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8 Toys to Get Your Share of the Billion-Dollar Dog Toy Market

It’s the largest durable dog and cat pet-care category.

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TOY SALES CROSSED the $1 billion mark in 2016, making it the largest durable dog and cat pet-care category. According to market research firm Packaged Facts, the growth will continue, looking ahead into 2020 and beyond. Areas of growth include steady demand in sport and fetch toys, renewed interest in chew toys and a continued love of durable plush. We’ve selected eight new releases across the spectrum.

Big Dawg

Ruff Dawg

KEY FEATURES: USA made of solid rubber, FDA-approved and free of phthalates, latex and BPAs. They bounce, float and are gentle on teeth and gums. Available in two sizes in assorted neon colors.

SALES TIP: Lifetime indestructibility guarantee: Customers can visit the company’s website to request a replacement.

ruffdawg.com, (330) 821-8011

$18.99/$27.99

CHOYS Crab

Aussie Naturals

KEY FEATURES: All-natural jute cotton rope meets water buffalo bone to create a durable chew toy. The rope fibers act as floss, too, for additional oral hygiene. New line includes seven toys.

SALES TIP: Well-suited for teething puppies and active chewers alike.

aussienaturals.com, (800) 456-5778

$13.99

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Rumpus

West Paw

KEY FEATURES: Made with patented Zogoflex material, Rumpus is built for tough chewers, with three chew lobes. Bounces on land and floats in water. Comes in two sizes and three colors.

SALES TIP: These Montana-made products are guaranteed tough, backed up with a refund or replacement warranty.

westpaw.com, (800) 443-5567

$11.95/$15.95

Back to School Collection

P.L.A.Y.

KEY FEATURES: Smarty-pups can become teacher’s pet, with this plush set that includes a calculator, football, artist palette, beakers, and graduation cap and scroll, which crinkle, squeak and glow in the dark.

SALES TIP: Stuffed with certified-safe PlanetFill material made from recycled plastic bottles.

petplay.com, (855) 300-7529

$51.90 collection; $7.90-$16.90 individual toys

Ricochet

PetSafe

KEY FEATURES: An interactive, paired set of two toys that will have dogs bouncing back and forth as they try to catch the “moving” squeak sound coming from each toy.

SALES TIP: Uses three AAA batteries, which last up to a month of daily use.

petsafe.com, (866) 738-4379

$59.99

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Fun Foods Chips

Ethical Products

KEY FEATURES: Whimsical, realistic designs on durable fabric with crinkle paper and squeaker inside. Available in seven snack styles, 8 inches tall.

SALES TIP: Tastes great, less filling: Each bag provides 100 percent of daily dose of fun and zero calories.

ethicalpet.com, (800) 223-7768

$7.99

LOBO the Wolf Puppy

Fluff & Tuff

KEY FEATURES: Lobo means “wolf” in Spanish and this ultra-plush pup’s blue eyes stand out in a pack.

SALES TIP: Lobo’s larger size means he can take the rough-and-tumble play of a larger dog, and makes an ideal holiday gift as one of Fluff & Tuff’s XL options.

fluffandtuff.com, (248) 705-5601

$28.95

Pacific Ring

Ruff Wear

KEY FEATURES: An engaging toy inspired by avalanche rescue dogs and their handlers during training. Built with Dual Shield high-tenacity rope.

SALES TIP: Versatile design engages diverse play styles, especially fetching and tugging, and it’s foldable for easy stow on the go.

ruffwear.com, (888) 783-3932

$24.95

After 15 years working for newspapers across the US (and even Alaska), Melissa Hart is now freelancing, working for a variety of publications and trade organizations. She specializes in content for the small nonprofit and business owner, in fields such as pets, IT, grocery and other retail. Melissa is based in Upstate NY with her husband, twin daughters, two rescue dogs and rescue cat.

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FEATURED VIDEO

Pet Sustainability Coalition

Pet Sustainability Coalition Presents: Critical Sustainability Strategies for Retailers

This webinar, held on November 7, 2019, is the second in a series from PSC discussing how retailers can establish sustainable practices in their business. Moderated by PSC’s Andrea Czobor, the webinar unveils data behind the increasing consumer demand for sustainable products, what retailers have to gain from connecting with these purpose driven consumers, and a new PSC program that makes finding these products easier for retailers.

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Dog Food

8 Selections to Help Customers Shake Up Their Pups’ Dry Food Diets

Encourage customers to do just this.

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YOU LIKELY STOCK dozens of types of dry kibble, but most pet parents stick to the same brand. Make it easy for customers who want to try a new dry food diet, whether they want to switch to ancient grains or a super-premium holistic blend. Design a simple graphic that offers easy instructions to transition foods and turn them on to these new blends available at independent stores like yours.

$ <$2/POUND | $$ $2-$3/ POUND | $$$ $3-$4/POUND | $$$$ $4+/POUND

 

Wellness Core Wholesome Grains
WellPet

KEY FEATURES:The four recipes in this protein-packed blend focus on poultries and fish, including deboned turkey, ocean whitefish and herring.

SALES TIP: Healthy by design, these recipes offer maximum protein, nutrient-rich grains and superfoods.

wellnesspetfood.com, (800) 225-0904

$$$$

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Lifespan Dry Food
PetGuard

KEY FEATURES:: Crunchy nuggets made from USA-sourced chicken plus beet pulp and alfalfa meal for fiber.

SALES TIP: This is the OG diet: The first all-natural holistic dry food for dogs of all ages, sizes and breeds.

petguard.com, (929) 515-1436

$$$

Cricket Crave
Jiminy’s

KEY FEATURES: A sustainable and nutrient-dense blend of cricket protein powder, oats, quinoa, sweet potato and other plant-based ingredients, baked in the USA in small batches.

SALES TIP: Every dog that snarfs an insect-based supper over traditional proteins saves 220 gallons of water.

jiminys.com, (844) 454-6469

$$$$

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Highlander Beef, Oats and Barley Recipe
Fromm

KEY FEATURES: This Scottish-inspired, grain-inclusive entrée features beef, lamb, haddock, oats, fruits and vegetables.

SALES TIP: Mix and match: The new recipe joins a larger family of grain-inclusive and grain-free entrées designed to be interchangeable, delivering variety with every meal.

frommfamily.com, (414) 439-1900

$$$

Natural Dry Dog Food
Hound & Gatos

KEY FEATURES: A protein boost for pups, this blend is more than 84 percent protein, made from real meat, fish or poultry and fresh, whole eggs.

SALES TIP: All killer, no filler — this blend nixes peas, chickpeas, lentils and white potatoes.

houndgatos.com, (888) 896-2951

$$$

Diamond Pro89 Beef
Diamond Pet Foods

KEY FEATURES: Pork and ancient grains join forces with energy-dense protein sources and amino acids to support hard work and endurance.

SALES TIP: An all-star blend for working and performance dogs, it contains 89 percent protein to help build and maintain muscle.

diamondpet.com, (800) 442-0402

$$$$

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Ancient Wetlands Canine Recipe with Roasted Fowl
Taste of the Wild

KEY FEATURES: Roasted quail, roasted duck and smoked turkey combine for a diet rich in highly digestible protein.

SALES TIP: The art of ancient grains: Focus on the pet parents who prefer grains like sorghum, millet, quinoa and chia seed over fillers.

tasteofthewildpetfood.com, (800) 324-4808

$$

Carnivore Grain Free Lamb + Wild Boar Recipe
Go! Solutions

KEY FEATURES: A heavy hitter in the protein aisle, with added digestive enzymes, probiotics and prebiotic fiber promote good digestion, protein utilization.

SALES TIP: Lamb and salmon and boars, oh my! Each recipe in the line includes between six to 11 animals as protein sources.

petcurean.com, (866) 864-6112

$$$

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Hot Sellers

Here Are September’s Hot Sellers

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Dog People Are Cool T-shirts — a new addition for us. Found them at SuperZoo. — Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL

Products

  • Weruva’s pate line of canned food took off last month. We’ve been pointing it out to the customers that have affirmed their cats won’t eat textured foods and have overlooked Weruva in the past. Our casual recommendations seemed to have led to trial and feline approval. — Jack Carey, Food for Pets, Manchester, NH
  • Puzzles! People are loving puzzles for their pups. The Outward Hound Puzzles are the best sellers for us. We love selling interactive toys as we know the benefits of an engaged dog. — Tammy Vasquez, Bark Life, Seminole, FL
  • Redbarn Bully Slices were our best sellers last month. We sell them in bulk and display them in tin pails with a chalkboard sticker. We carry four flavors and our visitors love to mix and match. — Wendy Megyese, Muttigans, Emerald Isle, NC
  • Earth Animal No Hide Chews. We love it as much as our customers because it’s a good healthy chew that is fully digestible, comes in six flavors, and four different sizes. Dogs love it! We don’t even need to put it on sale, it just sells itself! — Kimberly Gatto, The Wagging Tail, Las Vegas, NV
  • Victor’s Puppy/Adult Grain Free dog food. We sell what we feed our guests, so parents can see that their pet likes it, and if it’s a long-term board, they can sometimes see a difference in coat, gait and disposition. — Suzanne Locker, ABC Pet Resort & Spa, Willis, TX
  • Rawbble Freeze Dried Dog Food in five flavors and three sizes, priced from $9. Limited ingredient and really great value. Customers have been changing from other brands. — Nancy Okun, Cats n Dogs, Port Charlotte, FL
  • Bulk biscuits. But we did just raise our price on them from $4.99/pound to $5.49, and no one batted an eye! Our bulk cookie bar takes up a good amount of room, and it should be generating a higher margin for us because of that. — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • Sales of bone broth from Primal have definitely increased. We suggest to our customers to add good moisture to the pet’s diet. — Renee Gonzalez, Waterloo Feed and Pet Supply, Waterloo, IL
  • Pet Releaf continues to be a strong go-to for those looking for CBD. — Keefer Dickerson, Nashville Pet Products, Nashville, TN
  • Raw food and supplements, particularly Answers products. — Diana Farrar, Fifi & Fidos Pet Boutique, San Antonio, TX
  • Fromm Gold is still sitting on top. — Janelle Pitula, Wags to Whiskers, Plainfield, IL
  • K9 Kraving Smoked Duck Feet are our best seller at all our locations. We sell more than 5,000 of them a month! — Nancy Guinn, Dog Krazy, Fredericksburg, VA
  • Yellow Dog collars were a big hit in October. We brought in three color choices of candy sugar skulls for Dia De Los Muertos and sold out of them. Of course, we restocked right away and were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they moved. — Charlsye Lewis, Metro Animals, Fort Worth, TX
  • Health Extension foods and treats. — Brett Foreman, euPAWria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • Farmina dry dog food was crazy up! It is appealing to consumer in the weird land of DCM. They are loving the ancestral grain line. Honestly, we haven’t done any promotions on it. It has been word of mouth. — Anna Woodcock, Brown Dog Bakery, Ankeny, IA
  • CBD products from Super Snouts. Our top seller was the Chill Out calming water-soluble chews. Our customers especially like the six-chew trial size — perfect for the customer who is not sure about CBD products. They are inexpensive ($9.99 retail) and easy to use. Once they see how well it works, they come back for the larger size package (60 count). — Paula Jaffe and Sue Hepner, Cool Dog Gear, Warrington, PA
  • Nature’s Logic Beef was our biggest seller. German Shepherd breeders buy seven big bags a week! — Kelley Nelson, Central Dawgma & The Dawg Wash, Hagerstown, MD

Services

  • Our lead groomer took the first spot for sales last month. A close second was self-wash. We haven’t been running promos on either since both are so busy — hate to make it even more of a wait then it already is! — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • Our deshedding treatment was extremely popular in October. — Danielle Wilson, Bath & Biscuits, Granville, OH
  • We had a flash one-day sale on daycare packages: 20 days usually costs $680, but we sold them for $620. Clients bought them like crazy, and we were able to realize an addtional $15K in package sales. — Angela Pantalone, Wag Central, Stratford, CT

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.

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Products

2020 Pet Sitter of the Year Named and More Service News

She will serve as the “face of the professional pet-sitting industry”.

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2020 Pet Sitter of the Year Named

Pet Sitters International has named Jeanne Crockett of Crockett’s Critter Care in New Bern, NC, the 2020 Pet Sitter of the Year. Crockett will serve as the “face of the professional pet-sitting industry” and will be crowned at PSI’s 2020 Pet Sitter World Educational Conference in October. petsit.com, crockettscrittercare.com

Registration Open for Atlanta Pet Fair

Registration is open for the Atlanta Pet Fair and Conference, March 12-15. The fair will feature more than 100 exhibitors, 65 educational seminars, four panels, nine independent certification courses and half-day intensive classes. Throughout the weekend, there will be dog and cat grooming demonstrations and a variety of business development and marketing sessions. atlantapetfair.org/registration

ASC Helps Indies to Sell Online

Animal Supply Company is partnering with e-commerce platforms BigCommerce and Shopify to help independent pet retailers enter the online space. animalsupply.com/connect

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PLC Initiative Helps Consumers Acquire Dogs

The Pet Leadership Council has launched Be Dog Smart to help consumers make informed decisions about dog acquisition, whether by way of a professional breeder, shelter or rescue, pet store, friend or family member. “The success of the pet care community rests on consumer trust and confidence, which is why the PLC found it imperative to gain a better understanding of the public’s wants and needs when it comes to companion animals,” said Bob Vetere, executive director of the PLC. Be Dog Smart offers a website with information such as costs to consider, questions to ask and information on identifying responsible breeders, shelters, rescues and pet stores. Resources are available for pet pros who wish to help promote Be Dog Smart to consumers. bedogsmart.org

Global Takes Place Feb. 26-28

Global Pet Expo, ranked the 46th largest trade show by Trade Show Executive magazine, and presented by the American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association, takes place Feb. 26-28 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. globalpetexpo.org

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