Much like the Grinch, my heart swelled twenty times its size when I stepped into the Canadian Pet Expo in Toronto, Ontario, Canada … for the umpteenth time. This annual expo fills a stadium-size convention centre with mostly pet vendors, but also a dog show, cat show, grooming competition, and lure course.
The Canadian Pet Expo in September 2022 overlapped one day with the Canadian pet industry trade show PIJAC happening around the corner at the International Centre.
Absent in fall 2022 from the Canadian Pet Expo was the main stage of entertainment, including agility demonstrations, and a dock diving tank. However, the reptile expo and aquatics expo adjacent to the main show picked up the slack.
Pets are everything to me, and if I could spend 24/7 writing about them and being among them, I would. Here are a few outstanding faces spending Sunday (and likely Saturday too) at the Canadian Pet Expo:
PIJAC Canadian Pet Industry
And what was around the corner at the International Centre, a multi-site convention facility near the Pearson airport in Mississauga near Toronto?
The annual PIJAC (Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada) pet industry trade show. Granted, it’s a significantly scaled down SuperZoo, and there’s mostly distributors because combining forces with a retail store distributor is the best way for most US brands to get their products into Canada.
However, there are many Canadian pet product companies at PIJAC eager to promote their home-grown pet food, pet treats, and pet products. The Great White North was represented from coast-to-coast and almost every province.
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Here are some PIJAC Canadian pet company highlights west to east:
1. Yappetizers from British Columbia
Yappetizers are dehydrated single protein dog treats. Each ingredient list lists only one thing: the protein source. And the sources vary from pork to kangaroo; wild salmon to chicken; venison to goat; sardines to lamb.
Consequently, protein content is high – 60 to 75 percent – and fat is lower in some – 5 to 25 percent. Chicken is the lowest and venison the highest.
What’s fun is Yappetizers (affiliate link) offers a ‘Dog Gone Fishing’ assorted box of six fish flavours, so picky eaters can see what they like. What does my dog like? So far, the chicken and pork liver without hesitation. But we’re making our way through the flavours slowly because all good treats in moderation.
2. The Tilted Barn from Alberta
The Tilted Barn sources ingredients from Canadian farms, and the company has rebranded from its previous name Farm Fresh Pet Foods. Both my current dog and my previous dog love Tilted Barn beef sticks, and my previous dog was very picky. My current dog also gobbles them up – in fact some were in our contest box of ‘my dog’s favourite things’ last year.
The bite-sized training treats version are the ideal for filling dog puzzles and enrichment games, and that’s how my pup gets most of her Tilted Barn treats.
Did she love her sample of beef sticks? Yes, but I knew she would.
3. Smack from Manitoba
Based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Smack raw dehydrated food for cats and dogs was showcasing their newest addition to a line that promotes itself as full of raw super-food ingredients with kibble convenience.
All natural ingredients go into Smack pet food and there’s no gluten, filler, or grain. Three new flavours – Rockin’ Rockfish, Prairie Harvest Pork, and Caribbean-salmon fusion – graced the ‘new product showcase,’ and which was my dog’s favourite? An unscientific taste test led her to Smack Prairie Harvest first (affiliate link).
4. Centurion Supply Inc. from Ontario
Considering the trade show was in Toronto, there were many companies in attendance from Ontario. But one product that stood out was Canigest Combi, a new probiotic product for dogs from Centurion Supply Inc. in Stratford, Ontario that specializes in horse products.
Canigest is for dogs who regularly suffer from diarrhea or constipation, which includes my puppy. It contains two probiotic strains and two prebiotics, along with pectic which helps with water retention. Canigest is easy to administer from a fat plastic feed syringe and is beef flavoured.
How did my dog like it? I’ll let you know in an upcoming review of the product.
5. Java Wood Dentler Dog Chews from Quebec
Dentler, a Quebec-based dog product company, has jumped on the java bandwagon – Java wood. What dog doesn’t chew sticks on walks? Well, mine does. Her favourite chew toy is wood. Dentler is the alternative to antlers, and an alternative use for spent coffee trees.
Dentler is made from java wood, another name for coffee trees no longer producing coffee. Prior to a number of companies buying the wood for dog chews – watch for an upcoming post about other wood chew companies – this pruned coffee wood would be burnt, then new trees planted. Dentlers are all natural, containing no additives or preservatives.
6. Sydney Harbour Fish Dog Treats from Nova Scotia
If the image of a light house and schooner isn’t enough to tell you were Sydney Harbour Dog Treats come from, check out the company mascot – a Nova Scotia Duck Troller.
Manufactured on the coast of Atlantic Canada, Sydney Harbour treats are full of omega 3 fatty acids because each type is made from a single source protein – fish.
For instance, Nova Scotia Stogis are hand-rolled Haddock skins; Cape Breton Crunchers are squares of layered dried Haddock; and Atlantic Wolffish are stinky chews made from Icelandic Wolffish, a tough fish perfect for this purpose.
7. Canadian Seal Products from Newfoundland
Yes, this one has me a little rattled too, but Canadian Seal Products based in Newfoundland hunts and processes seal for a variety of purposes including now pet food, treats, and chews. Every part of the seal is utilized, according to the company. Seal hunting has deep roots in Newfoundland.
Also, according to the company, seal meat is higher in protein than other meats and packed with minerals and vitamins, including B12. In fact, they claim it’s a better omega oil source because it’s a mammal-to-mammal exchange.
Did my dog like the seal chew offered? No, she didn’t. She approached it skeptically, bit it, but didn’t chew it. I might be too rigid for her. She did, however, enthusiastically eat the seal meat treat, although it was chewy.
Writer bio: Sherri Telenko has been a professional writer for decades and travel writer for the last two. She’s a member of TMAC (Travel Media Association of Canada) and Dog Writers Association of America, and travels almost weekly with her canine companion, Victoria.