Wednesday, January 25, 2012

IB Pet is playing a good game of catch with human health trends

Article originally published in San Diego Pets Magazine.

Russ Blauert has two golden retrievers, two cats and a bunch of chickens and fish. And since he’s the co-owner of IB Pet, it’s a cinch those animals are in the best of hands. IB Pet, after all, brands itself a full-service store—the Imperial Beach facility stocks foods from a variety of companies and places emphasis on healthful, raw-diet components. It offers free-range and organic treats as well as obedience classes; now, it even has a pet food delivery service that covers San Diego County.

Blauert, a New Mexico native who runs the store with his wife Lori, is following a pet-wellness trend that he said has been growing for many years—the perception of the benefits from healthful living. “California’s at the forefront of it,” Blauert explained. “As people focus more on their health, the pet is going to get their health focused on more as well.”

While that philosophy is true, it’s also lagged behind its human counterpart for close to a generation. Human health practitioners have embraced holistic medicine for 30 years and more, making an enormous dent in mainstream traditions—yet only now does the pet industry seem to be catching on. There’s a reason for that, Blauert explained. 

“In the past,” Blauert said, “the food companies didn’t think the consumer would spend as much money on their pet’s health as they’re willing to do. The consumers are showing a willingness to take care of their animals, and in turn, the companies are bringing out more and more good products.”

The American Pet Products Association estimates that owners will spend nearly $51 billion on pet food and services in 2011, a 5 percent increase over the $48.3 billon from the previous year. Blauert cites a similar statistic that stems from personal experience.

“My parents,” he said, “had a pet 20 years ago, when the premium dog food trade was 5 percent of what it is now.” 

IB Pet is doing its part to include the area’s animals in the health-intensive uptick. Blauert said the philosophy behind the trend is simple: If your pet is truly one of the family, it oughta be fed accordingly.

Read more: San Diego Pets Magazine - IB Pet is playing a good game of catch with human health trends 

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