Keeping Pets Safe and Contained
When it comes to pet pens, gates and crates, pet owners are looking for products that are secure, stylish and easy to use.
Though it is great to let pets roam, run and play, sometimes you need to keep them contained. That is where products like pet pens, gates and crates come in to keep animals safe and give owners peace of mind when they are at work or when guests come to visit.
With pet ownership on the rise–65 percent of American households own a pet according to the 2015-2016 APPA National Pet Owners Survey–manufacturers are responding with new and innovative containment solutions that make pet ownership easier.
“As pets have transitioned from occasional companions to full members of the family, pet containment has moved from a few simple, utilitarian options to a host of solutions that allow people to more fully include their pets in their lives, while still keeping them safe and secure,” says C.J. Pomerantz, vice president of marketing for Moorpark, Calif.-based Advantek. “As the number of solutions offered has grown, so has the amount that consumers are willing to spend.”
When it comes to pens, gates and crates, primary concern amongst pet parents is, of course, safety. They wonder: “Can my pet escape from it?” “Can they get hurt if they try to escape?” “Will they be healthy while inside?”
For Advantek, safety is always the No. 1 concern. “Whenever we design a new product, safety and security are our top concerns. Until we address those, we don’t consider any other aspect of the product,” says Pomerantz.
For example, Advantek’s split-panel kennels are constructed from quality weatherproof steel and feature pet-proof locks to keep Fido from pulling a spectacular Houdini-style escape. They both also have a raised leg design for easy cleaning and maintenance and double doors for two access points.
Midwest Homes for Pets, an Indiana-based company, developed the new Contour Crate, available in double-door and single-door options. This innovative crate uses traditional slide-bolt latches and LapLock Technology, which provides multiple lock points around the perimeter door of the enclosure to ensure security. In addition to the reinforced doors, Contour Crates have all the amenities consumers desire—easy to set up, a fold-and-carry design, detachable handle for convenient travel, removable plastic pan, and rounded corners for pet safety.
In addition to security, pet parents also want products that fit in with their busy lifestyles and make pet ownership easier. With its Smart-Fold design that opens and closes in seconds, Gen7 Portable Petyard is the epitome of convenience. The 15-square-foot, weather-resistant exercise pen allows pets plenty of room to play while remaining in a secure space. The large, zippered door provides easy access and the water-resistant material is both durable and can be quickly wiped clean. Plus, the compact design and carry bag means pet owners can bring it anywhere and always have a place for kitty or puppy to roam.
The newest innovation in the category, though, is style. Gone are the days of grey, plastic pens, gates and crates. “Because pet parents are bringing their pets more fully into their lives, they want the products to look nice, and preferably have some nice design and aesthetic touches as well,” says Pomerantz.
Advantek’s newly released Select Pet Gazebo features a unique gazebo design and no tools-required assembly. It comes in multiple colors including Beach Sand, Desert Sun and River Grass, so customers can customize it based on their personal tastes.
Carlson Pet Products' Design Studio Walk-Thru Pet Gate is another great example of stylish enclosure design. The all-steel construction and cherry wood detail blend in seamlessly with the rest of the home while the auto-closing door allows humans to pass through with ease. It even features a small pet door to let other pets like cats walk through while keeping bigger animals at bay.
The best way to show off all of these features, according to experts, is to have pens, gates and crates fully assembled in the store. This lets customers get a better idea of the size, quality, style and ease of assembly. Plus, it makes for a more dynamic, eye-catching display that pulls customers in.
“Obviously with large containment solutions, [a full display] isn’t necessarily practical, so we offer our retail partners a miniature Pet Gazebo that’s made out of the actual materials we use, including full size and gauge steel pipes and wires, allowing pet parents to see and feel the place they’ll be keeping their pet,” says Pomerantz.
Since enclosure products aren’t something customers are shopping for every day, one of the best times to get these products into consumer’s homes is when they’re stocking up for a new pet. Retailers can set up special “new pet” sections with everything you need for a new furry friend including enclosure devices, bowls, toys, collars and leashes. Another smart way to target new pet owners is through pet adoption programs.
“Another option is to join up with something like our Safe Shelter Program. Through this program we team up with our retail partners to provide animal rescue groups with a Pet Gazebo free of charge. The only condition is that they need to use it when doing adoption events,” says Pomerantz. “This way, as potential new pet parents are interacting with their soon-to-be pets, they are also experiencing the Pet Gazebo, and seeing that even the pros use it for their containment solution.”
Retailers should also be sure to highlight security, safety and convenience features with signage. Signs can also be used to prompt owners’ interest with questions like “Is puppy getting into things she shouldn’t?” “Does Fido need a safe place to play?”
The most effective marketing tool, though, is simply talking with customers. A well-informed sales team can help customers understand why a pen, crate and/or gate is an essential part of caring for their pet, just like food or toys.
“The best way to educate customers is also the most basic,” says Pomerantz. “Let them know about the number of lost pets in their area, any dangerous predators that may threaten pets, and make sure that they know the best options to keep their pets safe and happy.”
Oftentimes, pet owners don’t know what they’re looking for or need from pet pens, gates or crates. To help pet owners find the right containment product for their pet’s specific needs, employees should ask plenty of questions like:
• What is the design aesthetic of the area you’re looking to use the enclosure product in?
• How big is your pet? Be sure to ask in terms of both weight and amount of space it takes up.
• How active is your pet? A dog that loves to run and play all the time will need more room than one that enjoys lounging.
By helping customers find exactly the right pen, gate or crate for their furry friend, retailers show that they’re more than just a store. They show that they’re the go-to place for smart and trustworthy pet advice and products.