ALL CLEAR: Petco Completes Promise to Clear Shelves and Site of Artificial Ingredients for Dogs and Cats by May 2019

May 1, 2019

SAN DIEGO, May 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Petco has officially made good on its November 2018 promise to no longer sell food and treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives* for dogs and cats. As of May 1, 2019, Petco is the first and only major retailer of pet food and treats to take a stand against such ingredients by removing dog and cat food products that do not meet its nutrition standards at more than 1,500 retail stores nationwide and online at


"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 Petco CEO, Ron Coughlin. "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 parents to provide their beloved 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. A full list of ingredients Petco has removed to date can be found here.

Since introducing its new standards in November, the company has made additional moves on its nutrition journey by launching a strategic partnership with Champion PetFoods, bringing the award-winning ACANA and ORIJEN dog and cat food brands to Petco in March. Petco has also continued to expand its partnership with JustFoodForDogs, which provides fresh, human-grade foods exclusively for pets in Petco stores nationwide and operates a growing lineup of open-to-the-public pet food kitchens. Together, JustFoodForDogs and Petco will open the first-of-its-kind in-store pet food kitchen at Petco's flagship store in New York's Union Square later this month.

Petco customers have already responded positively to the new changes: according to a recent survey, since the company announced its new nutrition standards in November, 62% of Petco customers are considering switching to a new food that meets the new standards, with more than half (51%) indicating that the new nutritional guidelines as a reason why.**

"The interest we've seen from pet parents, our vendor partners and the broader industry since November has been incredible," said Nick Konat, Co-Chief Merchandising Officer for Petco. "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."

While today marks a major milestone for dogs and cats at Petco, the company is also committed to removing foods with artificial ingredients for aquatic life and small animals. Some of the artificial ingredients Petco will eliminate from small animal foods include propylene glycol and ethoxyquin.

For more information about Petco and its new nutrition standards, visit

*Artificial ingredients initially planned for removal are those Petco defines below as artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, determined by referencing guidelines provided by AAFCO and FDA. Substances that are derivatives or mimics of natural compounds are not included. In addition, substances that may fall into categories outside the Petco definition of artificial colors, flavors and preservatives are not included at this time. While Petco reviews ingredient panels of our products in determining which products meet our nutrition standard definition, we cannot guarantee the absence of trace impurities from soil, water, air or the ingredient supply chain in any product. As Petco continues to evaluate and develop our nutrition standards with a focus on what is best for our customers' pets, Petco reserves the right to re-evaluate these standards and to continue to refine ingredients.

** From 4/2/19-4/5/19 dates, Petco fielded a 10-minute online survey that included 2,451 respondents. The survey focused on pet food shopping habits. The pet parent margin of error is +/- 2.3% at the 95% confidence level. 

About Petco and the Petco Foundation  
Petco is a leading pet specialty retailer with more than 50 years of service to pet parents. Everything we do is guided by our vision for Healthier Pets. Happier People. Better World. We operate more than 1,500 Petco and Unleashed by Petco locations across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico; complete pet care services and veterinary advice through PetCoach; and The Petco Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization, has invested more than $250 million since it was created in 1999 to help promote and improve the welfare of companion animals. In conjunction with the Foundation, we work with and support thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.   

Media Contact: 
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