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Companion animals never had it so good, what with entrepreneurs working so hard to cater to their whims and needs. It is easy for mere humans to be envious.
Global Pet Expo in Orlando earlier this year showcased an ingenious array of products for dogs, cats and all the other critters that enhance the days of our lives. Check out this roundup of some of our favorites for fun and function.
Pets ride safely in this travel crate
Pets can ride safely in the back seat with the new PetSafe Happy Ride Collapsible Travel Crate, which integrates with automobile seat belts for safety, yet allows animals freedom of movement. The crate features zip-open side doors for easy access, sturdy mesh that still allows a clear look at the road ahead and side storage pockets for leashes, etc. Inside is a washable, cozy fleece pad.
The crate folds when not in use, and the outer shell can be removed and tossed in the washer after the inevitable messes.
PetSafe also highlighted new scented chew toys, available in various aromas, shapes and sizes. The Busy Buddy Chompin’ Chicken is chicken-scented and shaped like a drumstick. Pet parents add grain-free, natural rawhide treat rings by unscrewing the end or sliding it through the grooves of the drumstick.
The butter-scented Busy Buddy Cravin’ Corn takes up to two treat rings, and pet parents can spread peanut butter or pet toothpaste for double the fun.
The Frosty Cone is a dog-intended French vanilla-scented ice cream cone that can be filled and frozen with dog-safe toys such as broth, veggies and nut butter, or even with dog’s wet food for a slow feed option for gulping canines.
Puzzling toys for cats and dogs
Outward Hound, which specializes in interactive toys, brings you the Jungle Mat Cat Activity Play Mat by Petstages. Similar to those toys infants love to bat at while on their backs, the multi-purpose mat features two dangling plush toys and two jingle balls purrfect for batting play.
The parrot toy contains a sound chip that stimulates kitty’s natural instincts. The base contains catnip to further pique interest and features sisal for health scratching.
For dogs, the Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound Interactive Puppy Hide N’ Slide is designed to engage canine minds and activate problem solving skills. The puzzle dog toy comes with two types of hiding spots for snacks or kibble. Newbies will enjoy finding the treats under the flippers. Once the puppy gets the hang of it, owners can increase the challenge by placing treats in the hollow sliding blocks.
Speak! Teach your dog to talk
If only your dog could talk.
Well, now he can, thanks to the expansion of educational toy company Learning Resources’ Hunger for Words interspecies communications line.
The Talking Pet Starter Set was created in collaboration with speech-language pathologist Christina Hunger, author of New York Times bestseller, “How Stella Learned to Talk.” Begin with the starter set and progress to new sets that let your dog use varying pre-recorded and recordable communication buttons.
Of course, if you own a basset, all you will hear is the “food” button.
Later this year, Learning Resources will offer Brightkins, training activity kits such as the Magic Trick! Training Set and the Magic Wand Treat Dispenser. With the vibes and colorful looks of kiddie learning toys, these interactive mental stimulation toys unlock your pets’ curiosity and engage the entire family.
Flingerz, which manufactures whistling ball launching dog toys, received Best in Show in the dog category at Global Pet Expo’s New Product Showcase.
The new toy features flingable plus toys to play with, alongside the original Flingerz ball. It may well be the ultimate fetch toy.
Tasty bacon-flavored bubbles
Why should kids have all the fun of licking bubbles? Dogs can now do the same with bacon-flavored Bubble Lick.
The company makes its lickable solutions with FDA-approved ingredients in allergen-free facilities in the U.S.A. No lofty intent here, just fun.
Indestructible dog toys, cozy pet beds
Tall Tails, known for manufacturing indestructible dog toys and cozy pet sleep products, introduced Animated Sensory Toys this year. No batteries or charging are required for critters such as the super-cute crab that, when squeezed, will harmlessly flail its claws about. The reinforced mesh fabric and a squeaker sewn into a separate pouch and stitched into a seam means this toy will be around for a good long while.
Nesting, burrowing, curling, flopping, sprawling and snuggling are all possible with the new machine-washable Dream Chase Cuddle Bed (and blankets) with Real Feel Fabric, that replicates the security pets experienced huddled next to Mom. It is so cuddly and super-plush you'll wish you could fit into one.
The beds are made with deep sides for a cocoon-like experience.
The company also introduced its Aqua Cape Towel for sophisticated canines to use while bathing. A neck fastener secures the towel to the dog to protect against post-bath shakies. Hand pockets help humans control the drying process. The color coordinated Bath Dog Towel arrives with a detailing cloth for drying eyes, ears and paws. The Bath Leash has a suction cup to stick to most surfaces, acting like a second hand to safely bathe, dry and groom the pooch.
To provide bath time/grooming distraction and reduce stress, Tall Tails offers the Lickable Reward Dish. Slather on treats such as peanut butter — and voila! — the dog is occupied, not preoccupied.
Some products are already at retailers. Others will be available in June.
Something worth barking about
Free-range, grass-fed, humanly harvested — that’s the beef used in Barkworthies chews.
The premium dog chews, free from artificial preservations and additives, just added Daily Health Boost Collagen Chews to its line. They are designed to promote mobility, support healthy skin and coat and boost digestive health, while lossening tartar and plaque through chewing action.
For small but mighty canines, Little Barkers were created to satisfy the nutritional and chewing needs of small dogs.
Backyard Barkers are naturally-scented beef burgers are made by blending bully sticks with naturally forming collagen, combining taste with health benefits.
Gotcha Day candles
Florida-based Pet House One Fur All Candles premiered its ”Gotcha Day” candle to celebrate the increase in shelter pet adoptions, and its sister product for the other end of life: the Furever Loved Memorial Candle, to honor the memory of a beloved pet.
Made with 100 percent natural soy wax and hand-poured in America, the candles are a blend of almonds, French vanilla, tonka bean, clover honey and cherry blossom.
Rad Rade pet kibble
Kibble, no matter how healthy, can be, well, booooring. Enter YummyRade, which provides a savory gravy experience loaded with prebiotics to encourage gut health. The product joins DoggyRade and KittyRade isotonic drinks that encourage hydration and improves the intake of minerals and nutrients.
Stacking cat towers and fluffy beds
Catit’s Stacking Towers are just out as ”starter furniture” for kittens. With instant assembly and disassembly, the towers can be rotated to provide kittens a different view every time, and they collapse away for storage. Padded top perch is perfect for a catnap. The towers can be used as individual hideouts, too.
Also new is the Catit Fluffy Bed, a soft, padded bed with a no-skid bottom that is perfect for all the kneading, burrowing and snuggling kitties crave.
Crunchy, healthy treats
New flavors from healthy treats company Charlee Bear Grain-Free Crunch Line include P.B. & Banana and Beef, Carrots & Sweet Potatoes treats. All loaded with antioxidant-rich fruit and veggies, Crunch treats also feature real meat, eggs and cheese.
Beef Liver & Cheddar and Bacon & Eggs are the newest additions to the Original Crunch line. Both lines are natural, low in calories, made in the United States. They're also great for pockets, meaning they can be pocketed without crumbling, leaving smells or staining.
Starter kits for canine oral care
BowWow Labs gives pups something to smile about with its new Oral Care Starter Kits that include the 4in1™ toothbroush with a four-head design for efficient cleaning, and the 4in1 Enzymatic Toothpaste Gel, a blend of aloe, manuka honey, sage, baking soda, parsley and enzymes to support healthy gums, prevent plaque formation and eliminate doggie breath.
While the brush’s three heads are cleaning the surface area of the teeth at one time, the fourth head is gently cleaning hard-to-reach places on the opposing tooth while also helping to keep your dog’s mouth open for easier brushing.
Pet grooming aids for eyes and ears
All-natural, holistic Jax & Cali pet grooming products just added One-Finger Mitt Tear Wipes, All-in-One Ear Swabs and Paw Protect Balm to its collection.
The non-toxic finger mitts reduce and remove rust color stains while promoting healthy eye function. The all-natural, pH-balanced wipes are made in the USA.
Safe for dogs and cats, the pre-moistened Ear Swabs are non-irritating and convenient. Natural enzymes are formulated to control and eliminate nasty microbes.
The balm, made with hemp seed oil and shea butter, protects paws, noses and elbows.
Tests to discover pet's food, environmental intolerances
Pet parents frustrated by not being able to pinpoint intolerances affecting their pets with symptoms such as upset stomach, hair loss and constant scratching now have 5Strands, an affordable testing method that only needs some of the animal’s hair to determine environmental intolerances and intolerances to pet food, both processed and raw.
The owner sends the hair back to 5Strands for testing. It’s a road map for those who have tried traditional testing methods and diets without success.
Made from American-raised beef, Frankly Pet chews offer the same collagen powder that humans take for their health. Highly digestible, collagen strengthens joints, prevents injuries and keeps nails, teeth and coats at their best.
American-made from cattle raised in the United States, the chews are available in stick form and in puffs for dogs who love to crunch. Original Beef, Venison and Cheddar Cheese are the yummy flavors for the puffs, which are free of wheat, sugar, preservatives and GMOs.
Hemp oil for joint health, stress
Rover’s Wellness’ organically grown, true broad spectrum hemp oil products with naturally occurring CBD promote joint flexibility and supports long-term health in equines, felines and canines. Dogs that are nervous or stressed-out because of travel, hyperactivity or hospitalization can also benefit from the oils’ calming effect.
Broad spectrum — which is different from full spectrum oil — allows all beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids to work together to create an “entourage effect” for maximum efficacy.
The company will also be adding chews for dogs, plus a salve and dosing pen for dogs and cats. All products have earned approval from the National Animal Supplement Council.
Where everybody knows your bedding
Question: what does Cliff Clavin have to do with a mouse? Your favorite “Cheers” mailman John Ratzenberger was responsible for the creation of Fibercore Eco-Bedding, interlocking crinkle paper that encourages rabbits, gerbils and guinea pigs to embrace natural burrowing, foraging and nesting activities, thus reducing stress-related illnesses in these little guys.
To make a good thing even better, the product is packed by a remarkable group of adults with disabilities.
Smart collars for dogs
The Wagz Freedom Smart Dog Collar, the only shock-free wireless fence and wellness monitoring system, uses no-shock geofence containment technology and real-time GPS monitoring to humanely redirect dogs using vibrations, audible sounds, and ultrasonic sounds.
Additionally, the collar monitors sleep time and exercise.
The collar works with Wagz Tagz, which acts like an invisible gate indoors to keep areas off-limits by triggering humane corrections. Freedom Collar and Wagz Tagz operate through an app for iOS or Android devices.
Another smart collar launch this year is the Invoxia Smart Dog Collar, the first consumer pet tracker that uses AI to monitor dog health and wellbeing, as well as its whereabouts. Sensors, accelerometers and embedded deep neural network capabilities monitors a dog’s vital signs and detect abnormalities.
Chuck it! For slobber-free play
Petmate has enhanced its line of iconic Chuckit! ball launchers with a new Ultra product line that includes Ultra Fetch Stick for slobber-free play when used with the Chuckit! Ring Chase.
After a lively game of fetch, dogs can repair to Petmate’s La-Z-Boy collection of beds, including the new and stylish Blue Velvet Ticker Sofa Bed with Signature Blend Foam for the ultimate nap.
Maria Sonnenberg is a Melbourne-based lifestyles and travel writer.
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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: 2022 Global Pet Expo in Orlando: What's new in toys, treats and travel