No matter how much the neighbors complain, you know your dog isn’t barking nonstop while you’re at work.
To try to calm this age-old source of over-the-fence hostility, PetSafe has stepped in with its Bark & Activity monitor, a pendant attached to a collar. It records a dog’s activity, whether it is napping or going crazy when the mailman arrives, then allows the owner to download the data to any computer, sales manager Steve Franklin said.
Introduced to the market last month, the monitor is one of a number of new pet products exhibited at this week’s Western Veterinary Conference at Mandalay Bay. Although dominated by products and services for vet clinics — such as digital X-ray machines, pet insurance, and surgical implants and instruments — the convention also opens a window on what pet owners might soon see on store shelves for their little babies.
The conference, which wrapped up Thursday, is the city’s only major convention based in Las Vegas. Its headquarters are east of McCarran International Airport. The facility offers hands-on training for small and large animals, and is equipped with a theater-style lecture room.
Western Veterinary CEO Dr. Guy Pidgeon said attendance dipped by about 400 from last year, to about 14,500.
“I think the small-business guy, like many vets, is worried about whether the economy is picking up and what is going on in Washington,” he said.
More states are allowing vets to meet their continuing education requirements through online courses rather than attending certified conventions.
Toni Gibson, a training and behavior education specialist at PetSafe, said a growing number of vets have cut expenses by going to smaller conferences closer to home rather than attending the event or its rival, the North America Veterinary Conference in Orlando, Fla.
“All of these things nibble at the edges of the big meeting,” Pidgeon said.
He expects that Western Veterinary will move more of its courses online.
The exhibit hall, however, was sold out, with 558 spots taken.
Among the other pet innovations or products with only limited distribution were:
■ K9 Carts, dog wheelchairs that allow the hind legs to be placed in rubber rings to allow the healthier front legs to carry the load. Although the company has been around for six decades, its line of wheelchairs, ranging from $199 to $719, now uses lighter materials.
■ Paw Pods, biodegradable pet caskets that are made of compressed bamboo and rice. Priced from $9.95 for one big enough for a goldfish or hamster to $129.95 for one that could hold a medium-sized dog, company partner Kyle MacDermaid said the pods give owners an alternative to bringing home a dead pet in a plastic bag or leaving it at a vet for cremation. While designed to decompose within a year in most climates, they might last for several years in arid Las Vegas, he said.
■ Power Paws, a bootie with a sole that will stick to slick surfaces such as hardwood floors so that dogs don’t flop around. Sales representative Nicole Bricmont said they also provide protection during summer walks on scorching pavement.
■ Soft Paws and Soft Claws, which fit over claws to keep dogs and cats from tearing up furniture, allowing owners to avoid declawing their pets. Recently, the company introduced a line of claw caps in differently colored glitter finishes.
■ Evanger’s, a line of pet food that includes several approved as kosher for Passover. “We don’t charge a higher price for them, but they sure get a lot of attention,” regional sales manager Susan Brandon said.
■ Skulls Unlimited, which has more than 2,000 animal skulls in its catalog. For the show, the company was running a special of one cat and one dog skull for $140, less than the regular $154.
Contact reporter Tim O’Reiley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5290.