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September 4, 2019

Ask anyone what fitness or lifestyle means to them and you will get a simple dictionary definition across the board. But you will also get a personal touch that differs among those you ask. That’s why these terms provide inspiration for products within the pet industry because the purpose of them is universally the same but also unique and special.

Some brands gravitate to fitness, others to lifestyle. There are even some who gravitate to both. But no matter what, whether products encourage fitness or lifestyle, there is much to gain as the industry begins blurring the lines on what definitively defines pet wellness. And with pets being recognized as furry members of the family, pet parents want to share every aspect of their lifestyle with their furry companions. That’s why many brands are taking this in stride (sometimes literally) to offer products that enhance the quality of life for both pets and their owners.

Fitness and Training

For 23 years, COLLAR Company has followed its mission of helping consumers care for and enjoy their pets with products made to strengthen the bond between them. The PULLER is the company’s first dog fitness tool. Exercises with PULLER—such as running, jumping and pulling—provide dogs a full physical and emotional load. In fact, according to the company, a 20-minute workout with PULLER is equivalent to three miles of intensive running.

“The development of certain skills is important, but also the development and strengthening of mutual understanding between a human and a dog,” said Synytsya Yuriy, owner of COLLAR Company. “For us, fitness is an opportunity to keep yourself fit along with your pet.”

The PULLER is the product that led to a dog sport. DOG PULLER is a new sport for dogs based on a series of exercises with PULLER. Any dog can succeed in it, and no additional equipment or special training is required. DOG PULLER has its own rules, regulations, division into categories and a system for calculating points. It even has its own champions and record-breakers in different countries.

“We wanted to occupy our market segment and it led to the fact that we created the unique training tool for dogs.” Yuriy explained. “After all, what can be more important and more honorable than helping owners in building bonds with their dogs and making them champions?”

Gyms For Dogs specializes in vigorous play and exercise products that are designed to be used both indoors and outdoors. The company offers a well-rounded selection of heavy-use play, agility and exercise products for all dog sizes to increase their cardiovascular and neuromuscular development. It also developed the Cool Dog brand of water fountains, splash pools and shade structures designed to keep dogs refreshed so they can work out longer and safer.

“Maintaining a good exercise regimen is important for dogs and their owners,” said John Sarver, director of design and development for Gyms For Dogs. “Gyms For Dogs has designed equipment to help both dogs and their owners or caretakers interact with them.”

With its selection of 10 workout stations that are designed for differing health benefits, Gyms For Dogs products provide a great platform for dogs to get cardiovascular conditioning, balance and agility training, neuromuscular development as well as social and behavioral skill training. And for consumers with more than one dog, its multi-gym product provides a multitude of exercise stations for a large variety of activities. But at the end of the day, Gyms For Dogs looks to educate on more than just workout products.

“Proper fitness and training includes more than just working out, it also includes nutritional and dietary issues as well as proper rest,” Sarver emphasized. “It is important the industry continues to teach ‘safe’ techniques to make sure [pets] are at a healthy level.”

Blue-9 Pet Products has a healthy obsession with the details that help dogs succeed. The KLIMB is the first and only professional dog training platform designed to meet the needs of professionals and at-home trainers alike. Whether training for a competition or just looking to tackle a behavioral issue, Blue-9’s solutions-based products are proven for success and loved by canine fitness professionals and sports medicine veterinarians alike.

“More than 50 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight, and 20 percent of those dogs are considered clinically obese,” said Jamie Popper, business development manager for Blue-9 and a certified professional dog trainer. “As professionals in the industry, we are aware of the many complaints average dog owners experience with their dogs. Blue-9 not only creates products to help dog owners but also offers many free educational resources to get pet parents started on the right path.”

Blue-9’s flagship product, KLIMB, was designed to help pet owners curb behaviors such as jumping on guests or begging at the dinner table. Its elevation creates a defined boundary for the dog to stay in during times the dog may be likely to engage in inappropriate behavior. The versatility of the KLIMB shines when used in fitness programs. It is used by canine fitness professionals around the globe to teach foundation conditioning skills. And because millennials are taking over the market and want their pets to experience more, like birthday parties, dogs need to have more than basic manners. Thus, training and fitness products and services are the way to go.

“For these experiences to go smoothly, dogs need to have etiquette,” Popper explained. “And consumers doing fitness exercises with their dog is a great way to decrease problematic, naughty behaviors that are barriers to their ideal relationship with their dog and increase the behaviors they want in their dog.”

NiteIze designed its pet products to make every adventure simpler, safer and more fun. It combines these aspects with functionality in all of its products to ensure consumers and their pets have plenty of options for staying active and protected day or night.

“Exercising with a friend adds both fun and accountability—and who makes a better fitness buddy than your favorite pet?” said Jay Getzel, director of outdoor/pet/toy for NiteIze. “We believe fitness is whatever adventure suits you best, whether it’s going for a hike, running with your dog after work or enjoying a stroll in the park.”

NiteIze’s GlowStreak is waterproof and lights up so consumers can have a good time long after the sun goes down. And its NiteHowl LED Safety Necklace offers 360° visibility for nighttime walks and keeping an eye on pets after dark. Additionally, its newly released RadDog Collar + Leash has a built-in retractable leash inside to create the ultimate solution for having quick access during off-leash adventures.

“Our advice is to keep focusing on new ways to bring people and their pets together through fun and fitness,” Getzel said.

Lifestyle

Armarkat, as one of the original providers of cat treats, has been engineering and manufacturing cat treats for over 20 years. Armarkat is also the only cat tree brand with products that are “Cat Daddy Approved” by cat behaviorists Jackson Galaxy of Animal Planet’s “My Cat From Hell” TV series. With over 100 styles, each cat tree is made with high-quality materials and built to safely support multiple playing or resting felines.

“Lifestyle refers to those products that make life better after the necessities are covered,” said sales and marketing manager of Armarkat, Andrea M. Krantz. “And the cat tree is not just to keep pretty kitty off of the furniture.”

Cat trees provide the perfect all-in-one space to exercise via jumping and running as well as to rest, hide and survey surroundings. Every Armarkat cat tree has various cat condos, cozy nooks and sky-high perches. Its larger trees have more features like swinging ropes, running ramps, hammocks and teepees, all to provide more interest and fun. Armarkat’s other cat and dog products are also designed to reflect the importance of feline and canine lifestyle, which Krantz states has become important to today’s pet parents.

“Once the cat has their requisite food and a litter box, it is time to think about giving them quality of life. This is what lifestyle products do, and it is pet lifestyles to which Armarkat products are dedicated,” Krantz explained.

Primetime Petz has always been in the lifestyle category, offering décor-friendly pet furniture that suits the pet owner’s style. And its Hauspanther Collection products feature a way to design homes with both cats and people in mind. It is the original brand to bring together style and function for cats and their owners.

“Cat furniture and products are closely tied to home decorating trends since products for cats are almost entirely focused on the home, as opposed to dog products that include other lifestyle categories like travel and outdoor gear,” said Kate Benjamin, founder and designer of Hauspanther by Primetime Petz. “Having a wide variety of well-designed cat products for consumers to choose from is critical for creating enriched environments for cats.”

Cats need scratchers, beds, cat trees, shelves, litter boxes and toys in order to live their best lives indoors, so it’s important to offer functional and stylish options that consumers will want to have in their homes, and hopefully even enjoy themselves, too. Several of the pieces in the Hauspanther Collection are multi-functional, such as the CATchall, a compact, wall-mounted cat perch with a sisal scratcher on the front, a hanging toy below and toy storage inside. It offers several functions for cats plus the added storage for people, with sleek styling that coordinates well with most décor. All of Primetime Petz’s wall-mounted perches allow consumers to create a customized climbing area for their cats without it being an eyesore.

“It’s important to stay up-to-date on current decorating and home design trends, and apply that information to pet products, especially those in the lifestyle category,” said Benjamin. “Embrace living with cats while still maintaining sense of style.”

Corky’s Reflective Wear is a lifestyle brand that takes the relationship between dogs and their owners to a new level. Corky’s wants pets to be safe and comfortable regardless of the weather. It describes its products as “Sportswear for Dogs.”

“Our fashion and high-performance technical sportswear for dogs with many unique features that combine to achieve the perfect balance of form, function and safety got many of our dog owners jealous,” explained Steven Triedman, co-founder of Corky’s Reflective Wear.

Corky’s products, like its Overcollars and jackets, have a great look, technical and functional features and are the safest, highest visibility protection for dogs and their owners. They are made with the company’s MiraFab—a comfortable, fleece-like material that is weatherproof, fast drying, machine washable and easy to care for—and they are finished with 3M Scotchlite retro-reflective enhanced 360-degree visibility tape so that dogs can be seen up to 1,000 feet. With all its products, Corky’s has made it its goal to keep dogs comfortable and safe, as well as have pet parents want to wear the products with them.

“Being dog owners ourselves, we could not disagree that we treat our dogs like ‘our children,’ and with the children grown up, they get much of our attention,” Triedman said.

Doc & Phoebe, formerly known as NoBowl Feeding System, recognizes that living with cats isn’t without its challenges, like the “scarf and barf.” And whether those are annoyances or laughable moments for the pet owners, cats do these things for a reason. All it takes is changing the way people think about cat care and seeing the world through their eyes.

This is what Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Company does. It incorporates feline veterinary science into cool, well-designed products that make cats happier and healthier than ever.

“New information is emerging about the health risks of an indoor-only lifestyle for cats—including urinary tract disease, obesity and behavior problems,” explained CEO of Doc & Phoebe’s Cat Company, Dr. Liz Bales. “In nature, cats spend 80 percent of their waking hours hunting for food. Our human homes are not meeting our cats’ needs. Indoor cats are bored, making our cats stressed and sick.”

Doc & Phoebe’s Indoor Hunting Feeder re-creates this experience, and the benefits that hunting provides. Cats that hunt for their meals indoors are losing weight, and are seeing improvements in urinary disease, and behavior problems. The Indoor Hunting Feeder is both the prevention and the cure for the health risks of an indoor only lifestyle.

“When we meet our cats’ innate needs, they are happier and healthier—and the people who love them are, too,” said Dr. Bales.

Nutrition

Healthy foods and treats are certainly part of a healthy lifestyle, and yogi-dog is the only yogurt for dogs made with their health and well-being in mind. Adding a spoonful of yogurt onto a dog’s food is an excellent way of keeping them fit, not to mention dogs love yogi-dog’s three flavors. And many pet parents use yogi-dog as an additive to entice picky-eating pooches to eat a complete meal.

“Yogurt has always been a food that helps maintain a healthy digestive system,” said Dee Marie, CEO and owner of yogi-dog. “We wanted to make not only a yogurt for dogs, but also the healthiest yogurt possible that dogs would love and benefit from.”

yogi-dog contains eight live and active cultures and probiotics, which is more than most yogurts on the shelf today. It’s also one of the only all-natural, no added sugar and low-fat healthy treats for dogs. And the company believes that when you eat clean, you feel good, whether it’s with regular exercise or day-to-day living. yogi-dog promotes an enhanced or more desirable lifestyle.

“We notice that people take their dog’s health very seriously, because pet parents consider their dogs a part of the family,” Marie said. “[So] ask yourself at the end of each day, ‘What did I do to make my dog’s quality of life better than the day before?’”

Alkazone is a pioneer company celebrating 25 years in business. It believes in maintaining a healthy life through a balanced pH system. And its Alkaline Pet Water provides beneficial ingredients specifically for dogs and cats to help support their natural body functions.

“We are the only company providing a functional water for their needs, and other bottled water is either void of essential minerals and/or is acidic,” said Marisa Teiner, executive administrative assistant, nutrition/product development division for Alkazone.

Alkazone’s products, including its Alkaline Pet Water, contain more specific alkalizing minerals and antioxidants that when included may help achieve a healthier lifestyle. They also contain selenium, an antioxidant that plays an important role in the health of the immune system. By adding it, it can help lower oxidative stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and enhances immunity.

“A healthy lifestyle leaves you fit, energetic and at reduced risk for disease. And to be fit is to maintain a good quality of life. When our pets are active and eating well and loved, the benefits are the same,” Teiner concluded. “Pets contribute to the happiness of our society; we owe them the same respect by giving them products that help them stay healthy, happy and live a longer life!”

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