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You Can Now Use Facial Recognition Tech to Find a Lost Pet

App has reunited 15,000 pets with their owners.

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People who are desperately looking for their lost pet have a new tool at their disposal.

It’s an app called Finding Rover that uses facial recognition to help find lost animals, ABC News reports.

You upload a picture of your cat or dog, and the app evaluates it against a database of found or rescued pets. The database includes more than 1 million animals, according to ABC News.

John Polimeno, founder of the app, told the news outlet that it’s “reunited over 15,000 pets with their owners” so far.

In evaluating for a match, it examines a number of features, such as fur color and space between the eyes.

More than 600 animals shelter in the U.S. and Canada, along with Australia, are using the app.

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Debra Rahl of Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter told ABC’s Good Morning America: “We struggled with the lost and found here until we’ve started to use this tool.”

Read more at the ABC News

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The Real Reason Mars Inc. Loves the Pet Care Business

It’s known historically for candy but increasingly makes its money in pet care.

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Mars Inc., which is well known for candy brands such as M&M’s, is staking much of its future to its pet care business, Bloomberg reports.

Pet care now accounts for about half of the company’s business, CEO Grant Reid told the news outlet. Among the McLean, VA-based company’s brands are Whiskas and Pedigree.

The pet care industry may be a good refuge for privately held Mars as increasingly health-conscious consumers turn away from sugary treats, Bloomberg reports.

The company “avoids marketing [its candy] to children and was the first to place nutrition labels on the front of packaging,” according to the article.

That’s “the right thing to do,” Reid said, noting that “we want to be transparent.”

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There’s also synergy in that candy and many pet care products are sold at similar retail points, Bloomberg notes.

Mars has grown its pet care business in part through acquisitions. In January 2017, for example, it announced that it was paying more than $9 billion for VCA Inc., a company that operates animal hospitals.

Read more at the Bloomberg

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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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