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Petco Removes Treats and Food With Artificial Ingredients for Dogs, Cats


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Petco has officially stopped selling food and treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives for dogs and cats. The San Diego-based company, which has more than 1,500 retail stores nationwide, made the pledge to clear its shelves of artificial ingredients back in November. The promise was fulfilled May 1.

“Today is about more than just confirming we kept the promise we made last year to eliminate artificial ingredients for dogs and cats at Petco, it’s about celebrating better health and wellness for the pets we love,” said Ron Coughlin, CEO of Petco. “Clearing our stores and site of products that don’t meet our nutrition standards is a resounding demonstration of our commitment to always doing the right thing for pets. I’m proud to be part of a company that’s willing to make bold moves to lead the industry forward, and so are Petco’s more than 25,000 team members. And the journey doesn’t end here, this is just the beginning. All of us at Petco are absolutely dedicated to leading positive change, and we invite the rest of the industry to join us along the way.”

With its new standards for pet nutrition, Petco aims to help guide pet owners to provide their pets with healthy, happy lives. The company worked closely with in-house and external veterinarians, nutritionists and pet wellness experts to inform its decision and its new standards for pet nutrition. 

Some of the more than 40 artificial ingredients Petco has initially eliminated from dog and cat foods it carries include FD&C Red No. 3, Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), Butylated hytroxytoluene (BHT), Glycerol tributyrate and ethoxyquin, among others. The company expects to include additional ingredients to the list over time.

Petco has also launched a strategic partnership with Champion Petfoods of Auburn, Ky., which will bring the Acana and Orijen dog and cat food brands to Petco’s lineup. 

In addition, Petco is continuing to expand its partnership with JustFoodForDogs. The Irvine, Calif.-based company provides fresh, human-grade foods exclusively for pets in Petco stores and operates a growing lineup of open-to-the-public pet food kitchens. Together, JustFoodForDogs and Petco will open an in-store pet food kitchen at Petco’s flagship store in New York’s Union Square later in May.

The response from vendors and pet owners has been very positive, according to Nick Konat, co-chief merchandising officer for Petco.

“The interest we’ve seen from pet parents, our vendor partners and the broader industry since November has been incredible,” Konat said. “We worked with key vendor partners to introduce new formulas, ensuring that we can continue to offer a range of products that meet our standards at every price point. Pet parents have been eager to learn more about how they can support their pets’ overall wellness through nutrition—and we’ve already helped many of them safely transition to foods that meet our standards. 

“We’ve also continued to engage with a range of industry experts and stakeholders to understand opportunities and challenges tied to implementing our new standards and continuing to evolve them overtime. We’re both gratified and energized by the continued momentum on this journey toward better health for pets.”

Petco is committed to removing foods with artificial ingredients for aquatic life and small animals, according to the company. Some of the artificial ingredients Petco said it will eliminate from small animal foods include propylene glycol and ethoxyquin.

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