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Nine Cool Ways for Your Pocket Pet to Get More Exercise

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In the wild, rabbits, mice and hamsters run miles through the night, hunting and gathering food. Caged, these creatures maintain their natural need for activity, which means pet parents need to offer exercise opportunities to keep pocket pets fit and healthy. The classic vertical metal exercise wheel has given way to a new wave of adventurous designs. Consider these running discs, cage add-ons and exercise balls to offer daily physical workouts for any small animal.  


Satellite Style 

The flat, solid surface of these open concept satellite designs eliminates the risk of tiny feet or tails getting caught between the bars of a traditional exercise wheel. Satellite designs also sit on sturdy bases to prevent high-pitched squealing, because as we all know, a squeaky wheel gets the grease, but a squeaky exercise wheel hits the trash. 

Flying Saucer Small Animal Exercise Wheel
Ware

Key Features: This thermoplastic running surface — with a touch of UFO realness — provides, high stiffness and low friction. 

Sales Tip: Dare customers to hear anything coming from this super silent spinner. 

waremfginc.com, (602) 257-8803

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Treadmill Wheel 
Exotic Nutrition 

Key Features: Ball bearings make it quiet; a nontoxic powder-coated metal stand make it chew-proof. 

Sales Tip: Sell with Sandy Trimmer Strips, which trims pets nails as they run. 

exoticnutrition.com, (757) 988-0301

Running Disc
Trixie 

Key Features: The smooth running motion of this untreated, wooden disc protects pets’ spines from jostling. 

Sales Tip: Highlight the disc’s natural pine, harvested from New Zealand. 

trixie.de/heimtierbedarf/en, +49 4638 2109-160

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Cage Additions 

Add-on exercise wheels free up room in the cage for external play, which is why companies that specialize in small animal cages offer several options to snap on or easily install. The jewel-toned, translucent designs give off a futuristic effect and let pet parents peek in on the action. 

Habitrail OVO Trainer
Hagen

Key Features: This squeak-free exterior hamster wheel can be used as an outside exercise wheel for an OVO habitat, or as wheels for a mobile set-up.

Sales Tip: This exterior add-on gives pets more living space plus a 24-hour place to play.

usa.hagen.com, (800) 353-3444

CritterTrail Snap-on Comfort Wheel
PETS INTERNATIONAL – Kaytee 

Key Features: This jewel-toned exercise add-on connects to the outside of CritterTrail habitats and features a grip-friendly design for active pocket pets.

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Sales Tip: Connects universally to CritterTrail and Hagen Habitrail systems.

kaytee.com, (800) 529-8331

Whisper Wheel
Bio Bubble Pets 

Key Features: The virtual silence of this freestanding wheel lies in contrast to its loud metallic purple veneer. Check it out in 6- and 9-inch options.

Sales Tip: Display it inside BioBubble’s space-aged Small Animal Terrarium. 

biobubblepets.com, (561) 998-5350


Free-Range Cruisers 

Free-range rollers give pet parents a chance to watch the action or take advantage of the distraction — pets are safely contained while they explore the world. They’re also a great distraction while the cage is closed for cleaning. These options offer a new spin on the out-of-cage experience.

Kaytee Critter Cruiser
Pets International-Kaytee

Key Features: The adjustable wheel works three ways: stationary exercise, free-range rolling and cruising on specialized tracks. 

Sales Tip: Pair it with the Hamtrac for a fully controlled exercise environment. 

kaytee.com, (800) 529-8331

Komet Krawler
Lee’s Aquarium and Pet Products 

Key Features: This shatter-resistant and well-ventilated exercise ball gives off a luminous glow when the lights are low. Available in four sizes, from 5 to 12.5 inches. 

Sales Tip: Target Star Trek fans looking for a free show.

leesaqpet.com, (760) 744-8230

Hamtrac Exercise Loop
PETS INTERNATIONAL – Kaytee

Key Features: This interactive racetrack keeps exercise balls contained during out-of-cage play. 

Sales Tip: Merchandise with checkered flags to highlight the racing angle. 

kaytee.com, (800) 529-8331

 


This article originally appeared in the March-April 2017 edition of PETS+.

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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

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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

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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

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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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