RSS Feed

Pet Age

Pet-Age--Cover-

Just Add Catnip

The same way that many restaurateurs have worked out that they can sell just about any dish if they simply add bacon, cat toy manufacturers have discovered that they can really expand their product lines by simply adding catnip, and cat lovers will respond and purchase on behalf of their felines.

The Future Has Arrived

They call it Moore’s Law: the prediction made by Intel founder Gordon Moore in the ’60s that technology-based products would dramatically increase in power and speed and simultaneously decrease in both size and cost every 18 to 24 months. And this is certainly holding true for wearable dog tech gadgets.

Out And About With An Active Dog

Last year, when Margaret Millspaugh, owner of Wagon Train Feed and Pet  in Orange, California, attended SuperZoo in Las Vegas, she was so intrigued by the outdoor camping display that pet lifestyle brand P.L.A.Y did to promote its Scout & About Outdoor Dog Tent and accessories, that she decided to re-create the setting to display the products in her own store.

Play Time Is All The Time

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and it’s certainly been the impetus in developing interactive cat toys to give felines that have an indoor lifestyle the mental and physical stimulation needed for their overall well-being.

All Day Play

Cats that live indoor lifestyles can benefit from the growing variety of interactive cat toys designed to keep them engaged and boost both their mental and physical activity. Many are designed to keep pet owners engaged with their cats, too.

Building The Bond 

Feeding pets can be a great bonding experience. Consequently, the type of food and water bowls used play an equally important role in enhancing meal time—and they should be not only functional, but also attractive.

Fun From The USA

Like their feline toy manufacturing counterparts, the list of companies now producing dog toys in the U.S. is growing, and their home-based entrepreneurial spirit and commercial success is being recognized and winning them awards.

Homegrown Recreation

When it comes to cat toys, there is a growing number of local manufacturers who are proudly putting “Made in the USA” on their labels and producing a variety of products with feline appeal.

Carbon Paw Print

For retailers keen to promote a green and eco-friendly lifestyle for cats, this task has been ameliorated by the large variety of products being designed to reduce a feline’s carbon paw print manufactured across numerous cat-orientated categories.

A Senior Care Center

As a result of great nutrition, grooming, lifestyle products and state-of-the-art medical care, dogs are living longer than ever before. Currently, more than half the dog population in the U.S. is considered senior (7 years of age or older).

Sleeping In Style

Our dogs spend approximately 13 hours a day in snooze mode. Fortunately, pet bed manufacturers have created plenty of new options for dogs to enjoy both indoors and outdoors.

Trends in Cat Gadgets

With “pet technology” being a popular term in the pet industry, more pet specialty retailers are considering the addition of tech products to their inventory. Apart from the wide array of fun gadgets, there is a selection of products that solve serious problems such as feeding cats in multi-pet households, tracking the amount of water they drink and finding them when they go into hiding.

The Latest In Hairball Control

Indoor cats that are exposed to artificial lights tend to shed year-round, making hairballs a perennial issue. This feline issue is best addressed from a nutritional standpoint as well as from a grooming one.

Changes To The Hi-Tech Market

According to a recent report produced by the market research firm IDTechEx, the wearable tech market for pets is set to be a $2.6 billion industry by 2019. And this in turn is part of the bigger human wearable tech picture, which the same report predicts will be over $150 billion by 2026.

Better Than Best 

The purchase of food remains the biggest expenditure item for dog owners. And, in fact, according to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners’ Survey, premium dog food continues to be the type of food most purchased. Innovation in this category remains unparalleled across the industry as a whole, making it important for pet specialty retailers to constantly refresh their knowledge.

In Or Out?

Despite the movement to promote an indoors-only lifestyle for cats, behaviorists and other experts believe that all cats should still wear a collar with an ID tag, even if they are microchipped. Consequently, manufacturers are taking this catcall seriously and producing collars in a variety of new colors and designs along with matching harnesses and leashes to enhance an outdoor experience.

Fancy Feeders 

In the past decade, ordinary pet bowls have been elevated to the status of pet “dinnerware” with both fun and functional designs. But the innovation hasn’t stopped here; the latest trends in food, water bowls and feeders have produced a bounty of great new products that certainly deserve space on the retail shelf.

Nip and Vine

Mention the word catnip, and it’s not only cats that sit up and get ready to pounce. Kitty crack—a popular moniker for the plant—has a positive effect on pet specialty retailers, too, causing frenzied activity at the cash register because cat owners believe that no cat can have too many catnip toys.

Beyond the Brush

For many cat owners, brushing a cat’s teeth ranks alongside giving a cat a pill on the list of impossible tasks. One way retailers can grow the category is by adopting an educational role and highlighting the importance of feline dental health and the options available to their cat-owning customers.

Oldies but Goodies

Considering the fact that many dogs lead active social lives, crates and carriers are a well-established category in the market place. However, interestingly, there isn’t much new to be found in this category. Instead, it’s a case of the best-selling products continuing to pull in the big bucks. It may also be a question that, apart from a few tweaks here and there, manufacturers have pretty much thought of it all—for now.

On The GO

Because dogs are game for anything, they make great buddies for outdoor activities. Manufacturers across a broad spectrum of products are all clamoring for a piece of the outdoor action—from the retractable patent-pending ThunderLeash that converts from a standard retractable leash to a “no-pull” solution in seconds, to RC Pets packable rain ponchos, Kurgo’s backpacks, coats and life vests and a myriad of Insect Shield products from PetEdge. It’s definitely a category for retailers to highlight and watch.

Eighty-eight percent of all cat owners surveyed do not give their pets vitamins or supplements. That’s according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners’ Survey published by the American Pet Products Association (APPA). This definitely leaves the door open for pet specialty retailers to start the conversation with their customers and grow the category.

For dog owners, collars, harnesses and leashes are all necessary items. But it’s the fact that dog people treat their pooches as furry kids that drives this category in a fashionable direction.

Reducing Puppy Pounds

A healthy weight is key to a dog’s overall good health. As dog obesity is on the rise, pet food manufacturers are targeting the issue with special weight management formulas and are taking the lead in addressing the role that exercise plays in the weight management equation.

Interactive Toys

Cats are not supposed to be couch potatoes—and the pet industry is doing a lot to get this message out there by focusing on feline enrichment products. Retailers who endorse this message can educate cat owners and increase their profits through the sales of interactive cat toys.

A Cat Needs To Scratch

Across the country, living spaces are becoming smaller. For this reason, it has become almost a necessity that certain pet accessories such as cat scratchers do “double duty” in the home by providing a place to scratch and possibly snooze as well as being an attractive decorative feature.

Golden Years 

It is no secret that pets are living longer lives than ever before. With that positive trend has come a change in the terminology of pet aging.

Treat Them Right

If you adapt the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” to apply to dogs, there’s no question that the way to win canine love is with treats and chews. Judging by the exploding product variety in this category, it is definitely time to rethink the treat jar.

Not Having A Ball

Hairballs are an unwanted bonus of cat ownership. Cats shed and ingest hair as part of their self-grooming routines. Fortunately, there are lots of different weapons of attack to fight the shedding hair wars that collectively will benefit retail store coffers.

Home Cooking Has Gone to the Dogs

There’s no question that the Slow Food Movement, which embraces farm- to table-styled fare, is also influencing the way we feed our dogs.

Catnip: A Perennial Favorite

Cat owners will agree; a household with cats can never have too many catnip toys. Cats love variety, and this simple nontoxic plant has added health benefits. It revs up a cat’s play drive, providing much needed mental and physical stimulation as a result of frenetic play sessions with “nip” toys.

Body and Mind 

Cat health includes both mental and physical well-being. This opens up the playing field for retailers to incorporate a plethora of different products into a wellness section both in store and online.

The Well-groomed Dog

It comes as no surprise that a basic brush is the most common grooming tool of dog owners, with 84 percent saying they had at least one brush in a recent poll.But, according to the 2015-2016 National Pet Owners Survey just published by the American Pet Products Association, only 40 percent of owners considered building a grooming toolbox by adding a comb and/or nail clippers to their arsenal.

Crunch Time 

Pet nutrition is one of the biggest growing segments of the pet industry with new recipes coming to table on a regular basis. Dry foods are still big sellers for pet retailers, with new trends emerging in these products.

Grain-Free Goodies

There is a growing trend in cat foods to respect a cat’s carnivorous ancestral roots and to focus on grain-free diets for felines.

A Sizable Problem

According to a 2014 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey, an estimated 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. Additionally, statistics published by Packaged Facts outlines that 28 percent of dog owners say they buy pet food formulated to address weight or obesity issues.

New Cat Smell

Cats are America’s most popular companion animals and there is no question that feline odors are a key topic for the vast pool of owners. It’s a matter of seeing cats around the home but not smelling them.

Digital Dogs

According to Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, the pet industry continues to outpace most other retail segments. And now in 2015, one of the reasons for this situation is the growing number of Gen Y pet owners (18-34 years) entering the marketplace.

Out And About 

As more cat owners learn the benefits of their cats experiencing the sights and sounds of the outdoors, the options to allow them to safely experience fresh air have grown enormously.

Training Technology

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons from defending their territory to getting attention. But when it comes to excessive barking, Dr. Roger Mugford, renowned British pet psychologist and animal behaviorist and founder of The Company Of Animals says that it’s not just a matter of stopping the barking but finding the reason so that it can be addressed with the right anti-barking and training products available.

It’s All About Interaction

When it comes to cat toys, “interactive” has become the new buzzword as pet owners strive to ensure their felines get plenty of both physical and mental stimulation. Interactive toys provide both. Further, battery-operated electronic toys are leading the popularity stakes in this category.

Dreamy New Dog Beds 

There is nothing like spicing things up in bed. Well, in the dog bed category that is.

It’s refreshing to find lots of new innovation in what is typically a predictable market place governed by a plethora of offerings very similar in shapes, sizes and comfort options.

Solving Cat Behavior Issues 

So many cats lose their homes as a result of behavioral issues. And while the number of products to counteract various issues is growing, many retailers have yet to take advantage of this category by showcasing such products and educating pet owners about their viability. Doing so could ultimately save felines lives and simultaneously create sales.

Safe Pets Are happy Pets 

The humanization of pets is obvious across the industry but one category that truly mirrors human lifestyle trends is the one that embraces pet safety. Whether it’s about protecting pets in the home, in the garden or in the car, safety standards are copycatting principals closely related to keeping our kids out of harm’s way.

Expanding Litter Options 

Cat litter is cat litter. Right? It’s not a category brimming with new innovation. Right?

Wrong!

This invention—which almost single-handedly is responsible for cats leading a much safer indoor lifestyle in America—has undergone some huge changes and continues to offer an excellent assortment of litter types. Consequently, this is a category that retailers should certainly consider allotting sufficient shelf space to as well as taking the time to discover all the new options.

Fashion and Function Lead the Collar Category

Even if cats are microchipped, owners understand the benefit of doubling up on identification by means of a collar with an ID tag. But the focus doesn’t have to be only functional; fashion plays a huge role in collar selection, too.

Creating ‘Houdini-Proof’ Products

Containment products, whether it’s a crate that can be used both at home or in a vehicle, or gates for both indoor and outdoor use, are important products for dog safety.

Cat Furniture Is Now Human Decor 

Cat owners are beginning to understand the importance of giving their cats enrichment within the home space. Enrichment not only entails a selection of toys but also furniture designed specifically to meet feline needs

Variety Is The Spice Of A Dog’s Life

When it comes to dog treats, there is no lack of options for filling store shelves. New from Castor & Pollux is a range of Organix Jerky Chip Cookies, oven-baked with organic whole grains such as oatmeal, barley, brown rice and oat flour, with jerky chips of proteins like chicken, salmon, beef and lamb. The cookies also contain organic fruits and vegetables and contain no corn, soy or wheat. They are being touted as the doggie version of the all-American chocolate chip cookie.

 Shaking,Carrying and Preying

Every dog needs a toy box filled with action, distraction and lots of plush comfort toys. Plush toys do double duty in a dog’s life. They are essentially soft, cuddly comfort toys, ideal to curl up with at snooze time. But, they also make great prey toys, ideal for carrying and shaking around as part of the innate canine prey drive to attack and kill them. They also fit into the action category because many of them are also great for playing fetch.

Hooked on Catnip

Catnip, catmint, catswort, kitty crack or whatever you call the plant with the Latin name Nepeta catania, one thing is certain: The essential oil it contains, nepetalactone, has a powerful effect on felines revving up their play skills and prey drive by instantly turning snoozing couch potatoes into an ecstatic, flipped out balls of fur.

Designated Scratching Zone

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, such as to mark their territory, to stretch and exercise their toes and to shed the dead outer layer of their claws. Some cats like to scratch horizontally and others vertically. Cat-scratcher manufacturers have to meet all these needs when designing scratchers.

Just Saying No Doesn’t Always Work 
There’s no question that dogs that understand and react positively to commands have better social lives, as well as an enhanced bond with their favorite people. And this ties directly to the plethora of training aids on the market to train dogs of all ages, sizes and individual breed traits. The good news for retailers is they can capitalize on this category year-round.

Cooling Products Do Double Duty
The dictionary definition of the words, “cool/cooling” says, “keeping temperature low, become less warm or become less intense.”

 Innovation Makes Feline Travel Easy
Here’s  an interesting factoid: Cat travel has doubled in the past four years. This information from the 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey, published by the American Pet Products Association, doesn’t spell out whether cats are checking into the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, or simply going to grandma’s house for a staycation, but the message is clear: There is a growing need for cat-related travel accessories.

Hanging Tough
When it comes to tough dog toys, most retailers would agree that they would all be multimillionaires if they received a dollar for every time a dog owner came in and said, “My dog chews through everything!”

Piquing The Interest of Feline Gamers
Psst. The Cat is out of the Bag. Feline enrichment may have started out as a buzz phrase touted by a handful of innovative cat toy designers to describe toys that replicate a cat’s natural instincts and hone inherent hunting skills, but it has become a full-blown trend and one that is definitely dominating the feline toy marketplace

Feline Treats Get a Makeover
When it comes to cat treats, felines certainly have their favorites in respect of tastes and textures.

Keeping Those Teeth Pearly White
February is pet dental month. And, while there may be discounts on related products and services for pet owners to take advantage of during this time frame, it’s also an excellent opportunity for retailers to educate customers that dental hygiene is something that should be practiced year-round, resulting in perennial sales.

Flea and Tick Control Becomes A Year-Round Problem
Continuously changing climatic conditions throughout the United States combined with the rising popularity of pet travel, are making veterinarians no longer consider seasonal treatments for fleas and ticks an effective way of controlling infestations.

Scoop It Up
While the number of litter boxes owned in U.S. households are on the rise, the focus driving sales remains the perennial need to make litter box clean-up more efficient and simultaneously control litter scatter, as well as odor. According to statistics in the 2013-14 National Pet Owners’ Survey published by the American Pet Products Association, 89 percent of cat owners have litter boxes. These figures indicate an increase in both standard pans in varying designs and automated boxes.

No More Odor
Small animals are very often “starter pets” in households with small children and also popular classroom companions. Consequently, good stain and odor control is key to happy co-existence.
Interestingly, when people bring dogs and cats into their homes, they take care of stain and odor issues from the get go. Yet, there is a common misconception that small animals don’t smell. Consequently, retailers often find themselves in the role of educators recommending suitable products. And, there’s no shortage of products out there.