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Small Dog Research Center Opens in Kansas

June 25, 2021 by Ansley Puckett

TOPEKA, Kan. – The American pet food company Hill’s Pet Nutrition opened its new Small Paws Innovation Center in Topeka, Kansas, on Wednesday.  

The 25,000-square foot nutrition center will focus completely on the nutrition needs of small dogs, which make up more than half of the dogs in the U.S. Hill’s Pet Nutrition invested $20 million in the small dog facility and will include an engagement center for pet caregivers and veterinarians. 

The Small Paws Innovation Center will be home to 80 small dogs under 20 lbs and hold educational programs and seminars for veterinary students and professionals each year.  

“All around the world, there’s a steady increase in the popularity of small dogs. Our investment in this specialized facility will help us develop food with the taste and aesthetics that small dogs prefer and that works best with their distinctive behaviors and unique physiology,” said Dave Baloga, vice president of science and technology for Hill’s. 

According to the center, small dogs have different nutritional needs than larger dogs, making it necessary to research and produce products best for those breeds. Miniature and small breeds expend more energy at a faster rate for body functions like keeping warm. They also spend more energy getting around than larger dogs, causing them to have higher calorie needs.  

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly attended the center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony and praised the Small Paws Innovation Center for its initiative and research.  

“This great Kansas company has cemented its reputation and ours, as a leader in the Animal Health field,” Kelly said. “We’ll continue to support our businesses like Hill’s to grow the Animal Health Corridor and bring new jobs and expertise to our state.” 

Kansas is also home to the Animal Health Corridor, the single largest concentration of animal health interest in the world, which conducts research and produces veterinary pharmaceuticals and specialized food for livestock and pets. 

According to Kansas Lt. Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland, the new Hill expansion is an example of the state’s work with the corridor.  

“Animal health and bioscience are at the forefront of our state’s investments in the future,” Toland said. “The Kansas Framework for Growth outlines how our state can emphasize our existing advantages, like the Animal Health Corridor, and maximize them to create and attract new growth and innovation in the future. This new Hill’s expansion is an example of that process working.” 

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