— Judging by the plethora of new products unveiled at the Superzoo Pet Expo held in Las Vegas earlier this month, the spotlight was undoubtedly safety, rather than frivolous luxury goods and gadgetry for pets on the go.
For instance, fashion took on a different look when the Sherpa Pet Group, renowned for their airline-friendly carriers, launched a new range of clothing and accessories featuring Lunabrite light technology which offers excellent reflective light to make pets visible at night.
This new patented technology is powered by ambient room light or direct sunlight and can glow brightly for up to 12 hours without having to be recharged.
The line features stylish black jackets with the technology built in to the trim. There are collars, leashes, harnesses and special click-and-go safety rings to put around your dog’s neck during an evening walk.
“It’s much safer that removing his regular collar and ID to replace it with a glow in the dark collar,” says Sherpa's Nicola Plevin. It’s perfect for pet owners to wear around their necks too.”
And to initiate games and exercise after dark, the latest toys also glow and change color. Dogs at the expo were enjoying the Niteize's new Meteorlight ball, which puts a lot of bounce into canine fun.
A must-have for the traveler is The Fur Fighter. It does a better job than a lint roller at removing stubborn fur from car upholstery and clothing — and remove traces of furry hotel guests.
For travelers with older or arthritic pets that have difficulty getting in and out of vehicles, comes help with the Otto Step, which can be fitted permanently to the back of your truck or SUV and can support pets up to 200 pounds. It's easily removable and can be stored in the vehicle when not in use.
For dogs that enjoy the great outdoors, there’s a variety of new gear from Jeep, including a well-designed doggie backpack that gives a whole new meaning to the doggie bag.
Available in very trendy camouflage or hot pink, it features two deep zippered pockets, perfect for storing dog treats and toys, is well lined to promote comfort for the wearer, and comes with easily adjustable web straps.
Their latest carrier style known as the Urban Sling is being touted as the perfect mode of transport for little dogs that can’t keep up with the pace. Worn like a stylish messenger bag, pets can sit comfortably and enjoy the surroundings from the look-out opening or zip up the mesh frontage to keep bugs at bay. ... And leave it to a car company to design a booster car set for smaller pets with a built-in seat warmer for when the weather turns cold.
Fido hungry? Petzen introduced the Dog-to-Go the portable Chowpal — a elevated eating platform that can be set up anywhere. Its self-contained doggie kitchen is complete with two stainless steel bowls, a water bottle, and lots of space for food and supplies — it even comes with a dinner mat and features an adjustable shoulder strap for easy carrying.
Canine heatstroke can be a big problem for many traveling pets, and veterinarians are endorsing the patented jacket called the Chillybuddy, which can reduce body temperatures by 30 percent — or protect pets with thin hair from sunburn.
Similarly, to keep pets warm, the Doggy Back Jacket from Warm Wiskers is a snug coat with a small toy that secures onto the jacket. It can be removed and warmed in the microwave to provide additional soothing heat for pets that suffer from painful stiff joins and muscles, and can be frozen to provide for cold therapy.
Numerous new companies are also climbing on the bandwagon offering pet passports to help owners keep track of their pet’s medical history, vaccination records and microchip information.
“Health and ID tag records can be invaluable in preparing for the unexpected, as well as giving pet owners peace of mind knowing they are prepared for any emergency,” says Roger Hoyt, CEO of My Documents Inc. His company also sells key chain tags to alert people that if the pet owner is in an accident that they have pets at home that need attention.
The latest leash designs also focused on providing additional safety features. Take the Seat Belt Leash, which attaches to a dog’s harness and has a universal latch that buckles directly into the car’s seat belt to keep pets restrained. Its padded handle provides extra comfort, a zippered pocket keeps money or keys safe, and a reflective stripe aids for night visibility.
Other designs featured add-ons that went around the wearer’s waist, allowing them to walk hands-free, as well as designs for several dogs at a time. The emphasis is on allowing your dog a bit of leeway without pulling and causing neck strain — and for arthritic pet owners who struggle to attach a leash to a collar or harness, the latest magnetic attachments will prove very comfortable to use.
Finally, one product that caused a lot of buzz was actually for the house-bound pet with no travel plans. The DogTread motorized exercise treadmill is available in three sizes, can be programmed for distance and speeds up to five miles an hour, and even has a space for doggy treats and a water bowl to spur your pooch on during his workout.
A Jack Russell terrier named Jack was only too keen to demonstrate. His owner said, "since he started exercising on the treadmill he’s lost his couch potato bulges and is looking quite buff.”
That may very well have been the case, but to on-lookers it looked as if he was only working out for treats.