Natural Defense

February 02, 2010 13:53 ET

Dogs Enjoy Increased Health Protection with Natural Defense™

Latest line of dog food leverages science and nature to help protect pet well-being

BOLTON, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 2, 2010) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

Green tea, marigolds, flaxseed and chicory root - ingredients with scientifically-proven properties typically found in health food stores - have been combined with the latest in nutritional research to offer dogs complete, natural protection in common areas of health with the launch of Natural Defense™ premium food for dogs.

Developed by an expert team of veterinarians and pet nutritionists and manufactured in Canada, the entire Natural Defense™ product line features a variety of natural extracts plus vitamins, minerals and other trace nutrients scientifically proven to proactively support dog well-being in five key areas - immune health, joint health, digestive health, oral health and skin and coat health. Free of artificial colours or flavours, Natural Defense™ products come in an adult dry formula as well as in three healthy snack varieties which, when fed regularly, provide an added level of defense to a dog's oral, digestive and joint health. Natural Defense™ products will be available at major retailers nation-wide in early February.

"With the Natural Defense™ brand we have provided dog owners with a scientifically-proven, natural approach to proactively support their pet's well-being and overall health," said Sandra Hinojosa, product development manager, Mars Canada™. "One example of improvement we saw during our initial trials were dogs that had regained their playfulness and energy levels after six weeks of daily feeding of Natural Defense™ Joint Health snacks and were once again able to undertake normal activities like running, jumping and climbing stairs".

Key areas of health for dogs

The development of the Natural Defense™ brand addresses the growing consumer demand for pet food that features natural extracts scientifically proven to proactively support the areas of health that are of primary concern to dog owners.

A 2005 study found that 80 per cent(1) of dogs over the age of three may have oral care issues, which typically range from poor teeth and gums, as well as halitosis, more commonly referred to as 'dog breath'. One in five dogs over the age of one(2) have been observed to experience mobility issues, which could be attributed in part to the rapid growth rate of puppies (approximately 12 times faster than human babies(3)). This can translate to extra wear and tear on joints while they are still forming. And while it may appear that dogs are able to eat just about anything, their digestive system differs greatly from humans. The transit time for food traveling through a dog's digestive system is 12 to 30 hours, while humans can take up to five days, making digestive health important to ensure food is properly utilized by the body. Finally, the condition of the skin and coat is very important to a dog's overall health as they have thinner skin compared to humans(4) which also must act as a protective barrier against external factors.

"As many of us strive to remain fit and active as we age, we are also looking to ensure our pets will age gracefully with us, so they can enjoy as much as possible, the vitality and vigour they had as puppies throughout their life" said Hinojosa. "As with humans, there has been a significant movement from reactive to a proactive approach to promote pet health and wellbeing. By feeding products like those in the Natural Defense™ product line-up, we can take a proactive approach to our pet's health with products that leverage science and nature to help protect them."

Mother Nature's defenses at work

Similar to natural extracts, vitamins and minerals taken by humans to improve their overall health and wellness, Natural Defense™ premium dry dog food and healthy snacks leverage some of the most well-known and documented ingredients to help aid in dog well-being and quality of life in key areas:

Immune Health - Marigold extract, vitamins E & C and taurine provide an added level of defense against everyday challenges to the immune system

- Marigold has been valued for centuries as a powerful antioxidant that also supports eye health

- Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant to help boost immune function and enhance iron absorption

- Vitamin E, an immune enhancing antioxidant, helps protect the skin

- Taurine, known for its antioxidant activity, helps stabilize cell membranes

Joint Health - Omega 3 from flax seed plus glucosamine, a natural component derived from shrimp shells, supports fundamental joint care protection

- Omega 3 helps preserve joint lubrication by protecting the synovial fluid and membranes which provide a cushion-like protection to joints

- Glucosamine is a key building block for joints

Digestive health - Whole wheat, barley and sugar beet pulp promote optimal digestive health

- Whole grains and fibers are a great source of carbohydrates, which provides energy needed for dogs to be active

- The combination of grains and fibres in Natural Defense™ Premium Dry Food provides dogs with an optimal balance of soluble and insoluble fiber to promote proper digestion and help protect their health

Oral Health - Myrtle leaf and green tea extract are natural botanicals that help support oral health

- Myrtle is proven to help manage bacteria associated with plaque formation which promotes healthy gums

- The patented texture of the Oral Health Snack helps to clean down to the gum line

- Green tea helps promote fresh breath

"For years, we've educated humans on foods that have a beneficial effect on health, and how eating a variety of nutrient-rich foods can support overall health and wellness," said Amy Snider-Whitson, a food and nutrition trend expert. "It comes as no surprise that we're seeing these same natural extracts, such as flaxseed, barley, vegetable oils and green tea, benefiting dogs in a similar way and helping owners proactively promote protection for life."

Natural Defense™ premium dry food is available in 3 kg and 6.8 kg bags, with a manufacturer's suggested price of $13.99 and $24.99, respectively. Digestive Health Snacks are available in 400g pouches with an MSRP price of $4.99; Joint Health Snacks in 154g cartons with a MSRP of $6.99; and Oral Health Snacks in 150g cartons in both medium and large sizes, with a MSRP of $6.99.

(1) Prevalence of Dental Disorders in Pet Dogs, Kyllar, M. and Witter, K. Journal of Veterinary Medicine - Czech;2005, Vol. 50(11) 495-505

(2) Pfizer Animal Health, 1996

(3) Waltham Fact Sheet (2009)

(4) Waltham Fact Sheet (2009)

®/TM Trademarks. (C) Mars Canada Inc., 2010. All rights reserved.

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