NEW IN TOYS AND CHEWS
Retailers and manufacturers report that
more pet owners are requesting safe,
natural and made in the USA chews
and toys for their birds and critters.
The latest products in the toys
and chews category are designed to provide stimulation
for pets and appeal to owners.
Greenfeather Bird Supply
LLC in West Hartford, Conn.,
is offering a new series of
toys for both birds and small
animals. Called the Up-Cycled
Series, the line uses a part
that has been made from
recycled materials, and/or can be recycled or composted, said owner Dena Tucker. Designed to be eco-friendly, Greenfeather products are made in the USA or have made in
the USA-certified parts, have up-cycled parts, and are nontoxic, sustainable, recyclable/
compostable, fair trade and organic, Tucker said.
The company also has made improvements to pre-existing toys, including replacing
nickel-plated pear links and quick links with made in the USA-certified recyclable plastic
links, beads and tubes, Tucker said.
Kaytee, a brand of Walnut Creek, Calif.-based Central Garden & Pet, recently
introduced nests and mats in an assorted combination of four colors: green, blue, red
“These nests and mats are a great way to brighten up any small animal’s habitat
and serve to satisfy a pet’s chewing instinct,” said Mary Ann Loveland, associate brand
manager for Kaytee Hard
Goods. “The mats provide
protection to the animal’s
feet, and the hideouts and
tunnels can provide the
comfort of feeling protect-
ed. Woven with natural
colors, the nests and mats
are hand-woven from natural
materials that are safe for
small animals to chew.”
Toys and chews satisfy important
behavioral needs in birds and small
mammals. Educating pet owners
about the need for stimulation also
increases sales in this category.
“The most important thing we
offer is education,” said Luciano Mo-
ralez, store operations manager for
Clarks Pet Emporium in Albuquerque,
N.M. “Our staff is very passionate
about the health and well-being of
our customers’ animals.”
The Clarks staff spends a
considerable amount of time with
customers, educating them about all
of an animal’s needs, Moralez said.
“This includes the importance of
providing an appropriate chew toy for
the long-term health of small mam-
mals’ teeth,” he said. “We also stress
the importance of providing toys
for birds that are both stimulating
mentally but also promote foraging
behaviors, which are very important
for a happy bird.”
When it comes to small animal
care, education always is important,
especially for new ferret owners, said
Paul Juszczak, director of sales and
marketing for Marshall Pet Products
in Wolcott, N. Y.
“Consumers need to know the
essentials to take home for their new
pet as far as food, treats and acces-
sories,” he said. “Retailers can help
their customers by providing animal
care education to their employees.
They can also provide any pamphlets
provided by their distributor or
When it comes to caring for their
pets, owners want guidance, said
Tom Herron, owner of Fins, Feathers,
Paws & Claws in Harleysville, Pa.
“We’re very aware of this, and
we train our staff accordingly, setting
very high standards,” he said. “We
want to share the best tips to care
for their pets. For example, maybe a
customer has an African grey that’s
25 years old, and the bird has no
feathers. Well, there’s a correlation.
We say, ‘Get ’em some toys.’ The bird
will be happier and healthier.”
Color can be an important factor in toys and chews, depending on the animal.
While small mammals don’t tend to pay much attention to the color of a chew or
toy, birds can be stimulated by a product’s color, according to manufacturers.
“Color and reflective surfaces in the bird toy category are vital to a healthful
pet bird habitat,” said Emilye Schmale, senior marketing manager for Petmate in
Arlington, Texas. “Parrots see colors much more vividly than we humans do. They
also see colors in ultraviolet spectrum, so the world of color to a parrot is much
more impactful than we can even imagine.”
Providing color and diversity in a parrot’s environment is critical to keeping the
bird stimulated and happy, Schmale said.
“It is important that toys be interesting and changed up often to encourage
curiosity and play,” she said. “Bright-colored toys are more appealing to our pets
since their sight is so acute and vision orientated. You can be sure they notice the
Colorful toys not only appeal to birds, but also to consumers, said Dena Tucker,
owner of Greenfeather Bird Supply LLC in West Hartford, Conn.
“Color or even noncolor plus design can attract the bird to play—and the
customer to purchase,” she said.
Although color might not matter much to small animals, it can mean a lot to
“Our toys are always bright in color,” said Paul Juszczak, director of sales and
marketing for Marshall Pet Products in Wolcott, NY. “Customers like to decorate
their small pet homes in bright, vibrant colors.”
SHOW SOME COLOR
BY AUDREY PAVIA
Adesire for safe toys and chews is driving the latest rends in the small mammal and avian category, with
products made in the USA and
items produced from all-natural
materials growing in popularity.
“Products that are healthful,
organic and made in the USA
Wolcott, N. Y.
“Made in the USA items are
being requested more and more
by customers,” said Tom Herron,
owner of Fins, Feathers, Paws &
Claws in Harleysville, Pa. All-natural chews and toys
also are becoming more popu-
lar with bird and small animal
“We continue to see a trend
toward all-natural, edible accessories, which also present
added value,” said Lucas Stock,
communications manager for
Oxbow Animal Health in Murdock, Neb. “In addition to providing physical and mental
enrichment, these items can be
chewed and eaten, providing
valuable fiber and dental wear
in the process.”