Pet products comprise a $1 billion business. In my many travels, attendance at numerous industry events, walking the aisles of pet supply stores, and viewing multiple websites, I see many unexpected pet products. Now and then, something stops me in my tracks. Here are nine unusual dog products:
A lot of deer must be roaming the landscape missing their “crown.” This is the thought I had when first seeing antler chews for dogs. Then I met Cindy from Scout and Zoe’s and learned that natural shedding is a common source of this clever product to satisfy dogs who love to chew. Scout and Zoe’s antlers are organic, shed by elk. They do not stain carpeting, they last for what seems like forever, and my dog, Dexter, has an affection for them. Antlers offer less risk of splintering and breakage than regular bones, so bonus points (no pun intended) for this product. Always supervise your pooch when he is eating any sort of treat, though.
The Udder Tug dog toy is made in the United States from the recycled rubber liners used in machines to milk cows. Contact with all those cows leaves an irresistible smell that dogs seem to enjoy. According to the maker’s website, the scent is “Eau de Bovine.” Durability note: If used as an interactive toy (one you and your dog play with together), the tug will last many months. But like any other toy, if you let your dog use it as a chew, it will be destroyed much more quickly –- he’ll have a blast doing it, though. We’ve had our Udder Tug since before Christmas; with supervised play, it is holding up just fine.
Self-contained portable water bowl
Across the Atlantic, I discovered a water bowl with an unusual look. The Thirsty Milo is a 1.5-liter travel/portable water bowl. I like to carry my dog’s water with me on walks and at the park, but it is difficult to carry a bottle and bowl and try to balance it all while walking my pooch. In our travels, folks have stopped me to ask where I got what looks like a funky purse. The Thirsty Milo is made of UV-resistant dye, and the company claims it will not discolor. It is impact resistant thanks to a body made of high-density polyethylene, it is dishwasher safe, and it contains recyclable plastic.
Allergy test kit
Does your dog have itchy skin or perhaps an irritable bowel or digestive symptoms you suspect are caused by food? Cocker Spaniels share my life, so allergies and itchy skin are the norm. This product helps find a solution to scratch that itch and make it go away for good! If I hadn’t attended a webinar by world-renowned veterinarian Dr. Jean Dodds, I might not have learned about Nutriscan, a dog food sensitivity kit.
What is unusual about this product is that you test for allergies based on the dog’s saliva. NutriScan tests for the 20 most commonly ingested foods by dogs to provide you with specific results. Most notably, you get the results in approximately two weeks, allowing you to quickly get your dog on the right diet. Dog food allergies and sensitivities are no fun, and finally someone in the know has a test to help. Unusual in method, yes. Totally normal and amazing in results? Indeed!
Who among us hasn’t let their dog lick a spoon? I know there are dog moms and dads who feed their dogs with a utensil, and inventor Val Arnold targets that audience with her doggie fork aka My Best Friend’s Fork. Arnold’s Rottweiler was taking a pill in a bite of food that Val had on a fork; with one swipe, her dog engulfed the fork, which lodged inside him and required urgent vet care. It has a loop on the end to prevent it from being pulled out of your hand, and it comes bejeweled with a Swarovski crystal and in a gift box.
“Poop pack” vest
It looks like an ordinary vest, but get closer and the secret is revealed: Doodie Pack allows dogs to carry their own waste. As founder Kristin Elliott tells it, “Doodie Pack was an idea that sat in my head for several months, but as I kept noticing others in same dog walking situation, carrying the ‘nasty poop bag,’ I felt more and more passionate that a solution needed to be found.”
Pet parents tell her that the pack is their “duty” or utility pack, where they can stow keys, cell phone, wallet, bottled water, and treats, sort of like a “doggie –diaper bag.”
If your dog really needs to kick back and unwind after a hard day of playing, how about a Brew Buddies malted dog treat, made with real malted barley? It’s true: Beer has gone to the dogs. Brew Buddies also contains brewer’s rice and brewer’s yeast, and the company says, “Whether it is watching the game, or enjoying that quiet moment together at the end of the day, Brew Buddies makes those moments together even better.” I just hope Dexter doesn’t invite his buddies over to wager when football season starts. Bottoms up!
Dog DNA portrait
Have a plethora of pup pics scattered in your abode? Do you have any of the “inside” of your dog on display? (Abdominal ultrasounds don’t count). Dog DNA goes “Paw-casso” with this item for the dog lover who has everything. In similar fashion to identifying a dog’s lineage and breed, dog moms and dads swab the inside of their dog’s mouth and send in the cells. What returns is a unique portrait of double-helix magnitude to proudly display.
Ever wonder what your dog is doing when you aren’t home or how he sees the world? Dexter has this product, and I can honestly attest, New York City looks completely different from a Cocker Spaniel’s vantage point. EYEnimal is a 1.2-oz. camera that requires no special software uploads or downloads and comes with a USB charger. It clips onto a dog’s collar easily, and after recording in half-hour segments for as long as 2.5 hours, you slide it off and attach it via the USB to a computer. It’s Windows and Mac OS compatible. I now know what ground level really looks like. (Note: It ain’t always pretty).
So there you have it, nine of the most off-the-beaten-track products I’ve encountered in my dog travels. What are some of the unusual products for dogs you have bought or seen? Bark at me in the comments below.