The humanization of pets is obvious across the industry but one category that truly mirrors human lifestyle trends is the one that embraces pet safety. Whether it’s about protecting pets in the home, in the garden or in the car, safety standards are copycatting principals closely related to keeping our kids out of harm’s way.
4×4 North America is the United States distributor of the MIM Swedish manufactured line of crash-tested dog cages, a gate and a vehicle travel guard and a travel harness from a German company called Kleinmetall.
“The MIM Safe Variocage has been certified to meet or exceed stringent crash test safety standards established by the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe,” explained Richard Casey, the company’s president. “The safety tests are recognized in 56 countries and proven to best withstand impacts experienced during all types of collisions.
“Crash-tested safe pet travel is not an established product category in North America. However, it is a well-established business in Europe going on 20 years.”
The Variocage is available in 14 adjustable sizes to accommodate cats, different dog breeds and a variety of vehicles. The doors lock with gas hydraulic motion springs and there is a list of other features that include a built-in key lock for security, and an emergency escape hatch for additional safety. And there is also a built-in crumple zone to absorbs impact.
It’s interesting to note that American companies such as Lauchlab, the designers and manufacturers of the Sleepypod carriers and the Click-it Utility dog harness are also looking to international safety benchmarks.
“Sleepypod’s products are crash-tested in both America by the Center of Pet Safety and in Australia by The National Roads and Motorists’ Association,” said company media spokesperson Jane Skuta.
“Sleepypod’s three-point harness design is unique among pet harnesses and restrains the pet in much the same way a human is restrained by a safety seatbelt where the body remains in the seat,” explained Skuta.
Following on the release of the Clickit Utility, the company released the lighter weight Click-it sport harness that has also been rigorously tested.
Kurgo products have also been crash testing.
“We have crash-tested our harnesses for over six years and we follow guidelines from the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 213 for child car seats,” said Kitter Spater, co-owner and product designer for Kurgo Products.
“Based on recent testing, we have improved the webbing and steel buckles and launched the first crash-tested harness for large breed dogs,” added Spater.
“Since only 16 percent of people currently use a harness and seatbelt (AAA/Kurgo Study), we believe it is a good first step for people to at least keep their pets in the backseat so the driver is not distracted. We offer everything from the Backseat Barrier & Auto Grass that keep dogs out of the front seat to alternative restraint devices that give dogs more freedom such as the Auto Zipline,” he said.
According to Pat Hoffmann president of Solvit Pet Products, he has been crash-testing his pet travel products too.
When it comes to safety within the home, the InnPlace crate part of the Habitat’n’Home line from New Age Pet functions as an end table and requires no tools for assembly.
“Further, it has a removable tabletop for easy cleaning,” said Brie Copley, the company’s marketing coordinator.
The crate is made from ecoFLEX a wood-plastic composite that doesn’t absorb odors and is available in rich espresso brown, the company’s most popular color, and also in a light chestnut color.
Technology is getting involved in pet safety too. Motorola entered the pet space by copying their successful baby monitoring systems with the introduction of a pet video monitor last year and have just released the Scout 66 Monitor which offers pet owners the opportunity to keep an eye on their pets in high-quality HD. The company has also just released their portable battery-powered wireless travel fence called the Scout Travel system.
“Wireless travel fences are a great way to enjoy taking pets with you when you go on trips,” said Jordan Riggs, President of Binatone North America, the licensee of Motorola pet products. “They can be set up anywhere at the beach, in a park, the campground or a vacation home.
“The system consists of a transmitter that is powered by battery or AC, a battery powered receiver mounted on the dog’s collar and a set of small boundary flags which the dog has been trained to recognize as the limit of the distance that they may travel. When the dog approaches the established flag boundary the transmitter sends a signal to the collar mounted receiver which will emit a warning tone and vibration followed by a static correction if they venture to close to the boundary flags.
According to Jason Hart, director of marketing for Petsafe Radio Systems Corporation, the Passport Pet Access Smart System, an indoor-outdoor pet door, uses advanced entry and exit technology to provide freedom and peace of mind for pet owners.
“Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology reads the Passport Key worn on your pet’s collar. This allows only pets with programmed IDs to enter and exit the home. Programming options include selective entry and exit by a pet, multiple access options such as in-only access and out-only access, and access only at specific times of the day,” said Hart.
Programming is easy using the LCD screen or by connecting to your computer with the included USB cable. A wireless connection that will allow for remote programming from any smart device is scheduled to be introduced early in 2015.
This month retailers will be able to start taking orders for the next generation Tagg GPS system called the Tagg GPS Pro.
According to Jeff Zotara vice president, marketing of Snaptracs Inc., new features added to this the multiple award-winning pet tracking technology system include longer battery life, smaller safety zone, extreme waterproofing and temperature sensor technology.
When it comes to safety, the pet industry definitely has it covered.e