Pet Products Dazzle at SuperZoo 2014

The national show for pet retailers is SuperZoo, held July 22-24 at Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
Photo by Diane Taylor

SuperZoo is a great trade show for folks who own retail businesses involving pets: pet stores, grooming businesses, dog training, etc. For me, a dog owner with my husband, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center show is fascinating, but also a bit intimidating. Fancy clothes and fancy eats are really not part of our dogs’ home routines. In fact, we’re still in the kibble stage — with occasional treats and table scraps. However, after attending SuperZoo 2014, I think I’ll need to look for dog beds with changeable sheets, treats that celebrate the holidays, closet space for the beagles’ fancy duds and dog food that is grain-free, corn-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and who knows, perhaps even blessed by Michelle Obama.

I talked to one gentleman with a new company called Caru Pet Food, and he basically said that much of the pet food industry is going back to the day when people food and dog food were similar. His company makes natural stews and treats. His is the first company to pack wet food for dogs in a tetra-pack container, he says. The food has a long shelf life, but only a three-day life once the package is opened. I saw a sample of the food and it looked like something that could be on any adult’s dinner plate. Each pack will retail for about $5, so for many pet owners, Caru Pet Food will be an occasional treat, or as was suggested, the food of choice when the pet is recovering from illness or injury.

Toys for big and small pets (and big and small people on the other end of the toys) were on display for retailers at SuperZoo.
Photo by Diane Taylor

And Caru isn’t alone. Many other producers of pet food are claiming “pure” ingredients, “natural” ingredients and even ingredients from lands and animals that I never would have thought could please my pets. In the accompanying video, for example, you will see turkey feet as chewy items for dogs. The poultry feet looked mighty dry, pointy and unappetizing, but I guess they, too, now fall into the “gourmet dog treat” category.

We’re told that the country has more than 13,000 pet stores with revenues of $15.9 billion a year. Some 20,000 people attend SuperZoo, a World Pet Association trade show that goes back to 1951. One of the pluses for the show for visitors whom, we’ll guess, are pet lovers is that plenty of pets attend, and they are friendly and beautiful, not at all afraid of posing for photos.

The three-day pet industry showcase is called the industry’s largest and most well-attended trade show in North America. The event included a fast-growth boot camp, groomer instructions, classes at “SuperZoo University”, a concert by the Doobie Brothers and keynote speaker Raymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and a panelist on ABC’s Shark Tank TV program. SuperZoo also says it is “the place to go for innovation”. Indeed.


4 responses on “Pet Products Dazzle at SuperZoo 2014

  1. Wow! Your article brought back a plethora of pet memories. My family had at any given time one or two dogs and one or two cats and treated them as family members. On the road the top dog had his own seat in the van, and could be seen by passerby automotists, if they ventured to look up (not many vans or pickup trucks on the road those days, and SUVs were non-existent so car passengers were a window below us), sitting upright on his haunches looking through the glass, as were the rest of us, eight faces staring out at the world, nine faces counting the dog. The other dog was content to be a dog and spent the time down on the floor. The cat who always got carsick was stuck in a cage during these roadtrips. Mom fed the dogs the same homemade meals we family members enjoyed. Not at a seat at the table–there were already eight of us–but out of a typical dish on the floor. (However my niece who lived alone DID have her big dog sit on a seat at her table at mealtime, complete with napkin tied around its neck and a regular plate that was, you guessed right, licked clean afterwards.)

    I recall one particularly tasty pork chop dinner where there was one chop left, I went to take it, and my mother exclaimed “Then what is the dog going to eat!” Needless to say, I went away from the table slightly hungry that evening,but the dog got his delicious home-cooked pork chop. The dogs’ human-food meals womemade ere augmented as needed with dry dog food, but always moistened with homemade gravy.

    And then there was our mutual friend Vivian whose vegetarian daughter bought meat scraps directly from a butchersh

  2. op and cooked them up special for their three dogs, having discovered dogs did not good vegetarians make… Viv’s vegetarian daughter passed on in her early forties, succumbing to a condition vegetarians do not like to hear about: primary amyloidosis. If I recall properly, a condition where the human body manufactures its own proteins to substitute for the lack of ingested meat proteins, but does a bad job of it (perhaps lacking the proper ingredients?) and makes sticky incomplete proteins which tend to be attracted to each other, and collect on the walls of various internal organs of said vegetarian. Unfortunately in Viv’s daughter’s case, they collected on her heart walls, so by the time this was diagnosed in an otherwise supposedly health vegetarian, the collection of sticky proteins aged and hardened on the walls of the heart with the sad inevitable result. So no wonder dogs are not vegetarians. They know better.

    Mom’s cats, by the way, ate normal cat food, dry and moist. Too finicky to share our human meals.

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