Health and fitness products for dogs can play a key role in promoting
canine health and wellness.
BY LARUE PALMER
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2016 U.S. Pet Obesity Survey, 54 percent of U.S.
dogs are overweight or obese. That’s an
estimated 41. 9 million dogs. Fortunately,
some retailers are seeing sales increase
for products that allow customers to keep
their dogs fit and, in some cases, themselves as well, which bonds the pet and
owner in the process.
Regular physical activity and proper
diet are essential for maintaining a healthy
weight in dogs, and, for some, supplemen-
tation also can play a key role when there
are metabolic conditions to contend with.
Many dogs, if not given proper exercise on a regular basis, tend to have behavioral issues, so this is an added motivation
for consumers to consider products that
promote exercise and activity.
Brandon McMillan, the host of the CBS
series “Lucky Dog,” noted the importance of providing dogs with an adequate
amount of exercise.
“You know those vests that are like
backpacks where you put bottles of water in them for weight?” McMillan said.
“I swear by those things with high-ener-
gy breeds, so if you’ve got a pit bull or a
pointer, or maybe a young Lab, you can
take them for a 10-minute
walk with one of those back-
packs on it. A 10-minute walk
is equivalent to a 30-minute
walk because of the added
“If a high-energy dog
doesn’t get enough exercise to
burn off some of that pent up
energy, they’re going to take
it out on something in your
house,” McMillan added.
The balance ball is a condi-
tioning staple in yoga, fitness
and physical therapy settings, and it has
now emerged in the canine fitness cate-
gory as an effective,
president of Ball Dy-
in Longmont, Colo.,
said a stationary bal-
ance ball can teach
dogs how to struggle
with imbalance as a
means of strengthening their limbs and
“Most of our products are focused on
balance, and the understanding that the
body is always striving to maintain a semblance of homeostasis or balance whenever it encounters imbalance,” Wickens said.
“Whenever the body is out of balance in an
exercise situation it is doing work, thereby burning calories. When a dog gets on a
balance ball, their leg muscles instinctively
struggle to find that place of homeostasis
for the body, thereby strengthening their
core and limbs.”
ITNESS & WEIGHT CONTROL PRODUCTS
KEEPING FIDO FIT
Tether Tug, which launched last year, is a canine version of the traditional tetherball. The
strong, flexible pole is easily anchored in the ground, and it has a long rope attached for
hours of tugging fun for the dog, said Dave Hayford, owner of Tether Tug in Nixa, Mo.
“Pet parents love the Tether Tug because it requires minimal interaction and less
risk of injury to their shoulder or arm after an aggressive round of tug-of-war or fetch
with their dog,” Hayford said. “Toys of this type are best for active dogs—those with a
very high degree of energy.”
Blue- 9 Pet Products launched the Klimb Canine Conditioning Kit at Global Pet Expo
in Orlando, Fla., in March. In addition to the Klimb, which is a dog-training platform,
“We wanted to create products that could be used to help exercise a dog’s body
and mind, whether they are indoors or outdoors, rain or shine,” said Jamie Popper,
canine behaviors specialist for the Maquoketa, Iowa-based company. “We know that
when a dog is exercised both mentally and physically, they lead happier lives with fewer
The science of weight management has yielded products formulated to help
address metabolic response in dogs that are obese.
Natura Petz Organics developed Supermodel in a Bottle, which contains a mixture
of herbs with adaptogenic properties.
“Adaptogens are a specific class of plant and marine extracts whose function it is
to look for dysfunction in the body and nutritionally instead of chemically fix it,” said
Some retailers reported that slow feeders are popular with consumers who wish to
prevent their pets from eating too fast. QT Dog in Dallas developed the Brake-Fast bowl
for this purpose.
“It can take a dog up to three to five minutes to finish their food because the prongs
in the center of the bowl force them to eat around them, which prevents bloating and
regurgitating of their food,” said marketing manager Lea Smith. “This also helps with
the digestive process, which can have a positive effect on their health and weight.”
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