BY E THAN D. MIZER
Consumers in general are in love with technology, and dog owners in particular are increasingly projecting their human needs and wants onto their pets. Luckily for pet retailers, new products are available that will help capitalize on consumers’ increasing fascination with everything
Anthropomorphizing dogs is only becoming more popular, and retailers said they see customers looking for dog products that mirror technology for humans, especially in the form of pet fitness trackers, ;PS
products and ;oPro-style cameras.
“Consumers are becoming more compelled by Fitbits and other devices to track their own health, and
everything is kind of traveling down the leash, so to speak,; said ;ichael ;an, owner of ;ed;idge Pet
Market in Richmond, Va. “It goes along with the anthropomorphization of the pet. If you’re taking care
of yourself, that’s going to extend to your pet as well.”
Several retailers mentioned activity-tracking and ;PS location-tracking products as generating the
most buzz, though price point is a concern.
;;PS trackers have found a niche in the market,; said ;yan Carter, owner of Carter;s Pet ;art in
Stockton, Calif. ;;o one has made one that;s small enough, that is really comfortable for small dogs. Also,
some are a little pricey for what they give [customers].”
However, prices do appear to be coming down, other retailers reported, and interest is growing.
;I;ve been ; looking at the new ;PS tracking systems for tracking dogs,; said ;ave Sturgis, owner
of ;og ;aze Pet Shop in ;orth Syracuse, ;.;. ; What I;ve been noticing is ; the price is going down. It
makes it more affordable for the regular homeowner to use.”
These new tech products present a challenge for some retailers, though, as competition from the inter-
net makes it hard to adequately meet customers’ needs.
; The thing is, stores don;t want to stock them,; said Burton Patrick, owner of Burton;s Total Pet, with
locations in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. ;It;s very difficult to stock them because no matter what,
they;re ;ust going to show up immediately on the internet. So the people that could train ;customers; how
to use [these products] are being taken out of the loop.”
Dog Tech Dynamics
High-end products are still niche, but consumers increasingly want
products for their dogs that they already have for themselves.
RODUCTS TO WATCH
THE TALK IN NEW TECH
There are several tech products for dogs available in the market now, such
as GPS trackers marketed for use with pets, including Motorola’s Scout line
and the Whistle GPS Pet Tracker, among others. These are game changers for
some, as they represent a type of product that can make a huge difference in
“I belong to a rescue, and we had a dog that became lost,” said Dave Sturgis,
owner of Dog Daze Pet Shop in North Syracuse, N. Y. “If we would have had that
technology when we adopted him out, we would have been able to find the dog.
My store will be selling them because it’s a good idea. You can download the app
to any Android phone. To me, it makes a lot of sense.”
PetSafe, a brand of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn., recently released
the Smart Dog Trainer.
“It replaces the traditional handheld remote transmitter with the PetSafe
Smart Dog app downloaded to a customer’s Android or iPhone,” said Heather Williams, category manager for PetSafe. “Utilizing Bluetooth technology, it allows the
pet owner to deliver a tone, vibration or static stimulation to the pet from up to
75 yards away. The user-friendly app interface allows the customer to customize