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October 24, 2017

A recent report called “Durable Dog and Cat Petcare Products in the U.S.” produced by Packaged Facts, a division of MarketResearch.com, cited pet beds to be the second largest category of durable pet products, registering retail sales of $683 million in 2016 and representing 18 percent of all pet durables.

The report stated that, apart from quality, value and style, consumers based their decisions on:

  • function
  • temperature control
  • portability/travel
  • innovative design
  • fashion/humanization
  • natural/eco-friendly

The human-animal bond is a driving factor for mushrooming sales as there is a growing trend for dog owners to purchase more than one dog bed, placing them in various rooms throughout the home so that the dog has numerous comfort zones and can hang out with their favorite people in different places.

Inspiration for the latest innovative dog bed designs certainly comes from different places, too. Martello forts, impenetrable stone structures built throughout England and Ireland to protect against a Napoleonic invasion, were the inspiration for Harry Barker’s latest design, the Martello dog bed, according to Carol Perkins, founder and creative director for the company.

“I’ve been mildly obsessed with Martello forts for several years,” Perkins said. “I love them as architectural gems; they are symbols of strength, security and protection.

“A dog’s bed is his castle, and what better way to make a dog feel loved, safe, comfy and protected like in a fort, as opposed to a bagel or donut which are common names for similar designs,” Perkins continued.

Perkins, who recently sold her company to Mission Pets, replicated the fort design, creating a wide solid bolster that offers pets all-around back support. Further, the plump bolsters have been designed so they are the perfect height for pets to rest their chins on top of them. The base mattress consists of two inches of memory foam with an additional removable memory foam pillow top on the base, offering supreme comfort, especially for elderly or infirm canines.

The bed comes apart into three sections so that the filled sections can be removed and the cover washed and tumble-dried. It’s available in three sizes.

Ease of Use

Dog Gone Smart recently redesigned its popular Lounger design to also have removable bolsters.

“They are filled with cotton wadding— making bed bolsters firmer. This means that pet owners can machine-wash the cover without losing bed firmness,” explained Veronica Nunez, marketing manager for the company. “However, we kept all the benefits and technology from our old style, including our RepelzIt nano technology, which repels dirt so that they don’t have to be washed frequently.”

With functionality on the top of the list compiled by Packaged Facts, the company’s new NINJA Beds combines the Repelz-It Nanoprotection with a ballistic nylon, chew and scratch resistant cover.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, the NINJA beds come with a 90- Day Chew-Proof Guarantee and are designed to also fit most standard-size crates and carriers.

The non-toxic nylon is also 100 percent waterproof.

With regard to easy clean-up, Canadian-based Messy Mutts has patented what it calls EVERFRESH technology that uses probiotic microbes bonded to the fabric of the beds to provide continuous natural odor control.

“This is a completely new way to control odors in our dog beds,” said Christopher Shipton, president of Messy Mutts. “These natural and safe probiotic microbes activate on contact with moisture and bacteria and then work to break down and eliminate odors. The microbes then go dormant until the next time they come into contact with moisture and bacteria. This is not a perfume or masking agent and contains no pesticides.”

The Messy Mutts line of beds featuring EVERFRESH technology is available in a variety of styles.  Th e Loft Bolster is rectangular and features raised cushioned sides with a reversible bottom cushion designed for the dog that likes to curl up and nap. And among the various mattress-styled beds is the Loft Standard, suitable for pets that like to stretch out when they snooze.

Comfortability

From a comfort standpoint, memory foam mattresses are becoming a very important selling feature for dog beds. Admittedly, there are different grades including off -cuts from the human bedding industry infused with gel and this reflects in the price structure which, overall, has made such beds more competitive price-wise and available to a wider consumer base.

Worldwise Inc has used memory foam in its beds for several years. Its latest design, the Petlinks Soothing Escape, uses a combination of gel and memory foam to off er pets all-around body comfort that simultaneously supports joints and relieves stress on pressure points on the body.

“The bed is available in a medium and a large size and has a plush machine washable cover,” said Sarah Stone, the company’s marketing director.

The pet brand mollymutt is synonymous with DIY dog beds with their stuff sack design, which allows dog owners to create a bed using their own pillows and clothes for the mattress insert. Recently, the company introduced a traditional styled mattress bed called the sheepy, which is available in various sizes and seven patterns.

“Wool is enjoying renewed popularity with creative uses in shoes, clothing and other home decor items as customers have focused in on the natural properties that make wool so great,” explained Art Simon, co-founder of mollymutt. “Our sheepy bed is made from sustainably produced wool encased in natural cotton and covered with our mollymutt 100 percent cotton canvas covers, creating a bed that meets our vision for sustainability, durability and performance, while also providing unparalleled benefits for pooch and owner.”

According to Stacy Busch-Heisserer, owner  of Busch Pet Products & Dog Wash in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, the mollymutt stuff sack and duvet cover combination was the first dog bed she brought into her store when she opened seven years ago.

“People love the sustainable aspect of being able to recycle their clothes and pillows for the pets to use and it remains a top seller,” she said. “We also have an arrangement with the Campbell Mattress Company to produce customized mattresses to fit if customers prefer a more typical mattress. So the sheepy beds have been well received in-store too. It expands their choices for sustainable products.”

Body Temperature

With temperature control of secondary importance on the Packaged Facts list, manufacturers have been addressing the issue of providing both warmth and cooling features in the form of mats sold separately and designed to be placed on top of any bed.

K&H Manufacturing introduced several new beds in 2016 that are intended to keep pets warm or cool.

“Our patented Deluxe Lectro-Soft Outdoor Heated bed is the only soft outdoor heated bed on the market,” said Dawn Buffington, marketing manager for the company. “Because of its versatility, it’s suitable for porches, garages, doghouses or barns. The beds thermostatically control warmth to the pet’s normal body temperature.

“The Thermo-Pet Mat can be used as a bed or a crate mat and has dual thermostatic controls,” Buffington added. “Th e heater is removable for machine washing. However, the K&H Pet Bed Warmer is undoubtedly our top-selling indoor product. It comes in various sizes and can be placed inside any pet bed to heat it.”

All the company’s heated products have been rigorously tested for safety by MET Labs, global service leader for product safety approvals, and also work on a very low voltage to control electricity consumption.

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