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Grocery Chain Ramps Up Its Pet Care Focus

It will carry more food and grooming products.

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The Meijer grocery chain is expanding its assortment of pet care products.

Meijer, a grocery chain with 246 supercenters, is increasing its focus on pet care.

The company will sell a wider variety of items such as food and grooming products, Supermarket News reports. It’s even increasing its selection of pet Halloween costumes this year.

Recent pet care additions include an extra aisle in each store to accommodate more varieties of food. The Midwestern chain carries dozens of labels, including Blue Buffalo, Nutro, Nature’s Recipe, Fresh Pet and Rachael Ray Nutrish, and private label True Goodness by Meijer.

Forty of the chain’s supercenters  have moved their pet care departments to a back corner “to offer a specialty-store feel with spacious displays for products like Halloween-themed pet toys,” Supermarket News explains.

A few stores also have VetIQ Petcare clinics.

The recent additions are a continuation of a trend for Meijer, which has invested significantly in its pet care business over the past few years.

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Meijer operates stores in its home state of Michigan as well as in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and Wisconsin.

Read more at Supermarket News

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 16 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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‘Clean-Meat’ Pet Food Company Raises $1.2M

The seed funding will drive research and development.

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BOULDER, CO — Bond Pet Foods Inc., a Boulder-based company working with biotechnology to make “nutritious, animal-free and protein-rich pet food,” has raised seed funding totaling $1.2 million.

Employing the same fermentation technology that is used to produce ingredients for cheese-making or insulin for diabetics, Bond “adjusts the process to instead harvest high-quality meat proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, pork and fish, but without the animal,” according to a press release. Bond was co-founded by Rich Kelleman, CEO, and Pernilla Audibert, CTO, in 2017.

With its proprietary approach, animal muscle protein genes are taken from a farm animal and added to a microbe such as yeast, then put into a fermentation tank and fed simple sugars, vitamins and minerals. This produces proteins that are “nutritionally identical to their meat counterparts without the environmental, animal welfare and safety downsides,” according to the company. The ingredients are then used as the foundation of Bond’s complete recipes.

The Seed round is led by Lever VC, a venture capital fund specializing in alternative protein investments, with Agronomics, KBW Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures, Andante Asset Management and others participating.

“What makes us so excited about Bond Pet Foods is that it’s the first clean-meat company producing meat protein in a way that doesn’t require major technological breakthroughs to get to price parity with conventional meat,” said Nick Cooney, Founder and Managing Partner at Lever VC. “We don’t think there’s any other company out there with the potential to disrupt the $100 billion pet food market as much as Bond Pet Foods.”

This round of funding will drive the research and development needed to develop and scale Bond’s animal protein production and to debut its first consumer product early next year, a protein-packed dog treat bar made with a pure yeast protein. It also serves as an important first step in elevating the use of ingredients made through microbial fermentation in pet food, and educating the public about its merits, according to the release.

“This raise gives us the capital to make strides with our technology and introduce pet parents to a new and better way of feeding their dogs and cats,” Kelleman said. “We started Bond to deliver high nutrition to our pets without harm to other animals or to our planet, and we’re excited to bring our transformative products to the world in the months ahead.”

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Top Dog and Cat Names of 2019 Revealed

Pop culture and celebrity news figured prominently.

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(PRESS RELEASE) SEATTLE – Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and dog walkers, unveiled its seventh annual report of the year’s most popular dog names with a new twist — the addition of the year’s most popular cat names. This year’s data shows that regardless of species or breed, pet names are a reflection of what owners care about most, from the foods they eat to the celebrities they love.

This year’s data reflected pet parents’ appetite for pop culture and what’s trending in the celebrity news scene. Names inspired by star-studded musicians like newcomer Lizzo (up 100 percent) and beloved Beyoncé (up 78 percent) made huge gains, and Taylor Swift’s reputation is on track with a 400 percent increase. Binge-worthy TV shows were also one of the top sources of inspiration for pet parents. The name Maisel of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel rose 1000 percent and Westeros-savior Arya Stark increased by 150 percent.

“The names we give our pets provide a peek into our passions, aspirations, happy places, and guilty pleasures, reinforcing what we at Rover know to be true: our pets are as unique as the names we lovingly bestow upon them,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert for Rover. “That’s why we’re so honored that hundreds of thousands of pet parents trust us with their furry family members.”

The humanization of pets was another trend for 2019, a survey by Rover revealed. The majority of pet parents (55 percent) said their pet either has a human name or they would consider giving their pet a human name. Pet parents (25 percent) also would consider giving their pet a name they had considered for their child. Trending baby names that inspired pet names included Dorothy, Elaine, and Dennis.

What’s in a name, exactly? Rover examined this year’s data to learn where today’s pet parents are drawing inspiration.

Walk of Fame

2019 data continues to tell the story of what’s trending for dog names with celebrities and pop culture.

  • Who deserves the royal crown? Meghan — up by 42 percent — wins with dog owners compared to other royals of her generation, but nobody beats Diana or Queen Elizabeth. Both are up by 200 and 150 percent, respectively.
  • Celebrity baby names are also popular, with Chip and Joanna Gaines-inspired Crew up 411 percent, Kylie Jenner’s Stormi up 364 percent and Kim and Kanye’s Saint up 96 percent this year.

You are what you … name your pet? 

Whether we aspire to healthier habits or crave comfort foods, our pets reveal the quickest way to pet parent hearts.

  • Dog parents love pink wine and sweets. Rosé is up 183 percent and dessert-related names such as Cake, Croissant, and Cupcake increased.
  • For cat parents, it’s all about caffeine and cocktails. Cats are more likely to be given alcohol-inspired names than dogs, and 8 out of 10 drink-themed cat names were coffee-related such as Mocha, Kona and Latte.
  • It’s not all indulgences though; healthy habits are also on the rise for both cats and dogs. Dogs named Kale (up 70 percent) and Keto (up 57 percent) increased, while cats named Chia and Boba are also trending up.

Cannabis Craze

Marijuana-inspired products and services are surfacing at every turn as legalization grows in the U.S.—even in pet names.

  • Marijuana-inspired names like Budder, Dank, Doobie, Blaze and Kush are on the rise for dogs and Kush, Doobie, and Blaze are trending for cats.

2019 Top Names for Dogs and Cats

  • New for 2019 Favorite Felines: Luna, Bella and Kitty came in as the top three names for cats in 2019, a new data set for this year.
  • Top dogs stay on top: Bella, Luna, Lucy and Daisy kept the top spots for female dogs, with Max, Charlie, Cooper, and Buddy also keeping their top ranks for male dogs in 2019.

To celebrate this year’s launch of services for cats, Rover included trending cat names in its annual report for the first time. The report highlights top trends in the U.S. and in 25 key cities, as well as a new addition of top names in Canada and Europe. For more trends and top names, visit www.rover.com/blog/dog-names.

Methodology

The Top Pet Names 2019 report was developed by Rover between September and October 2019. Results are based on analysis of millions of user-submitted pet names provided by owners on Rover.com. Secondary data was collected by a Rover survey conducted via Pollfish among 1,500 U.S. adult pet owners in October 2019.

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There’s a New Way to Calculate Dog Years

Dogs age rapidly at first and much more slowly in later years, according to new research.

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Scientists have developed a new method for calculating how old a dog is in human years, and they say it’s more accurate than the old way, NPR reports.

The traditional formula is to multiply the dog’s years by seven. But the researchers involved in this study say dog’s age rapidly at first and much more slowly in later years.

The new method is based on an epigenetic marker called methylation. The study, published here, involved drawing blood from more than 100 Labrador retrievers ranging in age from 4 weeks to 16 years.

Based on the new method, dog ages break down like this:

  • Juvenile: 2 to 6 months in dogs, equivalent to 1 to 12 years in humans.
  • Adolescent: 6 months to 2 years in dogs, equivalent to 12 to 25 years in humans.
  • Mature: 2 to 7 years in dogs, equivalent to 25 to 50 years in humans.
  • Senior: 12 years and up in dogs, equivalent to 70 years and up in humans.

A calculator based on the researched was published here. Smithsonianmag.com explains that the formula involves multiplying the natural logarithm of a dog’s age by 16, then adding 31 [human_age = 16ln(dog_age) + 31].

By the formula, a 2-year-old dog is equivalent to a 42-year-old human. An 8-year-old dog equal to a 64-year-old human.

Read more at NPR

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