At the end of July, PetHub CTO & Founder, Tom Arnold and I hit the floor of SuperZoo 2017. 300,000 square feet of exhibit space with over 1000 exhibitors and more than 800 new products. I don’t think we saw 100% of all those products, but we did see hundreds of new things and we chatted about the newest, coolest, most innovative things I found a few weeks ago on my radio show, and the following is a recap of that episode.
There were a lot of “trends” at the show, as there always are:
Made in the USA — More blatant “Made in the USA” signs than ever, and even some downright negative marketing out there in terms of where food products were made, processed and packaged — clearly, lots of companies have felt the sting of some of the Chinese based treats causing serious health issues in dogs a few years ago.
Pet Food Moves to Health Food — Another sign of the times — Most food and treat companies we saw had least one product that touted “grain-free” or “gluten-free” — and there were tons of Non-GMO, Organic, All Natural based products — clearly everyone is on board, at least in some way with better ingredients and more attention to wellness with our fur kids.
Sustainability & Earth-friendly — Clearly, global climate change is on everyone’s mind — a solid percentage of brands now have some sort of marketing about using sustainable ingredients, recyclable or even biodegradable packaging, even highlighting their facilities and how small their carbon footprint is — using solar power, recycled materials. Plus, many new alternative protein sources were featured by treat and food brands — with Asian carp and crickets being noteworthy for not only being unique proteins for pet food and treats, but also proteins that are sweet for the environment.
Connected Pet — We saw a ton of bluetooth and app driven devices — everything from pet trackers for finding lost pets or monitoring activity, pet feeders, treat dispensers, interactive cameras — some interactive cameras that are ALSO treat dispensers. Honestly, there is still quite a bit of development work that needs to be done on a lot of the products we saw, but it is so exciting to see more and more entries this cutting-edge IoT (“internet of things”) trend that is finally coming to the pet world.
So let’s dig into some of our favorite products…
Fresh Flow Rain Fountain – By Petmate
New Fresh Flow fountain is perfect for your pet, as it is completely battery operated You can place fountain anywhere in home and batteries will last for months due to innovated, patent pending, water flow design. Multiple sounds of the water ‘raining’ will draw pets’ interest and encourage them to drink. This product will be available for $49.99 on Petmate’s website in January 2018. Tom loved this fountain — it was his favorite of all the options out there (and there were many!).
Wifi Smart Feeder – By Petmate
Comfort your pet while away from home with Petmate’s Wifi Smart Feeder. The feeder is a semi-transparent container that can easily monitor food level. It has a simple manual setting, or can be WiFi operated. Wifi Smart Feeder has an improved bowl design to avoid food jam. This feeder is available for $199.99 on Petmate’s website in March 2018. There are MANY automatic feeders out there, but we love seeing more and more joining in the “Connected Pet/IoT” trend. Looking forward to testing some of the feeders like this one next spring when we will take a closer look. This Petmate one looks to not only have some slick interface, but we were impressed with the food delivery mechanics, too.
Petcurean’s Now Fresh Stews & Pates
Petcurean is one of the first pet food companies to choose Tetra Pak® cartons as an innovative and sustainable packaging option. Sixty-five percent of the carton material is made using renewable resources, it is 100 percent recyclable, and it uses less raw material and ships more compactly than cans. In addition, the new packaging uses up to 40 percent less shelf space than cans and cups, which means less stocking and more selling! We thought these were really cool — and so excited to have pet foods finally join the smart packaging party! We haven’t tried these yet — but we look forward to bringing them on a future camping trip…stay tuned.
GoPure Pet is the companion product of the GoPure Pod – the first-ever portable and continuous, personal water enhancement device. Attaching to the bottom of most water bowls, GoPure Pet features the revolutionary technology of the GoPure Pod to continuously purify and enhance tap water ensuring it’s clean, healthy and great tasting for your pet, all day, every day. Available for $29.95 at gopurepod.com and select retailers across the country including Camping World and Bentley’s. Tom is trying this out right now with his cats’ water bowl and is so far pleased with the results.
Scout & Zoe’s Carpius Maximus Carp Treats
Our friends at Scout & Zoes are saving the waterways of America one delicious treat at a time! Carp are not native to American waters and are rapidly taking over the eco-system of the waters they do inhabit. Their carp treats are fresh-caught in the waterways of Kentucky by local fishermen and processed by second chance employees (folks needing a hand up in life) not far from where they left the water. When the fish are fileted, deboned and ready for the treat mixer, they are turned into tasty treats in small batches.
Why is carp an exciting new treat for your precious pet? It is nutritious and tasty. Carp is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than salmon and free of heavy metals and mercury. And definitely a sustainable resource. We’ve tried these treats out with both of the dogs. Penny is a big fan of the skins (tries to eat them in one swallow, so we cut them up!), though Ullr just likes to lick them. However, BOTH dogs devour the carp cookies — they were a major hit!
We have several of the following Pawbo products that we are going to be testing and playing with later this fall — and we’ll review them here and on the show. But we really liked the look of this line — and the fact that everything is designed to work together. We’ll let you know soon if it is as cool as it looks…
Pawbo + is set to revolutionise the way pet owners interact with their pets whilst away from home, even while on holiday. Offering the latest in innovative technology, the Pawbo + is a special interactive camera that is controlled via the free PAWBO Life app (compatible with iOS/ Android platforms). Via this app, pet parents can not only hear and see their ‘fur babies’ but they can also interact with them. With the Pawbo + you can keep your pets in the palm of your hand wherever you are.
The PAWBO Catch provides more interaction between pets and their owners remotely. Its random program stimulates and exercises pets’ minds, all at the click of a button!
Designed as a super cute pair of ears that is fully compatible with the Pawbo+ interactive pet camera, the PAWBO Flash helps pet owners to see their pets in the dark, without having to leave the light on. Each PAWBO Flash ear has a built-in light, which shines gentle, soft light into the room, making it easier to capture sight of pets even in dark rooms.
Building on the continued success of the Pawbo+ , the latest addition to the Pawbo Theme Park – Pawbo Munch – is poised to take the international pet product market by storm. Pawbo Munch, described as ‘the feel-good treat dispenser for furry friends’, rewards treats to pets, but with a twist. It can be operated by owners thanks to a remote control which is included, and in addition Pawbo+ users can view their pets at play with Munch via the Life app.
Speaking of theme parks for pets…
Cats are crepuscular animals and have excellent night vision. However, even our feline companions need some light to be able to see in the dark. The Catit Senses 2.0 Fireball flashes a bright red color when your cat paws at it, lighting up the circuit as it whizzes by enticingly! And the batteries are replaceable! The Catit Senses 2.0 Super Circuit combines the Catit Senses 2.0 Play Circuit with the Catit Senses 2.0 Wave Circuit for a maximum amount of fun. The special peek-a-boo cover stimulates cats to chase and swat the ball, which quickly adds up to hours of entertainment!
We were going to test several aspects of the Catit Senses 2.0 with our cats as soon as we got the pieces. Frankly, they were a little overwhelmed by it when it was laid out and seemed scared– but since we gave them an entire room in the house all to themselves, they have a LOT going on in that room, so we decided they needed a “less is more” approach for the time being. Our next steps will be to reintroduce aspects gradually and build on the circuit a bit at a time. Look for a fuller review in the months to come.
Petcube Bites treat cam can fling treats varying distances, and comes with a high-capacity two-pound container that automatically tracks treat volume. When the supply gets low, users are notified and can reorder treats instantly via the Petcube app. The device features advanced camera capabilities including 1080p HD video, 138-degree wide angle lens, night vision, digital zoom, 24/7 video cloud recording, sound and motion alerts, and two-way audio for real-time chat. We don’t have a unit to test (yet!), but we are working on getting one and are excited to test it along side several of the other treat dispensers we saw at the show. Look for a deeper review in the winter.
Nina Ottosson puzzle games and toys from Outward Hound are designed to stimulate your dogs and cats mind and body. Toys build skills within this layered system and help prevent and reduce boredom, behavior problems, weight problems and strengthen your bond with your dog. Tom & I loved the different levels of these toys — and the design is slick and modern. The dogs are currently on level ones, but we are already having lots of fun with them! In the spring, we will be doing an entire episode on enrichment toys for dogs, and we’ll dig deep into these Outward Hound toys during that — su-paw excited!!
The Woogie Whomper is part pet bed, part toy box. With a cleverly designed cavity inside of the bed, under the top pad, you can stash your dog’s soft toys away after play — and they can sleep on top of them in full comfort! This bed was an INSTANT hit with the staff at PetHub HQ where Penny & Ullr have toys strewn all over the floor by days’ end — the design is really sharp and fits in beautifully with the decor. Neither dog has really used it as a bed for very long (they both have their own beds next to their “person”) — but Penny quickly determined that the opening was for pulling things out of and sitting on top of the bed to keep the other dog from getting to the toys is quite effective…and those are fun games in and of themselves! Bonus — the construction allows the covers to be taken off and washed at any time — critical for these two monster shedders!
Dharma Dog Karma Cat – Cat Beds
Pets don’t care how cute their stuff is; they like it for all the right reasons! The Himalayan wool for these toys and beds is not chemically cleansed, so it has a lot of lanolin in it. Lanolin is the natural oil unique to sheep’s wool and it reminds cats and dogs of the scent of their mother. Lanolin oil conditions their paws and helps to keep their fur healthy and shiny. Safe, non-toxic dyes are used in an environmentally sustainable low-impact dying process which uses less energy and produces less waste byproduct. The beds can be found at local retailers on dharmdogkarmacat.com or karmacat.com. Though these beds are really techy or cutting edge — several of the designs are PERFECT for a pet loving geek, with uber-high “cool look” factor. The google purple monster is my absolute favorite and is on my “must get soon” list.
Pet Edge Insect Sheild
PetEdge partnered with Insect Shield® to develop an exclusive line of insect-repellent gear for pets, in response to an increasing demand from consumers for additional flea and tick prevention alternatives. Pet parents want the convenience and effectiveness of all-over protection without the mess of topical preventatives, and Insect Shield for Pets solves both of those problems. Unlike traditional topicals, Insect Shield’s proprietary permethrin formula is not ON the skin, but tightly bonded to the fabric fibers of the product the pet is using, offer all the protection with none of the mess. You can purchase it here: http://www.insectshieldforpets.com This was a really exciting find for me. I have a number Insect Shield® shirts at home — and I LOVE THEM. I was so excited to see this technology finally used for pet products. We will definitely bring along these blankets and bandannas with us when we go camping!
Brilliant Pad is the world’s first self-cleaning dog potty pad. The highly absorbent BrilliantPad soaks up liquids and dries out solids, wraps and seals waste as it cycles through to a fresh pad. The BrilliantPad keeps your home clean and order free as the timer replaces the pad automatically, or can be refreshed at any time with the touch of a button. This was really one of the most innovative products I saw on the floor. What a terrific product for folks that live in apartments, and for pet parents that might have mobility problems that can take their dog outside for potty breaks on a regular basis. Make sure to check out the website https://brilliantpad.com/.
Eazee Deshedder – By Foole
The Eazee by Foolee Click & Brush deshedding tool works to rid pets of 100% of their dead hair without pulling out any live hair, making everyday grooming a more enjoyable experience. The patented design features a composite plastic comb with smooth, rounded teeth so there are no sharp edges to scratch you or your furry friend. Plus, the versatile handle can be easily interchanged with each of Eazee’s different accessories to accommodate all grooming needs. Available in three sizes for dogs and one size for cats, the Eazee Click & Brush comes six vibrant color options. Ullr is a shed MONSTER. And so are both of my cats. I literally cannot get through a single summer day without vacuuming up Ullr-Taz-Houdini hair puffs from the corners of our home. For a long time, we’ve used the Furminator, but honestly, it always seems to be pulling at the fur and none of the pets really liked it. This Eazee tool is a big improvement on the same concept — and I didn’t feel nearly the pulling on the pets’ fur. That said, every session of brushing seems to produce a limitless supply of undercoat and fluff. But at least it’s more comfortable to get it off of them!
WeighPack’s Swifty Bagger
WeighPack’s Swifty Bagger is designed to automatically open, fill, and seal pre-made bags and stand-up pouches reaching speeds of up to 2,400 bags per hour. This isn’t a consumer product — but it was uber geeky cool to see these monster machines on the floor of the show. The mechanical wizardry that goes into filling a dog treat bag is something to behold and we just had to give kudos to these folks for putting it on display.
You might be thinking…wait…where are all the Bluetooth and GPS trackers?? Surely those were at the show? Yes — there were a LOT of collar based gadgets at the show, and some of them show great promise. However, we’ve decided to save those devices for a post and Pet Lover Geek radio show episode all their own. There are many of them out there, many claiming to do the exact same things (just better than everyone else, of course) and we are going to do some in-depth testing to see which ones really work as well as they say they do. So stay tuned…