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Study Reveals 10 Most Pet-Friendly Airports in US

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




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.


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.”


More information on the study is available here.



Things Are Looking Good in the Pet Business … but Don’t Get Too Comfortable

PETS+'s marketing guru just wants to remind you that eventually, the upswing will become a downturn. When that happens, will you be ready?

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Here’s Why Pets Aren’t Getting the Vet Care They Need

The survey was conducted by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition.




In the past two years, nearly 28 percent of households experienced barriers to veterinary care, according to a new survey.

Dogs and cats living in lower-income households and with younger pet owners are most at risk for not receiving recommended care. The overwhelming barrier for all groups of pet owners and all types of care is financial, with 80 percent unable to obtain preventive care due to financial constraints, 74 percent for sick care, and 56 percent for emergency care.

The survey was conducted by the Access to Veterinary Care Coalition, a partnership of for-profit and nonprofit veterinary service providers, animal welfare and social service professionals, and educators, working in collaboration with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s College of Social Work.

“Lack of access to veterinary care is a complex societal problem with many causes,” said Michael Blackwell, chairman of the coalition, veterinarian, former dean of UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and director of the Program for Pet Health Equity. “This report furthers our understanding of these complex and interrelated issues and can guide stakeholders in the development of solutions to reach underserved families with pets. Barriers to veterinary care can be mitigated through determined effort and better alignment of existing resources to achieve this outcome.”

The coalition’s report Access to Veterinary Care: Barriers, Current Practices, and Public Policy identifies the need for better solutions that allow more people to obtain veterinary care.

The study confirmed that veterinary service providers recognize the severity of the problem and feel a commitment to explore ways to address it. The highest level of agreement expressed by veterinarians in the survey was in response to the statement: “All pets deserve some level of veterinary care.” Almost all respondents — 95 percent — either agreed or strongly agreed with the statement. Nearly nine out of 10 respondents indicated they agreed or strongly agreed that owned pets are a member of the family. Similarly, 87 percent agreed that not being able to obtain needed veterinary care impacts the owner’s mental and emotional health.

The report also includes results of research that focuses on pet owners experiencing housing insecurity; technical reports from experts on pets as family, evolving animal welfare laws, public health, and for-profit and nonprofit veterinary practices; and a discussion of issues and attitudes that are relevant to access to care in veterinary practice.

The study was commissioned through a grant from Maddie’s Fund, a national family foundation created by Dave and Cheryl Duffield to revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals, to better understand the barriers faced by pet owners across the socioeconomic spectrum.

“This is a critical report for the future of the veterinary profession and the animals we made an oath to help,” said Dr. Laurie Peek, of the Maddie’s Fund Executive Leadership Team. “It will truly revolutionize the status and well-being of companion animals.”

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Merck Expands Animal Health Division with $2.4B Acquisition

It’s buying Antelliq.




KENILWORTH, NJ, and VITRÉ, FRANCE — Merck plans to acquire Antelliq, a company focused on digital animal identification, traceability and monitoring solutions, in a $2.4 billion deal.

Antelliq’s solutions help veterinarians, farmers and pet owners gather data to improve management, health and well-being of livestock and pets. The company will be a wholly owned and separately operated subsidiary within the Merck Animal Health Division.

“Merck Animal Health is a leader in the animal health business and has delivered consistent above-market growth driven by a broad portfolio of innovative pharmaceuticals, vaccines and other value-added technologies and services,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “Antelliq’s people and products complement this portfolio by adding market-leading digital products, extending the range of solutions we can provide our customers and further driving the growth of our business. This acquisition is well aligned with our strategy to generate long-term growth and sustainable value for our customers and shareholders.”

Stefan Weiskopf, CEO of Antelliq, added: “Merck has a strong and growing animal health business, and we are delighted that our superior offering of technology, products and services, as well as our global relationships, together with Merck, will bring additional value to our customers. With more than 60 years of experience, we are constantly re-imagining animal care to improve the quality of life for animals and for the people who care for them.”

Rick DeLuca, president of Merck Animal Health, stated: “The animal health industry is rapidly evolving with revolutionary digital solutions to manage the health and well-being of livestock and companion animals. Animal identification, animal monitoring and smart data management are critical components of this transformative technology. This acquisition represents yet another way that we will ensure our place as a leader in animal health, with a substantial and sustainable position, including the most innovative, technological solutions to serve our customers.”

Merck is buying Antelliq from funds advised by BC Partners. The deal is subject to clearance by antitrust and competition law authorities and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Antelliq was previously known as Allflex Group.

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Pet Supplies Plus Acquired by Private Equity Firm

The company has 448 stores.




NEW YORK – Pet Supplies Plus, the third-largest pet specialty chain in the U.S., has been acquired by private equity firm Sentinel Capital Partners.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Livonia, MI, PSP is a leading franchisor and operator of pet-specialty stores.

Serving 33 states, PSP’s system includes 448 stores, split evenly between franchised and company-owned locations. The company is billed as the largest “independent” pet-specialty operator in the country.

“PSP is the #1 pet franchise system in the U.S. with an expanding footprint and a large white-space opportunity,” said Marc Buan, a Sentinel principal. “The pet industry is very attractive due to its stability, growth, and passionate consumer base. PSP has a strong position in the pet retail segment and a very loyal customer base. Led by a highly committed and talented management team, PSP has delivered consistent performance and steady growth. We are excited to partner with PSP during the next phase of its growth.”

Chris Rowland, CEO of Pet Supplies Plus, said, “PSP combines the convenience, expertise, and high-touch experience of a local neighborhood pet store with the curated selection and value of a national player. We look forward to partnering with Sentinel, a firm with deep franchising expertise, to help us drive revenue growth and geographic expansion.”

Sentinel has broad experience investing in franchise businesses. Sentinel has acquired 13 franchise investments in its history, including:

  • Border Foods, a franchisee in the Taco Bell system.
  • Captain D’s, a franchisor and operator of more than 500 Captain D’s seafood restaurants.
  • Checkers, a franchisor and operator of dual drive-thru quick service restaurants.
  • Cottman Transmission Systems, a franchisor of automotive transmission centers.
  • Falcon Holdings, the largest franchisee of Church’s Chicken restaurants.
  • Fazoli’s, a regional franchisor and operator of Italian fast-casual restaurants.
  • Interim Healthcare, the nation’s largest provider of home healthcare and supplemental healthcare staffing services Huddle House, a franchisor of family dining restaurants.
  • Massage Envy, the nation’s largest franchisor of therapeutic massage services.
  • Newk’s Eatery, a franchisor and operator of fast-casual restaurants in the Southeast.
  • Southern California Pizza Company, the exclusive Pizza Hut franchisee in the greater Los Angeles market.
  • TGI Fridays, a global franchisor and operator of iconic American-style bar and grill restaurants.
  • Tony Roma’s, a franchisor of casual dining restaurants.

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