The dictionary definition of the words, “cool/cooling” says, “keeping temperature low, become less warm or become less intense.”
This certainly sums up the various dog-cooling products on the market, designed to beat heat. But in the pet space, cooling products are also being marketed for their therapeutic functionality.
“Cool gel pads offer wonderful therapeutic comfort for pets experiencing chronic pain, post-surgery discomfort or those looking for a soft place to relax,” Fred Silber, president and CEO, of Enchanted Home Pet, said.
Last month, Silber debuted his Pet Therapeutics line of products at Global Pet Expo and the International Home and Housewares show. Pet Therapeutics features TheraCool gel-core cooling pads, in small, medium and large sizes, as well as three other therapeutic pads that feature different therapeutic technologies, thermal reflective technology: TheraWarm, OrthoPETic and MagnaPETic.
Enchanted Home Pet consulted with Dr. Andre Shih, an associate professor of the Small Animal Clinic at the University of Florida, with regard to the production of the range of noninvasive “treatments” offering pets comfort from pain and, in the case of the TheraCool pads, a cooling effect on inflamed pressure points.
“We have very potent drugs that can give good pain relief, but all have side effects,” Dr. Shih said. “We now understand the importance of auxiliary procedures that can have a huge impact on a patient’s well-being, comfort and analgesia.”
The TheraCool cooling pads are made of thick, nontoxic gel cells that are designed to help reduce inflammation, provide support, ease pain and promote circulation.
“We see them as a portable product,” Silber said. “They can be carried around the house as well as placed in a carrier, stroller or car seat. They also have a durable no-chomp mesh cover.”
From a retail marketing perspective, Silber has produced a 24-inch wall unit with special signage with the intent of marketing the products as a therapy department.
When Jeffrey Brown of Talega Products designed FrostyBowlz, the intention was a product to provide dogs with ice-cold drinking water.
“But in fact, customer surveys have indicated that an equal number of customers are buying the product to keep perishable, raw food fresh for their pets,” Brown said.
The bowls have a FrostyCore made from a nontoxic freezable gel that can be used indefinitely. The core slots inside the heavy gauge stainless steel bowl have a nonskid surface and are guaranteed to keep chilled for about 14 hours in temperatures around 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees celsius.) The bowls are available in three sizes: 14 ounce, 28 ounce and 40 ounce.
“We’re also excited that we’ve been able to lower our MSRP to $17.99, $19.99 and $24.99 as a result of increased sales and some changes in some of our sourcing relationships,” he said. “This is an average of about 20 percent lower than last year.”
The Pet Cooler Carrier cools and hydrates pets at the same time. The invention of Craig Skaggs, the cooler has a special ice tray on the top, which can be stacked with ice and water valve inside the carrier allowing dogs to lick the melted ice.
“It’s environmentally friendly, as it contains no toxic refrigerants and doesn’t rely on electricity or batteries,” he said.
The design, which has also won several awards, is currently being sold in a small size. Skaggs hope to manufacture bigger sizes in the future.
MustLuvDogs Cool Coats are lightweight cooling coats designed to help reduce a dog’s core body temperature to prevent overheating.
“Many dog owners do not realize when the temperature becomes very hot, [that] this is a dangerous condition which can lead to heatstroke or dog heat stress,” Valerie Wilson, owner and designer, said.
She reported consistent growth in sales over the past few years. Sales vary across the sizes, with the XL dog size going exceptionally well.
“This size is designed to fit Bernese Mountain dogs, Great Danes and other large-breed dogs that have a difficult time controlling their body temperature during hot weather,” Wilson said. “And the most popular colors are Electric Blue and Pacific Salmon. Our clients include competition-performance dog enthusiasts and show dogs, as well as responsible pet owners, including snow birds traveling to warmer climates who are concerned how their pets with fare in warm weather.”
While cooling items are becoming standard merchandise on the shelves of larger pet stores, it seems that small retailer have a mixed response to this category, despite its growth in consumer popularity.
But those who do take a chance are seeing the benefits.
Facilities such as the Rob Cary Pet Resort in San Antonio, Texas, use products such as FrostyBowlz and other cooling products like gel pads in their boarding facilities. They also sell them in their boutique as a result of this “show and tell” approach.
“Our customers see the benefits of such products in a home environment,” Tammi White, the resort’s general manager, said. “We actually have a FrostyBowlz on display in our boutique to demonstrate that even in the Texas heat, it keeps cold for hours. A lot of the products are great when traveling, too.”t