News 195 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Low calorie petfood takes off

Pet food low in calories and fat is gaining popularity in Japan following reports that a growing number of indoor dogs tend to become overweight and face the risk of metabolic syndrome, just like humans.

According to data from Japanese veterinary hospitals 20 to 30% of the dogs they examined were overweight, because many dog owners give their animals snacks and food between meals. A survey conducted by the Japan Pet Food Manufacturers Association last year showed that 61.9% of the dog owners keep their dogs indoors all the time. This, combined with surplus of food, has boosted the prevalence of obesities. Many petfood companies are therefore developing pet food which is low in calorie and fats.

Last November, Japanese company Kao started marketing a pet food it says keeps dogs from getting fat. The company said low-calorie oil is used to make the chow, which is priced at 1,554 yen per kg (€10/kg), or about three times the cost for regular dog food. Pet Care Corp. is selling dog food that contains about 20% less fat and about 10% less calories than its conventional dog food. The firm said sales have been growing about 10% a year. Lion Trading Co. began marketing an improved "zero fat snack" in January and reported that sales have been rising more than 10% since last year. It said the snack includes ingredients necessary to burn fats in the body as energy.

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