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Hill’s expanding Kansas-based Pet Nutrition Center

The Small Paws addition will focus on the nutritional needs of diminutive dogs.

Hill’s expanding Kansas-based Pet Nutrition Center
Hill’s executives and other dignitaries take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Small Paws nutrition facility and Engagement Center.

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has big plans for small dogs.

The pet food maker on Aug. 15 broke ground on Small Paws, a $20 million expansion of the Pet Nutrition Center, a Topeka, Kansas, facility where researchers develop and test diets formulated for cats and dogs.

Small Paws is expected to house 80 small dogs under 12 pounds when it opens in January 2021.

Hill’s reported that more than half of U.S. dogs fall into the small or miniature category, a population that often requires special diets.

“All around the world, there’s a steady increase in the popularity of small dogs,” said Dave Baloga, vice president of science and technology. “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.”

When not putting new food formulas to the test, dogs kept at Small Paws will be free to explore indoor and outdoor play areas.

Part of the 25,000-square-foot project will include the Engagement Center, which will play host to seminars and continuing education programs for veterinary students and professionals, according to Hill’s.

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