Upcoming Issue Highlights

Reigning Cats & Dogs

Pet Health Pet Health
Phase 2

Natural products to make pets feel like royalty.

With 95 percent of pet owners considering their pets to be part of the family, it’s no wonder animal lovers are taking the natural route, stocking their cabinets with the highest quality of natural pet food and supplements.

Pet owners are making great efforts to adjust their budgets in order to keep their pets healthy and happy.

One of the reasons the market for natural pet products is growing could be because Millennials are putting off having children, while Baby Boomers are finding themselves with an empty house. This notion comes from Judy Morgan, who authored several pet health books including From Needles to Natural: Learning Holistic Pet Healing and What’s for Dinner Dexter? Cooking for Your Dog Using Chinese Medicine Theory. She also developed her own Wellness Formula line for pets, made of safe, natural ingredients.

Morgan said that today, we are at the fastest growing segment of the pet food and pet health markets, with periodontal disease as the biggest health concern for pets.

“Over eight percent of pets have periodontal disease by age three. Only 20 percent of dog owners and 11 percent of cat owners brush their pet’s teeth,” she said. “Pet owners are looking for easy ways to avoid having their pets put under general anesthesia while keeping the mouth healthy, which is why I developed the Dental Drops product.”

Another big concern is cancer. Statistics show that one in three pets will develop cancer in their lifetime; therefore manufacturers are seeking products that could help improve immune system function and provide antioxidants, therefore prompting the production of Morgan’s Wellness Formula.

In addition to cancer, companion animals are susceptible to many of the same conditions as humans. For instance, animals also need to support seasonal immune balance, digestive health, and normal joint function and mobility. They also need to alleviate the effects of common stressors.

High Quality Nutrition—Healthy Animal

Pets Category Manager of Illinois-based NOW, Regina Flight, said, “Pet heath, apart from conditions genetically predisposed by breed, is largely determined by the food and nutrients they consume, the amount of exercise they get and exposure to toxins. As with humans, the higher the quality of nutrition, the healthier the animal. As consumers have begun using a wider range of supplements to support their own health, the obvious progression is to extend that to their families, including the furry ones. And, as with supplements targeted to humans, condition-specific formulas are more ‘user friendly’ and therefore more likely to be successful.”

While the range of quality pet options has widened in recent years, most commercially available pet food is highly processed. So while these products may provide a balanced caloric diet, the essential micronutrient and nutritional components may be lacking, which is why Flight believes that supplement users made the connection between nutritional quality and their pet’s health, creating a demand for nutritional supplements for companion animals.

She said, “Consumers want the best for their pets, but can’t usually justify spending unlimited money. The sweet spot for these consumers is offering quality products at an affordable price.”

While food choices are made for convenience or cost reasons, they are not exactly healthy choices for pets. Barbara Royal, a noted holistic veterinarian who formulates the NOW Pets supplement line stressed that highly processed foods can cause the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract to become unbalanced and can stress the immune system.

“If pets are not properly absorbing appropriate nutrients, it can predispose them to troublesome health issues and less than optimal functioning of many organ systems,” she said. “Since we must do everything we can do to support all of these systems to help the body maintain health, well-designed nutritional supplements make sense.”

Probiotics for Pets

Retailer Tom Donnelly, owner of Autumn Harvest in Scotch Plains, NJ, emphasizes to his customers the importance of raw meat for cats and dogs. “Cats and dogs are from the wild and that’s what they are eating out there,” he said. “The raw meat is unique. It’s more pricey but people who get into animals see it’s the best way to go. More and more people seem to be coming aware of it and seeing the logic in it. It makes sense.”

However, for consumers who do use processed pet food, Donnelly recommends probiotics and enzymes, as inflammation comes from the gut and eating processed foods could cause kidney problems and arthritis.

Because our pets can suffer from a variety of ailments as a result of poor gut health, Hyperbiotics set out to develop an effective, easy way to administer a probiotic formula for cats and dogs, with strains resident to the animal gut, like lactobacillus acidophilus, lactobacillus plantarum, lactobacillus reuteri, Bifidobacterium longum, Bifidobacterium lactis and enterococcus faecium.

PRO-Pets is a tiny, beef-flavored, pearl-size probiotic that delivers live organisms deep into the digestive tract to provide animals with the necessary beneficial bacteria for optimal immune and digestive health. PRO-Pets formula uses BIO-tract, a patented delivery method that shields the probiotics from stomach acids and directs them to release over an eight- to 10-hour period in the intestines.

“Our formula is 15 times more effective than standard capsule probiotics on the market,” said Jamie Morea, “gut health evangelist” and co-founder of Hyperbiotics.

PRO-Pets also utilizes a patented manufacturing process called LiveBac that protects the beneficial organisms while in the bottle and ensures a long shelf life of 18 months without the need for refrigeration.

Hyperbiotics is interested in studies that demonstrate the effects of probiotics on the health of both dogs and cats; and compelled by studies that focus on the various ecological niches of the animal gut microbiome, and how a variety of probiotic strains help fill the gaps, bring symbiosis to the body, and positively influence overall health of pets.

“We look for research that demonstrates probiotics’ ability to support pets’ digestive and immune health, as well as studies that show how replenishing our pets’ microbiome can lead to significant improvements in their health, such as reduced stress, increased energy, a healthy metabolism and weight, and improved digestive function,” Morea said.

Hemp for Dogs—Joint Health, Anxiety and Itchy Skin

While probiotics are trending on the market, retailer George Panagos Jr., owner of Health Haven Market in Hainesport, NJ, said he sees products leaning in a different direction. “To me, it’s more joint relief than probiotic,” he said. “The biggest health concern for pets is joint health, more than anything.”

Therabis’ hemp-based cannabinoid products help dogs with itching, anxiety, and joint mobility. Hemp is one of the most significant trends in pet health products, according to Kurt Forstmann, Therabis’ director of hemp products.

By law, hemp has less than three percent THC—the psychoactive drug in marijuana. Therefore, it doesn’t get pets “high” and is legal to buy, sell and ship throughout the United States.

“No one wants to see their pet hurting,” said Forstmann. “And it can be truly heart-breaking to watch a pet struggle with what used to be its favorite activities. Arthritis, due to aging, or recovery after an injury can lead to inflammation, pain, and immobility.”

Therabis formulated Up and Moving with ingredients that provide powerful mobility support: green lipped mussel; vitamin C; chromium; hemp powder; and cannabinoids, a naturally occurring constituent of hemp.

While joint health is the biggest concern in Paganos Jr.’s store, he said that Health Haven Market is also big on calming product sales, especially for dogs to calm down while riding in cars.

Forstmann of Therabis agreed that many pets experience stress or anxiety. He said, “For some this is merely situational … a ride in the car, a trip to the vet, fireworks, etc. While that may be normal, there are options for owners who want to help their pet through these acute instances of situational anxiety.”

Therabis makes a calming product that can address those situations. Calm and Quiet can help dogs relax during a car ride, and the product destresses dogs with fear of thunder or fireworks, as well as separation anxiety. Calm and Quiet is formulated with L-theanine and whole-plant cannabinoids from hemp.

In addition to being a stellar product for dogs’ joint health and anxiety, hemp also plays a role in soothing a dog with itchy skin. Therabis’ Stop the Itch is made from a combination of whole-plant cannabinoids, bromelain and quercetin, which protects cells from oxidative stress and helps ease the torment of itching and scratching.

“It’s interesting,” said Forstmann, “a pet’s inflammation system affects its skin as well as its joints. Defects in the inflammation system can cause too much histamine to be released and/or an unnecessary histamine release. This excess histamine can cause uncontrollable scratching, to the point of fur loss or blood draw … dry skin and/or a sparse coat.”

Many considerations go into developing Therabis products to ensure they will help pets with both chronic/constant conditions and acute/temporary situations. What is considered includes the need for product; common ailments; ingredient blend effectiveness, like what will create the most powerful entourage effect when combined with hemp CBD; and taste palatability, as pets should like the taste so that they don’t even realize they are taking medicine.

Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals

King Bio has also created a line of natural pet products that pets can take without the tricks, treats and traps. Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals are taste-free and water-based medications. They are easy to use by simply pouring one half measuring teaspoon into a pet’s water bowl once daily. Pets will drink the appropriate amount of medicine for its size. Homeopathic medicines have no recorded harmful side effects.

Dr. Frank King, founder and president of King Bio in North Carolina, said that the Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals line packaging features condition-specific product names, listing specific symptoms for relief and correction. Their floor displays attract the attention of customers so they can pick the specific products to meet the needs of their pet—also known as their four-legged family member.

The features of Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals that consumers value are that they are taste-free, easy to administer, and natural, according to Dana M. Stevens, event and international coordinator, King Bio.

“Specifically, I hear people talk about having their animal on kitty/doggie Xanax and they want a natural alternative,” Stevens said. “The same for arthritic senior pets who get regular shots.”

Because Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals are a simple, taste-free additive, pet parents don’t have to worry about having to trick or traumatize their pet in order to administer pet medication. “Pets that take pills catch on quickly to the ‘treat’ trick, the hot dog trick and the cheese trick,” she said.

At trade shows, the most common pet health problem Stevens hears about are skin ailments. “Pet parents tell me about trying solutions, such as medications, food and environmental changes,” she said. “People become desperate to find comfort for their pet, so when they see our affordable, safe, natural medicine, I see a lot of hope and gratitude. And it’s great to see the testimonials follow.”

Neil Collie, Western region sales manager, USA and sales manager, Canada with King Bio, agreed that “natural” is huge. “Major chains are now placing pet sections in stores, something many leading independents have had for years. Consumers are moving away from conventional products, and natural is a big growth category.”

Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals has products for dogs to treat the following ailments: allergies; anxiety and stress; appetite and weight; digestive upsets; muscle, joint, and arthritis; skin and itch; and teeth and gums.

Products for cats include: anxiety and stress; skin and itch; teeth and gums; and urinary tract irritations.

Purr-fect Health

King Bio’s Natural Pet Pharmaceuticals are not just for dogs. They also carry several products that address feline health issues.

According to WebMD, problems that affect a cat’s lower urinary system often prevent the bladder from emptying correctly or may even cause fatal blockage of the urethra. Very often the culprit is feline lower urinary tract disease.

Urinary infections are a common problem for cats that could be caused by a variety of things like stones, crystals or debris accumulation in the bladder or urethra; urethral plug (accumulation of debris from urine); bladder inflammation or infection; incontinence from excessive water drinking or weak bladder; injury to, or tumor in, the urinary tract; stress; spinal cord problems; and/or congenital abnormality.

Dr. King’s Natural Pet Pharmaceutical Cat: Urinary Tract Irritations relieves symptoms associated with urinary tract irritations/infections such as frequent urination, dribbling, painful urination, straining to urinate and incontinence.

As mentioned earlier, teeth and gums are another problem cat owners are all too familiar with. Clean, sharp teeth and healthy gums are important for cats. Damage to the tongue, teeth, palate and gums could lead to health risks for felines. Dr. King’s Natural Pet Pharmaceutical Cat: Teeth & Gums relieves cats of common oral health symptoms such as bad breath, tartar, tooth decay and unhealthy, bleeding gums.

Like dogs, cats can also develop skin problems. Dr. King’s covers that with its Pet Pharmaceuticals Cat: Skin & Itch product, which relieves irritated, red, burning, itchy, dry, rough, scaly, chapped or cracked skin; flea bite dermatitis, hot spots, excessive gnawing or licking, skin eruptions, hair loss and generally unhealthy skin.

Finally, getting stressed out is not just a dog issue. Cats are no strangers to tensing up when exposed to loud noise—or the anxiety of a car trip to the vet.

Pet Pharmaceuticals Cat: Anxiety and Stress relieves stress-licking, restlessness accompanied by pacing and panting, nervousness, aggression, hyper excitability, loss of appetite, listlessness, fearfulness, being easily startled and neurotic behaviors. VR

For More Information:
Hyperbiotics, (800) 711-5958
Judy Morgan, judy@drjudymorgan.com
King Bio, (800) 543-3245
NOW Foods, (888) 669-3663
Therabis, (888) 547-9194

Extra! Extra!

Autism Hope AllianceNorth American Herb & Spice