Adventure is Out There
As more young pet owners embrace an active way of life, they are bringing their pets along for the journey.
Millennials are the largest group of pet owners, and they are more likely to put experiences at a higher priority than material goods. We’re seeing this translate to the pet industry as pet owners bring their four-legged friends everywhere they go. Pet product manufacturers have noticed this burgeoning trend and are continually developing new products to fill the active lifestyle niche.
“There is definitely an increasing trend towards active pet parents; pet travel is on the rise, a lot of businesses are adopting pet friendly practices, which encourages owners to bring their pets out even more, and not only is it a good bonding opportunity, it promotes a healthy lifestyle for the pet and their owner as well,” says Deborah Feng, co-founder and director at P.L.A.Y. Pet Lifestyle and You.
The San Francisco-based company manufacturers a variety of outdoor-based dog gear, including Chill Beds, Outdoor Dog Tents and Training Pouches that can hold treats, poop bags, money and cards and comes with a built-in squeaker to capture a dog’s attention.
“Our Scout & About Outdoor Collection makes it easy to grab and go with all your pet travel necessities, and takes the time and worry out of making sure you’re well-equipped for that short hike or walk around the neighborhood,” says Feng.
Dexas International also saw the trend toward pet owners incorporating pups in their active lifestyles and jumped on the opportunity to get in the game.
“Pet parents want to include their fur babies is every aspect of their lives and we knew we could make that easier and faster,” says Jeff Logan, director of marketing at Dexas.
The Coppell, Texas-based company, which makes kitchen and office supplies, entered the pet retail business 10 years ago. Its active based gear focused on collapsible feeders and travel cups initially, but as the interest in active lifestyle products expanded, so did its catalog.
“We really hit upon an active lifestyle solution with the Snack-DuO, a dual-chamber hydration bottle with snack chamber,” says Logan. “Everything needed for a day out or a trip with your dog now fits in one cupholder.”
The Snack-DuO provides two chambers, one for water and one for treats or kibble, as well as an easy pour lid and collapsible cup. Dexas also manufactures the MudBuster which helps clean dogs’ paws before letting them back into the car or house.
When consumers are looking for pet products to accompany their active lifestyle, they’re more likely to purchase from brands that exhibit and promote that same lifestyle. ZippyPaws is doing just that. The company’s website features a blog with multiple articles about including four-legged friends on travels and adventures.
“We definitely see a trend of pet parents enjoying active lifestyles and sharing that with their dogs,” says Jennifer Cao, co-founder and vice president of ZippyPaws. “Young pet owners are health-conscious and love collecting memorable friendships and experiences.”
Based in Chino, Calif., ZippyPaws is known for its plush and interactive toys for pups, but also includes an adventure gear line that features treat bags, leashes, collapsible bowls, life jackets and cooling vests.
“We make products for the modern dog owner who is looking for high-quality, functional products that look great and don’t break the bank,” says Cao. “For example, our Climbers mountain climbing rope leashes are super durable and strong, with a tensile strength of over 3,000 lbs. These leashes work great for everyday walks as well as weekend hikes, or even more rugged trips.”
Enjoying outdoor activities with four-legged friends is beneficial for not only pets, but their humans as well. The time spent together between a pet and its owner strengthens the human-animal bond and promotes a healthy lifestyle.
“It is a great bonding experience for pets and owners to enjoy activities and outings together,” says Feng. “Having the responsibility of ensuring your pet is getting enough exercise motivates owners to be active themselves instead of just staying home. Being out and about with their pet promotes this active lifestyle and makes both pet and owner healthier and happier.”
Not only are pet owners bringing their dogs along for hiking and outdoor adventures, pets are often accompanying their owners on everyday activities.
“People who have active lifestyles love to include their pets whenever possible, and that is exactly what our products are geared towards” says Cindy Magiera, CEO of Saltsox, based in Chicago.
The company, which is known for its Saltsox—booties for dogs to provide protection from salt, snow and ice during the winter months, recently launched a new product to keep dogs protected during the warmer weather.
“Lavasox launched at Global Pet Expo and are worn in the heat of the summer months, when pavement temperatures soar and paws can actually get burned via contact,” says Magiera. “This product allows the pups to enjoy outdoor activities. These days pet parents are taking their dogs with them to outdoor restaurants and cafes, outdoor summer festivals and more.”
Magiera adds that her own dog wears Lavasox when accompanying her on errands during the summertime in Chicago, when temperatures reach 90 degrees or higher.
Pet parents are bringing their animals with them on longer trips as well, opening a need for sturdy and reliable travel gear. Pasadena, Calif.-based Sleepypod has been manufacturing products designed for pet travel since day one.
“Sleepypod Air pet carrier can be used for in-cabin air travel, car travel, and can accommodate larger sized small cats and small dogs,” says Jane Skuta, brand marketing and media relations for Sleepypod. “This versatility makes it the most popular product for active, small pet owners.”
As for the future of the active lifestyle, manufacturers don’t expect the trend to go away and are continually adding more products to their growing outdoor and travel lines.
“We’re investing more time and resources to building out our portfolio of outdoor products as we’ve identified this as a growing segment of the market that is here to stay and will be adding to this collection in years to come,” says Feng.
Pet retailers should continue to showcase active and travel products prominently in their stores to take full advantage of this trend.
“The category continues to grow and Sleepypod sees no sign of abatement,” says Skuta. “As more hotels, attractions and destinations open their doors to pets, larger numbers of pet owners are seizing these new opportunities to fulfill their own sense of wonder, and also a pet’s natural curiosity.” PB