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Nashville Snow and the Canine Nutrition Summit

As a pet blogger and proud canine caregiver to a large rescue dog who is getting on in years now, and has food allergies, I appreciated being invited to attend a two-day Canine Nutrition Summit in Nashville, Tennessee recently.

Sweet Pea at MARS Petcare US - Franklin, TN Having never been to Nashville, it was a wonderful opportunity to see this famous musical city before spending many hours learning about the art and science behind pet food. 

Nashville snow.  I learned the hard way that my brief free time for exploring the city before the summit began, included a record 7th snow fall of the year for Nashville.  People I spoke with at the Grand Ole Opry giftshop were all Southern charm and hospitality, but I could tell they couldn't wait to close up so that they could start their slow trek home.

It was something to see the icy roads filled with snow covered cars creeping slowly along trying not to skid across lanes or spin their wheels in frustration. The snow was so bad for this city that doesn't normally get it, that the car service which was offered by the Hutton Hotel, where we all stayed, was turned back due to the snow and ice.  Fortunately I had Ryan from Houston Dog Blog with me, and we joined the people in their cowboy boots slipping down Music Row and got back to the hotel by foot in no time.  Talk about a boot scootin boogie!

This sponsored trip -- MARS Petcare US paid my way because they consider Grouchy Puppy dog blogs an influencer -- allowed me to catch up with many of my fellow pet media influencers, including:

Ryan Rice, Houston Dog Blog - Maria Goodavage, Dogster Dog Blog - Deborah Flick, Boulder Dog - Paris Permenter and John Bigley, Dogtipper - Debbie Jacobs, Fearful Dogs - Diane Silver, To Dog With Love - Michelle Maskaly, My Tail Hurts From Wagging So Much - Felissa Hadas, Two Little Cavaliers  and Ashley Niels, I Love Rescue Animals

We had a whole day together at the Mars Petcare US home office, but the summit really began with a nice welcome dinner at the hotel restaurant. They had grander plans for us that night but the snow cancelled them.  However it was still a great opportunity to be introduced to several people from within the huge Petcare division.

Besides those I had known from last year's Blog Paws pet conferences, I met lots of folks associated with MARS Petcare US and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition in the UK and their dogs.

Dr Ralph Merrill from Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition UK
I even met a celebrity, Roscoe the adorable mutt who was featured in a Pedigree Foundation poster during last year's pet adoption drive. [Update: Roscoe was adopted by one of the MARS Petcare employees]

Roscoe MARS Pedigree Foundation Drive

The Dish - Five Things I Learned in Nashville:

  • Franklin, Tennessee became headquarters in 2006 to MARS Petcare US and lots of employees, who believe pets make the world better and bring their pets to the office.
  • 41% of the MARS worldwide business comes from their Petcare division, as opposed to the tasty MARS chocolates.
  • The PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive initiated the creation of the nonprofit PEDIGREE Foundation to further help the adoption campaign.
  • MARS Petcare US relies on the Waltham Centre for their pet care research and companion animal nutrition.
  • PEDIGREE Brand has a new dry food that has X-shaped kibble designed to reduce tartar buildup, and promote healthy teeth and gums.

There is much more that I learned but I am still, digesting it all. We had two full presentations from Dr Ralph Merrill, Dr Tiffany Bierer, Debra Fair, Lisa Campbell, and Dr Mark Franklin about the art and science behind the PEDIGREE Brand.

Expect more posts about this trip and the information I gathered.  They gave us a lot of data to chew on.  I want to sift and read my notes so that I share what I truly learned rather than just write from their press kit.  Also, my fellow pet media influencers asked lots of really good questions during the presentations and I want to see if I can gather some of that for you. Stay tuned for post number two.

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