It was another year of growth for the pet industry, which is expected to surpass the $62-billion mark by the end of 2016, according to the American Pet Products Association. While much of this success can be attributed to the continued trend toward treating pets as valued members of the family, manufacturers have also played a key role by making pet ownership easier and more fun for consumers while giving pet stores the opportunity to stand out in a very competitive retail landscape by keeping assortments fresh and engaging.
With this in mind, each year Pet Business honors the industry’s standout products with our Industry Recognition Awards (IRA). Now in their 15th year, the IRAs are selected by the Pet Business editors after scouring the industry for the most exciting and functional products on the market, as well as worthy candidates in categories such as best packaging redesign and best vendor website.
And the 2016 Industry Recognition Award winners are…
Natural Scents Colognes
Natural Scents colognes, from Bio-Groom, are infused with organic, cold-pressed baobab protein to nourish the coat, promote skin cell rejuvenation and protect skin from free-radical damage. They provide long-lasting shine, continuous hydration and anti-inflammatory properties. Available in Pink Jasmine, Lemongrass and Verbena, Tuscan Olive and Desert Agave Blossom scents.
Espree Waterless Baths
Espree Waterless Baths safely and effectively remove excess oil, dirt, odor and stains and can be used between baths to clean up accidents, faces and paws. They are available in 24-oz. bottles in Oatmeal Baking Soda, Perfect-Calm Lavender, Aloe Oat, Puppy and Clean Cat formulas.
Rock 'N Bowl
The Rock ‘N Bowl, from PAW5, is a puzzle feeder that requires dogs to paw and nudge the bowl to get to their food, which is poured through the top and into a hidden compartment. It breaks down to three dishwasher-safe parts and holds four cups of food.
Cardinal Pet Care
Simply Salmon Strips & Simply Salmon Cutlets
Cardinal Pet Care’s Pet Botanics Simply Salmon Strips and Simply Salmon Cutlets are made with 99 percent fresh-caught salmon and one percent sea salt, used in the smoking and drying process. They contain no antibiotics, hormones or artificial flavors, and they are loaded with omega fatty acids.
Totally Grainless Dental Care
The unique pinwheel shape of Totally Grainless Dental Care treats, from Loving Pets, helps clean tartar and massage gums. Available in peanut butter and mint flavors, their palatability ensures that pets get the oral hygiene benefits they need. Made in the USA, the treats are grain and gluten free.
Dexas International’s MudBuster is a hand-held device that provides quick and easy cleaning of a dog’s dirty paws. To use it, simply pour a little water into the cylinder, then guide the dirty paw in and twist back and forth. Available in four bright colors and three sizes.
ShedTek Pet Hair Pickup Tool
The ShedTek Pet Hair Pickup Tool, from Kooper+Co, is designed to quickly and easily remove pet hair from car interiors, carpeted surfaces and durable fabrics. Tapping the head gently releases captured pet hair, speeding cleanup. It requires no batteries or electrical cords, so it can be used anywhere, anytime.
Link AKC Smart Collar
The Link AKC smart collar and app has GPS and location-tracking capabilities and provides activity monitoring and insights. A remote-controlled collar light helps find dogs in the dark, and a temperature sensor alerts owners when the dog is in an environment that may be too hot or cold.
Art-Inspired Pet Gates
Fusion Gates art-inspired pet gates feature a patented, interchangeable art screen system and a one-of-a-kind finial latch system that opens with the lift of a finger. They include automatic door closure in both directions, with a reversible locking system that is difficult for pets to open.
Fromm Family Foods
Four-Star Nutritionals Entrees & Gold Pates
Coinciding with the opening of a new canning facility in Eden, Wis., Fromm Family Foods launched several canned recipes for dogs, including chicken, chicken and duck, and salmon and chicken pates for dogs, and Four-Star shredded beef, shredded chicken and shredded pork for dogs.
Health Extension Pet Care
Holistic Health Extension Grain-Free Stews
Holistic Health Extension Grain-Free Stews, from Health Extension Pet Care, are an excellent source of high-quality protein, made with all-natural protein sources. Available in beef, turkey and chicken varieties, each formula provides an excellent source of vitamins and minerals without growth hormones, steroids, meat by-products or allergy-related fillers.
Ascent Natural Dog Food
Zuke’s Ascent Natural Dog Food is made in the USA with high-quality protein sources and quick-dried vegetables and fruits. Available in Grain-Free Crunchy Blend and Adventure Tender Blend, Ascent uses the company’s Nature-Loc process to maintain the nutritional value, color, shape and high digestibility of whole foods.
Annamaet Sustain Dog Food
Created through a partnership with Integrative Veterinary Innovations, the Pet Sustainability Coalition and the Marine Stewardship Council, Annamaet Sustain is a grain-free, fresh meat, extruded formula made with certified-sustainable fish combined with turkey and microalgae, a sustainable and stable form of DHA.
Sojos Complete for Puppies
Billed as the first life-stage food in the raw, shelf-stable food category, Sojos Complete for Puppiescombines raw, freeze-dried turkey and salmon with superfoods and essential nutrients to support puppies’ growth and whole-body health. The “soft serve” mix is particularly friendly for puppies with developing teeth and gums.
Merrick Pet Care
Backcountry Freeze-Dried Meal or Mixers
Backcountry Freeze-Dried Raw Meals or Mixers, from Merrick Pet Care, feature deboned beef, chicken or salmon as the No. 1 ingredient. A nutritional raw boost in a convenient and safe format, they can be served as a complete and balanced meal, added to kibble or served as a treat.
Frenchie's Kitchen TDF Entrees
Frenchie’s Kitchen TDF (to-drool-for) Entrees are made in a USDA-inspected human food facility, where they are cooked to USDA minimum temperatures to maintain the natural vitamins and minerals in their ingredients. The frozen entrees are available in beef, turkey and chicken recipes in single or double packs.
G Mason Group
Five-Star Raw Line
Five-Star raw-frozen natural diets, from G Mason Group, are available in five varieties—chicken and vegetable, beef and vegetable, chicken, duck and vegetable, and turkey and vegetable. They are packed in 1-lb. chubs that are easy to thaw, portion and serve.
Fruitables Broth Bowls
Fruitables Broth Bowls are designed to add flavor and hydration to dogs’ every meal. Only two calories per ounce and low in sodium, these food toppers are made in the USA from U.S.-sourced ingredients. They are available in beef, chicken and vegetable varieties with two size options.
The Honest Kitchen
Proper Toppers, from The Honest Kitchen, are designed to enhance kibble-based diets by boosting taste and nutrition with healthy superfoods in an easy-to-serve form. Made with 90-percent real human-grade chicken meat and antioxidant-rich whole ingredients like pumpkin, apples, chard and blueberries, they are available in 5.5-oz. and 14-oz. bags.
HandsOn Grooming Products
HandsOn Grooming Gloves
Made to simplify and personalize the grooming process, HandsOn Gloves feature enhanced palm pad nodules to allow groomers to overcome the poor performance and slippage experienced with some mitt-style grooming devices. The material blend is hypoallergenic and designed to protect both pets and humans.
Cordless EasyClip Li
The Andis Cordless EasyClip Li 11-piece clipper kit is for pet owners who want to keep their dogs well-groomed between salon visits. Designed to be lightweight and powerful, it comes with everything needed for at-home cutting on single-coated breeds like Yorkies, Toy Poodles and Shih Tzus.
The ActiVac vacuum attachment tool, available in North America from Groomers Helper, removes hair, dust, dander, parasites and other debris, depending on which of the multiple blades and combs are used. A push-button feature allows the user to quickly clear the blade or comb the second it needs cleaning.
Pawpin' Blueberry Shampoo
Pawpin’ Blueberry face and body wash shampoo, from Nature’s Specialties, is a gentle, tearless formula that is safe for dogs and puppies of all breeds. It is an optical brightener and is formulated to add sheen to a pet’s coat while leaving a long-lasting fragrance and soothing the skin.
Coastal Pet Products
Coastal Reflective Wrap Adjustable Harness
The Coastal Reflective Wrap Adjustable Harness, from Coastal Pet Products, is made of soft, breathable mesh and features reflective piping and patch for added safety. It is available in extra small, small, medium and large, with black, blue lagoon, lime, neon pink, purple and sunset orange color options.
Mountainsmith K-9 Packs are canine saddle bags that include a four-point adjustable chest harness with sternum pad, independently adjustable back harness for custom fit, two zippered pannier pockets, single adjustable belly strap, single haul handle at the top of the pack and metal D-ring attachment point for a leash.
PetMats, from WellnessMats, evenly distribute weight for better joint and orthopedic support, helping aging dogs and those with painful conditions like arthritis and hip dysplasia. They feature a beveled edge to prevent chewing and tripping, will never decompress, and are antimicrobial and easy to wipe clean with most disinfectants.
Kwik Tips Styptic Filled Nail Caps
Kwik Tips Styptic Filled Nail Caps, from MiracleCorp Products provide a unique, convenient, no-mess method to help stop minor bleeding fast. Filled with the Original Kwik Stop Powder, each single-use cap helps to relieve pain and start the healing process.
Gotty Potty System
The Gotta Potty is a house-training system that consists of a pressure-activated mat with a wireless transmitter and receiver. When the pet stands in front of the door, the mat delivers an audible message to the dog and alerts the owner that the dog needs to go out.
Metro Paws Metro Pads are durable and leak-proof training pads that offer six layers of quick-dry absorption. With three designs and colors in every case, they provide a more attractive training pad option. Available in cases of 60 or 120 units, they feature a powerful attractant and adhesive stickers.
4 Paws Tech
Nightlight LED Leash
The Nightlight LED Leash, from 4 Paws Tech, is attractive by day and keeps pets visible at night. A USB-rechargeable battery provides hours of use, eliminating the need for disposable batteries. Measuring 60 in. long and one in. wide, the leash is available in four color combinations.
Zero Shock Lite Leash
The Zero Shock Lite Leash, from EzyDog, is a 6-ft. leash with a highly sprung bungee system that absorbs any sudden shocks from the dog. It is soft, durable, reflective and will not lose tension over time. The leash combines comfort, control and protection while maintaining style and quality.
Vetericyn’s FoamCare shampoo line is specifically formulated for individual coat types. The easy-on, easy-off conditioning shampoos are applied as a foaming spray for quick coverage and less mess. It is available for low-, medium- and high-density coats, and in a medicated formulation for itchy dry skin, hot spots and other skin conditions.
Bobbi Panter Pet Products
Big Boi & Bobbi / Big & Bobbi Lines
Bobbi Panter partnered with Antwan Andre Patton, better known as Big Boi from the hip-hop duo Outkast, to produce two new dog shampoo lines. Big Boi and Bobbi shampoos are formulated to solve specific problems, while Big and Bobbi shampoos are salt and tear free.
Pawz Dog Boots
Max Wax Paw Wax
Max Wax paw wax, from Pawz Dog Boots, uses all-natural, human- and food-grade ingredients to protect paws against snow and ice build-up, chemical burn from melting ice, pesticides, hot pavement and sand. Perfect for moisturizing dry and cracked pads, it can be used year-round to promote paw health.
Ditch the Itch Spray
Natural Paws’ Ditch the Itch is a chemical-free, all-over body spray for dogs that serves as a natural alternative to ingested antihistamines and injected steroids. Its organic blend of plant extracts and essential oils works to relieve itchy skin caused by bacteria, fungus, histamine triggers, dryness and stress response.
Life By TropiClean
Life by TropiClean is a line of ultra-concentrated supplements for dogs. Each bottle contains natural, power-packed formulas, properly stabilized with no artificial ingredients. The formulas feature a fresh and balanced blend of ultra-concentrated oils and include Immunity, Skin & Coat, Probiotic and Multivitamin Supplements for dogs.
Tomlyn Multi-Vitamin Chews Plus Probiotics & Enzymes
Featuring a blend of vitamin E, digestive enzymes, omega 3 for inflammation and selenium for antioxidant and immune support, Tomlyn’s Multi-Vitamin Chews Plus Probiotics and Enzymes help support eye, bone, tooth, skin, brain and heart health in dogs. Varieties are available for specific pet sizes and ages.
Push to Mute Dog Toys
Ethical Products’ Push To Mute dog toys are easy to use and made for interactive fun. Made with durable rubber, they feature a button to turn off the squeaker and a nylon strap to pull out to turn the squeaker back on. Available in assorted styles and colors.
Fetch... for Pets!
Arm & Hammer Dental Toys
Fetch... for Pets! brought three new baking-soda-infused dental toys to the Arm & Hammer collection: Ora-Play toy bones, Denta-saurus toys and Teether Totter toys. Designed to promote chewing and provide tartar control, the toys are made with tough, non-toxic nylon material for extreme durability and come in various flavors.
Hyper Pet’s PETLOGIX dog toy line was developed exclusively for the pet specialty channel. The line encompasses a wide range of toys, including fetch toys that promote a bonding experience between pets and their owners. PETLOGIX packaging has a high-impact, modern, clean design that clearly communicates key product benefits.
Starmark’s Aquafoam Shark, Orca and Hippo combine Starmark’s durafoam and elastomer materials for durable, buoyant toys. The material combination and weighted bottom make the toys float upright no matter how they are thrown into the water. They are lightweight, soft and safe for teeth and gums.
Spunky Pup By American Dog Toys
Canvas Toy Collections
Petsport’s eco-friendly canvas toy line includes: Canvas Crawlers, a set of four bug-shaped toys; Forest Friends, a set of three double-stitched canvas toys; the Safari Suede collection, a set of three faux suede and canvas toys; and Bushy Buddies, fun tug-and-toss toys made from canvas, corduroy and chenille.
Emerald Pet Products
Snug N' Tug
Emerald Pet Products’ Snug n’ Tug tough plush dog toys feature a fully bonded ultra-tough liner, cotton rope and double-stitched seams. The toys contain crinkle paper and squeakers to maximize dogs’ enjoyment and are machine-washable. Characters include Piggy, Turducky, Chicky and Peanutty. Each is available in small or large.
Triple Tex Rope Toys
Triple Tex Rope Toys, from Petsport, are constructed from three woven ropes—natural jute, cotton and jersey—that work together to clean teeth as a dog chews. The toys’ eco-friendly woven fibers keep dogs chewing longer and are great for tug-of-war. Available in five styles.
QT Dog has introduced TUGZ, knotted dog tug toys made with thick cotton rope and featuring sections of QT’s long-lasting Water Buffalo Hornz chews. The toys come in two sizes, plus a third huge slipknot version for serious tug-of-war games.
The ZippyPaws Adventure Backpack is designed for carrying water, food and other essentials without adding unwanted weight. Its lightweight and breathable fabric keeps dogs cool while roomy dual pockets distribute load weight evenly. It’s available in a teal color with reflective trim in small, medium, large and extra-large sizes.
Scout & About Outdoor Collection
P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You) has introduced the Scout & About Outdoor Collection, which includes outdoor and travel-friendly products. The new line features rope, flying disc, toss and float toys, training treat pouches in two sizes, travel bowls, water-resistant and ventilated tents, weatherproof beds and mats.
WholesalePet.com launched GIVE Treats to help pet stores make sales while helping local non-profit animal organizations. Each box is custom-labeled with a store’s logo and the logo of their designated charity. For every box sold, retailers donate $1 to the charity. They come in peanut butter, pizza crust and sweet potato flavors.
Dogs Love Kale
Dogs Love Kale Soft Treats
Dogs Love Kale launched three new “soft” flavors with the addition of the superfood moringa. Moringa is a great source of protein and iron and helps prevent arthritis. The new turkey and cranberry, chicken and sweet potato, and beef and apple flavors are all wheat and grain free.
Dog Gone Smart
Dog Gone Smart’s i’m Gismo is a leash holder that allows pet owners to carry everything they need while walking up to two dogs with one hand. A unique carabiner system reduces leash tangling, and owners can mix and match a variety of connectable accessories, such as a flashlight or training kit.