News last update:6 Aug 2012

Pet food becomes even more tailored

Consumers can already buy food specially made for old and young dogs, large and small dogs and dogs battling the bulge. Now comes food and treats based on a dog's lifestyle, bite strength and breeding.

Pet food manufacturee Royal Canin launched what it says is the first "lifestyle" dog food, for small dogs who live indoors. The food is lower in fat to battle obesity and has a little something extra to reduce stool odors, says spokeswoman Ann Hudson. The company has nine dog foods specially made for certain breeds, including products introduced last year for Shih Tzus, dachshunds and Chihuahuas. While a Labrador retriever benefits from more protein and less fat to battle obesity, the picky-eating Chihuahua needs flavor enhancers. The poodle gets sulfur-containing amino acids to help hair curl, and the square-jawed bulldog gets an 
S-shaped kibble for easier grasping.

Dog food and treat sales will be $10 billion this year in the USA, says researcher Euromonitor International. Premium dog food is expected to account for 50% of US dog food revenue this year, up from 35% in 1998, it says.

Texas veterinarian Bob Rogers urges consumer caution. Some foods are based on excellent science, but others are just marketing-driven, he says. "I don't know who to believe," he says.

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