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Study Reveals 10 Most Pet-Friendly Airports in US

They’re equipped with pet-relief stations and pet parks.

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AUSTIN, TX — A new study identifies the “10 most pet-friendly airports” in the U.S.

Results from the study by Upgraded Points “illustrated a growing number of pet-friendly airports, each fully equipped with pet-relief stations and pet parks,” according to a press release from the company.

For those who travel through airports with pets, finding terminals to accommodate these special travelers can be a stressful event, the firm notes. New federal regulations requires each airport that serves over 10,000 passengers a year must maintain pet relief stations to provide for service animals of all types. The Upgraded Points study evaluated these larger airports and their current facilities.

The study “avoided awarding merit points for simple compliance with the federal mandate,” according to the release. Instead, points were awarded for those airports that went above and beyond regulations — for example, by extending pet relief stations to include law enforcement dogs, emotional support animals and transit pets.

The company adds: “Similarly, many pet relief areas were rather rudimentary, using fake grass, or those areas were hidden in out-of-the-way places within terminals. As a result, points were also awarded in the study to those airports that offered pet parks with real grass, faux fire hydrants, ease-of-accessibility and ample space for pets to run and play.”

Other amenities also played into the points awarded, like fully fenced areas, available water fountains or onsite boarding and daycare facilities.

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The top pet-friendly airport is John F. Kennedy International Airport. The release explains:

“With multiple terminals that have access to post-security pet relief areas, JFK ranked highest in the Upgraded Points study. One terminal boasts a 4,000 square foot outdoor garden patio that is open to both passengers and pets. This area contains tables and chairs, with a seating capacity of around 50 people. Other areas have pet bathrooms set with artificial grass (with built-in drainage), replicas of fire hydrants, sinks and waste receptacles.”

JFK also offers 24/7 animal care and veterinary services for all kinds of pets: dogs, cats, horses, birds, livestock and exotic animals. In addition, American Airlines has installed a pet relief area at its terminal departures level, with a 1000-square-foot grassy area for pets to relax after a long flight.

The top 10:

  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
  • Los Angeles International Airport
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
  • Austin–Bergstrom International Airport
  • Reno-Tahoe International Airport
  • Dallas Love Field Airport
  • Denver International Airport
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport

The study further details other airports’ pet facilities across the country.

“From Denver to JFK, there were many outstanding airports featured in our article,” said Upgraded Points founder Alex Miller. “Though required by law, many airports choose to offer services beyond what is necessary. They go out of their way to accommodate not just necessary service animals, but also beloved pets of all types.”

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More information on the study is available here.

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Pet Food Sales on Amazon Hit $1B

Blue Buffalo was the top-selling brand.

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BOSTON — Pet food sales on Amazon.com reached an estimated $1 billion in 2018, up 20 percent compared to 2017, according to data from Edge by Ascential.

According to the firm, the top five pet food brands (and their share of total pet food sales) on Amazon for 2018 were:

  1. Blue Buffalo (11%)
  2. Purina (9%)
  3. Hill’s (8%)
  4. Wellness (6%)
  5. Greenies (5%)

“Blue Buffalo’s continued top-selling status illustrates how important it is for brands to incorporate in their packaging what consumers are looking for: healthier pet foods,” said Pete Andrews, director of insights at Edge by Ascential. “Blue Buffalo’s top seller contains the keywords ‘Protection Formula’ and ‘Natural’ in the title.

“The brand includes in-depth content on their product detail pages along with complete ingredient lists, nutritional information, numerous customer reviews and peer-answered questions. The Blue Buffalo brand understands how important community is to the pet owner, whether they are shopping online or in-store. By encouraging consumer interaction on Amazon, brands can recreate some of the interactivity that pet owners value from brick-and-mortar stores.”

Other top-performing brands on Amazon in 2018 like No. 2 Purina (up 13 percent year-over-year), No. 10 Rachael Ray (up 27 percent) and No. 6 Fancy Feast (up 17 percent) demonstrate that pet owners are choosing brands with “the right combination of pet nutrition and shopper value,” according to Edge by Ascential.

“Amazon’s own label Wag, launched halfway through 2018, brought in almost $2 million in sales in 2018, a negligible share in the current Pet Food category,” Andrews said. “Not long after its Wag launch, Amazon began offering its dry dog food under the Solimo private brand as well. Much of the on-page content is nearly identical but Solimo actually offers more A+ content and a cheaper equivalent to Wag.

“Whether this is an A/B test on Amazon’s part to identify the effects of small product differences on sales or a transition away from Wag is yet to be determined – but it does suggest that Amazon is not yet ready to challenge major pet food brands head-on while they still gather experimental data.”

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Demand for Sustainable Pet Products Is Up, and Most Firms Aren’t Prepared, Report Finds

225+ responses were collected from pet industry professionals.

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The World Pet Association and the Pet Sustainability Coalition have released a report focusing on sustainability in the pet sector, highlighting advancing business opportunities for environmentally and socially friendly pet product companies.

The report, analyzing over 225 responses from pet industry professionals, reveals a dramatic increase in demand for sustainable products, explores where companies are encountering roadblocks to successful sustainability programs, and examines what tools and resources are available within the industry.

Expectations are increasing, and fast

The data shows a dramatic increase in pressure on businesses to expand their responsibility strictly from shareholder value to now include demonstrating responsible treatment of communities and environments where they do business. The expansion in business accountability means that brands are held accountable not just for their own direct business practices, but also the practices of their tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 suppliers.

Current sustainability programs are ineffective

Only 23 percent of pet industry professionals rank their own sustainability program as effective, and 26 percent report that they have no sustainability program at all.

Support is needed to create success

This increase in accountability for businesses is fueling a need for more education to inform the industry about what is expected of them and where their current performance is, tools to ease implementation and collaborative opportunities particularly for small businesses that need more leverage to drive systematic improvement in areas that are too large for one company to change on its own.

Download the full report here: https://mailchi.mp/petsustainability.org/industryreport2019

PSC was founded in 2013 with the mission to advance business through environmental and social business practices.

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45-Store Pet Chain Acquired

Its 494 employees will be retained.

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Independent Pet Partners has acquired Chuck & Don’s, a pet supplies chain with 45 locations spread across four states, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

New York-based Independent Pet Partners plans to retain Chuck & Don’s 494 workers, according to the Business Journal.

Jeff David, CEO of Independent Pet Partners, was quoted saying the acquisition “gives IPP a valuable and strong brand that can help us continue to strive to make pet parenting simple, smart, social and fun.”

Founded in 1990, Chuck & Don’s has locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas and Colorado.

Its 2016 sales totaled nearly $68 million.

With this deal, Independent Pet Partners, which has purchased several pet chains, now has 160 stores across 12 states and Washington, D.C., the Business Journal reports.

Read more at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal

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