Tag: pet products
Leave it to us humans to introduce dogs to the joys of working hard and getting nowhere.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) reports that about 3 million dogs across the country were using treadmills in 2010.
Given widespread obesity in the species (I think we taught them that, too), it’s not an entirely bad thing for dogs to be getting workouts on treadmills.
But there is a monotony to it that strikes me as running counter to what dogs are all about. Show me the dog that prefers a treadmill to running outdoors — in nature, free to veer this way and that, to stop and sniff when the spirit moves him — and I’ll show you a dog that, quite possibly, has become too human.
On the other hand, if the treadmill is the only exercise a dog is going to get, I guess we’ll just have to accept that the times are changing.
According to the Associated Press, the latest APPA survey of pet owners marked the first time the treadmill question was included, based on reports that doggie treadmills were selling briskly. The survey found 3 million dogs made use of them, which is about one of every 25 dogs in the country.
The reasons for resorting to a treadmill are many, and often valid – when it’s too hot out, too cold out; when a pet’s human has become temporarily, or permanently, immobile; when an injured dog needs a controlled form of exercise.
While the AP article explored only the upside of dog treadmills, it strikes me that — like most technology — they carry a high probability of being misused.
Putting your dog on the treadmill could become the equivalent of putting your child in front of the TV set — a way to keep them occupied and quiet. All us folks who seem to think we’re too busy for a walk in the park could come to over rely on them.
The argument could be made, and maybe will: If you don’t have the time and energy to walk a dog, don’t get one — at least not one that requires a lot of exercise.
The AP article mentions one woman in Las Vegas whose rescued dog had dropped from 115 pounds to 80 using a treadmill. That impressed her so much that she bought her own dog treadmill, which is now used by all four of her dogs — too many, she said, to walk at one time.
“I want to make sure the rest of their lives are the healthiest we can make them. If the treadmill promotes a longer life, then it’s easy to do it each day … Whatever we can do now to help them lead a healthier, better life is worth it,” she said.
All that’s true, as long as its not the only activity the dog is getting. Frolicking in the grass and socializing with other dogs also makes for a healthier dog. So while I don’t want a doggie treadmill in my home, or, worse yet, a human one, it’s clear they do have their place.
Dog trainer April Suhr of Las Vegas believes shelters across the country could make good use of them. Getting out of their kennels and onto a treadmill a few times a week could keep shelter dogs from going “cage crazy” and make them healthier, happier and more adoptable, she says.
Suhr has a treadmill at home for her three pets and her foster dogs. Giving them the same amount of exercise by walking and running with them would take several hour and many miles, she noted.
Doggie treadmills, which are built smaller than human ones, come in a range of sizes and prices, starting at nearly $500.
DogPacer, maker of one of the newest and least expensive on the market at $499, has plans to start producing a less costly treadmill for toy dogs in September. Pennsylvania-based GoPet sells canine treadmills and a treadwheel, ranging from $475 to $1,225.
Interestingly, dogs being forced to run on treadmills was one of the first causes taken up when America’s animal welfare movement was finding its footing.
Until the late 1800s — and here’s where we get to the ugly part – dogs were bred and put to work at many a restaurant and inn as turnspit dogs. They were placed in wooden wheels, similar to that you’d see in a hamster’s cage, and encouraged to walk. The wheel powered a chain drive that rotated a spit above a fireplace, ensuring that the meat on the spit cooked evenly.
The short-legged dogs, bred small enough to fit in the wheel, would often be leashed in a way that made them choke if they stopped. Often, a hot coal would be tossed into the wheel to speed a dog up.
When Henry Bergh established the ASPCA in the 1860s, one of his first campaigns was to end the practice.
That a device similar to one once used to enslave and abuse dogs is now being sold — for $1,000 and more — to pamper them and keep them healthy is ironic to say the least. Though it’s with kinder, gentler intentions, we seem in a way to be, after 150 years of stepping forward, back in the same place.
I think that says something; I’m just not sure what.
(Photo: A Belgian Malinois works out on a treadmill at LA Dog Works in Los Angeles; by Grant Hindsley / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 21st, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: american pet products association, animal welfare, animals, appa, benefits, concerns, dog, dog treadmills, dogs, equiipment, exercise, health, humans, increasing, pet products, pets, products, running, sales, survey, treadmills, turnspit dogs, use, walking
One of the advantages of being a fiercely independent website that makes no money is that we don’t have to hold back in fear of upsetting advertisers, or potential advertisers.
Our ads are clearly marked as ads. We don’t sneak any in between the lines, we don’t use pop-ups, or blind links, or otherwise use our editorial space to sell anyone’s stuff. Thus, we are beholden to no one, except the Internet, and maybe Google.
That allows us, from time to time, to poke a little fun at what we see as new pet products that — while not totally useless and silly – maybe aren’t the innovation, breakthrough or revolutionary cure-all they are being ballyhooed as.
Last week, for instance, we, in a mostly humorous vein, wrote about a new product called Dog Flags, banners for dogs or their leashes that, while you could easily make one at home, are being marketed in five colors with five labels, from “Friendly” to “Please Don’t Approach” – not that we found them to be an entirely bad idea.
Here’s an entirely bad idea.
Just in time for next Halloween, PetPaint will hit the market — non-toxic paints in a variety colors that you can use to paint your dog so that he looks like another kind of animal, or anything else you want.
I’m not saying they pose a clear health hazard, or that it’s the end of the world, just that pet painting is the kind of behavior – annoying to and disrespectful of canines — that humans, being a far more peculiar species, will likely be prone to go overboard with.
I learned of the new product in an email from the company, announcing their presence at the upcoming Global Pet Expo, which is underway through Friday in Orlando.
“From decking your dog out in your favorite sports teams colors to dressing them up for the holidays, it’s always fun for pet owners to interact with their pets,” read the email. “But let’s be honest — most dogs don’t like wearing clothes, and while they might let you dress them up, they will spend the rest of the day trying to shake it off. Enter PetPaint, the first ever clinically tested colored furspray for dogs. PetPaint is changing the way people celebrate occasions with their furry friends.”
The founder of PetPaint is Abe Geary, who says he was inspired to create the product by his two furry companions – Billie and Monkey, one a Giant Schnauzer and the other a rescue terrier.
“With PetPaint, safety comes first, followed by top quality as a close second. PetPaint is specially formulated, non-toxic, and veterinarian approved. It has undergone rigorous clinical testing to ensure complete safety. Available in a wide range of colors, PetPaint is made with the highest quality color pigment, so that it can show up even on dogs with dark coats.”
Harmless fun? Maybe. But at the risk of being labeled a party pooper — as happens when I speak ill of dressing your dog excessively — I’ve got to ask again: Why not let your dog be a dog?
Is he (or she) not already a priceless work of art? What’s to be gained by turning them plaid, making them polka-dotted or transforming them into skunks, tigers or zebras?
I’d guess most painted dogs would spend the rest of the day trying to lick the paint off. And I’d guess most people who paint their dogs, because their dogs are tolerating it, because it’s attention, will jump to the conclusion their dogs “like it.” There will be those who see it as the coolest thing ever.
And they’ll be wrong. Their dog is.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 1st, 2012 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: 2012, animals, behavior, cats, decorate, dogs, fur, furspray, global pet expo, human, non toxic, paint, paint your dog, pet products, petpaint, pets, products, spray, spray on
Growing numbers of pet owners are seeking bargains and shunning opulent items as the $87 billion pet product market — still surviving the recession better than most — is showing some signs of slowing down.
So reports Business Week, citing surveys that show more families are cutting back on pet spending, particularly when it comes to luxury items.
Nearly four out of 10 U.S. pet owners in a September survey by Packaged Facts said they’re spending less on pet products, up from 27 percent in February 2010; and three-quarters of them are looking for deals, particularly on non-food items like apparel and toys.
“The totally discretionary stuff is increasingly being cast aside,” said Lee Linthicum, head of food research at Euromonitor. “People still want to spend a fair bit of money on their pets, but they are reevaluating their priorities.”
Retailers such as PetSmart and Petco are turning to promotions to keep customers from defecting to discount stores like Target and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., but that comes with a cost. Discounts caused PetSmart’s profit margins on merchandise to narrow last quarter for the first time in two years, according to David Strasser, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in New York.
“Our industry is not recession-proof — we’re recession flexible,” said Leo Sanders, the owner of a grooming and boarding business in Corning, New York. “People will still spend, but instead of frivolous spending on squeakers and rawhide bones, now they are reading labels and making sure it’s a quality product. And they’re asking for discounts more.”
Joanne Mahon, managing director of Diamond Dogs in the U.K., said sales of the company’s diamond leash and collar combinations, and other upscale items, dropped as much as 25 percent last year. And Joan Volpe, managing coordinator at the Center for Professional Studies at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, said tighter household budgets have had a “sobering effect” on pricey pet apparel, such as that unveiled in its annual pet fashion show.
“There has been a turn to practicality,” Volpe said. “The seemingly frivolous items of just a few years ago like net tutus are no longer in demand.”
Posted by jwoestendiek February 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accessories, bargains, discounts, economy, food, industry, items, luxury, pet, pet products, pet smart, petco, pets, products, recession, retail, sales, spending, stores, surveys
You don’t need me to tell you that it has gotten more expensive than ever to be the owner, guardian, caretaker, parent — pick your term — of a dog.
Over your dog’s lifespan, you can expect to dish out anywhere from $9,400 to $14,000, according to the latest estimates from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).
As we’ve noted before, spending on pets seems to just keeps growing, even when the rest of the economy has a droopy, hang dog look. Despite the recession, spending on pets has gone up 6 percent annually since 2008, to $48 billion last year, according to the American Pet Products Association.
And a new survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center says that even during the “darkest days” of the recession in 2009 and 2010, when self-denial became common, only 16 percent of respondents reported spending less on their pets.
Of course, what those kind of statistics don’t take into account are all the dogs that — during those darkest days (which, as far as I can see, we’re still in) — have been surrendered and abandoned by families who have fallen into foreclosure or otherwise been forced to move into cheaper rental housing where pets aren’t allowed.
Even if the pet industry is gliding through the recession, many pet owners — and pets — are not.
Since 2008, pet food, veterinary care, and other services have risen at an annual rate of about 4 percent on average, considerably faster than the rate of overall inflation, according to the latest issue of Consumer Reports.
The magazine interviewed manufacturers, nutritionists and veterinarians, and jumped into the crowded pet product marketplace to sniff out the best bargains — and it reports that it’s possible to save hundreds of dollars a year on pet care without shortchanging your pet.
The package of stories is well worth checking out — and they’re all illustrated with photos taken of shelter pets (still the best bargain, it notes) at the North Shore Animal League. Here’s a partial summary:
A significant part of the national pet-food bill these days — Amerians spend about $20 billion a year on it — goes for so-called premium and super-premium varieties.
But “premium” is a virtually meaningless term, with no real legal definition.
Any food you see on supermarket and pet-store shelves that’s labeled “complete & balanced,” “total nutrition,” or “100 percent nutritious” should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. That indicates that it’s adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets.
Pet insurance generally costs more than it pays out, the magazine said. Only in uncommon cases, when a pet requires very expensive care, does the coverage pay for itself.
CR compared the three biggest brands — ASPCA Pet Health Insurance, 24PetWatch QuickCare, and VPI, and a fourth, Trupanion, that is a relative newcomer.
In the case of Roxy, a basically healthy 10-year-old beagle in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. whose lifetime medical expenses were examined, CR reported that none of the nine different policies it compared would have paid out more than the projected premiums.
Instead, the magazine suggests starting your own emergency fund, or “kitty,” to help with unforeseen vet bills.
CR says you’ll probably be better off having your dog’s prescription filled at a chain drugstore, supermarket pharmacy, or big-box retailer than through your veterinarian.
Walgreens, for example, allows customers to enroll their pets as family members in its Prescription Savings Club. Giant/Eagle, Kroger, and Target also have discount programs that are open to pets. At 35 of its pharmacies in Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Tennessee, Target is trying out a program called PetRx to fill prescriptions for veterinary medicines.
Several online pet medicine dispensaries offer significantly lower prices as well.
Despite all that, about two-thirds of the pet owners CR surveyed said they buy their pet medicines from the vet who prescribes them.
CHOOSING A VET
The CR survey found that while most people love their vets, they don’t love the prices he or she charges.
“Because veterinary care is an infrequent, sometimes emergency expenditure, it’s difficult for consumers to gauge what constitutes a fair price for any of the hundreds of services their pet might require. The best time to comparison shop is when your pet needs a routine checkup, not when you’re stressed out by a sick or injured animal,” the article says.
CR suggests calling two or three nearby vets to ask what their physical-exam fee is. Nationally, it can range from roughly $35 to $46, according to a 2008 survey of 826 U.S. vets by the American Animal Hospital Association.
FLEA AND TICK TREATMENTS
There are more choices than ever here, some of them even affordable. With the patent expiring on fipronil, one of the active ingredients in Frontline Plus, a leading brand, the market has opened up to competitors.
CR found two that were new to the market, Sentry FiproGuard Plus at Petco and PetArmor Plus at Walmart, offered sizeable savings. A three month supply of PetArmor Plus cost $28, compared with $50 for FiproGuard Plus and $62 for Frontline Plus at Petco.
“We found other brands for as little as $9, but be careful. Some inexpensive products might not be as effective and might require you to spray or treat more often … The more insecticide you find yourself using, the greater the health and safety risks to you and your pet.”
(Photos: Top photo by John Woestendiek / ohmidog!; other photos by Michael Smith, courtesy of Consumer Reports)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 7th, 2011 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bargains, care, caretakers, cat, consumer reports, consumer reports national research center, costs, dog, dog food, economy, expense, flea, frontline, guardians, insurance, market, medicine, north shore animal league, nutrition, pet, pet insurance, pet owners, pet products, pets, premium, prescriptions, prices, raising, recession, retailers, rising costs, saving money, survey, tick, treatments, veterinarians, veterinary, veterinary care, vets
Just when you thought the pet gear market couldn’t get any more precious, Martha Stewart and Crate & Barrell have launched new lines of upscale doggie products to further spoil our pooches.
Crate & Barrel is offering “a colorful pet gear line, which includes toys, beds, collars, leashes and more — all under $70,” according to PeoplePets.
It reports: “While we love the patterned cotton bones and catnip-filled mice, our pets are drooling over the dishwasher-safe porcelain bowls ($6.95-$14.95) adorned with conversation bubbles that say “Woof,” “Ruff” and “Meow.” Porcelain treat jars ($14.95-$19.95) are another charming accent for your kitchen. Dog jars feature a black-and-white fire hydrant motif and a bone-shaped handle, while the cat ones have fish and mice graphics and a fish-shaped handle.”
The new line is available in stores and on the Crate & Barrel website.
Martha, meanwhile — shown above during the taping of a commercial — has teamed up with PetSmart to premiere her Martha Stewart Pets line, which includes bowls, feeders, tote bags, toys, collars, leashes, beds and grooming accessories, all “designed with dogs and their owners in mind.”
Posted by jwoestendiek July 29th, 2010 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: accessories, animals, beds, bowls, collars, crate & barrel, dogs, grooming, industry, leashes, marketing, martha stewart, merchandise, merchandising, ohmidog!, pet gear, pet products, pets, petsmart, products, sales
The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) is having a party Saturday — and it’s a chance to get your pet a gift and support hundreds more who need homes.
A Pet Junkie Party will take place in the Conference Room at BARCS, starting at 4 .m. tomorrow (Saturday). BARCS is located at 301 Stockholm Street in Batimore, near M&T Bank Stadium.
Pet Junkie representative Denise Smallman-Chilcoat will be selling dog and cat toys, pet-themed home decor items, jewelry, T-shirts and more, with 35 percent of sales going to BARCS.
For those unable to make it to the party, Pet Junkie will donate 35 percent of online sales to BARCS.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, baltimore animal rescue & care shelter, barcs, bling, cats, denise smallman-chilcoat, doggie, dogs, fundraiser, gifts, jewerly, online, party, pet junkie, pet products, pets, sales, t-shirts, toys
Here’s a product that — while I could do without the monogram — would make my life easier.
The pet loveseat cover (they make couch and chair ones, too) would be a cozy sleeping surface for Ace, protect the sofa from drool stains (I can’t help it!) and save me from having to vacuum dog hair off of it EVERY … SINGLE … YEAR.
Available from Sure Fit, the throws come in quilted “soft suede,” or cotton, and are machine washable.
The quilted pet throw comes in taupe and chocolate, while the cotton ones come in black, claret or linen. Only the quilted ones are offered with monograms.
The non-personalized throws cost $29.99 for a chair, $39.99 for a loveseat, and $49.99 for a sofa. The monogrammed ones — up to 15 characters are permitted — run $37.49 for a chair, $47.49 for a loveseat, and $57.49 for a sofa.
Were Santa to bring me one, I would opt for cotton, loveseat size, non-monogrammed, in the color linen. And I’d promise not to drool on it.
Posted by jwoestendiek December 18th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: chair, christmas, cotton, cover, dog, dogs, gifts, loveseat, monogrammed, monograms, personalized, pet products, pet throws, present, prices, quilted, sofa, soft suede, sure fit, surefit, throws, what i want for christmas
The friendly folks at FURminator keep making a great, if pricey, product better — and ever more frustratingly difficult to get out of the package.
The product I was sent — the new fur-ejecting FURminator with an improved handle — worked amazingly well. They’ve improved the fur-ejecting technology, so, unlike with earlier models, hair shoots right out of the deshedding tool with the simple push of a button. The new handle is contoured to better fit the hand.
But the packaging! Why manufacturers insist on encasing their products in thick, clear plastic cocoons that take a hacksaw to open, I’ll never understand.
Perhaps it is to suggest that their product is so valuable it rates a hermetically sealed shroud that can be opened only by a team of physics majors.
Once I did manage to free the Deluxe FURminator from its package, which also featured a twisted wire to hold it firmly into its mold, it was smooth sailing.
As with earlier versions, it did a magnificent job of removing my dog’s loose hair and undercoat. In 15 minutes, not counting the 30 minutes it took to open it, I’d removed enough hair to fill a grocery bag. With the new and far more comfortable handle, I could have filled enough for two more bags, but I figured Ace might want to keep a little undercoat for winter.
The small “Deluxe Collection” FURminator, with fur ejector, retails for around $50, and the FURminator website lists some of the stores in which you can find it. The Deluxe Collection went on sale in pet stores today.
As for my now slightly used model, I repackaged it as best I could and it will be awarded — by Santa himself — to a worthy dog at the upcoming Pet Photos with Santa event at Riverside Park in Baltimore. (Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to noon). Proceeds from the event go to the Franky Fund for the care of sick and injured animals at Baltimore Animal Rescue & Care Shelter (BARCS).
Posted by jwoestendiek December 1st, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, brush, cats, collection, deluxe, deshedding, dogs, furminator, new, pet products, pets, products, rake, shed, shedding, tool, undercoat
India, home to nearly half of the world’s hungry, has seen a surge in pricey dogs (including pugs, like the one pictured, featured in the advertising of a cell phone company, Vodaphone) and pricey dog goods and services.
it’s not uncommon for wealthy families to spend more on imported dog food in a week than the weekly budget of the 420 million Indians officially classified as poor.
Pets are becoming big business in India, and predictions are that the industry will continue to experience annual growth of 10-15 percent, Agence France-Presse reports — even though about 40 percent of India’s population lives below the global poverty line of less than $1.25 a day.
India’s pet industry is valued at around $45 million dollars annually, according to the research firm Euromonitor, compared to the annual $40 billion dollars of the U.S. market.
Experts say that thanks to the economic boom of the past decade, pets have become status symbols in a society that is seeing shifts in its family structure.
“Often both parents work and there’s no longer any grandparents around for the children to come home to, only the maid,” said Linda Brady Hawke, publisher of Indian pet care magazine Creature Companion. “An animal is something which will greet the children with love,” she said.
Among the breeds seeing increasingly popularity are Great Danes, dalmatians, Afghan hounds and pugs, which soared in popularity after one was featured in a mobile phone TV advertisement.
Labradors and golden retrievers have shown staying power, with owners willing to spend up to 300,000 rupees (6,000 dollars) for a championship-level imported purebred specimen — and to leave the air-conditioning on so thick-coated breeds such as giant St. Bernards won’t perish in the summer heat, the article says.
Money’s not an object, either, with many clients of ScoobyScrub, offering such services as “full body massage” and hair streaking, which can cost up to 1,000 rupees, more than most maids earn in a week.
“Families want to spend more on pets whether it’s branded foods or toys — that’s part of the ‘humanization’ process” of the animal, said Euromonitor researcher Yvonne Kok.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 27th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: afghan hounds, animals, dalmatians, dog, dogs, great danes, india, industry, luxury, new delhi, pampering, pet products, pets, pugs, purebreds, spending
Such, I think, is the case with the retractable leash.
After one brush with death — fortunately not my own — and lots of time spent disentangling other pets and my own, I put my retractable leash away more than a year ago, and haven’t used it since.
I had bought it at the recommendation of a friend, but after several uses, the disadvantages (entanglements, rope burns and the flying hockey puck effect) seemed to outweigh the advantages (giving the dog a wee bit more freedom, having my arm nearly jerked off less often.)
Evidence is mounting that retractable leashes — technically illegal in Baltimore, as they extend more than the mandated 8 foot leash maximum — may not be as good an idea as they originally appeared.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced one recall of retractable leashes. Last September, 223,000 “Slydog” brand retractable leashes were found to have metal clips that broke and flew off — like the one that struck and became lodged in the eye of Dereka Williams, a Dallas-area girl whose family has filed a lawsuit against Worldwise, Inc., the maker of the SlyDog retractable leash.
“She was like, ‘Mom, I can’t see! I can’t see!’” her mother Joy Williams told ABCNews.com.
Slydog has since fixed the problem and changed to plastic clips.
But according to the March 5, 2009 issue of Consumer Reports, retractable leashes — often banned from many dog events — have been causing ongoing injuries for years.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 26th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: amputations, burns, consumer, consumer reports, cuts, dangers, dog, dogs, injuries, lawsuits, leash, leashes, pet products, pets, recalls, retractable, retracting