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Indie Pet Stores Respond to Latest FDA Update on Grain-Free Food and DCM

Many are educating customers via Facebook.




In the latest update on its investigation into reports of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in pets eating certain commercial foods, the FDA included a list of “Dog Food Brands Named Most Frequently to DCM Cases Reported to FDA.” Among them are many favorites of independent pet stores.

Since the update June 27, indies have taken to Facebook to provide necessary context on the investigation for their customers and to help guide them toward making the best food choices for their pets.

Dog Krazy, VA

This lengthy post from Dog Krazy’s Nancy Guinn shares the FDA update but puts it in perspective for her customers, and also shares that she feeds one of the brands on the list: “Now here’s a more comforting fact. Millions of dogs and cats are eating the foods listed and are 100% healthy. My own Bulldog is eating Zignature Kangaroo and I am not changing his diet. Both myself and my numerous vets (he has several vets and specialists) all know that this is the best diet for his allergies. After starting him on Zignature Kangaroo his allergies cleared up, his IBD is under control and he no longer has constant diarrhea. And as much as I hate bringing this up, I lost my first Bulldog to heart issues. And she was eating grain in food for most of her life, not grain free.”

The Green Spot, Omaha, NE

Jessica Ellis and Whitney Kamish also went long, telling customers in their post on the topic, “This is LONG because it’s important. Please take the time to read through to the end, especially if you are concerned about your pet’s diet.”

The heartfelt message addresses the news and encourages customers to read beyond misleading headlines. “While our hearts go out to anyone who has lost a dog to DCM, please know that IT IS EXTREMELY RARE. … do your own research and don’t rely solely on headlines to tell you the whole story. You are your pets’ BEST advocate!”


Furry Friends, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO

This store shared a blog post on its website that puts the update into perspective and also delves further into the issue of taurine deficiency.

Treats on a Leash, Ames, IA

GRAIN-FREE FOOD/DCM UPDATE! Please let us know if you have questions or if we can help you with anything..

Posted by Treats On A Leash LLC on Saturday, June 29, 2019

Barb Morris went live with her “GRAIN-FREE FOOD/DCM UPDATE!” and said, “Please let us know if you have questions or if we can help you with anything.” She also included a bit about the history of kibble and how highly processed food affects both pets and people.  

All for the Pet, Severna Park, MD

Lee, Mark, Olivia and Alex of All For the Pet made it clear in their post to customers that, “There is no recall. The FDA simply listed some of the foods dogs were eating.” The post includes a long list of food alternatives and makes a pitch for raw as the best diet to prevent health problems.

Brown Dog Bakery, Ankeny, IA

This store shared the article “Please Don’t Panic About the Grain-Free Thing” from respected publication Whole Dog Journal, and used the comments to further explain that the article takes an unbiased approach to the topic. 

Flying M Feed Co., Houston, TX

The Triple AAA solution to the DCM dog food debate…

Posted by The Flying M Feed Co. on Monday, July 1, 2019

Trace Menchaca went live in personable videos to advise customers, but also to give tips to fellow retailers on turning this news to their advantage. “I come from the Container Store world of retail,” she says. “Accommodate your customers. Astound your customers!”

Loyal Biscuit Co., ME

Heidi Neal shared with her informative post a link to Primal Pet Food’s statement on the topic, and she also included a collage of photos featuring Loyal Biscuit Col staff and their pets.

Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL

From Beth Staley, another lengthy post that provides information, context and support, with additional links in the comments.

Abby’s Road Veterinary Care, IA

Dr. Abby Strobbe weighed in from an integrative vet’s perspective.

Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA

Shane Sommerville went live on the topic.

Wags to Whiskers, Plainfield, IL

Janelle Peters Pitulla created a post that other retailers have used themselves, either in whole or part.

Felix & Oscar, Springfield, VA

This store not only provided context on the FDA update, but also encouraged customers to ask questions regarding ingredient sourcing, recalls and other important factors when choosing food.

If you would like to share your responses to customers and discuss this topic with your fellow indies, join the PETS+ Facebook community. We’ll add to this story as examples come in.

Michelle Lange writes about hamster food, bath scrubbers and bird toys — all the new pet products coming to market.




Very Few Pet Businesses Do This With Their Ads … But You Definitely Should

Testing and tracking your ads can make a huge difference in the ROI that you get, says marketing specialist Jim Ackerman. But very few pet businesses take the proper steps to run successful ad campaigns. Here, Ackerman shows an example of what effective testing looks like.

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Gott Pet Products Welcomes New Inside Sales Rep

She brings 15 years of experience to her new role.




(PRESS RELEASE) Gott Pet Products, manufactures of Charlee Bear dog treats and Hound & Gatos natural food for pets, has announced that Gina Schlueter has joined the team as its inside sales and customer care representative. Schlueter brings 15 years of experience to her new role, which includes managing customer service duties as well as working closely with the supply chain.

Schluter, who holds an associate’s degree in supply chain management from Milwaukee Area Technical College and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Green Bay, is a certified continuous improvement manager.

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Prior to joining Gott Pet Products, she served as a special projects manager and supply chain manager for Malteurop, where she was responsible for planning, developing, managing and implementing the department’s standards and operating procedures, in addition to managing the procurement, customer service and logistics team.

At Gott Pet Products, Schlueter hopes to improve the internal processes and provide a better customer experience from order to delivery. When it comes to customer service and supply chain, her goal is to not only set processes in place but also document these processes for future improvement. Schluter is most excited about working with the new product introduction team, including opportunities to grow and launch new products. She is also eager to work closely with the sales team, by providing them with the support and tools they need to hit their markets more aggressively.

“Gina brings with her a great deal of knowledge and experience, and we’re excited to have her join the Gott Pet Products family,” says Patrick McGarry, general manager of Gott Pet Products. “I’m confident she will add a lot of value and make our processes more turnkey thanks to her unique ideas.”

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Press Releases

Pet Product Innovations Features Zen Clipper Precise at SuperZoo

It will be giving demos to show how simple the clippers are to use.




(PRESS RELEASE) Pet Product Innovations will feature its worry-free nail trimmer, Zen Clipper Precise at SuperZoo and will be giving demos to show how simple the clippers are to use.

PPI’s Zen Clipper Precise is a game-changing product that will give pet parents the confidence and peace of mind they deserve while trimming their pet’s nails thanks to its unique feature that “Clips the Tip, Not the Quick!”

Features of the Zen Clipper Precise include:

  • First and only adjustable nail clipper that’s safe, even when your pet moves.
  • The adjustable blade limits that amount of nail being clipped.
  • Made from high-quality stainless steel for a long-lasting, sharp-clipping edge and blades.
  • The cushioned non-slip handle and stainless steel makes for a comfortable clipper that is durable, attractive and easy to use.
  • Designed in the USA.
  • Zen Clipper is especially helpful for pet owners with limited near vision since it will prevent you from cutting off too much of the nail, even if you cannot see up close.
  • Suitable for any size pet from dogs to cats, birds to reptiles!

Other PPI products that will be showcased at SuperZoo booth 1274 include: Bandana Bowl (portable water/feeding bowl and/or cooling collar), Paw Plunger (the No. 1-selling paw cleaner in America), SmartLeash (the first and only retractable leash that automatically stops your dog when running or lunging), and Venison Joe’s Gourmet Pet Chews.

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SodaPup Launches 4 Nylon Dog Toys

Each design aims to minimize destructive chewing behaviors.




(PRESS RELEASE) SodaPup founder and CEO Adam Baker has announced that SodaPup is continuing its expansion into durable, American-made, FDA-compliant nylon toys for dogs.

“At SodaPup, we’re dedicated to creating the highest quality, safest, most innovative dog toys in the industry. In the nylon category, we continue to introduce fresh and unexpected designs to a category dominated by bone shapes,” Baker said. “There’s no evidence to suggest that dogs prefer bone shapes, so we focus on designs that will appeal to consumers and trust that dogs will like them too. We’ve also developed a one-size-fits-all design philosophy that has the two-fold benefit of maximizing a retailer’s assortment and also providing greater safety for dogs by reducing the potential choking hazard of smaller toys.”

SodaPup has five brands of dog toys, each focusing on different consumer segments and different channels of distribution. The addition of nylon toys to the current rubber toy assortment helps bring these unique brand stories to life. The latest additions include a shovel toy for the Industrial Dog brand, a paw print and a hot dog for the SodaPup brand, and a Funny Bone for the MuttsKickButt brand. Each new toy is large enough for big dogs yet thin enough for smaller dogs to enjoy. Each design also features interesting shapes and textures designed to hold a dog’s interest and minimize destructive chewing behaviors.

All SodaPup dog toys are made in the USA from FDA-compliant materials.

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