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.


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!


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

Introducing the NEW Pets Forever® Stamps


On Tuesday, August 2nd, Bob Vetere spoke at the Pets Forever® First-Day-of-Issue event hosted by Superzoo at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. On behalf of the Pet Leadership Council, Bob shared remarks on responsible pet ownership while also joining in the excitement of the debut of the new pet-themed stamp!

PETS SHEETPostage stamps have highlighted dogs and cats in the past with the previously released series, Adopt a Shelter Pet promoted by Ellen DeGeneres in 2009. However, th
is is especially exciting for the pet industry because in addition to dogs and cats, these new Pets Forever stamps feature all kinds of pets, from iguanas and hermit crabs, to snakes and horses! Animal owners everywhere can share their love for their favorite companions with these new colorful postage stamps! Break out the stationary, find a new pen pal and support the new designs by purchasing your booklet online or at a USPS location near you!

With the Release of Finding Dory Comes Responsibility

With the release of Finding Dory boosting interest in fish keeping, the Pet Leadership Council (PLC) wants to make sure people are educated on the care needs of a specific pet before getting one. For example, the blue tang fish, like Dory herself, can grow up to 17 inches, requires an aquarium the size of a couch and can’t be grown for pets, they have to be taken from the ocean.Here are some core principles that back the pet industry’s commitment to responsible fishkeeping:


  • Promote and advance aquaculture efforts for captive breeding of all marine life
  • Establish standards for responsible and sustainable collection and handling of all marine life
  • Celebrate the educational and health benefits associated with fish keeping
  • Educate consumers on responsible fish keeping

Part of being a responsible fish keeper is selecting the right fish and appropriate aquarium, understanding proper care instructions and preventing invasive species. To help educate consumers on these topics, the PLC launched a new website that includes a fun, interactive game to teach proper fishkeeping.

PLC members are also actively supporting the work of Rising Tide Conservation, whose mission is to protect coral reefs.

For other educational resources and guidelines for selecting the right fish, please visit Disney or Habitattitude.