February 26, 2015

Pet owners are dying to get their hands on the newest and most innovative toys on the market. Therefore, they are turning to their retailers for products and advice to fit their budget and their dog’s personality.

It’s All About Interaction

As far as interactive goes, Starmark’s most popular toy, the Treat Dispensing Bob-A-Lot is a toy that will satisfy both dogs and owners alike.

“Mental stimulation toys are important for pets as they present an outlet for mental and physical energy,” said Emily Benson, marketing director for Starmark Pet Products Inc. “Providing toys such as this prevents boredom and some of the undesirable behaviors that often results.”
The Bob-A-Lot does that and more.

“The chambered toy dispenses kibble or treats from an adjustable opening in the bottom as the dog paws and nudges it,” said Benson. “The top chamber is also adjustable, so any treats placed there must make their way to the bottom chamber to dispense. A weighed non-slip bottom keeps the Bob-A-Lot in motion to encourage play.”

According to Benson, the Bob-A-Lot works well for dogs as an interactive toy.

“The Bob-A-Lot works great as an interactive toy as the dog must paw and chase the toy to get food to come out, keeping him both physically and mentally active,” she said. “It is also beneficial to use in place of a food bowl to slow feed and help exercise the dog as he eats. The openings are adjustable to allow customization of the difficulty level.”

Starmark had a team of training and behavior specialists develop all of their interactive toys using experience gained from actively working with dogs and their owners.

“We strive to create toys that will mentally challenge pets and keep them engaged in an activity enjoyable to them,” said Benson.

The Bob-A-Lot comes in two sizes; large which holds three cups of food and small which holds one cup.

Starmark also offers the Everlasting Groovy Ball and Everlasting Treat Wheeler.

“Both toys feature grooves for stuffing small treats or kibble. Our original Everlasting Treat Ball and Everlasting Bento Ball are also now offered with the made in U.S.A. Everlasting Treats,” said Benson.

According to Benson, Starmark has more coming at Global Pet Expo this year.

“Starmark will be showing some new treat dispensing mental stimulation toys with accompanying treats,” she said. “These differ from our Everlasting toy line, but are still made with our proprietary dog-tough material. They will be available to retailers and consumers at the time of the show.

P.L.A.Y, Pet Lifestyle and You, has the highly rated Wobble Ball that also adds food to the dog play equation. The Wobble Ball rolls around unpredictably and dogs can hear and see their treats spinning inside. It is sure to captivate dogs for hours of interactive fun.

Pet owners need only put treats or food in it and their dogs will be rewarded for their persistence and intelligence.

When it comes to interactive toys, KONG has quite a few to keep dogs busy.

The KONG ball is a popular product made with the classic KONG durable rubber ball with rope so owners can engage their dogs in a fun game of tug. This made in the U.S.A. toy comes in small and works well for fetch or chew sessions.

Excite water dogs with the KONG Aqua which floats in water so dogs can run out to fetch it. This toy could even help with retriever training.
Finally, KONG also makes a treat dispensing toy called the Wobbler that helps prevent unhealthy gulping. It has a screw-off top for easy filling of dry food or treats and it spins and wobbles to keep dogs interested. The Wobbler is available in both small and large.

Petmate’s fan favorite toy is the Chuckit! LIGHTPLAY Max Glow line of interactive fetch toys.

“The Chuckit! Max Glow line provides Launchers, Flyers, Indoor, Ground Pursuit and Shake, Tug or Toss toys that facilitate outdoor fetch any time of day, in any season,” said Ryan Wills, senior product manager of toys at Petmate. “The 3D printed fabric and Max Glow rubber allows for extended fetch time in the dark, providing up to 30 minutes of glow with just a quick 5-10 minute charge under a bright light.”

According to Wills, interactive play is a great way to strengthen the human and animal bond between pets and their owners while also giving pets the proper exercise they need to stay healthy.

“The Chuckit! LIGHTPLAY Max Glow line is a great way to strengthen the bond with your dog through interactive play at any hour of the day (or night), while they benefit from exercise and the fresh air,” he said.

The fun doesn’t end there. Petmate also offers cognitive play with their JW toys.

“Our newest line of JW rubber toys is the JW Slide N’ Snacks, which prevents boredom and engages in the natural instincts of dogs.”

There’s the JW Slide N’ Snacks, made of durable rubber, the treats easily slide on and off to help prevent the dog from destroying the toy as the focus is shifted to the treat. It comes in assorted colors and one size that fits all dogs.

Planet Dog makes an Orbee-Tuff Mazee toy that is an interactive brain teaser made with an Orbee-Tuff outer shell and a unique inner maze that can be stuffed with Planet Dog treats to stimulate a dog’s mind.

Planet Dog also features an Orbee-Tuff Buoy made from nontoxic, buoyant and mint-scented Orbee-Tuff material. Its buoy shape makes for unpredictable bouncing to intrigue any dog while the rope allows for easy fetching both in and out of water.

Sink In Your Teeth

When it comes to dog toys, chewing is a major part of most toys.

Ethical Product’s Skinneeez Stuffing Free Dog Toys continue to be a strong seller for the company.

“There are many features that make this a good toy for dogs. First, the toys are stuffing free so dogs can enjoy a soft, plush, squeaky toy without all the mess and pet parents won’t find white filling all over the house,” said Susan McCann, national marketing manager at Ethical Products, Inc. “Second, dogs love to shake the toys like they’ve captured their prey which is apparent in the floppy nature of these toys.”

“These toys are made of an extremely durable TPR rubber that stands up to some of the most aggressive chewers,” said McCann. “Play Strong comes in a variety of shapes and sizes suitable for most dogs. Some styles include openings for treats or peanut butter which helps eliminate boredom and minimize separation anxiety when the pet parent is away by keeping them occupied.”

Petstages works hard to satisfy multiple pet needs with their toys.

“A couple of years ago, we knew it was time to better direct pet parents to products that truly met their expectations,” said Jennifer Crotty, director of marketing for Petstages. “Keeping with our proven behavioral categories, we drilled down to more specific behaviors in each, offering solutions that can pinpoint difficulties faced by pets and pet parents. For instance, our dog chewing category became chew with products that address: chew to satisfy, chew to occupy and chew for dental health.”

Petstages’ top selling dog toy is the DOGWOOD stick chew toy.

“It is our innovative answer to a ‘safer stick’,” said Crotty. “The DOGWOOD stick combines real wood with durable, synthetic material. The real wood scent attracts dogs while the durable material provides a long-lasting chew that does not splinter or split like real wood.”

Auburn Leathercrafters makes All-Natural Cotton and Leather Dog Toys all made and sourced in the U.S.A. These attractive natural interactive toys allow pet owners to play tug with their dogs and our ready for retail display. They have no glue, staples, rivets, foam or batting that could be harmful to a pet. These are available in multiple designs including a baseball, football and bone.

“These wonderful toys that are not only beautiful (who else can say that about a toy?) but durable and natural!” said Anita Dungey, president of Auburn Leathercrafters. “Even though it still remains a challenge to find raw materials’ made in the US, we are thrilled that we have been able to source all of the components of this toy in the US, assuring us of quality and care in the manufacturing process and that we are supporting US manufacturing to its fullest.”

According to her, more than just dogs will love these toys.

“This is a toy that will appeal to the sports lover in the family as much as it will to your favorite four-legged friend,” she said.
Petstages has since expanded on the success of the DOGWOOD.

“Given DOGWOOD’s success, our most recent introduction is BeyondBone, a safe chew alternative to bones, which we anticipate will also be welcomed by consumers that worry about the dangers associated with chewing real bones,” said Crotty.

Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff Orbee Ball has been rated top product of the year several times. The toy is minty, buoyant and recyclable with a 100 percent guarantee. They come in three sizes and three colors that all look like little globes.

Coastal Pet Products has a slew of products that are durable for hours of chewing.

“Coastal’s new Rascals Mesh Dog toys are extra strong and durable. They provide hours of chomping fun,” said Nicole Haefke, marketing specialist at Coastal Pet Products.

According to Haefke, Coastal also makes a line of toys designed especially for smaller dogs.

“Li’l Pals pint-sized toys fit perfectly in a petite dog or cat’s mouth,” she said. “Durable construction and an enticing squeaker provide hours of fun and exercise. The Li’l Pals crinkle toys are plush and feature a stuffing-free body filled with crinkle paper for fun.”

Fluff & Tuff has a full line of custom designed dog toys that come in many animal designs from chipmunks to tigers to trout and penguins. These toys feature a think and durable Tuffweb mesh liner and are even machine washable.

They are filled with nontoxic poly fill and are a very cute addition to any dog’s toy collection.

Serious Fetching

Fetch toys are also a huge part of the toy industry and manufacturers know the importance of fetching and retrieving to help exercise both dogs and their owners.

Hyper Pet goes beyond fetching with their patented, award-winning K-9 KANNON.

“The K-9 KANNON launches standard size tennis balls simply pull back the handle, load the ball, aim and shoot,” said Sarah Bell, director of marketing atHyper Pet. “It features extra ball storage for easy reloading, direction and distance control, as well as hands free pick up. No need to touch those slobbery balls! It comes in two sizes, perfect fetching fun for any breed.”

According to Bell, the K-9 KANNON is a great tool to engage pets and their owners to fetch together.

“It promotes family bonding and encourages exercise in a fun and exciting new way,” she said. “It is especially helpful for the pet parent with an active dog that will wear out your arm during a normal game of fetch! Families are using this product to enhance play time – pet parents love the convenience of use, and dogs always love a game of fetch!”

Hyper Pet also offers the HYPERDOG tennis ball launcher for an even more serious game of fetch.

“It rockets tennis balls up to 200 feet and features slobber-free ball pick up and collapsible construction,” said Bell. “HYPERDOG comes in two sizes for perfect fetching fun. It was most recently featured in the Wired magazine Holiday Gift Guide as a top pick for pets and pet lovers.”

According to her, many pets are overweight or obese.

“Our products create excitement around fitness, interaction and exercise,” she said. “Providing tools for pet parents to engage in activity with their pets is the very center of our mission at Hyper Pet.”
Hyper Pet is launching several new lines and product extensions at Global Pet Expo.

“Check out all our new items in Orlando at booth 2289!” said Bell.

With all of these great dog toys available, retailers can offer something to satisfy every customer’s dog.

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