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

Get your share!

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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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PETS+ Wellness Summit

Fuel Your Wellness Business at the PETS+ Wellness Summit

This October, PETS+ is hosting its first-ever education and buying summit, with a laser focus on one of the most exciting, fastest-growing areas of the pet business — wellness. The PETS+ Wellness Summit will be held Oct. 1-2 in Rosemont, IL, just outside Chicago and minutes away from O'Hare International Airport. Watch the video to see how you'll boost your wellness business at the event.

Learn more about the Summit and submit your FREE registration at petsplusmag.com/summit

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Hot Sellers

Hot Sellers for June

Puppy ice cream is something!

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Puppy Scoops ice cream by Puppy Cake. We had two ice cream socials at each location with over 100 dogs each! We added an ice cream pawlor to our lobby, which has been a huge hit. And we offer ice cream treats as an upsell to our daycare and boarding guests. Maple Bacon is the favorite. — Krista Lofquist, Wagging Tails, Wolcott, CT

Products

  • Open Farm grain-free food. They are a fantastic company that I trust wholeheartedly. — Dylan Giampaolo, Woof Woof Pet Boutique & Biscuit Bar, New Bedford, MA
  • The Bear and The Rat frozen yogurts. These frozen treats come in single-serve cups, perfect for a summer snack. And the new goat’s milk formulas provide healthy probiotics. — Mark Vitt, Mutts & Co., Delaware, OH
  • We did a monthlong promotion with Cloud Star biscuits that went well. — Keefer Dickerson, Nashville Pet Products, Nashville, TN
  • Wondercide natural flea and tick products. — Doug Gronowski, Natural Pet Food Center, Orland Park, IL
  • Whimzees potato-based dental chews (rawhide alternative) are our bestsellers! We position them in a large bulk bin stand provided by the company, right next to our checkout — the ease of access does all the work. — Charlsye Lewis, Metro Animals, Fort Worth, TX
  • Our new Earth Animal Zen Pen did great, but our Pet Releaf oil and treats were definitely the bestsellers. — Tammy Vasquez, Bark Life, Seminole, FL
  • Health Extension food and treats. — Brett Foreman, euPAWria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • Super Snouts CBD products. The $9.99 try me size (especially the Chill+Out version) has been blowing off our shelves. All we did was make a simple Facebook post about the product. — Sue Hepner, Cool Dog Gear, Roslyn, PA
  • Fluff & Tuff dog toys … especially Manny Lobster! — Kimberly Barnes, New England Dog Biscuit, Salem, MA
  • For June it was the new formula from Fromm Highlander Beef because they had a coupon for a free bag. I posted on Facebook and Instagram a picture of the free bag with purchase. We gave away over 125 bags, keeping in mind that it means we sold over 125 12- or 15-pound bags of Fromm. I love when Fromm does deals. It makes it easier for me to bring in people. Everyone should work with the manufacturers or distributors to get deals. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • Stella & Chewy’s Raw Coated Biscuits. We had a manufacturer-supported promotion of buy two for $10. — Jack Carey, Food for Pets, Manchester, NH

Services

  • We recently introduced a “scent of the month” shampoo and cologne upgrade (with the help of TropiClean) for our grooming clients. It’s also available in our popular Pupgrade that offers different al a carte services depending on the season and comes with a gourmet iced treat for the dog to take home after a day at the spa. It’s an easy upsell that makes us extra money with little cost to us. — Sarah Cordes, Knotty Dogs, Chelsea, AL
  • We saw a lot of doggie-smelling dogs, and it was easy to upsell our clients on our AromaCare Deodorizing Shampoo from Professional Pet Products! Smells fresh, and really knocks that odor out of their fur! — Marcia Cram, Just Fur Pets, Springfield, VA
  • Deshedding with Isle of Dogs Coco Clean shampoo. — Amanda Bowman, Fairy Tails Mobile Grooming, Cherry Hill, NJ

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

 5 Products to Help You Do Business Better

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#Twinning

Dog moms will love the t-Winning set from BRKLZ. It features a trendy, gold-filled necklace with letter and Swarovski crystal charms for them, plus a clip with matching letter and crystal charms for their pups. Both accessories are plated in 24K gold, and are available in a variety of crystal colors and letter sizes. Feature happy customers on social media with #twinning!

$69

brklz.com

Accidents Happen

Because sometimes kenneled dogs need to go before they get outside, TALL TAILS offers the Waterproof Pet Pad. The highly absorbent pad comes in sizes small, large and extra-large, with respective 1-, 1.5- and 2-cup capacities. Machine washable, it also saves on the cost and environmental impact of disposable pet pads.

$10.99-$19.99

talltailsdog.com

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Pet Pro Uniforms

Those in a variety of pet care roles will appreciate Barco One and Barco One Wellness scrubs. From BARCO UNIFORMS, both lines feature moisture-wicking, temperature-regulating stretch fabric with antistatic properties that allow animal hair to release quickly. Barco One incorporates recycled plastic bottles, and Barco Wellness features bio-minerals.

$61-$68 scrub sets ; $39-$43 jackets

barcouniforms.com

It’s Prep Time

Get ready for any icy weather this fall and winter. BRANCH CREEK’s Entry Fast-Acting Liquid Ice Melt does not contain chloride — which proves harmful to pets, plants and hard surfaces — and does not leave residue. It works within 30 seconds and prevents refreeze. In bundles of half-gallon with 1-gallon sprayer and 1 gallon with 2-gallon sprayer.

$44.95, $69.65

chloridefree.com

W-Fi Welcome

Barker’s Lane grooming salon owner Julianna Reese shares her wi-fi with customers while they wait, using this adorable and easily updatable password sign from BETTER HOMES & GARDENS. It measures 9 by 1.5 by 7 inches.

$7.97

walmart.com

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Cat Food

8 Wet Selections for Feline Foodies

Trend toward human grade makes wet food more appealing.

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FOR MANY CAT PARENTS, mealtime means holding your breath while scraping out a stinky can of mush. As the trend toward super-premium foods continues, wet food is evolving into a culinary centerpiece, focusing on human-grade quality, novel proteins and recognizable morsels. The end result is pleasing for both feline foodies and their human counterparts.

$ <16 cents/ounce | $$ 16-30 cents/ounce | $$$ 31-50 cents/ounce | $$$$ >50 cents/ounce

 

NOW FRESH Grain Free Minced Chicken

Petcurean

KEY FEATURES: Expansion to line adds three new cat formulas. Minced chicken recipe offers picky eaters a unique texture. Bone broth provides moisture and nutrition. 6.4-ounce cartons.

SALES TIP: Easy-to-open tear-off strip and no sharp edges.

petcurean.com, (866) 864-6112

$$$

Grain Free Sensitive Stomach Quail and Garden Greens

Halo

KEY FEATURES: With novel protein, non-GMO vegetables and dandelion greens, barley grass and parsley to provide antioxidants and support easy digestion. 5.5-ounce cans.

SALES TIP: Thirst quenchers: Canned food provides the benefit of added hydration, especially important for cats who drink little water.

halopets.com, (800) 426-4256

$$$

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Pristine Cage-Free Duck

Castor & Pollux

KEY FEATURES: Grain-free duck recipe features poultry raised without antibiotics or hormones. New wild-caught tuna recipe available, too. 3-ounce pouch.

SALES TIP: The Pristine line uses only responsibly sourced ingredients, such as organic fruits and vegetables grown without synthetic fertilizers or chemical pesticides.

castorpolluxpet.com, (800) 875-7518

$$$$

Hound & Gatos Natural Cat Food

Hound & Gatos

KEY FEATURES: A natural line formulated with 98 percent meat, plus a precisely balanced vitamin-mineral mix. Made in the USA by a family-owned company. 5.5-ounce cans.

SALES TIP: This entire line and brand have gotten a reboot, with updated logo, look and packaging.

houndgatos.com, (888) 896-2951

$$-$$$$

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals

Grandma Mae’s Country Naturals

KEY FEATURES: Five new pâtés and three new slices in gravy formulas. Grain-free, carrageenan-free and non-GMO. Supplemented with DL-methionine to maintain urinary tract health. 2.8-ounce cans.

SALES TIP: Not every cat digs seafood. Five of the new flavors meet consumers’ demand for fish-free foods.

grandmamaes.com, (888) 653-8021

$$$

Redbarn Naturals Cat Filets

Redbarn Pet Products

KEY FEATURES: Filets flaked in broth or gravy, available in five flavors and a variety pack; 2.8-ouce cans.

SALES TIP: A “no goo” guarantee: Crack open a can to show customers the recognizable ingredients, from real pieces of pumpkin to whole shrimp and shredded chicken.

redbarninc.com, (800) 775-3849

$$$$

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Grain Free Tuna & Prawns

Health Extension

KEY FEATURES: Made with real fish as the first ingredient, in a savory sauce. 2.8-ounce cans.

SALES TIP: Liberate cans from the food aisles: Showcase newer offerings in your end caps and other promotional displays.

healthextension.com, (800) 992-9738

$$$

Turkey Adult Cat Recipe

Raised Right

KEY FEATURES: A soft food lightly cooked in a USDA-inspected human-grade facility. Third-party tested for e-coli, listeria and salmonella. 2-pound refrigerated bags.

SALES TIP: In a testament to its tastiness, company founder Braeden Ruud holds eating contests of “man against pets,” during which he personally races to finish the food first.

raisedrightpets.com, (844) 777-3871

$$$$

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