Everything You Need to Know About Mars Petcare, Inc.

Mars Petcare Inc:

  • Derives from the Mars company, created by Frank Mars
  • Has its origins in 1935 when Mars acquired its first dog food brand
  • Includes Pedigree and Cesar among its famous brands
  • Has diversified into veterinary care and research, forming the Mars Veterinary Health brand

Mars is a familiar name in many households. A few years ago, my first thought would have been the famous Mars Bar, but nowadays I’m more likely to think about Mars Petcare products.

As far as my Bichon Frise, Freya, is concerned, she’ll take some of their tasty pet treats over anything aimed at me!

You can trace the origins of the Mars company back to 1883, when its founder, Frank Mars, was born. In this article, you’re going to learn how Mars Petcare came to be, and discover how they managed to become a leader in the pet food industry.


Mars Entered Petcare in 1935

After creating iconic chocolate bars including Milky Way and Snickers, Mars moved into the pet care arena in 1935. Frank Mars’ son, Forrest Mars Sr, had moved to the UK. He bought out UK company Chappell Brothers Limited, purveyors of a canned dog food called Chappie.

You may be surprised to learn that while Pedigree Chum is a more familiar dog food brand for many, Mars still makes Chappie to this day.

This was the first of many moves that would contribute to the history of Mars Petcare.

At the beginning of 2017, the company paid $7.7 billion to buy out 800 animal hospitals and other pet-related services including doggy day care. This meant the pet care arm of Mars became bigger than its confectionery business.


The Origins of Pal Dog Food

I remember Pal dog food from when I was a kid. My family didn’t have dogs, but I knew people who did, and I remember most of them ate Pal.

Its original UK launch occurred in 1954, although it went by the name Meet back then. I’ve never heard of that name, so I guess the change to Pal that happened in 1959 was a smart move!


The Sixties Saw Further Pet Care Developments

The decade started in style with the introduction of Chum dog food in 1960. However, this was also the decade where we saw the first signs that Mars Petcare Inc would go into other aspects of care.

This occurred when the company launched a pet research center in the UK. This was the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, today called the Waltham Petcare Science Institute.

Just one year after its creation, the center published an in-depth review looking at the nutritional requirements of dogs. The center continued researching from then on, following this by opening a nutrition research facility at Melton Mowbray in the UK – the UK base for Mars Petcare. This occurred in 1965.


More Research into Pet Care Topics

Today’s Waltham Petcare Science Institute is located in Waltham on the Wolds and has been there since the Seventies. These are some of the projects and research conducted over the years:

  • Amino acid needs in dogs
  • Ideal taurine levels in cat food
  • Waltham Book of Cat and Dog Nutrition published in 1982
  • New facilities opened in the Nineties
  • Sensory garden for dogs opened in the 2000s

Another major step forward for dogs was researching the ideal daily balance of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrate, and protein. Researchers discovered 60% should be from fat, with 30% coming from protein sources, and the final 10% made up with carbs.


Facts About Mars Petcare US

You probably know that Mars has long since established itself as a global business with brands made famous in many countries. Mars Petcare US is the American arm of the business. It creates many dog and cat food products and is based in Franklin, Tennessee.

Over 2,100 people work for the company in America, situated in 13 manufacturing facilities spread across the country.


Cesar Dog Food Made by Mars Petcare Inc

Freya votes for the quality of Cesar dog treats here – I couldn’t write this article without mentioning how much she loves the chicken flavored ones. Meaty Bites or Softies… both are fine for her. Honestly, though, anything flavored with chicken… and preferably real chicken… is a winner with my pooch.

Cesar has an extensive range of wet foods. Some of their meals look tasty enough for me to try! Beef stew, slow-cooked chicken with vegetables, and even filet mignon… the company produces a superb range of meals under the Cesar name.

When I was going through the range, I noticed how high the ratings were for many of their other products, too. The company only produces three dry food meal products, but they are again highly rated.


Exploring Pedigree Dog Foods

This is another famous brand from Mars Petcare Inc. One of the best things I noticed about their range was that I could search according to type of food – dry, wet, or treats – and for puppies or adult dogs.

I could also look for food ideal for Freya by choosing a small dog. You can also look for products designed for medium and large breeds. I was also able to search for food created according to specific needs. A good example is food designed to take better care of teeth or to maintain a healthy weight.

That’s great for Freya – since she is a Bichon, there is a risk that she could develop that ‘Bichon barrel’ look. Fortunately, that hasn’t happened, but it could if she wasn’t eating a proper dog food that is right for her.

I also spotted 11 flavors of dog food, one of which was bacon cheeseburger! I suspect Freya would love that if she got her paws on it. Fortunately, they do have chicken and cheese flavors in the mix – both among her favorites.


Mars Veterinary Health Focuses on Wellbeing

The company first reached into veterinary care back in the Fifties. Today, Mars Veterinary Health is an established global arm of the original Mars business, running services in 21 countries.

You could visit any of 2,500 vet clinics and hospitals across those countries. The company also runs labs handling diagnostic services. You might recognize some of the brands under the Mars umbrella too, such as the Mount Pleasant Veterinary Group and the Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, Washington.


What’s The Best Takeaway Fact Here?

I found it fascinating to go through history to unearth the beginnings of Mars Petcare Inc. It has come a long way since Frank Mars was born at a time when pet care was still far in the future for the business.

However, the one thing that stood out for me was that Mars Petcare is always furthering its development. It always has the pets in mind – whether it’s their health or the food they eat. I felt the veterinary acquisitions and developments in research and beyond really were natural steps in furthering their aim to look after our pets.

Freya has no interest in history, of course. As long as she continues to get her favorite Cesar treats, along with some of the Pedigree range, she’ll be delighted.


Writer: Allison Whitehead

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