Newsbites

The Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020

by American Kennel Club on March 31, 2021

Is your dog’s breed winning popularity contests this year? Now you can find out! The most popular dog breeds of 2020 were released on March 16, 2021, based on American Kennel Club registration statistics.

America continues its love affair with the Labrador Retriever which tops the list for the 30th year in a row. Just below the Lab, the Frenchie takes the #2 spot, ranking above the German Shepherd Dog and Golden Retriever for the first time. And the Dachshund makes its way into the top 10 this year, knocking the Pembroke Welsh Corgi down to #11.

Some breeds rose in popularity, including the Belgian Malinois, which jumped from 60th in 2014 to 37th this year. Some breeds declined in popularity, even the adorable Coton de Tulear, which dropped 50 spots from 31 to 81, and the Boerbel, which declined almost 60 spots.

Like clothing styles and baby names, dog breeds go in and out of style. It’s likely that pop culture plays a large role in preferences. In fact, a study from the University of Bristol, City University of New York, and Western Carolina University found that movies, specifically durably popular ones, play a large role in breed popularity. For most of the twentieth century, even the breed’s temperament, health, and longevity played less of a role in selecting a dog than did association with a popular film.

The study used registration statistics from the AKC to compile and analyze the data. But there are more substantial reasons that dog registration is important. The AKC is the only purebred dog registry in the United States, maintaining systematic investigations and inspections. The AKC conducts thousands of inspections each year to ensure compliance with standards that support the safety, welfare, and health of dogs throughout the country. Additionally, the American Kennel Club and its affiliates have donated over $38 million to canine health research and $7 million to pet disaster relief.

2020 Most Popular Dog Breeds Rankings

Breed 2020 Rank
Retrievers (Labrador) 1
French Bulldogs 2
German Shepherd Dogs 3
Retrievers (Golden)  4
Bulldogs 5
Poodles  6
Beagles 7
Rottweilers 8
Pointers (German Shorthaired) 9
Dachshunds 10
Pembroke Welsh Corgis 11
Australian Shepherds 12
Yorkshire Terriers 13
Boxers 14
Great Danes 15
Siberian Huskies 16
Cavalier King Charles Spaniels 17
Doberman Pinschers 18
Miniature Schnauzers 19
Shih Tzu 20
Boston Terriers 21
Bernese Mountain Dogs 22
Pomeranians 23
Havanese 24
Cane Corso 25
Spaniels (English Springer) 26
Shetland Sheepdogs 27
Brittanys 28
Pugs 29
Spaniels (Cocker) 30
Miniature American Shepherds 31
Border Collies 32
Mastiffs 33
Chihuahuas 34
Vizslas 35
Basset Hounds 36
Belgian Malinois 37
Maltese 38
Weimaraners 39
Collies 40
Newfoundlands 41
Rhodesian Ridgebacks 42
Shiba Inu 43
West Highland White Terriers 44
Bichons Frises 45
Bloodhounds 46
Spaniels (English Cocker) 47
Akitas 48
Portuguese Water Dogs 49
Retrievers (Chesapeake Bay) 50
Dalmatians 51
St. Bernards 52
Papillons 53
Australian Cattle Dogs 54
Bullmastiffs 55
Samoyeds 56
Scottish Terriers 57
Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers 58
Whippets 59
Pointers (German Wirehaired) 60
Chinese Shar-Pei 61
Airedale Terriers 62
Wirehaired Pointing Griffons 63
Bull Terriers 64
Alaskan Malamutes 65
Cardigan Welsh Corgis 66
Giant Schnauzers 67
Old English Sheepdogs 68
Italian Greyhounds 69
Great Pyrenees 70
Dogues de Bordeaux 71
Russell Terriers 72
Cairn Terriers 73
Irish Wolfhounds 74
Setters (Irish) 75
Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs 76
Miniature Pinschers 77
Lhasa Apsos 78
Chinese Crested 79
Coton de Tulear 80
Staffordshire Bull Terriers 81
American Staffordshire Terriers 82
Rat Terriers 83
Chow Chows 84
Anatolian Shepherd Dogs 85
Basenjis 86
Spaniels (Boykin) 87
Lagotti Romagnoli 88
Brussels Griffons 89
Retrievers (Nova Scotia Duck Tolling) 90
Norwegian Elkhounds 91
Standard Schnauzers 92
Dogo Argentinos 93
Bouviers des Flandres 94
Pekingese 95
Keeshonden 96
Border Terriers 97
Leonbergers 98
Tibetan Terriers 99
Neapolitan Mastiffs 100
Setters (English) 101
Retrievers (Flat-Coated) 102
Borzois 103
Fox Terriers (Wire) 104
Miniature Bull Terriers 105
Belgian Tervuren 106
Setters (Gordon) 107
Silky Terriers 108
Norwich Terriers 109
Spinoni Italiani 110
Japanese Chin 111
Welsh Terriers 112
Toy Fox Terriers 113
Schipperkes 114
Parson Russell Terriers 115
Pointers 116
Belgian Sheepdogs 117
Tibetan Spaniels 118
American Eskimo Dogs 119
Irish Terriers 120
Beaucerons 121
Afghan Hounds 122
Boerboels 123
Fox Terriers (Smooth) 124
Bearded Collies 125
Black Russian Terriers 126
Black and Tan Coonhounds 127
Spaniels (Welsh Springer) 128
American Hairless Terriers 129
Norfolk Terriers 130
Xoloitzcuintli 131
Manchester Terriers 132
Kerry Blue Terriers 133
Australian Terriers 134
Spaniels (Clumber) 135
Lakeland Terriers 136
Bluetick Coonhounds 137
English Toy Spaniels 138
German Pinschers 139
Tibetan Mastiffs 140
Bedlington Terriers 141
Greyhounds 142
Pulik 143
Salukis 144
Barbets 145
Redbone Coonhounds 146
Swedish Vallhunds 147
Sealyham Terriers 148
Spanish Water Dogs 149
Briards 150
Berger Picards 151
Entlebucher Mountain Dogs 152
Treeing Walker Coonhounds 153
Icelandic Sheepdogs 154
Wirehaired Vizslas 155
Pumik 156
Portuguese Podengo Pequenos 157
Spaniels (American Water) 158
Retrievers (Curly-Coated) 159
Spaniels (Field) 160
Lowchen 161
Nederlandse Kooikerhondjes 162
Affenpinschers 163
Petits Bassets Griffons Vendeens 164
Finnish Lapphunds 165
Scottish Deerhounds 166
Plott Hounds 167
Norwegian Buhunds 168
Glen of Imaal Terriers 169
Setters (Irish Red and White) 170
Ibizan Hounds 171
Spaniels (Sussex) 172
Bergamasco Sheepdogs 173
Spaniels (Irish Water) 174
Polish Lowland Sheepdogs 175
Otterhounds 176
Kuvaszok 177
Komondorok 178
Cirnechi dell’Etna 179
Pharaoh Hounds 180
Dandie Dinmont Terriers 181
Pyrenean Shepherds 182
Skye Terriers 183
Canaan Dogs 184
American English Coonhounds 185
Chinooks 186
Finnish Spitz 187
Grand Basset Griffon Vendeens 188
Sloughis 189
Harriers 190
Cesky Terriers 191
American Foxhounds 192
Azawakhs 193
English Foxhounds 194
Norwegian Lundehunds 195
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American Kennel ClubThe Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020

Why Pet Retailers Should Carry Life-Stage Specific Products

by Lisa Fimberg on March 5, 2021

All pet parents know that there are fundamental differences between owning a puppy and a senior dog.  As puppies age into their middle and adult stages of life, they require different food and toys.  And similarly, senior dogs need specialized food and treats for their age. Life stage-specific products, food, toys and even treats are designed for these different life phases.

There are some pet products that can cater to all ages, but there are many foods, toys and treats that are better suited for a specific stage of a pet’s life.  Therefore, pet retailers can benefit by having these specific food choices and products available.  It can be both beneficial for your customers as well as a boon for the store.

The Benefits of Aged-Based Products

There are essentially four stages of life in both dogs and cats: puppy and kittenhood, adolescence, adulthood and then the senior years.  Experts agree that the most important phase for specific nutrition and care is the first phase or when pets are first born.  Puppies and kittens need the most nutrients and vitamins to help them grow as well as strengthen their bones.

On the other hand, once kittens and puppies become adults, their metabolisms slow down so they need fewer calories.  To help combat obesity, the pet food that is geared toward adult dogs and cats has fewer calories and carbohydrates.

As pets reach their senior years, their diets need to be more focused on food that can help strengthen their joints, immune systems as well as their cognitive functioning.  Older pets tend to need more protein and fewer calories.

The toys and treats that accompany these different phases of life can be equally important.  For example, senior pets could benefit from cognitive puzzles where puppies might need more toys designed for chewing.

How Stores Can Benefit from the Stages of Life Options

Your store can capitalize on this trend by having the different phases of life products available for your customers.  You might have a new puppy owner who also has a senior dog at home and purchases food and toys for both.  Get all the furry family members in one shop!

Many pet parents are loyal to their neighborhood stores and want to forge a long-term relationship with these stores.  By carrying all the life phases, both food and products, it can create customer loyalty.  A customer who purchased a puppy from you can stay with your store as their pup grows up and gets older.

Look for brands that carry all stages of life

If your store carries the different life stage products, it can be a good way to establish relationships with the brands that offer treats, toys and food for all ages and types of pets.  It can further be a way to tap into that market and keep those suppliers busy.

The trend is not going away anytime soon as pet parents are much more in tune and educated on the different needs of their pets as they age.  The brands have been doing so for years to cater to the increased demand of life-stage products.   

Shelf space might need to be modified

Depending on the size of your store, the disadvantage is that your store might not have the shelf space to carry all the different life-stage products.  Of course, just as you roll out any new food or product, keep note of how your customers respond to your selections.

Maybe your store only needs to carry puppy and adult phases of life food and products with just a few senior products.  The spending patterns of your consumers will be the ultimate judge of which food and products are the most important to keep.

Once your store decides on the best products and approach, you can market these life-phase products accordingly.   In store signage, flyers, email marketing and social media can help your consumers know about the different phase of life products that you carry.   

If your store needs help with in-store collateral, social media posts or window signage, our marketing team is ready to help.   Contact our Success Team to learn more about our marketing services: successteam@thirdpartypet.com. 

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Lisa FimbergWhy Pet Retailers Should Carry Life-Stage Specific Products

Pet Obesity Rates Rise During the Pandemic

by Lisa Fimberg on February 26, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the pet industry.  With most people working from home, the number of dogs and cats purchased and adopted saw a huge surge in the last ten months.  While that was a ray of sunshine in the otherwise dismal news, pet owners have showered their pets with extra love and treats which has increased pet obesity rates.

It is certainly understandable.  It’s hard to get work done when a hungry cat or interfering dog gets in your way on Zoom meetings!

A new study reveals that pets have gained weight during Covid-19

Since many pet parents are feeding their pets extra treats, veterinarians say this can be a cause for concern as pet obesity rates rise. A recent study from Hill’s Pet Nutrition  says that one-third of pet owners report that their animals have gained weight during the pandemic.

Obesity isn’t merely about their pets’ weight but having an overweight pet can lead to other health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and pancreatitis.

Too many treats during these trying times are the main culprit for pet obesity

The study also revealed that while anxious parents are eating more, they are feeding their fur kids extra treats as well.  It can be hard to deprive our pets that have provided us with so much comfort during this time.

And with the holidays just behind us, six in ten veterinarians anticipate the dogs and cats they see in February are more likely to be overweight or obese.

It can be difficult to manage a pet’s weight

According to the study, most pet parents (52%) think it is easy to help their dogs or cats lose weight, but veterinarians disagree, with 91% saying it’s harder than owners think. 

However, those with overweight pets (31% with overweight dogs and 24% with overweight cats) feel it’s harder to help their pet lose weight compared to before Covid-19, and 49% of veterinarians agree it’s harder for pet parents to keep their pets at a healthy weight during the pandemic than before. 

Pet obesity has been a problem for years

While overweight pets have been a persistent problem for years, the pandemic certainly hasn’t made things any easier.

Lindsey E. Bullen, DVM, Diplomate ACVN, a veterinary nutritionist with BluePearl, says overfeeding and lack of exercise is to blame.

“People are spending more time at home with their pets, which makes overfeeding and overtreating a greater possibility,” she says. 

“On the other hand, owners who are more likely to get up and move may be taking on more of an active role regarding their pet’s activity levels. This means more walks and playtime.”

Further, Dr. Bullen adds, those having a tough time finding suitable work-life balance may be spending less time with their pets and compensating for this by giving them more treats.

“Unfortunately, these modern-day realities can and likely will negatively impact pet weight.”

Pet parents have a hard time with getting their pets to lose weight

As easy as it is for pets to put on weight, it’s harder for them to take it off.  Even with pet parents being strict and monitoring their pets’ food, it can be hard for pets to lose weight. 

Some tips that pet owners can try to help control their pets’ weight:

  • Be mindful when giving pets human food.  Even when given in small quantities, it can add up to a pet’s daily caloric intake and could cause digestive issues.
  • When your dog or cat begs for food, try playing with your dog or cat to see if they just want your attention. 
  • For dogs, make sure that they get their walks in daily or even better, add an extra walk.  For cats, play time is essential.  Use toys and pointed laser toys to get your cats to run around rather than sleeping all day long.
  • Weigh your pets once a week if you are trying to get them to lose weight.  Sometimes measuring your dog or cat’s food isn’t enough and is not the true indicator.
  • Choose healthy treats.  Treats should be less than 10 percent of a pet’s total daily caloric intake.
  • Include the whole family. Make sure everyone in your home is aware of the dog or cat’s eating schedule and portion amount.

Source: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/obesity-epidemic-swells-with-pandemic/

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Lisa FimbergPet Obesity Rates Rise During the Pandemic

The Importance of a Dog and Cat’s Dental Health and Hygiene

by Lisa Fimberg on February 11, 2021

February is officially designated as dental health month in the pet ecosystem.  The idea is to create awareness of the importance of dental health for both dogs and cats.  Proper dental health is not only about maintaining a pet’s teeth, but can also help to prevent other health issues.

Most veterinarians will have a look at a pet’s teeth during an annual visit, but pet parents can take a proactive approach to improve and monitor their pets’ dental health.  In addition, your store can capitalize on this month by not only educating pet parents on its importance, but having dental health and hygiene items highlighted and throughout the month.

There are many ways pet parents can check their dog and cats’ overall dental health:

Pet parents can take a quick smell of their dog or cat’s breath for anything unusual

While most pet owners might not find it fun or appealing, a dog or cat’s breath is indicative of a pet’s health.  Their breath should not be offensive or have any type of abnormally strong odor.   It likely won’t smell like roses, but should not smell like “decay.”

If a dog or cat’s beath does smell bad, it could be indicative of a gum condition called gingivitis.  Or even a digestive issue or problem.   If this is the case, pet parents should take their dog or cat to the vet for a thorough exam.

A dog or cat’s gums should be examined for issues

With their dog or cat facing them, pet parents should push back the dog or cat’s lips and take a quick look.  A pets’ gums should be pink and firm, not red or white and should not show any signs of swelling.  They should look very close to our human gums.  Their dog or cat’s teeth should be clean and none of their teeth should be loose.

Pet owners should look out for tooth decay (discoloring) in their dog or cat’s mouth

There are different forms of bacteria and plaque-forming food that can build up on a dog or cat’s teeth.  This can become tartar which can potentially cause gingivitis or tooth loss.  If a dog or cat’s teeth are discolored, pet parents are encouraged to start brushing their pets’ teeth with to help get rid of the decay.

Does anything look unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths?

If pet parents see anything unusual in their dog and cat’s mouths such as the following, they should take their pets to the vet: dark red lines along the pet’s gums, pus or extreme amount of saliva, loose teeth, or any discoloration.  The same should occur if their pets are pawing at their mouths, have difficulty chewing or are drooling excessively.

Supplies that stores can have on display this month

As pet parents are much more aware of the importance of dental health, your store can also have a special dental display section with the following items this month:

Have toothbrushes and pet toothpaste on display

While not all pets love it, it is recommended that pet owners brush their cat or dog’s teeth.  By providing them with a small pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste, they can brush their dogs’ teeth quickly and efficiently.  Most cats aren’t a big fan of brushing, but some pet retailers have kitty dental floss that can help.

Chew toys are great to keep a dog and cat’s teeth strong

As many pet parents know, chew toys are a great way to keep their dog and cats occupied.  Chew toys can also help strengthen a pet’s teeth, massage their gums and scrape away the soft tartar.  A win-win for both you and the pet parents.

Dog, cat food and dental chews can help prevent tartar build up

If your store doesn’t carry any, you might consider having pet food that helps prevent tartar build up.  There are many different types on the market now due to the awareness of dental health for pets.  When pet parents implement this kind of food or even a daily pet wipe to remove the dog or cat’s tartar, it can help prevent dental issues for their pets.

While February is dental health month, it is always helpful to have some dental products, chew toys and toothbrushes on hand all year round.

If you need help with answering your customers’ questions about the importance of pet dental health or any other pet related matter, our solutions.pet agents can help.  Make sure to contact our success team (successteam@solutions.pet) to learn more about this service.

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Lisa FimbergThe Importance of a Dog and Cat’s Dental Health and Hygiene

How Pet Parents Can Care for Their Pets After Spaying or Neutering

by Lisa Fimberg on January 26, 2021

When a pet owner purchases a new puppy or kitten, there are many things to consider.   From naming the puppy or kitten to purchasing the right food, there are a lot of decisions for pet parents to make.   One easy decision is whether they should spay or neuter their pets.

The answer is yes!  Spaying or neutering their puppy or kitten is beneficial for their pets’ overall health as well as to control the overpopulation of unwanted pets.  While their veterinarian is always the best resource whether they should spay or neuter their pets, the consensus is to have either procedure done.

Most puppies should be neutered around six months of age with kittens spayed or neutered between 8 to 10 weeks old.  While some pet parents will need to keep their puppies or kittens overnight where the procedure has taken place, most pet owners can bring their pets home the same day.

What pet parents can expect after spaying or neutering

While both surgeries are very safe and done routinely, there is still some special care that should take place.   Their veterinarian will put a protective e-collar on their pet to prevent the puppy or kitten from licking the incision.  They should try to keep the collar on as long as possible (particularly with puppies).

Both kittens and puppies will have stiches that will either be removed or just dissolve on their own.

Below are some tips for pet parents to consider after spaying or neutering:

Activity is generally restricted for seven to ten days

Most pet parents should restrict activity for a week to ten days depending on how the puppy or kitten is healing.  Pet parents should avoid strenuous playing with their pets for the first few days after the surgery, so the puppy or kitten doesn’t tear out the stitches.

Puppies can be taken on short walks after a few days, but nothing vigorous.

Pet parents should find a quiet place for both puppies and kittens to recover

Pet parents should prepare a special place for their pets to recover.   Due to the anesthesia used during surgery, both kittens and puppies will be groggy and might have difficulty walking.

They should choose a warm, quiet place in their home with a bed or blanket and water bowl.  Most puppies and kittens will want to sleep for several hours after returning home from the surgery.

The incision needs to be monitored

Pet parents should keep an eye on the incision of their kittens or puppies to make sure it doesn’t become infected.  If there is redness or bleeding, they should call their veterinarian.

If their puppy or kittens is licking or chewing the incision, then the protective collar will need to be kept on longer.   If the incision is clean and the puppy or kitten isn’t licking it, the collar can be removed based on their veterinarian’s recommendation.

Vitamin E oil can be placed on the incision to help healing.

Pet parents should take note of any symptoms such as discharge or discoloration that might indicate an infection.  They should call their veterinarian if they find anything unusual or it looks as if the incision isn’t healing properly.

Puppies or kittens should be fed when they are ready

Pet owners should wait to feed their puppies or kittens until they are hungry.  Most pets get their normal appetite back after a day.   If not, pet owners should try to entice their pets with their favorite wet food in small amounts until they are ready to eat normally.

Most puppies and kittens recover very quickly after being spayed or neutered.  Some vets will want to see their puppy or kitten after a week to see how the incision is healing or to remove the stitches if necessary.

If your customers have any questions about spaying and neutering, or any other puppy or kitten related question, our Solutions.pet agent are here to help.  Our trained agents can answer all your customers questions so your store employees can focus on your store.

Contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about all our services.

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Parents Can Care for Their Pets After Spaying or Neutering

Tips to Train Pet Store Employees to Improve Their Customer Service Skills

by Lisa Fimberg on January 25, 2021

One of the most important aspects in any business is training and guiding your employees to succeed.  By taking the time to ensure that your employees are given the proper support and training, it can be beneficial to them and your store.

Whether you are selling cars, pet supplies or even services, the best way to gain the sale is for your employees to have the necessary sales skillset.   However, before you start to train them on selling, your employees should first know how to greet, communicate, and help your customers.

There are many ways your store managers can help your employees hone their customer service and selling techniques by a method of training called skill practice (some might think of it as role playing).

There are essentially six steps that employers or managers can use to train their employees to master a specific task or behavior with skill practice exercises:

Tell Me

The manager/trainer should articulate the goal and value of their skill practice session.  For example, what exact behavior do they want to practice?  What is the result they should get from this?  Why is this important for your employee to master?

It could be as simple as how you want your pet store counselors to greet in-coming customers.  What is the preferred timing to greet them and dialog to try?

Show Me

The next step would be to show the trainee how to perform the behavior.  In this case, when a new customer walks in the store, you can show them your preferred greeting.

For example, you like them to wait fifteen seconds and then walk up to the customer and greet them by saying “Welcome to ABC Store.  Are you here to meet one of our puppies?”

By showing them the preferred greeting, it can be very effective and make the next step that much easier.

Let Me Try

You should let your employee try the behavior or in this case, greeting.  You can expect that it won’t be perfect on the first try (or maybe it will!) and try to practice in a safe place where the employee feels comfortable.

Let him or her try a couple times until they feel they got it right.

Give Feedback

Provide specific feedback by first asking the employee how they think they executed the skill practice.

“How did that feel? How comfortable was that for you?   I really liked how you said your greeting, but how do you think the customer would feel if you said it this way?  What impact do you think that would make on the customer?

If you had a chance to do it again, what would you do differently?”

Then, if necessary, make a few positive recommendations as well as any improvements you deem necessary or even just a minor tweak or adjustment.

Let Me Try Again

Now let your trainee try the greeting again with the new suggestions and/or recommendations.  Let them try it a few times until they feel they nailed it and are happy with their performance.

Give Me Feedback

Make sure to provide feedback on the second attempt as well.  Always try to find something positive to say even if the second attempt is not that much of an improvement on the first.

“I really appreciate your efforts and I can see you are getting much more comfortable in greeting the customer.   Next time, why don’t you try it this way?”

And, so on goes the practice.   You keep trying until both you and your employee/trainee feels as if they mastered the attempted skill or behavior.

By really taking the time with your employees and showing them that you want them to succeed, it can give them the confidence to own their roles.  It would make for not only a better and more effective employee but a happier one that will stay and grow within your organization.

If you need more help with getting your employees to focus on the floor and not having to answer customer service calls, let us help you.  Our suite of services are designed to help you succeed! Contact out Success Team: successteam@thirdpartypet.com to learn more about our services.

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Lisa FimbergTips to Train Pet Store Employees to Improve Their Customer Service Skills

Third Party Pet Updates – 2021

by Newsbites Staff on January 20, 2021

While 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, TPP managed to have an amazingly productive year.  After moving our entire office and call center to a work from home environment, we continued to work diligently to provide our clients with the best service possible.

In fact, because the pandemic resulted in a surge of pet ownership, we were able to help our clients keep up with the increased demand.

In 2021, we have many exciting plans in place for our clients and our employees:

Joining Forces with Pet Key:

In late 2020, Third Party Pet joined forces with PetKey, a leading pet kennel management integrations solution. This new partnership will help our clients to reach unparalleled levels of success.

Third Party Pet and PetKey will continue to provide our current and prospective clients with the same great services and support.  Bringing PetKey into the TPP Suite of Service offerings will help us to provide even more effective and streamlined options to better serve our clients today and in the future.

New Website

We are putting the finishing touches on our new and improved website.  A much needed upgrade is on the way to being completed!

Our services, employment page and everything we offer is now front and center on the TPP site.

We also created a TPP Updates & News section where we will publish informative articles about the state of the pet retail industry as well as other noteworthy news.   New format is coming soon!

Monthly newsletter

We switched form a quarterly newsletter to a monthly one.

With the additional content on our site, we decided to create a monthly newsletter for both our employees and clients to enjoy.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee – Call to Action.

TPP has always valued ourselves as being on the forefront of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion for our employees as well as the community.

However, like any other organization, we want to continue to educate our employees on the importance of DE & I and to further improve our vision and knowledge.  TPP has organized a committee to foster thought and action to keep DE & I top of mind as we grow and develop our organization.

Our TPP team is ready to help

In the last year, TPP increased our marketing resources to assist with any marketing requests for our stores and to bring new content, ideas, and vision for TPP.

Our Success Team added two new key members to ensure we provide our clients with the ultimate attention to personalized service.  With the additional talent, we can offer even better service for new as well as our current clients.

Our call center has added additional reps to guarantee that we have the capacity to answer all our calls quickly and efficiently.   We continue to guide, educate, and improve our call center staff to ensure they are knowledgeable, thoughtful, and thorough.

We look forward to 2021 as we continue to streamline our services to provide our clients with even more support and updated technology.

More updates to come as they happen!

TPP looks forward to 2021 and the exciting changes ahead.   As always, if you need help or support with any of our services, feel free to contact the Success Team: successteam@thirdpartypet.com.

 

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Newsbites StaffThird Party Pet Updates – 2021

Alert: FDA Recalls Dog Food With Fatal Aflatoxin Levels After 70+ Dogs Die

by American Kennel Club on January 18, 2021

Certain lots of Sportmix pet food products are now on recall after the FDA was alerted about very high levels of aflatoxinsin the food and multiple dog deaths.

On January 11, 2021, Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. expanded this recall further. The recall now includes all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant that have an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022. At this time, the FDA was aware of more than 70 dogs that have died and more than 80 who were sick after eating Sportmix pet food. The FDA was able to take immediate action thanks to research by the Missouri Department of Agriculture and University of Mizzou.

Dog owners who have been feeding their dog one of the affected Sportmix pet foods should top feeding the food immediately and contact their veterinarian. Here’s how to know if your dog’s food was impacted and what steps to take.

What Are Aflatoxins?

Aflatoxins are toxins produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus. At high levels, Anfaltoxins can cause death and serious illness in pets. Aflatoxin can be produced by mold in grains, especially drought-stressed corn. Even if there is no visible mold, these toxins can be present in dog food.

What Are the Symptoms of Aflatoxin Poisoning?

Unlike humans, pets generally eat the same diet continuously. Because of this, if the food contains aflatoxins, the toxins can accumulate in your pet’s system. Here’s what to look for:

  • Vomiting
  • Sluggishness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Jaundice (yellow tint to eyes, gums, or skin)
  • Diarrhea

In some cases, pets with aflatoxin will suffer long-term liver issues or death. If your dog has been eating the recalled product, contact your veterinarian immediately, and monitor your dog for symptoms. Even pets without symptoms may have suffered liver damage.

Are Humans at Risk of Aflatoxin Poisoning?

There is no evidence that people who have handled Sportmix dog food are at risk of aflatoxin poisoning. As a general rule, always wash your hands after handling pet food.

What Sportmix Pet Food is Recalled?

The list of recalled dry pet food products announced by Midwestern Pet Foods, Inc. on December 30, 2020:

  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/02/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 50 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Premium High Energy, 44 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L2
    • Exp 03/03/22/05/L3

Lots of the following pet food products have been recalled if the date/lot code includes an expiration date on or before “07/09/22” and includes “05” in the date/lot code, which identifies products made in the Oklahoma plant:

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH:MM”

What To Do if Your Dog’s Food Is Recalled?

If your dog’s food has been recalled, stop feeding the food immediately. The food should be returned to the store where it was purchased, and you may be able to obtain a refund. Or, you may properly dispose of the food in a manner that prevents other animals from gaining access to it.

If your dog has already been eating the recalled food, consult with your veterinarian to determine what actions, if any, you should take. Even if your dog is not showing any signs of illness, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian as quickly as possible. Depending upon the reason the food was recalled, your veterinarian will be able to determine what, if any, action should be taken.

If you believe your dog has become ill or has died because of eating a recalled food product, you should file a complaint with the FDA. You can file a report online or contact the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in your state.

If you can no longer feed your dog his usual diet due to a recall, try to find a similar food to replace it or ask your veterinarian for suggestions. Keep in mind that sudden changes in diet can lead to dietary distress for dogs.

Tips to Keep Your Dog’s Food Safe

  • Clean your dog’s food and water bowls daily with dish soap and hot water
  • Use stainless steel bowls
  • Keep opened canned food covered and refrigerated
  • Keep dry food in an enclosed container to prevent exposure to rodents and pests
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before, and especially after, handling pet food
  • Feed your pet a healthy diet, as recommended by your veterinarian

Source:  https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/news/fda-recalls-dog-food-fatal-aflatoxin-levels-70-dogs-die/

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American Kennel ClubAlert: FDA Recalls Dog Food With Fatal Aflatoxin Levels After 70+ Dogs Die

How Dogs and Cats’ Physical Touch Have Helped Pet Parents Get Through Covid-19

by Lisa Fimberg on January 13, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a boom of pets being bought, adopted, and brought into many homes during 2020.  It really isn’t surprising because of the joy, comfort and love that puppies and kittens bring to the lives of many pet parents.

There have been numerous studies about how pets provide the emotional support needed when pet owners are feeling down, stressed or as in Covid isolated.  With the lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines in place, many have lost the most basic human interaction and that is touch.

While having virtual Zoom meetings and drive by visits have given many a social outlet, many people have missed out on the basic human interactions – a pat on the back, hug or even high-five. Without any real physical contact outside our immediately family, many people experience a sense of loss.

A new study shows how both cats and dogs have provided the much needed physical and emotional support – a cuddle or snuggle.  Even just their mere presence can help both emotionally and physically while pet owners work at home.

The benefits of a pet’s touch

The use of animal–therapy to help with mental and emotional health issues isn’t anything new, but is often overlooked.  There have been many studies that show how dogs and cats can help pet owners cope with anxiety, emotional disorders and even PTSD.

Furry family members can prevent many pet owners from becoming depressed or lonely as they keep us busy, engaged and loved. The act of petting a dog or cat releases an endorphin to alleviate the stress.  The importance of touch can sometimes be forgotten or disregarded.

A new study illustrates how pets have helped us during Covid

A recent study published by researchers at the University of South Australia points to the role that pets have played in 2020. The research team interviewed 32 people and found that simply touching their dogs and cats can assist in promoting health and well-being when human contact has been limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 90% of the respondents said that just touching their pets both comforted and relaxed them, and the pets seemed to need it as well. They also provided examples of dogs and cats touching their owners when they were distressed, sad or traumatized. Many people referenced their pets’ natural ability to be able to sense when their pet parents were not feeling well and wanted their pets to get physically close to them.  It was interesting to note that it wasn’t only dogs and cats that provided emotional support but sheep birds, horses and even reptiles that can reciprocate touch.

According to an interview with Dr. Janet Young, lead researcher, physical touch is a sense that has been taken for granted until Covid-19. “In a year when human contact has been so limited and people have been deprived of touch, the health impacts on our quality of life have been enormous,” Dr Young said. “To fill the void of loneliness and provide a buffer against stress, there has been a global upsurge in people adopting dogs and cats from animal shelters during lock downs. Breeders have also been inundated with demands for puppies quadrupling some waiting lists.”

It is estimated that more than half the world shares their lives with one or more pets. The health benefits of pet ownership have been widely reported, but few studies have been done regarding the specific benefits that pets bring to humans in terms of touch.

Dr. Young explained. “Touch is an understudied sense, but existing evidence indicates it is crucial for growth, development and health, as well as reducing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body. It is also thought that touch may be particularly important for older people as other senses decline.”

She further believes that having pets in aging residential care could have helped tremendously during Covid. With family or even friends being restricted from visiting, many had felt emotionally deprived.

Once this pandemic is over, it might be beneficial for some offices to allow dogs.  Based on all the research we have, most of the employees would feel less lonely, or even stressed out.   Social interactions would increase which could help with team building and productivity.

Source:

University of South Australia. “Pets, touch and COVID-19: Why our furry friends are lifesavers.” ScienceDaily, 1 December 2020.  https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201201091831.htm

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Lisa FimbergHow Dogs and Cats’ Physical Touch Have Helped Pet Parents Get Through Covid-19

How Much Staffing Does Your Pet Store Really Need?

by Lisa Fimberg on January 11, 2021

Whether you have a small or large pet store, one of the most important factors to the success of your store, is your staff.  Without the proper employees to run the store, it is unable to run smoothly and can be detrimental to your bottom line.   So, the question begs “How much staffing does your pet store really need?”

Staffing Your Store

Due to Covid-19, pet store staffing may look very different than in prior years.   With social distancing guidelines in place and fewer people in the store, many pet stores overall staffing has been reduced.

The most important thing to consider is that you have enough staff to ensure that you are getting the supplies you need, have an appealing floor display as well as knowledgeable employees to help your in-store customers.

Of course, the size of your store and how much traffic you get can also be an indicator of how much staff you need.

Pet Store Managers

Most stores have an on-site manager who is responsible for managing all the daily duties to ensure that your store runs smoothly.

Most managers help with hiring new staff and provide the training to the sales staff.   A manager will also merchandise the products as well as oversee and maintain the inventory.

Pet store managers must also ensure that all the puppies and animals in their stores (including fish, reptiles, birds, and small mammals) are in accordance with local regulations and animal care guidelines.

Most of these duties are operational oversight.   The bigger corporate chains, or larger independent pet stores will need more managers to oversee the individual managers that might run grooming or even veterinary service.

The smaller stores will usually have the store manager cover all the department duties and even perform some of the more hands on duties such as customer service or running the cash register.

Pet Floor Staff

Your store needs to have enough staff to cover your in-store customer needs as well as to help the manager with any of their daily tasks.   Because of Covid-19 and very few drop-by visits, you should have a better gauge of how much foot traffic you will have and accordingly how many sales associates necessary.

For the most part, usually one manager as well as one to two sales associates that rotate shifts and fill in the week should be sufficient for a smaller pet store.  The larger stores might even have supply staff, additional managers and even kennel staff.

The Right Staff

The biggest complaint among most pet store owners is the ability to find quality employees.  While finding the right employee who will stay with your store can provide a challenge, it is up to you or your management to provide the employee with the right training to lead them to success.

Quality employees that are keepers can answer all headaches.  You need to reward them and let them own their position.  Give them incentive to stay and grow with your store with bonuses and encouragement.

If you find a willing and able new employee with little experience, the most important thing to remember is that the training part is easy.   A good attitude and willingness to learn and stay with your store can go a long way for employee retention and the success of your store.

How Third Party Pet Can Help 

With fewer staff on the floor as well as less customers in the store, let us help you with your staffing headaches.  You might even find that due to the Covid-19 unemployment stipend, it is even harder to find employees.

Our services from lead management to registrations can help your store tremendously.  We can answer the phones, set up leads and help with registering your customers pets.   This way your staff can focus only on the in-store customers without manning the phones.

Be sure to contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to see how we can help your store and make your staffing headaches disappear!

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Lisa FimbergHow Much Staffing Does Your Pet Store Really Need?