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Pet Obesity Up for 8th Straight Year, Insurer Warns

The trend is driving higher vet expenses.

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Pet obesity is on the rise for the eighth straight year, according to Nationwide, a provider of pet health insurance.

Nearly 20 percent of Nationwide members’ pet insurance claims in 2017 were for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity. That amounted to more than $69 million in veterinary expenses.

The boost in total obesity-related claims signifies a 24 percent increase over the last eight years, according to a press release from the company.

As with people, excessive body fat in pets increases the risk of preventable health issues and may shorten the life expectancy of dogs and cats. Nationwide sorted through its database of more than 700,000 insured pets to determine the top 10 dog and cat conditions related to or made worse by obesity.

Most Common Dog Obesity-Related Conditions

  1. Arthritis
  2. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  3. Liver Disease
  4. Low Thyroid Hormone
  5. Torn Knee Ligaments
  6. Diseased Disc in the Spine
  7. Diabetes
  8. Chronic Kidney Disease
  9. Heart Failure
  10. High Blood Pressure

Most Common Cat Obesity-Related Conditions

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  1. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease
  2. Chronic Kidney Disease
  3. Diabetes
  4. Asthma
  5. Liver Disease
  6. Arthritis
  7. High Blood Pressure
  8. Heart Failure
  9. Gall Bladder Disorder
  10. Immobility of Spine

In 2017, Nationwide received more than 57,000 pet insurance claims for arthritis in dogs, the most common disease aggravated by excessive weight, which carried an average treatment fee of $323 per pet. With more than 5,800 pet insurance claims, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common obesity-related condition in cats, which had an average claim amount of $495 per pet.

“Obesity can be detrimental to the livelihood of our pets,” said Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary officer for Nationwide. “The New Year presents a perfect opportunity to create regular exercise routines for our pets and to effectively manage their eating habits to avoid excess weight gain. Scheduling a routine wellness exam with a veterinarian is an effective way to get started on monitoring your pet’s weight.”

With more than 700,000 insured pets, Nationwide bills itself as “the first and largest provider of pet health insurance in the United States.”

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Pet Franchise to Open 50 Stores in 2019

It has over 200 units under development.

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PHOENIX — Dogtopia, a dog daycare, boarding and spa franchise, sold 100 units and opened 25 locations in 2018.

The Phoenix-based company now has over 200 units under development, according to a press release. It plans to open at least 50 stores in 2019.

So far, the brand has sold over 30 new stores in January, according to the release.

“Dogtopia is outpacing every pet franchise in North America and we were delighted about delivering another record year,” said Alex Samios, vice president of franchise development for Dogtopia. “Our unparalleled service, support and systems, combined with exceptional franchisees, has positioned us as the leading pet services brand.”

Dogtopia currently has more than 90 locations.

The brand also grew in 2018 in terms of its charitable initiatives with the Dogtopia Foundation, raising more than $150,000 to sponsor training for service dogs for veterans.

The company was recently named to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list. Dogtopia ranked at No. 204 “as a result of its outstanding performance in areas of unit growth and financial performance with strong franchisee support,” according to the release.

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Petco to Carry Champion Products

Their partnership begins March 4.

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SAN DIEGO, CA — Petco and Champion Petfoods announced a partnership that will bring Champion’s Acana and Orijen dog and cat foods to Petco stores and petco.com beginning March 4.

“Champion is an extremely mission-driven company that’s built a well-deserved reputation for serving up award-winning foods for dogs and cats, and their ACANA and ORIJEN brands align perfectly with the bold nutrition standards we announced late last year,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “As a leader in providing pets and pet parents with everything they need to live healthy, happy lives together, we’re thrilled to add industry-leading brands for anyone who wants to feed their pets the healthiest foods available.”

Petco recently announced that it will not sell food or treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives for dogs and cats by May 2019.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Petco, a company with such a strong reputation and commitment to ensuring the well-being of pets and peace of mind to pet lovers,” said Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “This new relationship is an important step toward our goal of building trust and making our Biologically Appropriate foods available to more pet lovers everywhere.”

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Petco Chief Merchant Nick Konat said, “Consumer and industry response to Petco raising the bar on our nutrition standards has been phenomenal, and the addition of ACANA and ORIJEN to our portfolio are significant proof points in our ongoing journey to be pet parents’ trusted partner of choice.”

Petco operates more than 1,500 retail locations and employs 26,000 people across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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Dog-Food Startup Raises $39M

It delivers to customers’ homes.

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A startup company focused on craft dog food has completed a $39 million financing round.

The Farmer’s Dog launched in 2015 “to disrupt an industry that mostly relies on food-shelf stable, preservative-heavy dry food,” Fast Company reports. It delivers pet food to customers’ homes.

The Farmer’s Dog’s total funding is now at $49 million.

Leading the new funding round was Insight Venture Partners. Other contributors included Forerunner Ventures and Shasta Ventures.

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The Farmer’s Dog Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Regev told Fast Company: “When you look at pet food, this processed food is being fed to them every single day, every single meal, for their entire life.”

His company seeks to change that. Its food “includes whole chunks of fresh ingredients like carrots, turkey, parsnips, chickpeas, broccoli, and spinach,” according to Fast Company.

Read more at Fast Company

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