So how would a pet show for the public that featured both cats and dogs — 160 dog breeds and 41 cat breeds fair? By our observation, pretty darn well. We weren’t around to attend the packed first day of the show b/c we were in Kansas City accepting more awards for the CATalyst Top 10 Cat-Friendly Cities work, www.germinder.com , but I raced back for a wet and cold Sunday ferry ride across the Hudson River to the Jacob Javits Center in New York — and the boat was “abuzz” about the show.
As publisher of goodnewsforpets.com and owner of Germinder & Associates, a firm that helps companies and organizations communicate about products and issues affecting our pets, I’ve attended many vet and pet exhibits over the past 15 years, and several recently. Nothing beat this one for the smiling happy faces of pet lovers in line to see their favorite breeds, or the exhibitor staff pleasantly surprised by the warm reception from both cat and dog lovers….while there were the usual products such as pet carriers and toys www.dog.com, www.petmate.com/ and information, www.webvet.com, here are some additional interesting highlights from our perspective…
Meet the Breeds was a great way to showcase the benefits of both cats and dogs in one space. According to the Meet the Breeds Pet Preference Poll, cats may outnumber dogs, but dog lovers are more vocal (dogs fetched 65% of the vote vs. cats 35% of the poll before the show, I love them both). I got to see my favorite breeds, and heard many positive comments from dog owners who just simply didn’t know there were so many cat breeds.
- Meet the Breeds was a great way to showcase the benefits of both cats and dogs in one space. According to the Meet the Breeds Pet Preference Poll, cats may outnumber dogs, but dog lovers are more vocal (dogs fetched 65% of the vote vs. cats 35% of the poll before the show, I love them both). I got to see my favorite breeds, and heard many positive comments from dog owners who just simply didn’t know there were so many cat breeds.
- I must admit the shelter cats from the Adoptothon tugged at the heartstrings the most. The sheer number of adoption agencies under the umbrella of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC Animals, www.animalalliancenyc.org, was amazing. An interesting tag I picked up was from Maddie’s Fund, a shrink tag from Rapidtag. You mark it with a permanent pen, bake it, and after it cools use the hardware to attach to the collar. Seemed pretty cool and fun.
- The AKC had plenty of great information for the public and general media, and you can still access www.meetthebreeds.com which is packed with information about your favorite breeds. A brand-new program interesting to watch is AKC Canine Partners, www.akccaninepartners.org, a mixed breed listing program. The actual program events start April 1, 2010 once dogs are registered. While I have to admit I celebrate the life of our special Labradour Randy Jo, a program of this type addresses the reality that many of us not only want to own shelter dogs, but participate in the kinds of events purebreds can.
- The Cat Fanciers’ Association booths are always packed with information. I picked up the latest brochure on my cat Cocoa, the American Wirehair (but she didn’t wire) and the Winn Feline Foundation, www.winnfelinehealth.org , which supports feline health studies. I always enjoy the display of cat memorabilia from the CFA Feline Historical Foundation. The most interesting this time was a cat carrier from the late 1800′s, with a brass label, “VALUABLE CAT – Please Only Feed and Water.” We have indeed come a long way in today’s cat carriers. It’s important to get the right one and many were on display.
- Speaking of traveling, the travel industry certainly “gets it” now that traveling with our pets is an important consideration. Companies like Continental Airlines, Motel 6 and Red Roof Inn had booths touting their programs which include discounts. Another booth from an interesting site, www.gopetfriendly.com, was very helpful. The site gives up-to-date pet policies for nearly 30,000 hotels and campgrounds plus other very useful pet travel info.
- Pet insurance information abounded as well, especially from the show sponsor, Pet Partners, www.petpartnersinc.com . It sounds like a great firm and I am eager to hear more about it. We’ve worked in the past with an organization, the North American Pet Insurance Association, www.naphia.org I am hopeful all the pet insurance companies will join that group so that pet owners can have a third party resource.
- There usually isn’t much information about pharmaceutical products at a consumer pet show since these are regulated products that are appropriately dispensed under a veterinarian’s guidance and/or prescription. That said, educational information about heart disease in dogs was the focus of www.yourdogsheart.com from Boehringer, Ingelheim, a company that just acquired several dog vaccines as a result of Pfizer’s acquisition of Wyeth, the parent company of Fort Dodge Animal Health. As a result, we are anticipating a lot more news from this company and Pfizer Animal Health about disease prevention and related products.
- Pet food exhibits for both “established” and “new age” pet food abounded, but I think pet owners really need to be careful to accept a new brand of food from a new company without some pretty thorough research to back it, and even then talk to their veterinarian and other pet care professionals such as a breeder as well to make an informed decision. I have worked within the pet food industry for many years, so I know how much research goes into ingredients to come up with the optimum formulas for the established brands. We commend the intent, but fancy graphics do not make a superior product, so the jury is still out on some of these new products. We’ve collected quite a bit of information thus far, but will continue to do more research on this for a goodnewsforpets article in the coming months.
- Finally, another note of personal interest, if you’ve read about me, you’ll know together with my team I created “Pets Need Dental Care, Too!’, www.petdental.com, over 14 years ago on behalf of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Veterinary Dental Society. It’s a program I am immensely proud of in helping to educate pet owners about the importance of dental care. I always look at each show to see what new dental products are available. So, you’ll want to take a look at www.crunchclean.com which features dental dog biscuits and cat treats from Hartz Mountain.
I’ll be eager to attend Meet the Breeds next year, see the breeds, learn about new products and trends, and just generally have a grand time with fellow pet lovers. I encourage everyone else to do likewise. Nice job AKC and CFA!