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Our Editor, Priyanka Kaushal, recently had a conversation with Mr. Neti Patel, Business Head – Animal Health Division of The Himalaya Drug Company, where he discussed about the inception of Himalaya Companion Care section and the changing face of Indian Pet Industry. Following are a few snippets from their conversation…

Give us a brief overview of the Animal Health Division of The Himalaya Drug Company with special reference to the Himalaya Companion Care segment.

Animal Health Division of The Himalaya Drug Company was incorporated in the year 1998. Over the period, Himalaya Animal Health has ventured into all the 4 segments, viz. Livestock, Poultry, Companion Care and Aqua with a team of more than 600 people pan India.

Companion care segment of Himalaya has therapeutic, nutrition, and grooming products, and is the market leader in the niche segment of herbal grooming range.

Himalaya has ventured into pet nutrition in the year 2019 with the launch of Healthy PET food – Complete and Balanced Nutrition with Goodness of herbs, first of its kind in the Global Pet Nutrition Market, which has complete & balanced nutrition with herbal actives that improves health and well-being of pets. Healthy PET food has been specially formulated to address health needs of puppies and adult dogs naturally, and it comes in 2 variants as of now for Puppies – Chicken and Rice, and for Adults – Meat and Rice; more are in pipeline.

We are proud to say today, Himalaya is a household name among majority of the pet parents in India.

Motto of Himalaya Companion Care segment is ‘Health and happiness for your pets, naturally’. Shed some light upon the same. 

Ayurveda has been a part of our life, since ancient ages. The inception of Himalaya started in the forests of Burma, as a curious young man looked on, when villagers fed the roots of a local herb to calm a herd of agitated elephants. That man was our founder, Mr. M. Manal. His dream of discovering the mysteries of nature began in the year 1930. He was determined to bring to people the promise of nature’s healing power, harnessed through scientific research.

After 90 years, we are constantly working and making efforts to provide health and happiness to our furry friends. A pet is a family member now, and hence, deserves the same high quality of natural health care as you do. Pet parents are seeking out natural therapies and products for their pets; we cater to the specific needs of pets to keep them healthy and happy!

Since its inception, the Himalaya Drug Company enjoys a special relationship with animal health care service providers and the veterinary community across the country. How do you think veterinarians have evolved over this period?

Last decade has seen an evolution in Indian pet care. Our country is now one of the fastest growing markets across the globe. It has had a mindset shift from pet ownership to responsible pet parenting. This has changed the concept of caregivers and the quality of life of the pet. The veterinary community has geared up to cope with this change. Diseases too advanced with urbanization. The pharmaceutical companies took up the challenge, and their research and development teams gave new therapy options for pets. The special health requirements of pets were identified and catered to by the veterinarians.

Likewise, we have dynamically contributed in this battle to provide good healthcare products. Himalaya brands are developed scientifically with clinical trials that have in-depth understanding of pets. Around the world, animal health caregivers are embracing integrated medicine by ardently using our products alongside conventional medicine.

How do you think the mindset of pet owners has changed over time?

‘’A dog has no use for fancy cars, big homes, or designer clothes. Give him your heart and he’ll give you his!”

It’s a sentiment, millennial India’s pet parent is identified with! The number of pet households in India has increased in last couple of years and the affinity towards pet adoption is clearly visible. Research statistics proves that 600,000 pets are adopted every year.  Individuals no longer want to be referred as pet owners, but as ‘proud pet parents’. Millennials see pets as the extension of their family and treat them as children. They don’t mind spending a substantial amount of their earnings on their pet’s well-being. The awareness and technology have made them more aware about healthy living not only for themselves but for their pets as well. Now petkeeping is not only about annual vaccination but about grooming, interactive therapies, balanced diet, and yes, pet parties too!

Himalaya Animal Health Division has carved a niche for itself as the ‘leading’ herbal player in the veterinary industry. What is it that kept you going?

Himalaya follows the philosophy of adopting the ancient science of Ayurveda and collaborating with modern technology. Our pet products are well-researched and manufactured using cutting edge technology. Himalaya products are highly efficacious and safe for pets as well as pet parents. We follow stringent quality standards during manufacturing and take utmost care during storage and transport.

We can proudly say that Himalaya animal health products suit the wellness needs of every pet very well. As more customers seek out natural products for their pet’s various health challenges, we are continuously working on adding new products to our herbal range.

At present, various conferences and seminars are being held to educate veterinarians and to get informative insights from them about changing medical practices. How do you think this is impacting the small animal veterinary practice in India?

Continuous Veterinary Education platforms have been a vital aspect for the fraternity. With super-specialized path-breaking research being undertaken across the globe, these platforms are a key to knowledge exchange. With this shared knowledge, the veterinarians are constantly upgrading their practice to global standards. We see several multi-speciality clinics coming up in metro cities and they are also expanding their operations with similar facilities to different cities. These clinics are equipped with the latest technology in diagnostics and treatment.

The level of awareness has improved drastically among pet parents. Pet parents not only in metros but also in tier-2 and tier-3 cities are aware of good pet care practices, and expect the same from veterinarians attending to their pets, so it’s very important that orientation/education programs are conducted regularly for Veterinarians.

Tell us about the animal welfare initiatives taken by the Himalaya Companion Care section.

Our Companion Care division has taken numerous animal welfare initiatives. We are working alongside several NGOs across the country. Pet adoption is important for Indian stray and abandoned dogs. In order to facilitate more adoption, we give a puppy care kit as a token of appreciation to pet parents. We also support rescue and treatment of dogs at a couple of centres. During the COVID–19 lockdown, we supported innumerable feeders by donating our pet food to feed stray dogs on streets.

Shed some light on Himalaya’s plans for the Indian Pet Care Market.

Himalaya’s rich expertise in the animal health division for over 20 years has helped the company understand the importance of a pet’s well-being. In India, pet nutrition segment offers great opportunities, as only approximately 4% of the pet population feeds pet food as complete meals.

How has been your journey being part of the Himalaya Animal Health Division?

We are on the verge of becoming No.1 herbal player in Animal Health Industry. In last five years, we have doubled our turnover and are highly indebted to all our customers across Livestock, Poultry, Aqua, and Pet Care segments for their trust and faith in our products. We acknowledge the contribution of all Himalayans working in the field and across functionaries who work tirelessly to provide quality products specific to the needs of our customers.

We strongly believe ‘change is the only constant’, our endeavour has been to focus on the present and future needs/gaps in the Animal Health Industry, and work towards fulfilling the same.

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