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Pet Treats Are More Popular Than Ever — But There’s a Twist

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Packaged Facts released a new report.

America’s dogs and cats are gobbling up more treats and chews than ever, market research firm Packaged Facts reports.

But there’s an important twist.

For an increasing number of pet owners, flavor and entertainment value alone are no longer enough. Many consumers are also seeking out treats that address health conditions, provide dental care and contain special ingredients, according to the firm, which recetly released a report called Pet Treats and Chews in the U.S., 2nd Edition.

“For their part, treat and chew marketers are well aware that their products aren’t a ‘necessary’ components of a pet’s diet, going above and beyond to convince pet owners that their products do more than add calories to their pet’s diet, be it serving as a training aid, or a supplement-infused wellness booster, or as an additional way to play and bond,” Packaged Facts says in a press release.

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The company’s survey results show that 92 percent of dog owners and 80 percent of cat owners have purchased treats in the past 12 months, contributing to a retail market valued at $6.4 billion as of 2017.

“To keep pets and pet owners engaged in the market for treats and chews, innovation is the name of the game, with human-style designs and formulations, health and wellness, and product safety as primary driving forces,” according to the firm. “As such, treat and chew development follows human trends in many respects, with superfood ingredients, grain-free formulas, and ‘clean’ labels among the most popular current trends.”

Multifunctional treats and chews are popular as well, with dental treats topping the list, accounting for 25 percent of treat and chew market sales. Other trends resonating with pet owners include exotic proteins, age- and weight-related treats (joint/mobility, cognitive and training-sized mini-treats), rawhide substitutes and treats made with locally sourced ingredients.

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Dogs May Be More Perceptive Than We Ever Realized, Study Finds

Even untrained strays can read human gestures.

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Dogs seem to be able to interpret human gestures even when they’ve had no training, a new study has found.

As any dog owner knows, pet canines understand commands and gestures with ease. A group of researchers set out to determine whether these capabilities are innate or require training, according to a report from Frontiers Science News.

The researchers looked specifically at pointing, with Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studing stray dogs in several Indian cities.

“The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them,” Frontieers Science News reports. “A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl.”

About 80 percent of participating dogs successfully followed pointing gestures.

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“We thought it was quite amazing that the dogs could follow a gesture as abstract as momentary pointing,” Bhadra was quoted saying. “This means that they closely observe the human, whom they are meeting for the first time, and they use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.”

The research was published in Frontiers in Psychology.

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State Considers Banning ‘No Pets’ Rental Listings

Some landlords are not happy about the proposed legislation.

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New Hampshire legislators are considering a ban on “no pets” notices in property listings.

Proposed legislation would forbid landlords and home sellers from barring pet owners, the Concord Monitor reports.

They could make rules related to pet deposits, noise control, sanitation and safety, according to the newspaper. But they could set make rules based on size, breed or appearance.

The legislation was proposed by state Rep. Ellen Read, a Democrat from Newmarket. It has drawn opposition from some landords who say it could lead to unsanitary conditions as well as allergy problems for some residents.

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But Julia Seeley, New Hampshire state director for the Humane Society, said her organization supports the bill.

We just strongly believe that a family should not be torn apart simply over housing,” she said.

Read more at the Concord Monitor

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Spotify Rolls Out Music Playlists for Pets

Pets seem to favor classical music and soft rock.

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Digital music service Spotify had a hunch that people were playing tunes for their pets.

A study by the company found that 71% of pet owners did exactly that. The survey included 5,000 music-streaming pet owners from the U.S., the UK, Australia, Spain and Italy.

The company explains:

That being said, we created a unique experience to help you craft the pawfect algorithmically generated playlist for you and your pet to enjoy together. Head to spotify.com/pets for a playlist you can share with your dog, cat, iguana, hamster, or bird.

See the graphic below for more details from the survey.

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