Glenn Polyn//November 1, 2022
Glenn Polyn //November 1, 2022
Accessories are a unique category within the pet industry. The range of products allows for owners to express their personal style and their dog’s personality — whether it be through bowls, leashes, collars, harnesses, toys or clothing — while also fostering the human-animal bond.
Humanization remains a dominating trend in the pet space, as people consider their companion animals as members of the family; A 2019 Advantage Solutions market analysis revealed that almost half of dog owners thought it to be harder to be away from their dog for a week than from their spouse/partner for the same amount of time. The same analysis notes that 1 in 10 American pets have their own social media account and that 65 percent of dog owners take more pictures of their pet than they do of their spouse/partner.
Retail fashion brands, such as Ralph Lauren and DKNY, recognize the value of offering lifestyle accessories for pets. In fact, the Italian luxury brand Gucci recently launched the Gucci Pet Collection, which includes AirTag holders, pet tags and waste bag holders. Its line also features a selection of leashes, collars and harnesses with a variety of sizes, patterns and designs.
Although Lulu Lemon did not release its City Adventurer Backpack Nano as a pet product, owners quickly took to social media to share its use as a pet accessory. The demand for pet products that offer functionality without compromising style expression is obvious. The reviews online reflect how it’s used as a pet accessory, with one user saying that the bag is not only functional because it can hold waste bags, treats and more, but also “everyone stops and comments on our walks that she is fashionable and cute with her bag.”
After launching odor-resistant wool pet toys in 2021, Dharma Dog saw the market for pet clothing and released its Dharma Dog pet apparel collection earlier this year. The fashion line was created to let dog owners express their dog’s character, without worrying about the impact it will have on the planet.
“With styles ranging from solid neutral colors to elegant polka dots, and including punk inspired spikes, dog owners can find something for every dog’s personality,” said Jennifer Neufeld, co-founder and COO of Dharma Dog Karma Cat.
According to Neufeld, wool is good for a dog’s fur, and it is the only natural fiber that insulates against wind, cold and heat. In addition, wool is biodegradable; therefore, it decomposes naturally in as little as four months. The brand also follows verifiable fair-trade standards, which means that the Nepali women artisans who make Dharma Dog Petwear receive a stable income with above-average wages and substantial labor protection.
COLLAR Company, the Ukrainian parent company of WAUDOG, has been a family-owned business since 1995 and has grown into an international company with a team of over 500 employees and a presence in 78 countries. The innovative pet product manufacturer creates and produces pet supplies that help pet parents stand out from the crowd.
“We deliver products of the highest quality and reliability with a global direct warranty from us. Tastes differ, and we understand that, so we created many designs and prints. Pet parents can choose their preferable colors and create family looks using our products and combine collars, and leashes of a pet with a waist bag for themselves, for example,” said Yuriy Sinitsa, the founder of the COLLAR Company.
Made from genuine leather and available in nine bright eye-catching colors, WAUDOG Glamour dog collars will grab attention by transforming each pet with trendy and stylish offerings. In addition, WAUDOG Nylon is the brand’s largest collection of pet accessories, which are both functional and reliable. The wear-resistant nylon, bold designs and patterns offer a chance for owners to select a product based on style without losing functionality.
Keeping safety in mind, Sinistsa says that ID tags with QR passports are added to all WAUDOG products.
“This technology allows pet parents to register their pets in the international database,” he noted, adding that an online profile keeps a record of the owner’s contact information, photos, pedigree and veterinary documents to assist in returning lost pets to their owners.
Born over a decade ago, Zee.Dog is a Brazil-based lifestyle brand with a purpose of connecting dogs and people. Boasting retailers in 55 countries that sell its products, the company’s inspiration “came from the street, the subcultures, art, sports and lifestyles like skateboarding, surfing and basketball.”
“When we started, we were very pattern based, but lately we have experimented with different materials and designing ad-hoc components that improve the overall product experience,” added Pietro Chiera, head of product design at Zee.Dog.
Its newest launch is the Softwalk Harness, a simple and lightweight anti-pull harness. Owners can use the harness on young dogs who are learning to walk without pulling, then continue to use it like a normal harness once there is no need to continue training.
Chiera explains that as the brand continues to innovate and create new products with an assortment of colors and patterns, it has moved towards solutions that are more sustainable. “We have started to use recycled materials for products using webbing. We’re in the process of replacing all transportation poly bags (that are used to transport products from the factory to the final points of sale), from biodegradable plastic to 100 percent compostable plastic,” he explained.
For active owners looking to have a hands-free run with their dog, the Zee.Run Running Belt has a shock absorbing leash strap that helps absorb the impact of the pulling when your dog runs. The belt, which has reflective detail for visibility at night, also includes a headphone port, water-resistant pocket for phones and a hook for keys.
Not every dog parent is looking to work out with their pet, yet safety is always a key factor when it comes to purchasing collars and leashes. It is for this reason Nifti SafeLatch leashes are manufactured, as the brand offers several safety features with its durable and dependable accessory.
“The first thing that you will notice after the automatic, one-hand connection is the sharp clicking sound as Nifti lets you know that your pet is safely latched. While walking your pet, Nifti’s magnet will keep catching the D-ring to let you know that they are safely connected,” said Bert Debien, co-founder of Nifiti Solutions, INC. “The latch pocket that holds Nifti’s bolt in place avoids accidental release by keeping the bolt safely inside the latch pocket.”
Offered in five colors, the Nifti SafeLatch Dog Leash has been designed for the user to be able to have a better grip, while the product’s strong robust design holds over 660 pounds of pull force. In the future, Debien says the company plans to launch its retractable dog leash patent, which will only require a single hand to connect and detach from a pet’s collar or harness.
In order to successfully communicate with dogs, it’s important to have the right equipment. Utah-based Heather’s Hero’s designs, develops and produces dog training tools. The brand strives to see human and dog relationships transform from confusion, frustration, disrespect or total absence into relationships of respect and clear understanding.
“We want to change the mindset of ‘that’s just the way this dog is’ into ‘I can help my dog be the best it can be,’” said Alex Depew, operations manager at Heather’s Heroes. “Heather’s Heroes products are made from materials that are gentle on dogs and provide confidence for the handler. The soft polypropylene rope sits comfortably and moves easily to prevent abrasions.”
The company offers Heather’s Heroes POP to display a variety of leashes and leads. The freestanding displays come stocked and in four combinations that include The Sidekick, The Dynamic Duo, a 2-in-1 slip lead and clip lead, and The Power Trio, a fixed collar, a slip collar and a safety lead.
For design inspiration, Coastal Pet Products is constantly analyzing the latest icons and trends and applying them to the appropriate pet designs.
“We look at the worlds of fashion and home décor for color, pattern and design material trends; sports and outdoor enthusiasts are also a source of inspiration for how we might incorporate unique materials or fasteners in leashes or harnesses,” explained Amber Bondoni, marketing manager at Coastal Pet.
Bondoni says that because the human-animal bond has grown even deeper, people have put more thought into what they are buying, and their shopping tendencies have evolved.
“Our customers love to search for the perfect toy for their animal companion,” she noted. “Humans get joy out of watching their pet play with the toys they have picked out specifically for them. When animals and consumers play together it bonds them even more.”
Bondoni recommends the brand’s Rascals Rope toys that allow owners to play tug with their dog and allow the pet to play independently, with supervision. The brand focuses on latex toys for dogs with fun designs and sounds like the Rascals Grunt toy line.
When pet parents play with their dog, the activity encourages positive social interactions, especially physical touch and nonjudgmental relationships. According to Adam Baker, founder and president of SodaPup, the human-animal bond “also works from the inside out by changing our neurochemistry, creating positive physiological, emotional and behavioral benefits.”
Many of SodaPup’s dog toys are mechanisms by which people interact with their dogs, however, the brand also offers enrichment lick mats that dogs can enjoy on their own. Lick mats are an opportunity to put a dog’s instincts to work, while also improving digestive health and relieving stress.
“There are additional benefits from licking. This has a soothing effect on dogs as the repeated licking releases hormones like endorphins that can calm your dog. The licking also produces more saliva which aids in dental health and can improve bad breath,” explains Baker.
Made in the U.S.A., SodaPup products are inspired by the consumer. The brand likes to create broader themes rather than one-off designs and the insights its team develops about its consumers leads to the shapes that it creates. For example, the honey theme line includes a rubber honey bear treat dispenser, a rubber honey pot treat dispenser, a honey stick-shaped nylon toy, a honeycomb slow feeder bowl and honeycomb patterned lick mats.
SodaPup’s newest eCoin enrichment toy collection has designs representing air, earth and water and Baker says that “by designing into broader themes we can create nice assortment presentations that tell a story on a retailer’s shelf. It elevates the presentation.”
Since 2003 Pet Qwerks has been focused on providing pet parents with interactive toys that will hold their pet’s attention for hours. Now acquired by Petmate, the brand has grown to manufacture plush, rubber and durable and interactive toys that engage your pet in play.
“Many Barkbone shapes and sizes are also perfect for play time – fetch with our Stick, or tug with our Ring. Our FlavorIT and Alien Barkbones are ideal for extending play time into treat time – our patented flavor cells can be filled with your dog’s favorite spreadable treat for extended flavor and fun,” explained Jessica Endicott, brand manager for Barkbone Natural Instincts by Pet Qwerks.
Gretchen George, president of PetRageous Designs, says “there are countless ways for owners to use toys as a tool to interact with their pets which all lead to a stronger human-animal bond.” Toys can keep a dog engaged in a positive play experience with their owner and become a part of household items, which is why the brand also values aesthetics.
“We use mixed material in our plush toys as well as multiple interactive features. We design toys to appeal to a range of pet behaviors and owner preferences. Some owners prefer to have stuff-less plush toys or crinkle paper in addition to a squeaker. We provide an assortment of features so retailers can appeal to pet owner’s preferences based on their pet’s behavior,” she said.
In addition to its toy offerings, PetRageous Designs also has three lines of pet bowls: Designer Plastic Bowls, Stainless Steel Bowls and 100 percent Stoneware Bowls. The bowls come in a range of colors, designs and styles to fit home décor or personal style.
Following the theme of brands designing innovative pet accessories with fresh, modern designs is GF Pet. Founded in 2014, the Canadian manufacturer started from humble beginnings and grown by focusing its design process on curiosity, utility and personality. The company is constantly innovating and launching new products with the relationship between dogs and humans at the forefront.
Previously offering chic wood and metal pet feeders in two designs, GF Pet recently added its minimalistic Clear Acrylic Pet Feeder, which the brand calls “elevated and the pinnacle of simple elegance.” Clear, clean, modern and sturdy, the elevated base provides a comfortable and ergonomic feeding experience for pets that favors good digestion.
Nothing says personal style quite like dressing your dog up in the latest pet clothing. Pet fashion is a way to make a statement with your pet but can also serve a purpose as a necessity in certain climates. The GF Pet Iridescent Recycled Parka Dog Coat is a responsible, versatile, heritage-inspired and weather resistant new product made from 100 percent recycled fabric. The coat comes in a wide size range, from 2SX to 4XL, and features a tackable hood, practical real pocket and reflective piping.
Jarrad Freeman, vice president of sales for GF Pet, says that dog boots are needed to protect paws from discomfort and irritations caused by cold, dirt, gravel, slush, snow, ice and from road salt which burns paw pads.
“Our lightweight All Terrain Dog Boots incorporate a cozy sock which is thermally bonded to the rubber and provides warmth in addition to protection,” added Freeman.
Whether it be clothing, bowls, leashes, collars or harnesses, pet parents are looking for products to express their style and pet’s personality. Retailers should stay on top of what is trending in the dog accessories category from seasonal offerings to favorite classics. Having these products is a fun addition to any story and can set a store apart from its competitors.