Color and style meet function and durability in the favored collars,
leashes and harnesses of the season.
BY SANDY CHEBAT
For modern pet owners, the ability to flaunt their personality in the accessories they choose for their dogs and cats remains a top selling point.
“The aspirational imagery people see of pets on social media
and Pinterest means that customers look for something more than
just your average collar and leash when shopping for their pet these
days,” said Jessica Knight, director and co-founder of DOOG (Dog
Owners Outdoor Gear) and Outback Tails in Australia.
Chen-Chen Lee, president of Pooch Outfitters in Santa Monica,
“Trends come from all over the place including social media, street
fashion and the fashion runways,” she said.
As more pet owners buy products that reflect their personal style,
the runway trends are finding their way to pet aisles earlier than in
the past, said Alisha Navarro, president of 2 Hounds Design in Indian
“We are continuing to see the pet product aisle reflect trends in the
fashion industry,” she said. “It used to be more closely tied to textiles
and home products, but we’ve been seeing trends hit the pet aisles
earlier and earlier. Colors, patterns and themes that all tie directly to
the fashion industry are on trend.”
Yet experts in the collar, leash and harness category report that
safety, durability and USA-made products are focus points for cus-
tomers as well.
“Pet owners are becoming more discerning when it comes to prod-
ucts they choose for their pets,” said Bryant Baxter, sales and market-
ing coordinator for EzyDog in Sandpoint, Idaho. “In the leash, collar
and harness category, colors and styles have always been the deter-
mining characteristics in choice, but now functionality and durability
have also emerged as factors.”
At PETQuarters, which has stores in New South Wales, Austra-
lia, managing director Shane Spruce reported seeing a shift toward
outdoor/adventure brands in dog products. And Eran Konorty,
founder and CEO of Angel Pet Supplies in Toronto, said durability
ranks high for customers.
“With the active lifestyle of dogs who often get into trouble, roll
around in mud, jump in the water and play rough with their park
buddies, consumers are looking for products that will withstand the
constant abuse by dogs as well as the terrain and elements,” Konorty
said. “Consumers are looking for something that will be used all year
long and sometimes under severe conditions.”
On the cat side, Spruce linked slower collar sales to a shrinking
market “as fewer cats are allowed outdoors.”
However, Nina Wung, owner of Portland Pet Supply in Portland,
Ore., reported an increase in sales during the summer months that
she attributes to a rise in the number of cat owners who are taking
their cats on walks.
“[Cat owners] are concerned about the fit and not letting the cat
escape,” she added.
On the dog side, “More people are staying away from collars and
prefer harnesses to prevent pulling on the neck,” Wung said.
With the trend toward strong, durable accessories, consumers
want a variety to choose from, industry participants said.
“With more and more people taking their dogs outdoors, there has
been a trend towards stronger and more durable leashes,” said Mark
Watkins, sales manager of ZippyPaws in Chino, Calif. “We also notice
a trend for varied materials on dog walking products, such as leather,
rope and different fashionable accessories. Modern dog owners love
to express their personalities through their dogs’ accessories, purchas-
ing products that relate to their own taste in accessories.”
Products that are made in the U.S. are also in increasingly high
“We’re seeing more interest in USA-made products, both for product safety and because it keeps jobs here,” said Carole George, owner
of Georgygirl Boutique in Walnut Creek, Calif.
Lanette Fidrych, president of Cycle Dog-Earth Friendly Pet Co. in
Portland, Ore., agreed.
“USA-made product is definitely trending,” she said. “More consumers are asking where products are made and purchasing USA-made when given the choice.”