This week, we attended the Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida as press. The Global Pet Expo isn’t just any trade show. It is the largest in the world. What happens at this expo? It is not open to the general public, but only to manufacturers and buyers. With over 3,400 booths this year, you can imagine that it was overwhelming. But for us, it was also eye opening.
We have been on both sides of this industry, as I have mentioned before. We exhibited at this expo with our “cook for your dog” treat mixes. And obviously, since we are not exhibiting now, you know that our treat business did not succeed as we had hoped for. I have also mentioned previously that it was my hopes then, and my hopes now, that consumers would change and start to realize that extra effort in making their dogs’ food was worth it. But that time has not happened. Yet.
It was my goal this week to really survey the options available out there to all of you. With our large social media following, I don’t take the influence we have lightly. And I want you to know, from the inside of the industry, how we all have a part in changing it for the better.
One of the most disappointing facts to me in this industry should have been obvious to me right from the start…years ago. Since I started our cooking line due to my dogs’ needs, I assumed that everyone in the industry, well, they at least would have a dog. Right? Or a pet. And every company really cared…right? I mean, the commercials, the love in marketing and advertisements. Oh, so much love. I was simply wrong. This was a business. A pet industry. And as I walked into that show this week, I was different. I had a different agenda. I was ready to see if changes were being made for the better. Would there be more great products out there? Would the recent recalls of certain companies keep buyers away from their booths?
The short answer? Nope. And I suppose that you could stop reading right here. These companies with recalls had puppies in their booths like every year. They had cute pictures and buyers in line. And I almost walked right out. Because I knew it in my heart. As long as we, as consumers, kept buying this stuff, well, they would be here every year. It was as simple as that. And consumers? They are still buying this stuff.
But I wanted to observe. Sure, I could interview these company reps and hear the excuses. But I didn’t need to and honestly, I didn’t want to. I had heard them all before. Instead, I made it my aim to showcase a few companies to you that I was impressed with. These companies are fighting a battle to bring to you good products. These companies may be smaller, but if we as consumers support them, perhaps one day, and I emphasize perhaps, they can join together to outnumber the corporate mentality of feeding and caring for our dogs and pets. But it is going to take work on our part. It is also going to take us, joining together and using our power as a group and our voices as a group to be heard.
Jones came out this year with two organic treat options for dogs. And you know how we feel about organic!
Their chews were the first treat we bought for Peanut Butter Brickle as a puppy, so they are near and dear to our hearts. What I liked about them was that the Jones family was in the booth! They had six generations of family that worked in this company and their safety standards also impressed me.
We were contacted by Shelby at Pet Releaf to stop by their booth. She simply wanted to tell us thank you for our rescue work, but it was us who was thanking her when we left. Pet Releaf is an organic line of oils and treats. We were interested in learning more about them because of Brickle’s anxiety issues. Pet Releaf is the premier provider of CBD oil for pets.
They offer organic Pet CBD Products such as oils, topical creams and edibles for both cats and dogs. We think that their products will be very valuable to senior dogs, and we can’t wait to try out their items and report back to you.
Bedding is easy to come by, but often they are toxic and mass produced. We like Outback Tails because they have a commitment to helping the environment and supporting their communities. 10% of the proceeds from the sale of all products on this store go back to the Warlukurlangu Artists Aboriginal Corporation. Oh, and they have some really cute, natural toys as well.
When we walked by their booth, we saw the word organic and had to stop. Not only do they have great products, but a portion of every sale goes to charities that help dogs and people. Brickle and Digby loved their treats!
Many of our fans asked about dog food, and inquired if we found a good kibble. As you know, we promote making your dog’s food. We realize that dog food is necessary for many, but for us, our beliefs will not allow us to recommend any brand of kibble. We do tell our fans that if you do not have time or the resources to cook for your dog, check out the premixes available from Dr. Harvey’s, Honest Kitchen or SoJos.
It would be easy for us to go down a list and tell you what you should buy. But part of your responsibility as a good pet parent is not even taking our word for it. Do your own research, know your dog and consult a vet. You see, we all know our dogs the best. But we don’t know the people behind these big companies. That should be the first red flag. If people running the companies are not available to you or known, then why are you entrusting them with the most important factor behind how long your dog lives?
Until we demand a change, this expo and others like it will be held every year with more booths of corporations than people who care. But we can change it. It starts today.
As I accepted an award this year from the industry as one of the 2018 Women Of Influence, I wondered how I could influence you, our friends and fans to think about the part we play in changing the world of your animals.
I thought about how OUR influence together could change the world!
And it will only be with your support of animal rescue and the people doing the work around the world, that we can keep doing what we do. And we thank you. This was your award too. We don’t take our privilege for granted in being a voice for animals on social media. And you are part of that. Let’s change the industry together. It means the life of not only our pets, but all pets.
-Rachael Johnson, Owner and Girl Person of 2 Traveling Dogs