hit SHARK TANK. The episode premiered Sunday, March 17, and is available on demand at ABC.go.com for a limited time.

Cuban’s interest in Wild Earth stems from both his belief in scientific/technological solutions and his concern for environmental sustainability. Upon pitching the Sharks, Wild Earth had raised $4 million from both leading Silicon Valley and impact investors. Cuban’s ownership stake in Wild Earth is 10 percent.

“There’s an enormous potential market for lower-cost, sustainable protein to feed the growing worldwide pet population and Wild Earth is now the alpha dog in this space,” Cuban said.

Wild Earth’s treats, and its upcoming food for dogs, are made from eco-friendly and renewably sourced Koji (Aspergillus oryzae). Koji is a complete protein containing all ten essential amino acids dogs need, and requires dramatically fewer resources than farming animals to produce the same nutritional value. With 25-30 percent of meat’s environmental impact in the U.S. attributed to pet food, Wild Earth is developing alternatives to ensure we can sustainably nourish more than a billion pets by 2050.

“The Sharks were understandably tough on me, and questioned the need to create healthier and more sustainable products for our pets, but Mark, the biggest Shark of them all, understood our mission and the massive opportunity best,” said Wild Earth CEO Ryan Bethencourt. “Mark and his team’s impact has already been huge — since their investment, we’ve successfully launched our first three products and gone nationwide both online and in retail.”

Cuban, owner of the 2011 World Champion Dallas Mavericks and the bestselling author of “How to Win at the Sport of Business,” is owner and chairman of AXS TV (www.axs.tv). He co-owns the Landmark Theater chain, Magnolia Pictures, and Magnolia Home Video; founded HDNet, Broadcast.com, and MicroSolutions; other successes include Mahalo, JungleCents.commotionlift.comFilesanywhere.com, Naked Pizza and 140Fire.com. For more information visit markcubancompanies.com.

Wild Earth’s Good Protein Dog Snacks are free of animal ingredients, antibiotics, growth hormones, artificial preservatives, artificial flavors, artificial colors, additives, fillers, and mystery ingredients. The veterinarian-developed formula offers omega fatty acids, digestion-boosting enzymes, and prebiotics to support gastrointestinal microbiomes.

Wild Earth treats are available in five-ounce bags online at WildEarth.comAmazon.com, at select brick-and-mortar retail stores, and wholesale to pet food retailers.

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Grooming-Tools Brand Acquired

The tools will be rebranded and redesigned.

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Fetch for Pets, a New York-based pet-product manufacturer, has purchased Spetacular grooming tools from Vu Promo Inc.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fetch designs, develops and distributes grooming liquids and tools as well as products in the categories of dental care, stain/odor control, waste management, toys, apparel, accessories, treats and more.

The Spetacular tools are widely distributed at Walmart stores. Fetch plans to rebrand and redesign the tools, incorporating proprietary bristles and making them more lightweight and ergonomic.

Spetacular plans to reintroduce the brand, with the products hitting shelves and walmart.com by summer 2019.

The grooming tools will be for both dogs and cats. Their price range will be $7.99 to $9.99.

“We’re always looking for new opportunities to enhance a retailer’s set,” said Steven Shweky, CEO of Fetch. “Seventy percent of our company is comprised of product developers whose sole focus is to innovate and bring something new and exciting to our retail partners.

“This is just the first of many new brand launches and overhauls we have lined up for 2019.”

Check out the company at Global Pet Expo booth 4067.

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Stop by the PETS+ Booth at Global, Play with a Puppy — and Maybe Even Find Your New Pet

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week.

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Attending Global Pet Expo? Miss your pet?

Come to booth  4039 to get your free subscription to PETS+ Magazine and meet your new best friend.

Florida Little Dog Rescue will be at our booth all week! Play with a puppy,
get your furry fix, and maybe even take one home.

Exhibitors, if you’d like to donate to Florida Little Dog Rescue, be sure to stop by our booth.

Florida Little Dog Rescue is a nonprofit organization that rehabilitates unwanted, abused and abandoned little dogs and places them in loving and responsible homes to live out their lives as cherished family members.

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