SWAG THE DOG
Spending on pets increasing as new products offer value and innovation
By Dr. Marty Becker
Every year, I go to Global Pet Expo, the industry’s largest tradeshow. Every year, I think it can’t possibly have anything new and that spending on pets can’t possibly continue to rise. And every year, I am wrong. At the annual show in Orlando, Fla., last month, over 3,000 new products debuted to an audience of more than 5,300 pet-product buyers from around the world. That’s just astounding.
Even more astounding are the pet-related spending statistics. Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, says that last year, overall spending came in at more than $55.7 billion, up 4.5 percent from 2012. People spent the most on food, followed by veterinary care.
Something I think is really interesting is the projected growth in pet insurance. Spending is expected to grow from $650 million currently to more than $870 million by next year. Vetere attributes the continued growth in spending on pets to a recovering economy, increasing knowledge about the positive effects pets have on human health and, most important, concern for pets’ well-being.
I have no doubt that the growth in spending is also related to the inventiveness of pet-product manufacturers. As my team and I made our way through the show hall, we kept our eyes out for innovative new products that help dog and cat owners solve problems and offer good value.
We’re all seasoned veterinarians and pet professionals, so it’s tough to impress us, but we found a number of products that met those criteria for our fifth-annual Becker’s Best awards: the top 10 most interesting and useful products we see. We’re sharing five with you this week and five next week. You can read more about the products and see photos of them on Vetstreet.com. Let me know what you think!
PetSafe AutoTrainer. No, this collar-based reward system doesn’t teach your dog to drive, but it does help to keep him calm and quiet while you’re away. The collar unit transmits your dog’s barks to a base unit through a detection system that understands only your dog’s barks. If your dog doesn’t bark, he’s rewarded with a treat. You can set the number of treats and the frequency of rewards. ($199.99)
Dexas H-Duo Collapsible Companion Cup. This clever and colorful contraption is the perfect loving cup. On a hike or other outing, it allows you to carry one bottle of water with separate reservoirs for you and your dog. No more human cooties for your dog to worry about. ($19.99)
MagicLatch Leash Connection System. Three engineers and a dog walk into a bar. OK, that’s not exactly how it happened, but that’s the quartet who came up with this ingenious method for connecting leash to collar. If you have a squirmy dog or have ever tried to leash your dog while wearing gloves or holding a cup of coffee, you’ll know exactly why they created it. Now, using only one hand, you can leash your dog quickly and securely, thanks to the power of magnets and securely locking jaws. ($19.99; for dogs up to 85 pounds)
Zen Clipper. Imagine trimming your pet’s nails without running the risk of cutting the quick. Need I say more? ($19.99)
Motorola Scout1 Wi-Fi Pet Monitor Camera. What does your pet do while you’re gone? Haven’t we all secretly wanted to know? Now you can. Via an app, you can pan, tilt and zoom the camera, communicate with your pet, monitor room temperature, capture video or snapshots of your pet’s routine, and even play soothing music. ($199.99)