July 26, 2021
Pet Products SmartBrief
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(Skip Bolen/Getty Images)
Genetics startup Embark Veterinary has raised $75 million in a funding round led by SoftBank Group, bringing the startup's valuation to $700 million, according to Embark CEO Ryan Boyko. Embark processes dog DNA gathered using its $129 Breed ID tests in an effort to increase dogs' lifespans by giving owners data that guides them in tailoring the animal's diet, avoiding certain drugs and making other lifestyle changes.
Full Story: BNN Bloomberg (Canada) (7/26) 
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Connecting the digital + physical worlds in retail
While the recent surge in digital interactions will remain, consumers now crave in-person interaction – which makes connecting the two more important than ever for retailers. This on-demand webinar explores the implications of the Covid-19 digital surge for retailers and how reimagining retail digital transformation can augment human interactions. Watch now
Industry Watch
Wag N' Wash Natural Pet Food & Grooming reported a 19.7% year-to-date systemwide sales increase in May, and one location's year-to-date sales spiked 97.5%. "It's amazing to see the rate the industry is growing and we're so grateful to be a part of this upward demand for pet products and services," said Kristen Risby, who was appointed president earlier this year.
Full Story: International Franchise Association (7/23) 
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Animal shelter managers and pet rescue groups have been bracing for a wave of surrenders and returns as businesses and schools re-open, but intakes in California's San Francisco Bay area are lower than average, says East Bay SPCA CEO Allison Lindquist. Most of the animals surrendered recently at Contra Costa County's shelter were adopted in the past 11 months through Craigslist or an agency, says shelter spokesperson Steve Burdo.
Full Story: San Jose Mercury News (Calif.) (tiered subscription model) (7/21) 
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Top Trends and Product News
In-person pet products show returns in August
SuperZoo 2021, the first in-person pet products trade show since before the pandemic, is set for next month in Las Vegas with 781 exhibitors and 37,000 square feet of space dedicated to new products. Products for dogs and cats make up the lion's share of planned exhibits, with health and wellness a fast-growing category.
Full Story: Pet Age (7/2021) 
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Teenager Alexander Tsao uses fraying ropes that his local climbing gym would otherwise throw away to create sturdy dog leashes which he sells for $14.99 each to raise funds for local animal charities and shelters. Tsao has sold around 800 leashes, as well as other merchandise, raising more than $30,000 thus far for organizations in his area.
Full Story: The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/23) 
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Most people want to give their pets the best care they can, and some dog owners believe that includes a homemade or raw diet, but veterinarians and other experts say they may be putting their dogs, themselves and the public at risk. A recent study found drug-resistant bacteria in all of 14 commercially produced raw food samples tested, and the AVMA says pet food should be cooked or pasteurized to kill harmful pathogens.
Full Story: CNET (7/20) 
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Pet Break
A year-old German shepherd dog born with malformed rear legs is learning to walk with prostheses, says veterinarian Marta Sanchez-Emden. The dog had to be taught to walk properly instead of hopping like a kangaroo and received hydrotherapy to build his muscles, and Dr. Sanchez-Emden says he will be able to run, jump and do whatever he wants.
Full Story: WFOR-TV (Miami-Fort Lauderdale) (7/21) 
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Editor's Note
A headline in the July 19 issue of Pet Products SmartBrief misspelled Bobby Flay's name. SmartBrief regrets the error.
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Meet The Editor
Janet Forgrieve
Janet Forgrieve
Tanya the beagle mix (Janet Forgrieve)
I've made journalism my career for more than two decades, and have been a full-time writer and editor at SmartBrief since 2013, covering the retail and food-and-beverage beats. I was happy to take over the Pet Products SmartBrief when the opportunity arose, as animals are a passion of mine.

I spend my summer Saturdays feeding baby animals at a wildlife rehabilitation center and, until the pandemic hit, I was also volunteering at a cat shelter. And I share my home with a 14-year-old rescue beagle mix named Tanya.

I'm always eager to hear from readers about pet-related stories we should be covering, so please feel free to email me .
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