BY SANDY CHEBAT
With the integration of pets as full members of the family, consumers want
products that reflect this union
and fit their lifestyle and accommodations, said Peter Martin,
president of Magmar Colony
USA Inc. in Columbus, Ohio.
Demand for dog housing and
containment products such as
houses, crates, pens and fences is
increasing, some insiders report,
and the category has expanded.
However, Caitlin Sullivan, marketing manager for Cherrybrook
Premium Pet Supplies, which
has stores in New Jersey, reported that overall sales of housing
and containment products have
decreased over the past year, and
Norm Shrout, co-owner of Long
Leash On Life in Albuquerque,
N.M., noted a decrease in doghouse sales in urban regions.
The top reasons customers
purchase housing and containment products are: for damage
control, especially when a dog is
not under direct supervision, for
housetraining, for the pet to have
its own space, as a place to sleep
and as a tool to help calm separation anxiety, industry insiders
Ultimately, the goal is “to
safely keep their pets inside their
designated areas, and have peace
of mind that they will be there
when the owner returns from being away,” said Todd Richmond,
CEO and president of Dig Defence in Muldrow, Okla.
According to Martin, “our
research indicates that pet con-
tainment products, including car
containment products, will con-
tinue to grow to become one of
the hottest categories in nonfood
pet products within the next five
years as our government moves
closer to European containment
Customers are looking for
products that are comfortable for
the pet, good-looking items and a
decent price point, manufacturers
and retailers reported.
“One of our bestselling items
in this category is crates,” said Michael Hollinger, store manager at
Choice Pet Supply, which has locations in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. “Most people
who shop at my store purchase a
crate at some point.
“Iron crates are my personal
favorite due to their durability
and because they are so easy to
transport,” he added.
Shrout also reported a slight
increase in crate and carrier sales.
He attributed it to “improved staff
training, customer education and
a tightened margin to better com-
pete with proximal pet stores.”
Retailers reported higher sales
of wire and iron crates. Sullivan
has seen a decrease in the pur-
chase of plastic airline crates and
soft airline bags.
With the humanization of
dogs, more dogs staying indoors,
positive styles of dog training and
more owners recognizing the benefits of crate training their dogs,
Shrout said he is seeing a decrease
in the use of invisible fencing. In
its place are more upscale designs
and colors as well as a focus on
practicality and versatility.
Customers want stylish op-
tions that complement existing
décor, said Mark Strayer, princi-
pal designer for Sauder Wood-
working Co. in Archbold, Ohio.
“People care about the look
of their home and want to make
it a place that is both easy on the
eyes and yet stands out in terms
of beautiful design,” Strayer said.
Manufacturers are responding. Shrout has seen a plethora of
designer patterns, colors and dog
containment products made to
better fit with home décor. And
Martin of Magmar Colony USA
Inc. noted seeing a broader range
of materials—from powder- and
plastic-coated steels to faux-wood
plastic furniture enclosures, real
wood/metal furniture enclosures and anodized or treated
aluminum products—used in
Put Your House in Order
Does your store feature housing and containment options
in styles and sizes to please a variety of pet owners?
NEW RELEASES IN
It’s no secret that owners treat their dogs as part of the family, and they strive to
provide their pets with comfort and the best products possible. For those with
outdoor pets that like to climb and jump, Dig Defence in Muldrow, Okla., released
the Climb Stopper.
“All our products are made from American steel, and we are very proud to keep our
company completely made in the USA,” said Todd Richmond, CEO and president. “Every
one of our models installs easily and works as intended to keep pets in and pests out in
a completely humane way.”
Peter Martin, president of Magmar Colony USA Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, said that be-
cause today’s more sophisticated consumer wants easily modified products to accommo-
date both interior and exterior spacial requirements, the company launched lightweight,
strong, portable Cool Runners brand aluminum room barrier/exercise pens that easily fit
into a vehicle when pet owners are visiting a friend or going to a dog sport event.
Sauder Woodworking Co. plans to expand its line this spring, starting with the Side
Table Dog Den, a modified version of a standard side table featuring a dog bed with
two doors. Additional prototypes will be at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., this month
and include a Dog House Desk and a Gazebo Dog House, said Mark Strayer, principal
designer for the Archbold, Ohio, manufacturer.
“Fashionable and modern styles, durability and affordability are major trends,” Strayer
said. “To meet the needs of our customers and address these trends, we’ve incorporated
high-quality materials into our products such as solid wood with superior finishes.”