American Pet Ownership: COVID-19 Shapes the Market

by Roxanne Conrad on July 9, 2020 No comments

Unless you’ve been hanging out under your fake rock display, you’re already aware that COVID-19 has had a tremendous impact on the American economy. What may not be so clear is the future impact and shape this will have on the pet industry.

While many businesses were facing potential extinction, the pet industry received an unforeseen surge. Americans flocked to their neighborhood pet stores, shelters and breeders seeking out new furry family members. With the increase in pet ownership on the rise, so too has been an increase in all pet related products.

Predictions and Forecast into 2021:


Looking for a bit more specific insights in tailoring your approach for your consumers? Feel free to contact our success team for personalized options!

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Roxanne ConradAmerican Pet Ownership: COVID-19 Shapes the Market

Flagship AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day

by American Kennel Club on July 9, 2020 No comments

Each September, the American Kennel Club hosts AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day to educate first-time dog owners about the responsibilities of dog ownership and help current owners enhance their relationships with their pets. Owning a dog has endless rewards, but it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities that come along with it.

In an effort to protect the health and well-being of the exhibitors, volunteers, and attendees amid the COVID-19 pandemic, AKC’s flagship Responsible Dog Ownership day, sponsored by AKC Pet Insurance, will be a virtual event in 2020! Join the American Kennel Club on September 17th for a virtual day of training tips, Trick Dog demos, virtual Canine Good Citizen testing and more. Check back for more details, coming soon!


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American Kennel ClubFlagship AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day

This Spaniel’s Nose is the Key to Stopping a Serious Human Health Threat

by American Kennel Club on July 9, 2020 No comments

Editor’s Note: The global pandemic has sparked new research exploring whether canine noses can be trained to sniff out the deadly virus. While we’ll have to wait until the University of Pennsylvania study is done for the answer to the COVID-19 question, in the past scientists have successfully trained dogs as infectious-disease detectives. In this classic 2017 column from AKC Family Dog, we caught up with Angus, a young Springer Spaniel at the start of his career sniffing out a killer bacterium in Canadian hospitals.

In the world of sniffer dogs, Angus is in a class by himself. The cheerful, floppy- eared English Springer Spaniel spends his days snuffling through rooms at British Columbia’s Vancouver General Hospital, examining furniture, floors, beds, walls, tables, and even clothing. He’s seeking a whiff of Clostridium difficile (C. diff), a dangerous bacterium that is transmitted through feces.

Three canine noses in the world have so far been trained to detect this bug, but Angus is the first sniffer certified and working regularly, says trainer and handler Teresa Zurberg.

The 3-year-old proudly sports an ID tag with his name and a picture of his smiling black-and-white freckled face and those educated nostrils. He’s become something of a local hero, complete with his own Facebook page.

Bad Bug Rising

In the last 40 years, C. diff, a cousin to the bugs that cause tetanus and gas gangrene, has bloomed into a serious problem. In the U.S. alone, there are about half a million cases annually, costing around $5 billion. A highly toxic, antibiotic- resistant strain has also emerged.

The main C. diff symptom is violent diarrhea. Severe cases can kill.

In 2013 Zurberg learned about this bug the hard way. She got a gash on her leg, which went septic. The treatment—heavy doses of antibiotics—allowed C. diff to go wild. She lost 20 pounds in a week. “It was awful. I almost died,” she says.

When drugs are used to destroy harmful bacteria, there’s collateral damage to beneficial bacteria—the intestinal flora—that help keep pathogens like C. diff in check. That’s why the bug often attacks people who are old and ill, or those on high levels of antibiotics. Healthy people—and strong young dogs like Angus—are not likely to get sick.

About a year after her illness, Zurberg’s husband, Markus, a quality and patient safety coordinator at Vancouver General, came across an article about Cliff, a Beagle in Amsterdam. The dog had been trained to find the bug in people.

Markus asked his wife, “Can you teach a dog to do this?” “If it’s got an odor, I can train a dog to find it,” she told him.

Zurberg, a former Canadian Forces medic, is a handler certified in K-9 protection, narcotics, and explosives detection. She is also Canada’s first nose work judge.

The couple brought this “wild, crazy, out-of-the-box idea” to the administrators at Vancouver Coastal Health, the health authority overseeing the hospital, who surprisingly gave a go-ahead.

Enter Angus

Zurberg soon started working with 10-week-old Angus, a puppy from a field line. Hunting is in his DNA.

“I love Angus to death, but he’s a pain in the neck to live with. He has no off switch,” she says. He’s also smart, a problem solver, and bomb-proof to most anything going on around him. It all makes him perfect for the job.

“To the dog, it’s just a game,” Zurberg says. “We want him to associate the odors of C. diff to what he really wants, which is his tug toy.”

Cliff the Beagle sought the bug on patients, but Zurberg chose to have her dog focus on the environment. C. diff spreads through spores, which can linger for a long time. The germs can be transmitted by healthcare workers or through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs, tables, or TV remote controls.

It’s almost impossible to scan a room for every reservoir of the bacterial spores, but the dog’s keen sense of smell can pick it up quickly and with ease. Angus has been clocked at under 10 seconds in finding hidden C. diff.

Once Angus marks the spot, a housekeeping team, using one of the hospital’s three ultraviolet-C disinfecting robots, goes in for a deep clean.

Elizabeth Bryce, an infection control specialist at Vancouver Coastal Health, recently published the results of the Angus experiment in the Journal of Hospital Infection. The authors, which included both Zurberg’s, concluded that a dog can be a valuable aid in stopping the spread of this dangerous germ. Administrators at hospitals around the world have contacted Zurberg about starting a K-9 C. diff program. She’s now writing guidelines to send them.

As for Angus, who has made more than 100 finds since he started working in 2016, he’s getting some company. Another one of Zurberg’s dogs, an English Springer Spaniel named Dodger, has started training as a C. diff sniffer at Vancouver General.


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American Kennel ClubThis Spaniel’s Nose is the Key to Stopping a Serious Human Health Threat

And the winner is…consumer insight on breed purchase trends

by Roxanne Conrad on April 6, 2020 No comments

On the ‘tail’ end of the Westminster Dog Show, we hear discussion around purchase trends and consumer psychology regarding an increase in breed sales. The fact that typical consumer psychology does not apply to the purchase of a particular breed may be shocking. For example,
according to the AVMA, a breed that wins Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show does not typically increase the number of new registrations for that breed.*

So what DOES influence breed popularity?

The #1 impact on instant breed popularity is actually television & movies! That’s right, thank the entertainment industry for the uptick in Collies (Lassie), Carin Terriers (Wizard of Oz), Saint Bernards (Beethoven), Jack Russel Terriers (Frasier and The
Mask), Cocker Spaniels (Lady and the Tramp), and the largest increase – Dalmatians (101 Dalmatians).**

It is worth noting, that while the release of a new dog star may have an immediate impact on the popularity of any given breed, that popularity is often fleeting. One breed (which ironically is not prone to many Best In Show titles) has maintained their role as the leading star in many American’s homes, and continues to top the most popular breed lists for decades… and the winner is: the Labrador.***

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Roxanne ConradAnd the winner is…consumer insight on breed purchase trends

Employee spotlight: Brian Lett

by Mike Isaac on April 6, 2020 No comments

Brian Lett

Vice President, Sales

In February we officially welcomed Brian Lett as the Vice President of Sales. Brian came to Third Party Pet with over 15 years of Sales Leadership experience in both the medical call center and data industries.

Brian’s focus will be on expanding TPP’s partnerships, revenue, service offerings and client base. Brian’s experience in consultative sales and commercial call center services brings an invaluable resource to TPP’s current client partnerships.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or requests for specific sales support:

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Mike IsaacEmployee spotlight: Brian Lett

Reliability when it matters – Flexibility when you need it

by Adam Stachowiak on April 6, 2020 No comments

As the state of the country has drastically changed in the last 30 days, so have most businesses. Those in the service industries supporting other businesses, have had to pivot at lightning speed to stay open and relevant.

At Third Party Pet, we recognize the importance to our clients that we maintain “open doors” to safeguard those much-needed services we provide to our clients, and their consumers. Our goal is to stay fully operational through this period. As of 3/17/20, TPP converted 100% of its entire call center operations to a work from home model and has not dropped a single KPI since the migration.

In addition to ensuring reliable service, TPP has the technology, support staff and customer service skills to help our clients with any messaging challenges they are facing. If your business needs have been impacted, please contact your Success Team representative to discuss operational adjustments or flexible services.

We’re all in this together!

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Adam StachowiakReliability when it matters – Flexibility when you need it

AKC urges officials to allow pet food & service supplier to remain open during Covid-19 crisis

by American Kennel Club on April 5, 2020 No comments

The American Kennel Club (AKC) today joined with the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) and other animal care leaders to urge government officials to help ensure the well-being of animals by allowing businesses that provide products and services for the care of pets to continue to operate during the COVID-19 response. Dennis Sprung, AKC President/CEO, along with more than 780 pet care professionals from across the U.S., sent an open letter to federal, state, and local government officials asking that pet service and supply stores be listed as essential retailers that are exempt from mandatory closures.

“During this extraordinary time, we are challenged to care for our families, neighbors and friends. Our dogs are part of this community. Whether they are pets or service animals, dogs provide remarkable benefits and support to their owners, especially amid uncertainty. For the continued well-being of these animals and their owners, we must have access to pet foods, supplies, and services that may not otherwise be available.

The AKC is proud to join with other representatives of the pet care community in asking governments to exempt from closure these essential businesses,” said Sprung.

Read the letter here.


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American Kennel ClubAKC urges officials to allow pet food & service supplier to remain open during Covid-19 crisis