Tag Archives: Omega-3

We Tested it On You, So It’s Probably OK for Your Pet

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.

photo 1

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.



Why Dogs Aren’t Great Marketers

I’m back after a short blog sabbatical.  This post is in honor of Nigel’s 10th birthday.


Sorry, Nigel, I love you but you suck as a marketer.  Sure, you have an unreal sense of smell – – you can smell me silently unpeeling a banana from another floor of the house so you might get a little piece of the action.  And you’ve told me many times that this or that ad campaign really stinks.  So far so good.

But, and I hate to break this to you, buddy, you’re color-blind.  You couldn’t tell a green biscuit from a red one from a brown one.  (That’s why I never present you with more than one at a time – – with no way to tell them apart, you’d starve before you made a choice).

Anyway, by being color-blind  you miss a key differentiator that can make or break a product – – COLOR.

Humans, on the other hand, are attentive to differences in color, and that makes a huge difference.
– color not only calls attention to a single product in a crowded field, it is a strong mnemonic reminder to aid in brand recall, and can even convey desirable qualities about a brand.  In short, color can mean a LOT, even if in itself it has no bearing on product performance.

This is before you were born, but there was a time where products in a category all looked alike.

– before 1956, all fiberglass insulation was yellow – but then Owens-Corning dyed theirs pink to differentiate from the competition, in 1964 hired the Pink Panther, and the rest, as they say, is history.  They redefined what this category looks like and BECAME DIFFERENT (sorry for yelling.  I’m not mad).  More than 50 years later, they’re still leveraging the color Pink.   Along the way they got trademark protection for pink in this category.  On the other hand, Pepto-Bismol, another pink icon, was unsuccessful in protecting pink for the antacid category.

– If you did have full color sensitivity, Nigel, stopped ‘grooming’ yourself and picked your head up and looked around, you’d see lots of examples of where color has helped differentiate products.
– green in tractors (John Deere), teal in luxury jewelry (Tiffany), brown in package delivery (Brown, er, UPS, – – even if they’ve now moved on)

john-deere-tractor-1UPS Tiffany1





I’ve noticed a few myself.

MegaRed Krill Oil – -in a sea of sameness in fish oils (all honey-colored capsules), maker Schiff came out with a variation (krill) and underscored that difference by not only coloring their product and package red, but extending it to the name itself.  I’m not sure if it’s any different from a functional standpoint, but it definitely has made a mark in this crowded field by being different.

MegaRedFish oil pills

Christian Louboutin Shoes – – ok, you may be a little closer to this (literally) than me, but designer Christian Louboutin has staked a position in the market by coloring the soles of his namesake high heels bright red.  Apparently this made enough of a difference that he was in court with Yves St Laurent regarding whether this design can be protected.  Regardless of the outcome, red soles in this category have been permanently associated with Louboutin, and have drawn significant attention to his brand in a crowded field.

Louboutin shoes

And differentiation, my friend, is what it’s all about.  Don’t ever forget to think about color next time you’re taking potshots at this or that product when we’re shopping at PetSmart.