When your dog stares at you with puppy-dog eyes, a hormone called oxytocin is released in both human and animal that facilitates bonding. The same hormone is released in a mother who has just given birth to a child, initiating the connection between mother and child.
We’re not saying pets are our children … But just as a mother wants her child to fully experience the world, pet owners want their animals to live happy and fulfilling lives. That means they are looking for ways to give their pets stimulation and engagement beyond simply giving out dog biscuits and pats on the head (though we never say no to those, either).
Animal scientists have learned a great deal about what’s best for our pets and how they experience pleasure and delight in the world around them. Letting your dog pause to sniff around a stop sign on a walk is as important for the dog’s health as the exercise. A cat exploring diverse surfaces around the home is as important as its nourishment from the food in its bowl.
Manufacturers are answering the call of the discerning pet owner, and the most competitive products on the market are those that stimulate the mind, body, and social-emotional health of the animal. Here are a few of the best examples of how to cater to pet care industry trends and pets’ well-being:
Enrich Pets’ Lives
Innovative Danish manufacturer KRUUSE is already making a splash on the U.S. market providing holistic options for pets, with a number of offerings that stimulate on every level. Founded in 1896, the company has grown to distribute consumables, equipment, instruments, food, toys, and other pet accessories directly to veterinarians all over the world. With quintessential Scandinavian design that emphasizes functional beauty, KRUUSE’s brand allows pets to activate in a stimulating way.
Just as good parents provide opportunities to push and intellectually challenge their children, pet owners are leaning into the same opportunities. Pets may not be able to learn how to read, but they will sure spend all day figuring out how to get that treat out of that tricky box thing.
Bust a Move
The BUSTER ActivityMat engages dogs with a range of challenges that appeal to the mind and body. Tasks can be attached to the mat’s press studs with varying levels of difficulty, and dogs have an intriguing challenge ahead of them. Owners hide the pet’s favorite treat in an envelope, water lily, cone cloth, or other element, and the dog works to unwrap, unfurl, and empty the cloth shapes to get to the treat.
The allure of the mat can provide several 15-minute sessions every day, achieving mental and physical exertion that is important for a healthy pet. The pet owner should be present to make sure the dog is successful; this strengthens the bond between the two while exercising the whole pet.
Think about the attention to detail here, the concern for the pet and pet owner well-being and relationship, and the smart move of having add-on toys to enrich the experience. These are all wins.
Earn the Food
The BUSTER DogMaze is another option that provides entertainment for pet and pet owner alike: for the pet because they have to figure out the puzzle, and for the pet owner because it is so funny.
The sturdy rubber maze is the size of a large dog bowl, with a swirl of channels forming a maze in the interior. Place the food in the channels, and the dog is forced to move the pieces out one end or the other (there are no dead ends) before it can fully consume the food. The intellectual challenge makes for a happier and more energetic pup.
Bottom line: The animal health market and pet care industry trends are changing quickly, and the days of the used tennis ball and table scraps are making way for innovative products that put animals first! Successful animal health manufacturers will adapt with the market and learn to tell that story or be left behind.