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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 Supplies Chain Signs 22 Franchise Agreements

The deals will result in 46 stores.

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LIVONIA, MI — Pet Supplies Plus announced that it welcomed 46 new franchise store deals in the first half of 2019.

Twenty-two new agreements represent the 46 locations.

The stores will be developed across Texas, Florida, California, Michigan, Kentucky and New Hampshire.

Pet Supplies Plus stated in a press release that it has attracted franchisees from varying backgrounds, including former corporate positions, military veterans and entrepreneurs. Additionally, four franchise brokers have signed on to open their own Pet Supplies Plus stores.

The brand currently has 460 locations, according to the release.

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“We consistently add 30 stores a year, in part because franchise candidates know our tagline, ‘Minus the hassle,’ also refers to our franchise opportunity,” said Pet Supplies Plus CEO Chris Rowland. “We ‘minus the hassle’ out of business ownership and handle the back-office duties like merchandising, marketing, supply chain, promotions, pricing and managing social media allowing our franchisees to focus on what they love to do – engaging with neighbors (a term Pet Supplies Plus uses for customers) and building strong store teams.”

Additionally, six existing franchisees signed franchise agreements further investing in the brand. These six current franchise agreements account for 22 of the new store deals, with one franchise group committed to adding 15 more locations.

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Pet Food Maker Opens $200M Plant

It’s located in Richmond, IN.

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RICHMOND, IN — Natural pet food brand Blue Buffalo announced the opening of its $200 million manufacturing plant in Richmond, IN.

The 400,000-square-foot plant will create 165 full-time jobs in food processing, quality assurance, maintenance and plant management. The 125-acre campus increases the U.S. production capacity of BLUE Life Protection Formula, BLUE Wilderness, BLUE Basics and BLUE Freedom dry dog and cat foods.

“Blue Buffalo is focused on enhancing the health of pets by providing dog and cat food made with the highest quality wholesome, natural ingredients,” said Billy Bishop, president of Blue Buffalo Pet Foods, a division of General Mills Inc. “Our new state-of-the-art plant in Richmond exceeds industry standards in food safety and product quality, and will allow Blue Buffalo to feed more pets and reach more pet parents wherever they shop.”

The plant has the capacity to produce more than 1 million pounds of dry dog and cat food per day.

“With this expanded manufacturing capability, General Mills and Blue Buffalo can better meet the growing demand for pet food made with natural ingredients,” said Jeff Harmening, General Mills chairman and CEO. “This new plant is another example of General Mills accelerating the growth of our natural and organic brands. As an Indiana native, I’m also proud that Blue Buffalo is creating jobs and fueling the local economy in Richmond and surrounding areas.”

Construction of the plant started in 2016. It is Blue Buffalo’s second company-owned manufacturing plant, with the first facility located in Joplin, MO. Blue Buffalo products can be found at pet specialty stores and grocery, drug store and mass merchandise retailers in North America as well as Amazon.com, Chewy.com and other online stores.

“Job creators around the world continue to choose to grow their operations in Indiana because of our low costs and highly-skilled Hoosier workforce,” said Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb. “Companies like General Mills and Blue Buffalo are taking notice, and we’re thrilled for them to make their premium pet food in the strongest manufacturing state in the country. Blue Buffalo’s Indiana growth will provide quality career opportunities to Hoosiers, and we look forward to their many years of success in our state.”

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Pet Care Product Company Acquired

MiracleCorp purchased the Natural Chemistry Pet & Home brand.

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MiracleCorp has announced the acquisition of Natural Chemistry Pet & Home brand, known for its natural flea and tick, grooming and pet care products, from Muntech Products.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are delighted to integrate the Natural Chemistry Pet & Home line into our Miracle Care brand,” said Patricia Weimer, COO of MiracleCorp. “We expect this to be a seamless transition over the next 6 weeks where we expect to provide incredible products along with MiracleCorp’s extremely high fill rates and comprehensive top of class customer service.”

Alison Cremeans, marketing manager at MiracleCorp, added, “Their premium, natural products complement our Miracle Care assortment perfectly. These products are both very effective and affordable which will resonate with retailers, pet parents and pet professionals.”

“We are delighted to pass along the high preforming Natural Chemistry Pet & Home assortment to the very capable team at MiracleCorp, so that we may shift our focus to other strategic initiatives,” said Christian Shaffer, COO of Muntech Products.

All Natural Chemistry Pet & Home products are now available through MiracleCorp and ready to ship from their Dayton, OH, headquarters. Natural Chemistry Pet & Home products will be on display at SuperZoo in the MiracleCorp booth 4159.

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