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Real Kids Pick 9 Accessories for Small Animals

Their shopping habits interesting to watch.

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TWO GUINEA PIGS reshaped the dynamic in the Spencer-Tippet household, a busy three-kid family brought together by Snickers and Butterscotch. “Going to the pet store helps the kids see all the ways they can play with the pigs, what to feed them and learn how to budget for it,” said Nicole Spencer, who runs the crew of 5, 7 and 12 with her fiancé, Dale Tippet Jr. All the kids have different sets of ideas for their new pets, which makes their shopping habits interesting to watch.


Minecraft Masters

The family’s middle kid and only boy, Aiden, is a Minecraft master. He’s interested in colorful pieces, the feel of bedding textures and small animal toys he can put together himself. “He’s also the most hands-on with the guineas, so we’re always looking for products that help with that,” Spencer says. Toys that give the kids interactive playtime are also a hit with all three.

Critterville Hamster Homes
MidWest Homes for Pets

KEY FEATURES: A variety of cages with fun themes like fast cars and butterflies, with clip-on art and colorful decals to dress up the home for hamsters, gerbils and mice.

SALES TIP: Heads up to gear heads, the wheels are fitted with external tires or flowers that spin around while the pet runs.

midwesthomes4pets.com, (800) 428-8560

$57.99

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Ware Loofah Salad
Ware Pet Products

KEY FEATURES: This small animal snack keeps hammies and rabbits from getting bored in the cage and trims their teeth, too.

SALES TIP: A true buddy treat — supervision is recommended so kids can plop down by the cage while their pets chow down.

warepet.com, (602) 257-8803

$4.99


Small Animal Bear Rug
Marshall Pet Products

KEY FEATURES: Small animals of any size can play hide and seek here, slipping in and out of this rug through the paws and the bear’s mouth.

SALES TIP: Easy cleanup afterward. Toss this fleece blanket in the washing machine when it gets soiled.

marshallpet.com, (800) 292-3424

$14.99


Bigger Wigglers

The youngest, Abby, is a budding preschool performer who brings gifts to the people she loves and walks her imaginary dog every day. “We’d have a much bigger pet if Abigail could have her way,” Spencer says. When Abby shops, she’s investigating ideas for her next companion pet, maybe a ferret or a rabbit. “You can count on her to ask for the biggest toys in the store.”

Teach ’N Treat
Living World by Hagen

KEY FEATURES: An interactive and educational toy that teaches small pets to search for treats through observation, listening and learning.

SALES TIP: Help kids bond with their pets using these interactive tools that keep small animals’ minds active and alert.

hagen.com, (800) 724-2436

$23.99

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CritterTrail Wide Open Door Fun-nel
Kaytee

KEY FEATURES: Designed with Syrian hamsters in mind, this tube is 10 inches long and easy to attach and clean.

SALES TIP: The large top access door is good for kids who want to get both hands in their pet.

kaytee.com, (800) 529-8331

$7.99


LED Lighted Run-About Ball
Kaytee

KEY FEATURES: The illuminated exercise ball for hamsters or gerbils gives off a soft glow that lets people play with pets during their most active hours.

SALES TIP: Good timing — this ball includes a 10-minute timer that can be set for strategic amounts of fun.

kaytee.com, (800) 529-8331

$12.99


Relaxation Time

On the verge of being a teen, Addison likes to chill. She’s also recovering from a scoliosis-related spinal surgery, so she spent a lot of the summer playing inside. “She’s the most patient with the small animals,” Spencer says. “Our house has a lot of energy, and Addison is the one who will sit quietly with a treat and encourage them to come out and play.”

Herbivore Sticks
Exotic Nutrition

KEY FEATURES: Triple baked for crunchiness and covered with a variety of seeds and grains so you can sneak in calcium, vitamins and nutrients.

SALES TIP: Crunch a bunch: These sticks stimulate the natural urge to forage in chinchillas, prairie dogs, degus and hamsters.

exoticnutrition.com, (757) 988-0301

$6.50

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Monsters Wood Munchies
PennPlax

KEY FEATURES: Kids can introduce their real-life pets to big screen characters from MONSTERS INC. with wood munchies based on the film.

SALES TIP: Great for active chewers who need to chomp out their nervous energy.

penn-plax.com, (866) 625-2385

$3.99


ZZZs Super Cozy Suede Hammock
Prevue Pet Products

KEY FEATURES: This super soft brown suede hammock offers a space saving, elevated design for small animals in tight quarters.

SALES TIP: This one-step room renovation gives small animals an instant spot to snooze.

prevuepet.com, (312) 243-3624

$10.99

 

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 14 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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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

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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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