Petco will become the first major pet food retailer to stop selling food and treats containing artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives for dogs and cats starting in January.
“Some may question whether this makes good business sense, but putting pets’ health first has always been the right thing to do for Petco,” said Ron Coughlin, the company’s chief executive officer.
“This is both a major step forward for pets and a natural next step on our journey to become a complete partner in total pet wellness. We hope the rest of the pet industry will join us on this path to better health for the pets we love.”
Petco hopes to completely remove dog and cat foods and treats with artificial ingredients from store shelves and online by next May. Some of the more than 40 artificial ingredients the company is eliminating include FD&C Red No. 3, butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), butylated hytroxytoluene (BHT), glycerol tributyrate, and benzaldehyde.
“We’re inviting pet food companies to join us on this journey, even working with some to pursue potential ingredient changes to meet our new ingredient standards,” said Nick Konat, co-chief merchandising officer for Petco.
“In cases where an existing brand is unable to update some or all of their products to meet our criteria by May of 2019, we will not carry either specific products or the brand entirely and we’ll help pet parents affected by such a change to safely transition to a new food or brand we believe is healthier for their pet.”
Petco has worked with in-house and consultant veterinarians, nutritionists, and wellness experts to make its decision and its new standards for pet nutrition.
As part of this initiative, Petco will also launch the Petco Pet Wellness Institute, a coalition of veterinarians, nutritionists, pet psychologists, academic researchers, and others to ensure the company is offering proper information, education, and services. Part of the institute’s mandate will be funding evidence-based research to help further understand and define industry-wide issues, including the impact of food and ingredients on pet health.
For more information on Petco’s new nutrition standards, click here.