What an exciting week it’s been! I have just returned from the first annual International Shelter Medicine Conference in La Grande Motte France sponsored by Royal Canin. During this 2 daylong event, I had the pleasure of presenting to and meeting approximately 100 animal shelter team members from around the world, including the Royal Canin Elite Shelter team.
Royal Canin has long been recognized for their exceptional quality pet food and as a leader in pet nutrition research. Did you know that Royal Canin is also committed to helping shelters provide the best care to the animals under their care? It’s true! They have recently developed an Elite Shelter Program to provide nutritional support and information on medical and behavioral health, cleaning and disinfection and many other topics to shelters around the world.
In fact, their shelter medicine conference encompassed a wide variety of very useful topics pertaining to animal shelters. In addition to my own presentation on prevention of common infectious diseases, we heard lectures on the affects of early age sterilization, cleaning and disinfection, nutrition for shelter animals, shelter organization, volunteer retention strategies, environmental enrichment strategies, and shelter promotion. The discussions after each lecture provided very interesting insight into the unique but often similar concerns shelters share no matter where in the world they are located.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was the tour of the Royal Canin factory and research facility. For years I have heard that Royal Canin’s research facility was anything but traditional. As I visited with their research cats who were lounging in chairs and sleeping in the sunshine on an enclosed porch, I realized how true this was. I toured past play yards with small groups of dogs chasing one another playfully and into their canine housing units, which resembled sunrooms more so than kennels. It struck me how similar the housing and enrichment provided to Royal Canin’s research animals is to that which we strive for in our shelters. Well done Royal Canin!
It is exciting and comforting to know that Royal Canin, a pet food organization that is remarkable for its quality and research, is supporting animal shelters in many ways. I look forward to hearing more from their Elite Shelter Program and hope your shelter team will as well!
Holly Putnam, DVM
Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Faculty Clinician