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Pet Trends at SuperZoo Trade Show

Wow. We’re back from the SuperZoo annual pet industry trade show in Las Vegas. Still soaking our feet and catching up on our sleep. But we were impressed with the ingenuity and energy that people in the pet industry generate. Take a look at the video and come along!

Among the more than 700 exhibiting companies were plenty of new ones that I hadn’t seen last time I attended, two years ago. That’s good. It means that the industry is growing and entrepreneurs have enough business to sustain them. The bigger companies, too, had new products that were fun and interesting, which shows me there’s no limit to the variety of products the pet industry can generate.

I always make a beeline for the New Products Pavilion whenever I go to a trade show. The NPP at SuperZoo was huge! There were several rows of dog products — including a dizzying array of products to help you pick up after your dog.  Some of them were strangely complicated, but with pickup laws in most cities and towns these days, I guess there’s enough room for everyone to sell their contraptions. I use plastic grocery store bags. If you have found a commercial gadget or product that you really like for this purpose, please share the name with us, because I can’t really judge one over the other.

Some of the winners of the NPP in my view were these items:

  • The Comfy Cone, a thick fabric e-collar for post-surgery. Unlike the plastic cone, it’s flexible. And, you can fold back the edge to let your dog see better. We’ll have that available on FunStuffForDogs.com within a week or so.
  • Smell Goodies, a daily tablet that is clinically proven to eliminate doggie smells from the inside out. It improves breath and body odor, which keeps furniture, beds and carpets smelling fresher, too. I’m trying out a two-week supply on my collie, who has (sorry, Raleigh) radioactive breath. We’re on day two. I’ll let you know how it works. The manufacturer told me he’d call me in two weeks. If it works, I told him I’d order two cases. Stay tuned. I can say that you have to put it in a treat such as cheese or peanut butter (which the package advises) because the tablet itself is not appealing to dogs. And if it gets wet, the green color can cause discoloration. But I’m in the swing of it now, feeding one tablet a day in a bit of peanut butter. So we’ll see what happens.
  • A floor bell that dogs can ring when they want to go out. I’d seen the bells you hang from the doorknob. But the manufacturer said the floor bell was better for two reasons. First, you don’t have the dog scratching up your door. Second, you don’t have the bell going off every time someone goes in and out the door, which prevents confusion to the dog and annoying false alarms to the people in the house. I think this is a great idea.
  • The Eye Pack from Happy Tails Spa Products. It contains a jar of pre-moistened eye pads for daily cleaning, paired with a daily food supplement that boost the dog’s immune system and helps cut down on discolored discharge.

There was more apparel than in years past. More manufacturers are getting on the bandwagon of tees, outfits, dresses, costumes and even apparel for male dogs. Two trends I noticed at the show were that the quality of the apparel is improving, and that a few established apparel manufacturers are starting to make tanks and tees for larger dogs. I boght a 3X tee for my Lab that says, “Dog Park Security” from I See Spot and it fits like a dream. My husband and I were skeptical that she would wear it, but once I got it on, she seemed to like it. She didn’t bite at it or pay any attention to it. We’re going to have to carry tees for big dogs, I just know it. Why should little dogs have all the fun?

Another trend I noticed was the larger selection of wheat-free and corn-free treats. It seemed that every other treat had a “grain-free” formula. I know there are some dogs with wheat and grain allergies, but it seems that more and more dog owners are looking for grain-free treats now. I talked with one of the manufacturers about it. I told him, “My opinion is that grain-free treats and food were once difficult to find for dogs with allergies, so more manufacturers began to offer them. Then, as dog owners started to see ‘grain-free’ on the packages, they began to think that there was something wrong with feeding a grain product to a dog, so they began to buy grain-free treats for their dogs who didn’t have allergeis.” He agreed. He said that dogs have been ingesting grains, fruits and vegetables – in addition to meat – for hundreds of years without harm. But all of a sudden, there’s a movement toward eliminating all grains from dogs’ diets. I’ll have to ask my vet if a completely grain-free diet is harmful to dogs.

Of course, there was a mind-boggling array of collars and leashes. It confounds me how there could be enough business for the literally thousands of collar designs I see each year … and new companies spring up all the time. Who is buying all these collars and leashes for their dogs? Collars and leashes must be a fashion item now. There were some gorgeous ones at the show. There were some leather ones (of varying quality), some ribbon ones, some with Swarovski crystals and nailhead studs, and others with neat designs painted or sewn on. There was hemp, cotton, and even ostrich leather.

We saw lots of strollers. There were more exhibitors and attendees with dogs in strollers than I had noticed in years past. Some of the aisles were pretty crowded; I don’t know how you’d get a stroller down them. But the dogs all dressed up in the strollers were so cute!

Television cameras were there nearly every day, interviewing manufacturers and inventors about their new products. I didn’t catch anything on the local news; perhaps we’ll see some of the interviews on Animal Planet in the coming weeks.

Of course, it was painful to whittle down our purcasing list until it fit our budget. But we managed. we got some really neat things, which you can see in the What’s New department of FunStuffForDogs.com. We’ll continue to look for the latest new toys, treats, beds, apparel and gear for your dogs and ours. If you have anything you’d like us to look around for, please leave a comment here and we’ll do it. Meanwhile, I’m going to go soak my feet.

 
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Posted by on September 23, 2007 in Cool New Products

 

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