Don’t Miss the 2nd Annual Pet Industry Leadership Conference

Registration for the 2nd Annual Pet Industry Leadership Conference is now open!

Join us for an excellent line up of speakers, breakout sessions and networking opportunities, all against the backdrop of the California coastline at Laguna Beach.

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Attended by nearly 300 of the pet industry’s leading voices and thought leaders whose achievements are celebrated worldwide, this conference brings all segments of the pet industry together to a beautiful beachfront setting where the emphasis is on problem solving, not selling.

The event’s keynote speakers include Chris Kuehl, Managing Director of Armada Corporate Intelligence, Nathan Richter, Partner at Wakefield Research, Troy Hazard, serial entrepreneur and Josh Linkner, business owner and founder. And the learning continues with breakout sessions that allow for deep dives into critical topics for the pet industry like Effectively Controlling Price Erosion and a Shelter Population Study with reliable data on the number of dogs and cats in shelters.

The cool vibe of the Southern California Coast is the perfect backdrop to a week of collaboration, harmony and inspiration. Check out the schedule of events and download the Registration Form today!

Research to Study Affect of Therapy Dogs on Children in Hospitals

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently awarded two grants, totaling $123,000, to study the affects of therapy dogs on children in hospitals.

Young Girl Being Visited In Hospital By Therapy Dog

The University of Tennessee received a $79,000 grant for a new study, The Effect of Animal-Assisted Intervention on Preoperative Anxiety and Dose of Sedation in Children. The study will examine the effect of animal-assisted intervention (AAI) on children’s anxiety levels and sedation medication dosages prior to surgery.

72 children between the ages of 2 and 17 will receive a therapy dog or an iPad tablet 20 minutes before sedation. Heart rate, blood pressure and medicine levels for sedation will then be evaluated for each group and compared.

It is expected that children provided with a therapy dog prior to surgery will have significantly lower preoperative anxiety and will require a decreased amount of medication for sedation compared to children who do not interact with a therapy dog.

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Duke University School of Medicine’s Division of Pediatric Cardiology also received a $44,000 grant for a new research study, Impact of Animal Assisted Therapy on Quality, Completeness, and Patient and Parental Satisfaction in Children Undergoing Clinical Echocardiography. This study will examine the influence of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) on young children undergoing an echocardiogram.

150 children between the ages of 1 and 5 will be randomly assigned to a group: canine-assisted therapy only; canine-assisted therapy plus standard distraction techniques; and standard distraction techniques only. Quality, completeness and parental satisfaction of echocardiograms will be evaluated among the three groups, as well as reduction of stress or fear among the children.

It is expected that children will have a more complete and higher quality echocardiogram in the presence of therapy dogs. In addition, parents are expected to report higher visit satisfaction scores and greater exam comfort for their children.

For more information and to read about the innovative research projects HABRI has funded, visit their website.

APPA President and CEO Bob Vetere Receives Pet Age’s ICON Award

 icon-logoThe team at American Pet Products Association (APPA) is proud to announce our President and CEO Bob Vetere is a 2016 recipient of Pet Age’s ICON Award. The award honors industry leaders who have shown a long-term commitment to the success of the pet industry based on experience, integrity and leadership.

Bob regularly serves as an industry spokesperson and has been featured in national media outlets including ABC’s World News tonight, CNBC, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Since joining us here at APPA in 2002 he has grown membership from 668 to 1,200 members. In his role he has established the Pet Leadership Council (PLC), a council comprised of pet industry leaders that have united to advance the industry. He also established the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI), an organization that gathers and funds research on the benefits of pet ownership on human health.

bobvetere2015Not only has he formed groups to advance the industry, he was instrumental in combining what used to be known as the APPMA Show and the Pet Industry Distributors Association’s (PIDA) PETS Show and formed what is now the pet industry’s largest annual trade show, Global Pet Expo. Additionally, Bob authored a book entitled From Wags to Riches: How Dogs Teach Us to Succeed in Business & Life and serves on the Board of Directors for Green Chimneys, an organization providing animal-assisted therapy for children with special needs.

So, from everyone at APPA… Congratulations, Bob! You are more than deserving of this fantastic award.

Win $1,000 from Pets Add Life’s Fun New Video Contest

Pets Add Life, APPA’s non-profit social media awareness campaign dedicated to celebrating the joys and benefits of pet ownership, has launched a fun video contest for pet owners called the Pet Step Contest.

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If you have a pet and a phone, you have everything you need to enter the Pet Step Contest and chances of winning are pretty good right now! Just take a quick video telling us why you decided to add a pet to your family. Maybe you and your roommate visited a local shelter one day and gave a senior dog a new home. Perhaps you wanted a loyal companion for your only child; or maybe you and your husband aren’t quite ready for kids but are ready for more responsibility. Whatever the reason, tell us in a short video and upload it for a chance to win. It’s that simple.

The prize is quite attractive as well – a $1,000 gift card to the pet store of choice! How much could that help you out, right?

So, what are you waiting for? Take out your camera phone, record a quick video that is 60 seconds or less and upload it on the Pets Add Life website.

Two winners will be chosen each month through October, so you still have plenty of time to enter to win this month!

#ThePetStep

Pet Leadership Council Endorses Canine Care Certified

We’ve all been waiting for it and it is finally here – a national dog breeder certification program called Canine Care Certified.

ccc-graphic-1This new national, voluntary program was developed after three years of research at Purdue University’s Center for Animal Welfare Science and was peer-reviewed by animal scientists and canine welfare experts from major academic institutions to ensure consumers that the puppies they want are bred and raised in a responsible and humane environment.

The Pet Leadership Council (PLC), a proactive voice for the pet industry, supports Canine Care Certified and its rigorous, science-based standards for professional breeders.

Bob Vetere, PLC Chairman, said, “Dog breeding operations have to be accountable for the physical and mental needs of the dogs and ensure that they receive appropriate housing, shelter, staffing, nutrition, socialization, sanitation, exercise, and veterinary care.”

This program requires mandatory compliance of the below standards:

Five Pillars of Care

  1. Physical Health
  2. Behavioral Health
  3. Environment
  4. Breeding Life and Retirement
  5. Caretaker Expectations

The Pet Leadership Council encourages the entire industry to support the high standards of animal care and welfare developed at Purdue University, which were incorporated into the Canine Care Certified program since they promote transparent and responsible breeding practices.

For more information on the program or to get certified, visit the website.

New Research Shows Dogs Can Help De-Stress Families With Autistic Children

The Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation recently released the results of a long-term study that explored the effects of pet dogs on families with children with autism spectrum disorder, and the findings are quite paw-sitive!

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Published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior, the study showed significantly improved family functioning in families with a dog compared to those without. The study also found a reduction in parent-child dysfunctional interactions among families that had a dog.

So, what does this mean? In families with autistic children, a dog can aide in creating a less stressful, more calm environment. As HABRI Executive Director Steven Feldman explains, “Parents of children with autism can experience increased anxiety and stress, and now we have strong scientific evidence to show that pets can have positive effects on these quality-of-life issues.” He also noted that a pet dog is something to consider as a way to “improve family harmony.”

This study is among the first published studies of more than a dozen HABRI-funded research projects examining the effects of companion animals on human health. For more information and to read about the innovative research projects HABRI has funded, visit their website.

Autistic Students Benefit from Interaction with Classroom Pets

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It doesn’t take long for classroom pets to become classroom friends for young students—especially those with autism. Multiple studies have shown that students with behavioral and social issues are positively impacted by interaction with a classroom pet—and teachers agree:

“We have seen a great turnaround in classroom behavior, now that we have our classroom pet, Buddy Boudreaux (guinea pig).  I work with students on the autism spectrum in grades 5-6. We have many moments of frustration and sensory overload that often lead to meltdowns within our classroom setting. Buddy has helped so many of our students feel better when they get to just sit and read to him. They look forward to earning reward time to hold him, interact with him, and help with some of his pet responsibilities (such as feeding, filling water bottle, etc.).”

Jennifer Porche
special education teacher
Florence, AL

“I have a couple of Autistic students and [Charlie the Bearded Dragon] often sits with them and helps them on days when things are out of sorts. It is amazing! The biggest success story for Charlie is that we have a student in an emotional/behavioral class that has a really hard time fitting in. He gets very angry at times, and when the teachers weren’t able to calm him down with the usual strategies, we found [him] just holding and talking to Charlie for a few minutes—works every time.  He simply comes to my room, and we take Charlie out, and he holds, rubs, and feeds him by hand, and that does it. It’s like a small miracle.”

Erica Hornick
4th grade teacher
Toccoa, GA

Jennifer and Erica aren’t the only teachers who have benefitted from the use of a classroom pet. Through the Pets in the Classroom grant program, over three million children in over 70,000 classrooms throughout the US and Canada have gotten to experience pet care through classroom pets. The American Pet Products Association supports the work of Pets in the Classroom. To find out more, or to apply for a grant to bring a pet into your classroom, visit http://www.petsintheclassroom.org.