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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 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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JIM ACKERMAN

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You’ve probably been hearing experts talk about digital marketing as if it would be a panacea for pet-business owners, says marketing specialist Jim Ackerman. But for most owners, it hasn’t worked out that way. In this video, Ackerman explains why digital advertising should be just one arrow in your marketing quiver.

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8 Bird Foods to Attract Multicultural Customers

Multicultural shoppers make big waves in the bird world.

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STOCK UP ON NATURAL bird food blends and treats labeled “Made in the USA,” data from a new report suggests. “Bird Products: U.S. Pet Market Trends and Opportunities” by market research firm Packaged Facts notes trends in bird nutrition are being set by influential Hispanic and Asian customers, who are far more likely to own birds for pets than other companion animals.

Crunch & Fun Parrot Treat

L’Avian Plus

KEY FEATURES: Pistachios, peanuts, raisins, pineapple and pine nuts — this specially formulated bar includes a complex mista of real fruit and nuts.

SALES TIP: First it’s a treat, then it’s a toy: Birds can munch the snack and then play with the rig inside.

lavianplus.com, (800) 543-3308

$23

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Bird Lover’s Blend

Brown’s

KEY FEATURES: Five pounds of nuts, berries and bugs in one colorful package.

SALES TIP: To bring in a backyard bird brigade, this blend attracts colorful songbirds throughout the year.

fmbrown.com, (800) 334-8816

$8.99

Nectar Pods

Exotic Nutrition

KEY FEATURES: A fruit-based jelly treat that comes in three different fruit flavors and with a boost of added calcium. Sell the specially designed Nectar Pods Holder as an easy add-on.

SALES TIP: For homes with multiple types of pets, these nectar pods work for birds, fruit-eating mammals and day geckos.

exoticnutrition.com, (757) 988-0301

$5.99

Sunburst Gourmet Blend

Higgins Premium

KEY FEATURES: This food and treat combo recently rolled out with fresh packaging and features mixed fruits, nuts and legumes fortified with plant-based DHA omega-3 fatty acids.

SALES TIP: It’s all about the optics — Sunburst colors are sourced from seeds, spices and vegetables rather than chemical colors.

higginspremium.com, (800) 878-2666

$12.49

Sizzle N’ Heat

D&D Commodities

KEY FEATURES: For outdoor feeders, this sizzling blend keeps squirrels out of the birds’ way.

SALES TIP: A classic product to introduce to the birdwatchers in your store.

wilddelight.com, (800) 543-3308

$18.99

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Organic Starter Crumbles

MannaPro

KEY FEATURES: Complete nutrition for young and growing birds developed without pesticides, medications or genetically modified ingredients.

SALES TIP: This blend of 19 percent protein and nutrients is an ideal start for young flocks of chicks.

mannapro.com, (800) 690-9908

$35

Parrot Food Pellets

Top’s Parrot Food

KEY FEATURES: These cold-pressed pellets keep natural nutrition intact and are naturally preserved with rosemary, rose hips, lemon and orange peel.

SALES TIP: Hype the ingredient label here: non-GMO, USDA organic certified and made in the USA.

topsparrotfood.com, (503) 286-1198

$5.26

Mealworms

Timberline

KEY FEATURES: Protein-packed mealworms are available in five sizes to fit the bill for birds that prefer a little wiggle in their meals.

SALES TIP: Timberline offers a strategic merchandising program for retailers to keep live food fresh and bring in repeat business.

timberlinefresh.com, (800) 423-2248

$1.99

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9 Items to Help Dogs Take on Mud Season

Use mud season to your advantage this year.

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“RASPUTITSA” IS THE WORD used in Eastern Europe, and in Alaska they call it “breakup”: It’s that soggy few weeks of late spring when low-riding Corgis and big-digging Malamutes always come home a muddy mess. This year, push rinse-free formulas for dogs that need regular spot checks and foaming cleansers for head-to-toe freshness.

Natural Shampoo Bar

Wondercide

KEY FEATURES: Freshly ground neem bark works as an exfoliant, getting dirty dogs extra clean and helping to alleviate common skin conditions.

SALES TIP: The bar lasts longer than liquids and prevents fumbling with shampoo bottles.

wondercide.com, (877) 896-7426

$2.49

Squeaky Clean Kit for Pets

Oxyfresh

KEY FEATURES: This cleansing combination pack includes a pH-balanced citrus shampoo and an alcohol-free solution to clean itchy, irritated ears.

SALES TIP: This all-in-one purchase covers dogs from head to tail.

oxyfresh.com, (800) 333-7374

$23.45

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Cape Towel

Tall Tails

KEY FEATURES: This towel has a collar with Velcro fastener plus two hand pockets for more control when drying.

SALES TIP: Super soaker — this terry fiber towel is 50 percent more absorbent than cotton.

talltailsdog.com, (937) 222-2132

$19.99

Oatmeal Honey Shampoo

Petology

KEY FEATURES: Ultra-fine colloidal oatmeal combines with honey extract to calm irritated skin while providing superior moisture, luster and shine.

SALES TIP: A long-lasting lather with long-lasting effects, and the creamy vanilla and honey keeps fur smelling good for days.

petology.net, (386) 672-1872

$14.99

Shed Control Shampoo

Pura Naturals Pet

KEY FEATURES: Sweet orange, coconut oil and omega-3 fatty acids moisturize and improve skin, and freshen coats.

SALES TIP: Reduce shedding, dander and allergens with this wash, and add on the sister Shed Control conditioner for shine.

puranaturalspet.com, (844) 698-4367

$15.99

2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner

Dr. Sniff

KEY FEATURES: A wash-and-go shampoo and conditioner naturally rinses unwanted odors and grime, leaving a subtle fragrance behind.

SALES TIP: The bottle has an easy pump top, and the two-in-1 formula means baths take half the time.

drsniff.com, (561) 901-5341

$7.49

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Oatmeal Waterless Foam Shampoo

John Paul Pet

KEY FEATURES: The special formula helps water grab the oil and dirt so they can be brushed out of the coat without rinsing.

SALES TIP: Sell it for senior pets struggling to get into the tub, and for spot cleaning dogs that love rolling in goose poop.

johnpaulpet.com, wholesalepet.com

$11.95

Flea and Tick Body Wash and Leave-In Treatment

Spina Organics

KEY FEATURES: Repel fleas and ticks with cedarwood and sandalwood in this organic shampoo and leave-in treatment combo.

SALES TIP: Straight A: anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antifungal.

spinaorganics.com, (310) 713-3223

$24 body wash; $16 leave-in

Conditioning Tea Tree Oil Shampoo

Healers Petcare

KEY FEATURES: A highly concentrated formula using all-natural ingredients like tea tree oils and designed to help with a variety of skin conditions. It works for all animals.

SALES TIP: Great testimonials — this shampoo has been used throughout the veterinary market for years; now it’s in the retail space.

healerspetcare.com, (800) 924-7036

$12.99

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8 Toppers to Lure Cats and Dogs to Their Bowls

They are more than just a treat.

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PET OWNERS ARE COMING around to seeing food toppers as more than just a treat. For cats and dogs who are picky eaters or suffer from food allergies, toppers can provide an extra boost of nutrition and hydration, making them an important addition to the pet lover’s pantry.

Organic Bone Broth

Primalvore

KEY FEATURES: Only three ingredients: certified organic bone broth, collagen peptides (for joint health) and organic turmeric. Beef or chicken. 12-ounce pouches, sold in packs of two and six.

SALES TIP: For customers looking for more organic options, paired with clean ingredients.

primalvore.com, (800) 987-0544

$19.99 for 2

Tiki Cat Dash Tuna Flakes

Tiki Pets

KEY FEATURES: Only one ingredient: wild-caught bonito tuna. Naturally smoked and flaked for easy sprinkling over wet or dry food. 1.5-ounce bags, also available in mackerel flavor.

SALES TIP: Tuna is packed with protein (86 percent to be exact), satisfying kitty’s carnivorous nature.

tikipets.com, (866) 821-8562

$9.99

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Pour Overs

The Honest Kitchen

KEY FEATURES: Limited-ingredient wet toppers in three types: Bone Broth Stew, Pumpkin Stew and Superfood Stew, with three flavors in each grouping. 5.5-ounce TetraPak, sold in packs of three and 12.

SALES TIP: With nine slow-cooked flavors, there’s something for all palates.

thehonestkitchen.com, (866) 437-9729

$6.99 for 3

PureBites Mixers for Cats

Pure Treats

KEY FEATURES: Just the basics: pure meat, packed in water for extra hydration, to be served as a wet topper or meal mixer. Five chicken and seafood flavors. 1.76-ounce trays.

SALES TIP: Just one or two ingredients per variety, appealing to clean-eating enthusiasts.

purebites.com, (888) 388-7873

$1.79

Beef Bone Broth with Turmeric

Solid Gold

KEY FEATURES: Made from human-grade ingredients: beef bone broth, carrot, sweet potato, apple, sesame seed oil, turmeric. 8-ounce pouches. Serve as a topper or add to water.

SALES TIP: Super-spice turmeric is prized for anti-inflammatory properties, making this good for aging dogs.

solidgoldpet.com, (800) 364-4863

$3.99

Fetch Fuel Active

Presidio

KEY FEATURES: Blend of glucosamine, omega-rich oils, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that promote joint health and healthy skin and coat. 12.5-ounce pouches contain 25 servings. Part of a line of three formulas.

SALES TIP: Easy way for pet parents to sneak in some extra vitamins.

presidiopet.com, (888) 859-4280

$24.99

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SuperGravy

Clear Conscience Pet

KEY FEATURES: Just add water to the powdered mix. Barkinara red and Arfredo creamy white join the original brown. 4.5-ounce pouches come with a scoop to make 30 gravy servings.

SALES TIP: Hanging displays available, for squeezing more products into your food aisles.

clearconsciencepet.com, (239) 984-2705

$15.95

Smiling Dog Bone Broth

Herbsmith

KEY FEATURES: Bone Broth Kibble Seasonings contain only freeze-dried meat and bone broth, using USDA-certified sourced ingredients. Chicken (3.5-ounce) and beef (3.35-ounce).

SALES TIP: Serve wet or dry to appeal to picky pups. Cat approved, too.

herbsmithinc.com, (800) 624-6429

$9.49

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