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TALKING DOGS AND BABY TURTLES -- 800-NUMBER HEARS IT ALL

 TALKING DOGS AND BABY TURTLES -- 800-NUMBER HEARS IT ALL
 ALLENTOWN, Pa., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- When the responders at the


ALPO Petfoods Consumer Service 800-number answer the phone, they're likely to hear anything from "My dog can talk" to "Can you feed cat food to baby turtles?"
 The toll-free hotline was designed to answer consumer questions about pet care and feeding, but there are always a fair share of these more memorable calls.
 "Pet owners are very close to their furry companions," says Lisbeth, one of the specially trained home economists and food scientists who answered more than 15,000 calls last year. "Pets are considered part of the family and their owners frequently give them human characteristics. Often, someone will call and tell us her pet is actually asking the question."
 So what do Fluffy and Fido want to know? Most inquiries are basic nutrition and feeding questions, such as how much and how often to feed (depends on size, breed and activity level), can kittens eat ALPO Cat Food (yes, it is complete and balanced for all life stages), or can dogs eat cat food and vice versa.
 "Dogs and cats have different nutritional needs," answers Monica. "Dogs love cat food, although the quantities they need would make it very expensive on a regular basis. Cats must not eat a steady diet of dog food because it does not have some of the essential nutrients, such as the amino acid taurine, that felines require."
 "We also answer a lot of environmental questions," says Pat. "For example, consumers want to know if our packages can be recycled (more than 98 percent can be) or if our tuna products are dolphin-free (they are)."
 Sometimes callers will call with human, rather than pet, concerns. "We hear from parents, school nurses, or even baby sitters when children eat pet food," says Jennifer. "While we don't recommend it as a steady diet, pet food won't cause any harm. The foods are completely cooked and canned foods are sterilized."
 Proud pet owners will often call and offer their furry family members for use on ALPO commercials (sorry, only professional animal actors are used). "One of the most unusual calls we received was from a man who said his dog could talk. He put the dog on the phone so we could hear him," remembers Lisbeth. "The dog did sort of sound like he was saying 'I love ALPO.' We couldn't use him for our ads, but we hope he still loves ALPO and tells all his canine friends."
 /delval/
 -0- 10/30/92
 /Editors: For their personal privacy and safety, it is corporate policy not to release the surnames of ALPO's phone respondents. The ALPO 800-number is printed on all ALPO packages (it is the only major brand to do this). The number is 800-366-6033 and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday./
 /CONTACT: Nancy Kippenhan of Weightman Public Relations, 215-821-1299, for ALPO Petfoods/ CO: ALPO Petfoods, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


MK-MP -- PHFNS1 -- 6914 10/30/92 07:30 EST
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Oct 30, 1992
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