The pet industry is huge, growing and almost exclusively focused on solving problems – the root of innovative ideas.
Yet, unlike tech, it’s not given it’s innovative due. Sure, there’s plenty of pet tech (check out SuperZoo 2018), but sometimes a simple adjustment to an existing product is all that’s needed. Add a handle, an extra compartment, two-in-one solutions and you’re saying good-bye to some annoying pet peeves (and problems).
Here’s a list of products given to dogtrotting.net from SuperZoo 2019 that had me thinking “why didn’t I think of that?” One adjustment to a traditional product and … game changer. (Several companies provided samples. All opinions are our own).
1. Two-in-one Bandana Bowl
Good-bye forgotten water bowl
Two exciting words: bandana and bowl. No, it’s not some new dog event (thought that would be awesome). It’s a dog bandana tied around your pooch’s neck that converts to a water bowl when you need it. Imagine – one less thing to carry at the festival.
Why exciting? A slight innovation to the classic dog bandana solved one of my biggest problems: I’m always forgetting water bowls when taking my dog on the road. We’ve stopped at stores on almost every road trip, or begged bowls at festivals, because staying hydrated and cool is essential, particularly when your dog’s aging and black like mine. Welcome the Bandana Bowl.
A simple traditional bandana – with an ‘All you need is love … and a dog’ printed on it – has double layer. Snap the Velcro and the fabric expands into a waterproof envelop. Fill with water and voila, a bowl. The bandana is flexible enough to wrap around the dog’s neck, and if it’s a bit wet when you tie it on, no problem. It’s warm out.
On bubbling hot days (like this one at London’s Pawlooza), put some ice in the bandana and you’ve got a cooling pack. But mostly we’ll be taken this one with us as a travel bowl. Tie it and forget it – until we need it. Next time: no forgotten water bowl.
2. Hands off my dooloop
Good-bye neighbourhood ‘poop bag’ wave.
I walk my pup two or three times a day in a tight neighbourhood. People recognize us. So, I do a lot of waving, often the ‘dog poop-bag wave.’ You know, I’ve got the leash in one hand and the bag in the other. So, when it’s time to wave, well, it’s not the leash hand I wave with.
Park garbage cans lining our riverside walk help, but for those stretches in between I – now – don’t leave home without my dooloop – a simple plastic loop shaped like a dog’s head that hangs off the leash handle, keychain style. Dogtrotting.net was given one, and I plan to get several more – one for each leash.
Simply pull the plastic poop bag tied or not (hey, sometimes I’m lazy) through the wide ‘head’ part of dooloop then slide it down the narrow clip. It hangs there, out of the way, leaving your hands free to wave to the neighbours … until you get to the next garbage can. It’s a simple, but good thing.
Plus, dooloop is entirely made in the Maine out of biodegradable plastic and boasts zero-waste packaging. Don’t settle for cheaper, dollar store knock-offs. (If there are any). It’s not worth it.
3. Pet ‘n Shape Beef Patties
Dog treats (almost) as good as BQ hamburger
Ok, not so much innovative as it is clever, Pet ‘n Shape American Patties (affiliate link) look like picnic worthy treats and marketed alongside a BQ makes them look more like people food. They are close – my dog loved them and he’s picky.
Made from beef lung sourced in the US, along with pea powder, cane molasses and salt. The clever shape is easy to bite – my Victor didn’t need them broke into pieces, he did it himself. High protein and low fat.
4. Tug Toy Food Dispenser
Good-bye bored doggo
There are tug toys and there are Kongs – why not combine the two? PetSafe’s Busy-Buddy’s Tug-a-Jugis (affiliate link) aptly named: a plastic jug made from non-toxic material has a textured rubber chew on one end and a rope through the bottle opening.
Drop treats in the bottle, and your pup can see, smell and hear the treats inside. Then wait and see how long it takes him to get them out. It’s designed to enhance and extend playtime. It might also serve as an IQ test – your choice.
5. Grooming Glove
Good-bye grooming session struggle
My dog tolerates being brushed – for a limited time and that time after a bath is rarely enough to get under his legs where matts start. “Brush your dog regularly,” is advice one groomer gave me. “Actually, do it.” But that’s easier said than done when you’re running after your pup with a brush.
So, why not combine brush and glove? HandsOn (affiliate link) – originally designed for horses (review soon on www.horsetrotting.net) these gloves work great on dogs too. There are stubbing nodules on the fingers and palms, so you can groom, de-shed and hold your dog simultaneously. According to the company, HandsOn massages and stimulates circulation and distributes natural oils helping skin.
How did my crazy little cocker-cross respond? He let me groom him thoroughly (including paws and face) with minimal wiggle, and I was able to get under legs easily. Better yet, the ‘nubs’ on the gloves clean easily. HandsOn is good for regular brushing and to avoid matts – existing messes might need more tools. (Check out other grooming tools here).
Apparently, you can use HandsOn wet too – that’s my next try because keeping my hands away from caked on dirt during baths is desirable too. Trying these on horses in spring will be a telling test too.
BONUS PRODUCT: One of my favourite innovations is simply adding a link, or additional handle, on a leash for essentially making it shorter quickly. Check out our Go Bodly Leash and Harness review here – one of my favourite pet product discoveries to date.