Archive for the ‘pet products’ Category

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19 Mar 14

Global Pet Expo Top Picks! ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

Last week was one of the pet industry’s biggest, if not the biggest pet industry trade show, Global Pet Expo held in sunny Orlando, Florida – celebrating their 10th year.   With nearly 3,000 vendor booths, yes 3,000, about 6,000 attendees and FOUR miles of trade show floor to walk – yes it was ‘Too Big To Miss’ as their slogan says.  However, being in the pet industry you tend to see a lot of similar products and I love to see pet products that stand out, and that are new and different.  And while this article could be probably 10 pages long if I posted everything that I really liked, here are some top picks that stood out to me.  From the, ‘duh why didn’t I think of that’ products to the huge amount of new technology pet products, one even invented by a 14 year old girl (love it – you go Brooke – young female entrepreneur!)

Let me know what you think and if you see anything you too like below:

High tech:

The first high tech pet product that stood out to me was Voyce, kind of like a Fitbit for dogs.  At first glance you may think, why does my dogs heart rate, respiratory rate, activity, rest, distance and calories burned need to be monitored.  You can upload all this information to your computre or smart phone, and after speaking with one of their reps, the aha moment came.  What if your dog was sick or having medical issues, you can then bring the information to your vet to show the days your dog wasn’t feeling well and they can look at the info.  It goes beyond that and I emplore you do your research – but seems like a very cool product, and I think great for senior dogs too.

From the Voyce website: Voyce measures key vital signs and other wellness indicators through wearable technology and proprietary algorithms. Using that information, Voyce provides you with trends and valuable insights, helping you stay proactive about your dog’s overall health, behavior, and wellbeing.

This next high tech device was invented by a 14 year old girl Brook Martin, yes folks a very wise young and inspiring entrepreneur.  She came up with the clever idea when she was just 12!  (Love that!) Brooke told me her Golden Retriver Kayla had some serious separation aniexty and she wanted to figure out a way to help.  So she invented iCPooch, which allows you to video chat with your dog and deliver a treat using a tablet, smartphone, or computer from anywhere.  Available for purchase in May 2014, this was Brooke’s first Global Pet Expo, congratulations Brooke! (Brooke’s dad, Chris Martin President and COO of the company, was there with her and he couldn’t be prouder!)

Functional for your pet:

A product that I thought, hmm why didn’t I think of that was the PawPlunger.  Not high tech, but during the muddy winter months, and constantly cleaning my dogs feet with a towel – which never seem to fully do the job – I am looking forward to trying this product out.  (Of course you want to get your dog used to it, and never force your pet’s paw – just another chance to do a little training to help your dog used to this new routine).

For the cat owners, here is a new kitty litter scooper just launched at Global, the KittyScoop.  The scoop, scoop’s your cats waste from the litter box right into a biodegradable bag that is lined inside the scoop so you have less mess when cleaned the box.  You have the option to not use a bag and just scoop and the back of the product has a door you can open to get rid of the waste.  I think using the bag is a great option.  Seems like a great new product for cat owners and will encourage you to keep your cats litter box clean.

Do you keep chickens?  If so, you need to know about these products that at first glance just looks like chicken clothing.  Ok, stop.  It is chicken clothing, but these chickens are not going to be in the NYC Pet Fashion show any time soon.  The are purely functional, and life saving at the same time.  Created by Crazy K Farm Pet and Poultry Products, the little booties pictured below – are not just cute booties but are used when a chicken has an injury to their foot.  It keeps their foot protected from all that they walk in and helps keep a chance of infection out.  The little jacket with eyes on it?  It is used to ward off birds of prey who are not interested in going after a chicken with those big scary eyes staring back at them – pretty ingenious if you ask me, and who knew?

A company that out of the gate has been donating to a bag of food for every bag purchased is Dog for Dog.  They also won an award at Global and it’s a wonderful concept.

Another new pet food company is Caru, who make natural stews and treats for pets, which was born due to their dog Karu’s really bad food allergies.  All their ingredients are sourced from the USA and made in small batches.  The owners are also medical professionals, they are also passionate about using earth and land-fill friendly packaging and do not use cans for their product.  There are four different flavors to choose from.

Petsafe who recently launched a new line of pet treats all made in the USA also are called Indigo.  There are a few different products, dental treats and I can tell you that my Max loves, loves, loves the smokehouse treats.

Pet Products for the Humans!

Giving your friend a present for their pet?  Now you can wrap it in pet safe wrapping paper.  This product I loved because it is different.  Printed with soy-based, non-toxic ink, it comes in all different prints and patterns.  Made by Pet Party Printz and made here in the USA – this is an adogable way to celebrate your pet or friends and families pets with gifts you bought for them.  We all know dogs love to rip open presents (well every dog I have ever had did!).  It also comes with Rip and Stick technology so there is no tape needed to use to wrap the gift, cool.  More pet retailers should be carrying this product!

Dog is Good has a new line of bags and magnets that are hysterical, and every pet parent or rescue person will totally get a kick out of.  I just love this new product line, make a perfect gift to give your favorite pet parent (hint hint!).  For our rescue groups, they would also make fabulous raffle prizes for your next event.

And if you are in your 40’s and up, and you are holding that printed card out further than you used to, you may need some new readers.  The new line of Dog Bone readers may just be what you are searching for.  Normally this is not something I would gravitate too – but they are pretty cute and come in different designs for both dog and cat lovers and different magnification levels.

To see more pictures from Global Pet Expo, CLICK Here!

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24 Sep 13

New products, Total Pet Expo ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,

The Total Pet Expo, by H.H. Backer Associates was held in Chicago this past weekend at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and there were 2 levels of pet products, and nearly 700 booths to see.   The show, which debuted a new name and earlier time in the season were expecting about 8,000 buyers to attend.  A few buyers I spoke with said they loved that it was earlier in the season, because it makes it easier for them prepare their pet shops, supply stores, boutiques and grooming shops ready for the holiday season.

While there was so much to take in some products jumped out at you – like this blinged out dog feeding station from.  They had many different colors and styles to choose from.  While I love the look of this, and know many of my doggie fashionista friends will too, maybe not for the drooliest dog! (How do you clean that so it stays so sparkly? Or maybe that is your dog’s holiday china?)

A couple of the interactive toys that stood out to me were Kong’s new Kong Quest, (get it? love the play on words), and Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff Snoop.  Both have completely different designs to keep your pup busy and active while trying to get a treat.  And I think Kong’s could be used for a cat too – maybe with Halo’s Liv-a-Little’s treats put in there – how to drive a cat crazy!  The Planet Dog Orbee-Tuff Snoop can also hold a ball too – so for that ball obessed dog this could be a neat toy to watch them get the ball out with treats hidden underneath!  For us humans to clean the toy, you can easily pop the top up and clean it.

Of course while I was there I had to stop by and say hi to our friends at Earth Rated the makers of PoopBags.  They have been so supportive of many Long Island pet events and have such a great, biodegradable, earth friendly product. (I use everyday while walking Max!) They are currently in 4,000 stores across the US, so if some reason your pet retailer doesn’t carry the product, request it!

Speaking of Long Island, one of our very own members of Long Island Pet Professionals, Bob Brennan was also at the show as a vendor with his great products, Dr. Emmo’s Pet First Aid by Pet Clenz.  This is a great product and I use the Wound Care Gel on Max, really gentle and helped him a lot with a small wound he had on his foot.   They are now coming out with a product for horses too and soon to debut an eye care product for your pets too.

I always love to see new products debuting at shows like this, whether it is a new company or a well established one with a new product.  These beautiful hand beaded collars by Dosha Dog caught my eye.  This would be best worn on a short haired dog, in my opinion, as I can easily see a dog with longer hair – getting their fur caught inbetween the beads.  So for my short haired doggie fashion friends, I think these collars would be a nice pop on your cute pups.

There were a lot of gift items you can give your pet parent friends at the show too.  One that adorns your favorite breed of dog, and keeps you dry at the same time were adogable umbrellas by The San Francisco Umbrella Company.  With about 30 popular breeds to choose from (and yes they have an American Pit Bull Terrier one too!), and many color options, this is a cute pet gift item to give the pet lover who has everything!

On the second floor of the show, they had a full sized demo of a pet store called the ‘Store on the Floor’ to give buyers great ideas to display pet merchandise, products and how to lay out your store in a consumer friendly way.  Inside the store on the floor, they had puppies and kittens that were up for adoption with the Tails Humane Society – so a nice to see a push for adopting pets out of stores vs. selling.  It was great to see at a major pet trade show – the pushing of adoption and working with your local rescue groups.

Overall the show was great seeing a lot of new products, getting to participate in the ‘Smart Zone Education Station’ a series of seminars with expert speakers from around the country, meeting new pet professionals and see many friends and associates.  For MANY more PICTURES, click here – a lot more products in our photo section on Facebook too!

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23 Jul 13

Cool pet products & heat safety ...

By Nancy E. Hassel,, Cover Photo of Igor the Bulldog by the pool by Carol Price (Igor’s mom!)

In the summer it is super important to keep our cats and dogs cool and comfy.  Dogs can easily overheat if they are playing too much in the heat of the day, have gone for a long walk or just sitting in the hot sun too long.

Lucky for us pet owners there are a lot of cool pet products that do just that, help keep your pets cool!  Whether you are traveling with your pup, just going to the beach, on the boat or hanging by the pool in the backyard, here are some pet products to consider:

Frostybowlz – this stainless steel bowl has a core inside that you can freeze, put back under the top of the bowl and it helps keep your pet’s water cold for up to 10 hours.

MyKoolDog – invented by a native Nassau County pet lover who now lives on the North Fork of LI.  This made in the USA bowl has a unique concept – with two compartments and lids.  In the bottom

compartment you put water in and freeze it, or fill with ice cubes.  In the other compartment you put fresh water and head out for the day with your pup.

Perfect for a day at the beach with your dog, a long walk or the dog park.  When your dog finishes the water in the top compartment, you flip the bowl over and the melted ice, which is now water, fills into the top compartment through interior channels so your pet once again has fresh and cold water. How cool is that?

It is so important to keep our pets hydrated and out of the heat as a pet can over heat easily in warm and humid temperatures.  Speaking with Dr. Michel A. Selmer of Advanced Animal Care Center in Huntington Station, I asked him for warning signs if your pet is overheating:

“Sweating and panting are two mechanisms for regulating body temperature. When sweat evaporates it cools the skin and panting releases heat through the mouth. Since dogs and cats only have sweat glands in their paws and paws have too little surface area to do much cooling your pet needs alternative ways to stay cool and therefore the primary means of cooling themselves off is by panting,” stated Dr. Selmer. He gave me this information on signs pet owners should look for when a pet is beginning to over heat:

  • Restless behavior as your pet tries to find a cool spot
  • Panting, sweaty feet, drooling, excessive grooming in an effort to cool off
  • Rectal temperature is usually normal to slightly elevated

Then, as your pet’s body temperature begins to rise, signs of heat exhaustion become evident, including:

  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • Redness of the tongue and mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Stumbling, staggering gait
  • Rectal temperature is over 105° F

Eventually the body temperature will be high enough to cause the pet to collapse and have seizures or slip into a coma.  Dr. Selmer said if you see any signs that your pet is overheating bring your pet immediately to your veterinarian.

Be sure to have cool, clean water for your pet at all times, the products mentioned earlier can help with that! For an additional treat your dogs can enjoy Frosty Paws found in most pet supply stores (or even grocery stores) in the frozen food section.   Also, Honest Kitchen has a great product called Ice Pups™ that I just made for my dog Max, and he loves it! It is a packet of make-at-home grain free treats for dogs and cats. You mix the packet with water, and pour into a ice cube tray, freeze and when frozen give one cube to your pup.  But of course monitor you dog while chomping on that ice cube!  Or you can make your own frozen doggie yogurt – using the best low fat and sugar free human grade yogurt possible.  Many recipes for this are available on the internet, but make sure this is something your pup can eat and doesn’t have any allergies too the ingredients.

And of course never, ever leave your pet in the car in the warm spring, summer and fall months.  It is illegal and could kill your pet very quickly.  If you see a dog left in the car during a warm day, call your police department immediately!  You could be saving his life.

Here’s a good tip, program your smart phone with your local animal control office number or animal shelter number so you have it immediately if you need to call an AC officer along with the police for a pet locked in a hot car.

Most of all, have fun with your pet this summer, but always be aware of his limits during the heat!

Dobby loving the cool water in the stream!

Max loving the beach!

Igor by the pool! Photo by Carol Price (Igor’s mom!)

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14 Apr 13

Pet Toast? You bet! PNN Spring Show ...

by Nancy E. Hassel (& Max!)

These days I can’t come home with any kind of bag that Max, my nearly 12 year old Pit Bull, doesn’t just assume is for him.  And last week was no exception – after attending the Pet News Now spring pet product showcase in NYC, I had to hide the swag bag from him!  But it didn’t take long for him to realize that there was a lot of pet stuff in that bag – or his eyes, “mine, mine, mine!”  And of course his whole head was in the bag pulling out pet items – I am sure my fellow pet industry peeps can relate.

I wonder what goes through the minds of our pets who are so lucky to have moms in the pet industry – dog forbid we just go grocery shopping! BOL!

Ok back to the Pet News Now show – with a lot of brand new pet products to the market place at the show, there are still a lot to test and try out and let you all know what we think about them.  But for now here is a sampling of some of the products.

Here’s one that I can’t wait to try, Tick-SR is a product that safely helps you remove a tick that is already latched onto to your dog.  With just a few non-toxic ingredients (Denatured Alcohol, Purified Witch Hazel, Salicylic Acid, and Benzalkonium Chloride), Tick-SR helps you pull the tick off as those ingredients dissolve the ‘glue’ if you will that helps the tick hang on to your dogs.  And you can easily get the whole tick off – which is important.  Check out there website and see for yourself.

Another product that I actually already tried and was very impressed with the results was from CritterZone.  A compact, filterless air purifier that has a tag line of ‘How could something so small handle a problem that is so BIG?’  It’s true, I thought the same thing!  Now if I could just get one for my car – wonder if they can make an adapter for it?

So once you have used the air purifier – you may think your pup needs a bath too right?  Yes, that is what Max needs, but don’t tell him as he is not a big fan of bath time.  But lucky for him we got a great full size sample of WAHL’s Oatmeal shampoo. (Thanks to WAHL for the awesome bags too!) Can’t wait to try it on him.

And what better way to reward Max after his bath, well with a Life is Grruff scrumptious dog treat!  Max just LOVES Kim Loper who makes these treats, (ok truth be told – he loves the treats more, sorry Kim!), and he can’t get enough of the barkscotti – but look at her decorated treats that were at the event.  Max is drooling!

Ok if you are jealous, or drooling too over the Life is Grruff treats too, you can get your very own doggie themed Pet Toast.  Seriously, I am not kidding…

Currently available in 13 different breeds, made by Pangea Brands – now you can get that dog person who has everything in their breed, something they probably don’t have!

For more pictures from the event CLICK HERE and more info to come on some of the other pet products that were there in a future article!

Have a comment or question, please post it below!

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12 Mar 13

by Nancy E. Hassel,

From the Corporate Life to Zelda’s Song, how one business woman changed careers to create a thriving business in memory of her beloved dog Zelda.

I always find it fascinating how people have ended up in the pet industry whether it’s a pet business or rescue group.  A lot of pet professionals I talk to had a former life as a professional person in the corporate world in a completely different industry, and may have always had a yearning to get into the pet industry.

Last spring, in April of 2012, I was at the HH Backer pet trade show in Atlantic City, and at this point it takes something quite different, unique, or just plain fabulous to draw my attention.  I was walking with a friend and at the same time we both walked over to a booth in the new product section called Zelda’s Song.

What drew me to the booth was the quality of the products, the uniqueness of what was being displayed.  I was both admiring Zelda’s Song’s bracelets and key rings – which was unlike anything I had seen before.  Not to mention how beautiful the dog collars and leashes are too.  The quality and craftwomanship was what really stood out.  I was intrigued and asked, how do you get the pictures of the dogs to pop out and look so good?  Sharon Herrman the owner and founder of Zelda’s Song starting explaining the process, that everything is designed by her, all materials made right here in the USA, (Rhode Island and upstate New York), and was so nice about her product, not a typical pushy sales person.  You could really hear her passion about her product while she was talking to me.

I remember saying to Sharon, “I definitely want to get a key ring, I love it.”  I took her card, checked out her website and really liked what I saw.  Fast forward a few months later to October 2012 and as I walked through the vendor spaces at BarkWorld in Atlanta – I spotted Sharon at her Zelda’s Song booth.  It was so nice to see a familiar face!  We spoke for a bit and her booth looked great and we talked about how we would get back to NY/CT with the impending Hurricane Sandy on the way.  I also said, “That’s right I wanted to get a key chain, I really love the quality and design of it.”  And the last day at BarkWorld I won a key chain, one of the many giveaways at the expo. (How cool, thank you universe!)

Since then, Sharon and I had correspondence and she was kind enough to be one of our sponsors for our 3rd Annual Holiday Party & Pet Food Drive for Long Island Pet Professionals.

As I mentioned, it’s not every day or every time I go to a pet trade show that I get excited about a product and how it came about.  Sharon was kind enough to let me take time out her busy schedule to interview her – and maybe inspire those of you who are thinking of getting into the pet industry or have a product idea they want to launch.

Q. So tell me more how you got interested in starting Zelda’s Song?

A.  I also always wanted to run my own business – I was raised in a family of entrepreneurs, my dad built a multi-million dollar business and my mother ran her own pharmacy, so it’s been in my blood.   After loosing my beloved Bernese Mountain dog, Zelda, at the age of 6 due to cancer, the idea of starting a business in her memory would keep coming to me, and it actually helped me manage my grief of loosing Zelda.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea, it kept coming back to me and the creative process really drew me in.

Q. I love what you told me about Searching Amazon and how a book popped up, tell us about that:

A. Yes I was searching on Amazon one day and a book called ‘One Nation Under Dog’ by Michael Schaffer popped up as a suggestion, and it was odd since I had never bought a pet related book on Amazon.   But it caught my attention, and I purchased it after reading the first few pages they give you to read on Amazon.  The book was about how our mainstream culture is not that accepting of pet loss.  The idea I was thinking of doing, or creating really was nagging at me even more after reading this book.  I thought, it would be so nice to have a way that pet owners could either wear a picture of their actual pet as an emblem their pets mean to them.   I wanted a way to carry Zelda’s picture with me or wear her picture – and also have a beautiful piece of jewelry capturing her essence for others to see.

That is fascinating that the book popped up, almost leading you in the direction you were already thinking of going – love that! So I love the tag line, ‘Fetch Joy’ – how did you come up with that?

A.  Fetch Joy was to show a fun way of representing life and the joy our pets bring to us on a daily basis.  So while you can memorialize your pet with our jewelry, you can also create a piece of jewelry with your current pet, fetching joy if you will.

So great! I know my Max is always bringing me joy!  What did you do before becoming a pet entrepreneur with Zelda’s Song?

A. I had a great career in marketing with various Fortune 500 companies.  Mostly in consumer products companies, and I specialized in new product development.  And I was also a manufacturers representative right before starting Zelda’s song.  I have an MBA and also 2-year degree in architectural engineering.

Wow, that is some career history and great combo on degrees on what you do.  I love to hear backgrounds of our pet professionals, and having a career in marketing must have really helped you.  So tell us, how did you start getting the word out about your business?

A.  I started with the pet trade shows, like HH Backer’s spring trade show, and I started doing a blog on being a start up entrepreneur.  But I have to say that the trade shows really proved that was interest in the product.  I tried to combine traditional and online advertising; I placed ads with The Bark magazine, was on Twitter, (@ZeldasSong), from the beginning and of course Facebook.  I am also getting into Pinterest.  I find that our customers want to connect directly with me, since I do the framing of their photo that ends up in the bracelet or keychain.  That has worked well – the direct interaction. Customers seem to want to share the story of their life with their dogs, and I like to listen – it’s part of the personal service and helps me understand how to showcase the dog’s personality.  Often times, our product is an emotional purchase for the customer.

You’re products are beautifully, handcrafted, here in the USA do you come up with the designs on your own?

A. Yes, so far I have created all the designs. Mostly they came about as I thought about designing jewelry that would hold Zelda’s photo and tags.  Then I just took it a step further to include the charm bracelet concept – something like a ‘Pandora’ bracelet for dog moms.

How long have you been in business?

A. We have been in business, creating, designing and getting everything in order to launch for 2 to 3 years, and started officially selling in June 2012. You know it takes a long time to get product to market, prototypes, manufacturing prototypes, etc. But the magic is when you are holding the first finished product in your hand – then you really know.

What is your goal of Zelda’s song moving forward?

A. Building my social media audience, get Zelda’s Song into more retail and gift boutique stores.  Part of my demographic is the older generation who are not on the internet – so focusing on getting more people who are not on the internet to know about Zelda’s Song.

What would you tell other business owners who are thinking of getting started in the pet industry?

A. I would say I am glad we went in to business, although it can continue to be scary, but the people we have met have along the way so far have been open and down to earth, generally very welcoming and helpful.   I would say to others in the pet industry or thinking about getting into it, if you have a tangible idea to go for it.  But do it the right way, and understand that not everyone in the pet industry will make money with whatever product they bring to market.  I know this from business in general from all my years working in marketing and being a manufacturers rep.  Do your due diligence in researching your idea or product and launch when you are ready – don’t rush it.

And lastly what is the song in Zelda’s Song?

A. I use to sing “Two of Us” by The Beatles to Zelda all the time.  And it just fit when coming up with the name for the business.

Thank you Sharon for sharing your story about your company and I am sure Zelda is very proud of her mom.  I know you already give back to groups like Berner-Garde Foundation, and The Riedel and Cody Fund,, so thankful for your generosity towards those two groups.  I love when business owners give back even when they first start out. I am thrilled with Max’s key chain and I can’t wait to see what is new to come out in your beautiful line of products.  For more about Zelda’s Song click here.