While we as a society have always kept pets, no longer is it sufficient for us to simply provide them with food, water, and a place to sleep. Once upon a time, a pet was an animal that lived mostly outside, sleeping in a doghouse in the garage and only coming inside the house on occasion. In contrast, today, many people have pets—be they dogs (canines) or cats (feline), or something else—that live almost exclusively in the house with their human owners. Changing lifestyles and social mores have led us to the point where, to us, our pets are simply an extension of our families.
As with all living organisms, our pets occasionally get sick, or develop chronic conditions such as arthritis that cause them to require medication. In addition, depending on their environment, they may be susceptible to parasites such as heartworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and others, further underscoring the need for pet medication. This medication may be preventive in nature—meaning that it protects our pets from developing certain conditions or becoming hosts to certain parasites—or it may be responsive—meaning that it is given in response to the development of a condition or infestation. In either case, the need for pet medication has never been higher than it is today.
However, as we all know, medication can have a very unpleasant flavor. As humans, we occasionally struggle to ingest medication that we know we need; indeed, as any parent can attest, getting a sick child to take the medication that the doctor prescribed for him or her is often one of the most challenging aspects of nursing the child through the illness.
How much greater then, given that pets don't understand the need for the medication we give them, is the challenge of getting a pet to eat medicine that it finds to be unpleasant in taste or scent. This is particularly true because pets tend to have a much keener sense of scent (which affects taste) than humans do, meaning that they find unpleasant medicines to be much more offensive than we do.
As such, the market for palatant suppliers (more popularly known as flavoring suppliers) has increased over recent years. Flavor suppliers are companies that provide flavor for pet medicine. Typically, this flavoring is obtained from flavoring suppliers by the companies that make the pet medicine. Then, during the manufacturing process, the medicine palatability enhancers are mixed in with the medications to produce medicine that pets find to be more suitable to their tastes.
Pet medicine palatability is a big business, primarily because pet owners understand the need for getting their pets to take medicine. Most would prefer to achieve this without engaging in such activities such as forced feeding, mixing medicines with messy foods, or even dragging their pets to the vet's office for an injection—an experience that is both costly and time-consuming.
Good flavoring for pet medicines makes the medication process much easier. For example, rather than chasing down a dog, wrestling its mouth open, and shoving a pill down its throat—a process which can be traumatic for dog and owner alike—pet owners can now obtain flavored medications that their pets will readily consume. This saves owners the hassle of trying to come up with new and creative ways to medicate their pets such as coating a pill in peanut butter (which can be messy), crushing the pill and stirring it into yogurt (which can cause the medication to be less effective or completely ineffective), or simply skipping the pill option and going with a shot (which can be expensive, time-consuming, and traumatic for all involved).
Flavor vendors create an array of flavors for pet medicine. A few examples are heartworm medication (such as Interceptor® by Elanco), arthritis medication (such as Deramaxx® by Elanco), various antibiotics (such as Baytril® by Bayer), and deworming medications for all kinds of parasites (such as Iverhart Max® by Virbac). By continually innovating the pet pharmaceutical market, flavor vendors make life easier for pets and pet owners alike.
One of the leading flavor concentrate manufacturers is PF, Inc. (Pet Flavors, Inc.). PF, Inc. has been on the cutting edge of the market for flavoring for pet medicines from the very beginning. By understanding the need for, and advantage to, providing flavor for pet medicine, PF, Inc. was able to establish itself early on as one of the preferred flavor suppliers for pet medication companies such as Bayer, Merck, Elanco, Virbac, Boerhringer Ingelheim, and more.
Pet owners have always loved their pets, but only relatively recently have they started to see pets as so much more than an animal that happens to sleep on a mat at the foot of their bed. Whereas at one time a pet owner would simply make the choice to put down an animal with a serious illness or chronic condition, today, more than ever, pet owners are making the choice to continue nursing these animals along for as long as it is humanely feasible to do so.
The increased life expectancy of pets leads to an increased need for medication. Just as with humans, elderly pets tend to develop conditions such as arthritis, which can require pain medication to manage. Likewise, elderly animals tend to be more susceptible to infections and illnesses of all types, meaning there is more of a demand for medicines that come in forms such as a flavored chewable tablet.
From the beginning, PF, Inc. has been a leading name in the pet flavoring supplier industry. Because of its innovations in the pet medicine palatability arena and its established relationship with many of the big names in the nutraceutical industry, PF, Inc. continues to make strides in remaining one of the premier businesses in the flavoring suppliers market. By making pet medications more attractive to pets, as well as avoiding the need to "hide" medications in other foods, PF, Inc. makes it easier to provide medication at the right dose and at the right times to pets.