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June 1, 2016

In the past decade, ordinary pet bowls have been elevated to the status of pet “dinnerware” with both fun and functional designs. But the innovation hasn’t stopped here; the latest trends in food, water bowls and feeders have produced a bounty of great new products that certainly deserve space on the retail shelf.

Fresher Food and Water

The SureFeed Sealed Pet Bowl is the latest design from British company SureFlap that introduced the microchip-activated food bowl to the market place.

“The SureFeed Sealed Pet Bowl is motion-activated, meaning it opens when a pet approaches the bowl and closes once they have left,” said Piers Hampson, head of consumer marketing for the company. “This enables pet food smells to be locked away and also keeps flies at bay, especially as the warmer weather approaches.”

“Food freshness should be a priority for pet owners,” Hampson said. “If food is left out in the open, it provides a good environment for bacteria to grow and may cause illness. We’d never leave leftovers out at night and feed them to our family the next day. The same holds true for your pet’s food.”

Research conducted by the company in Great Britain found that the average dog owner wastes 25 percent of wet food. This is because wet food does not stay fresh for long and subsequently becomes unpalatable. The research also showed that, like cats, some dogs do not eat all their food in one sitting and like to graze throughout the day.

“The SureFeed Sealed Pet Bowl is designed for single pet households, whereas our microchip feeders are designed for multipet situations,” Hampson said.

New Zealand-based company Heyrex Ltd. has introduced their Torus watering system to the American market.

“Torus bridges the gap in price between a fountain and a standard water bowl but offers the functionality of both as well, including portability,” said Kim Goldsworthy, general manager for marketing and sales.

“It’s a hybrid, allowing the consumer to have a step between a standard water bowl by incorporating water storage for travel, water filtration and automatic water dispensing without power source or batteries,” she added.

The Torus bowl stores water inside its reservoir walls, filtering the water as it automatically dispenses. It has a lock, fill and drink function that makes it ideal for travel and does not require batteries or power source. Each bowl comes with a filter and additional ones are sold separately. The bowls are available in two sizes and in a variety of colors.

The company is currently working on a line of soluble animal health supplements that dissolve in the Torus watering system to add additional functionality to the bowl.

Canine Ergonomics

The new Outward Hound 3in1 UP Feeder that debuted at the Global Pet Expo this past March is designed so dogs of any size can dine at three different heights. The legs simply fold and slide to raise the dish to a dog’s natural feeding position.

“Like all of our products, the 3in1 UP Feeder was co-created with pet parents to solve a problem,” said Michael Parness, Outward Hound’s chief marketing officer.

“Pet parents who loved and used our award-winning Fun Feeders were reaching out to say that they needed a way to raise it up,” Parness said. “We realized there was a need in the market that was not being met for a slow feeder that works for any size dog. From that feedback, we created the world’s first height-adjustable slow feeder.”

“Raised feeders reduce back and neck strain while offering improved hygiene and cleanliness,” Parness said. “Many vets recommend raised feeders for the comfort and convenience they provide for the dog. Additionally, when combined with our award-winning slow feeding ridges and valleys, the 3in1 UP Feeder provides a healthy and convenient solution for pet parents. The ridges in the 3in1 UP Feeder turn feeding into a game rather than making it a difficult challenge. We study the way the food will distribute and move while a dog is eating to ensure the experience slows them down while still being enjoyable.”

The bowls, which are currently available in white and pink, have a slip-resistant base, are BPA, PVC and phthalate free and are also dishwasher safe on the top rack. The 3in1 UP Feeder holds up to four cups of food.

According to Nicole Fuller, director of strategic relations for Unleashed Life, the company’s up-market designer raised feeders sell well across the board of all pet owners, from millennials to baby boomers.

Unleashed Life has introduced seven new collections in 2016, including the Soho Nickel double feeder with a black granite top and a polished nickel finish.

“We try to introduce something new each year and keep the collections that are doing well to ultimately have around 40 active collections,” Fuller said. “The Phuket collection, which debuted when the company launched in 2007, is still our best seller.”

The bowls, which are designed primarily for indoor use, can be used outdoors on covered patios. The stainless steel bowl inserts are removable and can be placed in a dishwasher.

Greener Options

Beco Pets, a leading manufacturer of eco-friendly pet products in the United Kingdom, recently signed a national sales and distribution deal with Chicago-based Pet Product Innovations to distribute their products in the United States. The deal includes their standard dog bowls and their slow feeders.

“Beco Bowls are made from our proprietary and unique plant fiber plastic that’s produced from waste plant fibers found in bamboo and rice husks,” said company spokesperson Alec Lom. “Designed to be both eco-friendly and functional, Beco Bowls are tough, durable and dishwasher safe. They are completely sustainable to produce and ultimately biodegradable.”

All the bowls also have a rubber rim to prevent dogs from chasing them across a room. The color selection includes pastel shades of pink, blue, green, vanilla and beige and the bowls are available in a range of sizes that includes cats and critters, too.

According to Alex McKinnon, founder and CEO of Kinn Inc., which manufactures Kinn Kleanbowls, research done by the company detailed that there are over one million dangerous germs in pet food and water bowls, including E.coli, salmonella and mold that can make pets sick and take four years off their lifespan.

“Simply scrubbing with soap and water does not kill all germs, and dishwashers do not get hot enough to kill them either,” McKinnon said. “Our research showed that about 67 percent of bowls still had salmonella after cleaning in a dishwasher and 75 percent of bowls still had salmonella after scrubbing with soap and water.”

It was these facts and figures that prompted the development of the company’s Kinn Kleanbowl with Nourish-Pet Refills, which are paper inserts that are removed from the bowl and discarded after each meal.

“Nourish-Pet Refills are a germ-free system and are also biodegradable,” McKinnon added. “We believe that pets prefer to eat and drink from a Kleanbowl versus an ordinary pet bowl. That’s why we back Kinn Kleanbowl and Nourish-Pet refills with a money back guarantee.”

The bowls are available in three sizes with a fourth jumbo size being introduced later this year.

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