I had the pleasure of attending a brand new trade show – Petfood 2.0 – in Chicago recently.
Not surprisingly, this show is still getting its furry legs under it – – a very manageable group of 35 disparate exhibitors made for a quick and interesting, if not yet cohesive, experience.
Overall, though, a larger theme presented itself:
Following thousands of years of dogs serving man, the tables have turned.
Man now serves dog.
Exhibit 1: Hemp for Pets.
Now available from our friends at HempMeds, is a line of products made from hemp to benefit your pets. aNew™ Pet Nutrition‘s products provide essential fatty acids (EFA – – Omega-3 and -6) and are made from a blend of hemp seed oil and raw hemp stalk oil (which is rich in cannabidiol – CBD). EFAs, as we know, are highly beneficial – – just don’t ask the industry to agree on what the top benefits are.
This innovation in pet health could not have been possible without the committed testing of hemp products by millions of Americans in the 1960s and 1970s. So while the outcome of all that testing is up for discussion, your cat or dog is possibly benefiting now from what you did in college then.
OK, that’s not accurate.
While hemp is illegal to grow in the US, it is perfectly legal to import any part of the hemp plant in all 50 states.
And while the prospect of Fifi or Rover lying on his or her back contemplating the ceiling tiles for hours on end and giggling is intriguing, these products contain virtually no THC – the active ingredient that makes marijuana psychoactive.
Although it would be interesting to see if Nigel would behave any differently with the munchies. Doubtful.
Exhibit 2: Functional ingredients for pets – – it worked on Man, so it’s probably safe for Rover.
We long ago realized that we could do better than feeding our pets Ol’ Roy (WalMart). Thus emerged added value feed (e.g. Iams, Eukanuba, Science Diet, etc), offering different formulas for large breeds, older pets, etc. as well as some medical needs.
Meanwhile, human foods and beverages have increasingly been stuffed with a dizzying array of functional ingredients, many of which have no empirical basis in efficacy. But we humans have shown that we’re willing to buy them anyway. What did Charles Revson say about hope?
Based on this massively-scaled test market on mankind, it apparently has been deemed that animal-kind is now ready to safely ingest all sorts of functional ingredients that may or may not actually ever benefit them.
Incorporating things like ancient grains, fiber, medium-chain triglycerides, probiotics and ionic trace minerals, your pet can now get benefits heretofore only considered for the human species (notwithstanding hairballs and a healthy coat).
One company, PetNaturals of Vermont, offers products to address the following areas:
– Agility, Antioxidant, Bladder Support, Breath, Calming, Daily Multivitamin, Digestion, Hip & Joint, Immunity, Slim-down, Urine pH balance (really – to avoid yellow spots on the lawn), Periodontal health, Fecal function, and Skin/Coat health.
You dog and cat owners will probably recognize some of the benefit areas in the products below.
We live in a world where the things we eat promise magical powers to fix whatever marketers insist needs fixing. And regardless of the effectiveness, manufacturers have made a tidy business catering to hope.
Now, due to the significant sacrifice, expense and effort expended in testing on humans, our pets will soon be able to have their diets enhanced, and your wallet may end up just a little lighter. So when your pet looks up as if to say ‘Thanks, Man’, now you know what’s going through that little brain.
I have no doubt that many of these ingredients can provide real benefits to some of the 150 million dogs and cats out there.
Except I’m not believing anything that promises intelligence to an Irish Setter.