What’s new in pet retail? Update from the PATS trade show

My interest in pet products goes back as long as I can remember: I wanted to run a pet shop when I was just four years old. It was only when I reached the grand old age of five that I changed my mind, and decided that I wanted to be a vet instead. However, I still have that fascination with the design, buying and selling of products for pets. And so it was that I found myself at the PATS Sandown trade show, an exhibition full of the latest and best ideas and products that are marketed to be sold through pet shops across the UK and Europe.

The PATS show was held in Sandown, 20km from Heathrow Airport

There were over 200 exhibitors at the show, so a day was barely enough time to do them all justice. Here are just some of the interesting ideas that I encountered during my visit.

Old- and new – ways of feeding pets

From the standard – now arguably old-fashioned – kibble, to new kibbles from new sources (e.g. insects or wild boar, or vegan kibble for cats) to moist food (in sachets these days rather than tins) to raw food, there were plenty of interesting types of pet food to look at.

Kibble is normal for rabbits and guinea pigs now
Food for all tastes: insect based and vegetarian foods for dogs

I had a long discussion with the manufacturer of this vegetarian food for cats
Moist food tends to be in sachets rather than tins in 2019
Eco-friendly foods also featured in the show

New types of pet treats

There were countless versions of pet treats, from raw hide to compressed starch to yak to milk-based: I didn’t take photos of these, as the variety was baffling. But I did also see yoghurt desserts for dogs, and a special pot of dedicated cat grass to be changed every month. Who knew that cats grazed? Well, they do, and it’s good for indoor cats.

Frozen yoghurt for dogs

Special grass for cats

New fashionable clothing for dogs

I am not one for dressing up dogs to look cute, but when you see clothing that’s functional as well as attractive, it’s hard to look away.

Hugo and Hudson have an exceptional range of dog clothing
From well-made harnesses, to the puffer jackets at the top of this article
The collars are well-constructed; not so sure about gimmicky bow ties, but they are fun!
The range of products, in all sizes, is exceptional

New toys for dogs and cats

From new lickable mats for dogs, to slow-eating contraptions to allow them to enjoy their meals over a longer period, to electric whizzy toys for cats, some of which can be controlled by your phone, there are plenty of ways for pets to enjoy spending their leisure time (or should that read: “their time”, since all of their time is leisure time).

Lickable mats combined with slow eating devices
Dog puzzles and slow-eating bowls
One of my favourite brands of dog toys: the Chuckit range

Every cat should have a fountain for drinking and playing
A piece of string sticks out and whizzes around for the cat to try to catch
You can control the way this electric mouse pops up and down by using your phone

Watch this space for more products

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the PATS show: I’m rapidly learning more about what pets enjoy the most, and what’s best for them and for our environment. I’ll be revisiting this topic in the future, so if you’re interested in pet retail stuff, watch this space.

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