TOPEKA, KAN. — Hill’s Pet Nutrition has launched a summer internship program for pets to highlight the importance of dogs’ and cats’ formative years, especially when it comes to nutrition. According to the National Research Council, at least 80% of a dog’s growth and 90% of a cat’s growth takes place within the first 12 months of their lives.

Applications for the science-led pet food company’s “Pup-Terns and Kit-Terns” program are now open. The company is looking for one puppy and one kitten to take on a strenuous “paw-fessional development” curriculum — which, in short, involves eating, playing and posing for photos.

“Our inaugural class will em-bark on their purr-fessional journeys, documenting their growth along the way, to showcase the importance of proper nutrition during the first year of a pet’s life,” said Caroline Chulick, head of marketing for Hill’s Pet Nutrition US. “The puppy and kitten essentials we’re offering through this pup-ternship and kit-ternship is a fun and educational way for pet parents to get paws on training and ensure their pet is set up for success on their journey to being a full-time dog or cat.”

Applicants must be no older than 9 months and have a social media account, whether it is “their own” or their pet owner’s account, through which progress from the internship will be shared over the summer. As part of the internship, the selected puppy and kitten will continue on or transition to Hill’s recently reformulated Science Diet Puppy or Science Diet Kitten formulations, which the company showcased at Global Pet Expo 2023.

The diets were reformulated with the company’s ActivBiome+ solution, a prebiotic fiber blend designed to support the digestive system and gut microbiome, as well as an antioxidant blend of vitamins C and E, DHA from fish oil to support brain development, high-quality protein for lean muscle development, and balanced minerals to support bones and teeth.

Hill's Science Diet Puppy and Kitten formulas have been revamped to promote gut health, brain development, and strong muscle and bone foundations in growing petsSource: Hill's Pet Nutrition

“Innovation and science are at the heart of all we do at Hill’s Pet Nutrition,” said Karen Shenoy, DVM, chief veterinary officer at Hill's Pet Nutrition US. “That’s why we’ve invested in extensive research to help develop our newest ActivBiome+ Technology — innovation for puppies and kittens to help nurture a healthy and resilient gut microbiome. The gut microbiome is a complex ecosystem, and scientists are discovering many ways that it impacts overall health in addition to digestion, including immune health and organ function. We are proud to introduce this upgrade to help pet parents of puppies and kittens set their new family members up for lifelong health.”

The diets are available in multiple recipes and both wet and dry formats for dogs and cats. For puppies, Hill’s offers Science Diet Puppy Dry Food with Chicken & Brown Rice or Lamb Meal & Brown Rice; Science Diet Puppy Large Breed Dry Food with Chicken & Brown Rice or Lamb Meal & Brown Rice; Science Diet Puppy Small & Mini Dry Food Chicken & Brown Rice; Science Diet Puppy Wet Food in Chicken & Barley Entrée or Chicken & Rice Stew; and Science Diet Puppy Small & Mini Wet Food Beef & Barley Entrée.

For cats, diets include Hill’s Science Diet Kitten Dry Food with Chicken or Ocean Fish & Brown Rice; Science Diet Kitten Dry Food Indoor Chicken Recipe; Science Diet Kitten Wet Food Liver & Chicken Entrée; and Hill's Science Diet Kitten Wet Food: Healthy Cuisine Roasted Chicken & Rice Medley.

Two selected interns will receive a $2,500 stipend each, as well as a complimentary supply of Hill’s reformulated Science Diet for growing puppies or kittens, and “office supplies” — toys and enrichment — from KONG. Hill’s Pet Nutrition will also amplify pet owners’ social media posts related to the internship.

Learn more about the program and how to apply at Hill’ Applications will close at 11:59 p.m. CDT on July 20.

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