I felt like a kid in a candy store last week surrounded by every kind of product a pet and their person could need. The Global Pet Expo takes place in March every year in Orlando and is so large that by the time you have walked the entire floor your feet are aching. The Expo is only open to those involved in the pet product industry and is the place where traders go to do business, make deals and launch new brands. There is a lot of money to be made in the pet industry and everyone is competing to get their product into the mainstream market. Businesses from all over the world come to the Expo, some demonstrating innovative new products that are clever in their originality and others that have me scratching my head in bewilderment trying to understand how they could possibly be serious. I won’t mention any names but there are some people out there with some pretty wacky ideas. Then there are the food producers and manufacturers from the big name brands to the small organic businesses that have every kind of food or treat a pet could want. It’s encouraging to see how natural and organic foods, once thought of as hokey and over-priced, are becoming more popular as consumers get smart about the importance of feeding their dogs a healthy diet.
I was attending the Expo to receive the ‘Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contribution to the Pet Industry’ Award. Past recipients of this award have included the wonderful Dr. Marty Becker, Rachel Ray and Ellen DeGeneres, so I was really honored to attend the ceremony and receive the award. You can watch video from the event here.
I came home from the Expo laden with toys for the girls. Sadie and Jasmine are the best critics when it comes to dog toys and I rely on their expert feedback. While some of them were destroyed within a matter of minutes, others required a lot of mental energy, especially when there was food involved that needed to be extracted. I delighted in seeing their excitement as I produced yet another amazing creation for them to play with and after an evening of this the girls were exhausted. It reminded me how important it is to give dogs a chance to play while expending mental energy and there are so many wonderful toys out on the market that can give your dog hours of fun while tiring them out at the same time. It will be interesting to see if some of the new products I saw being launched at the Expo will make it into stores, because if they do, my girls will be very happy.