The T-shirt worn by the dude near the entrance sort of set the mood for the whole show. “Please don’t pet me,” it read. ‘“I’m working.”
The occasion was SuperZoo 2019, the World Pet Association’s annual convention, which drew more than 20,000 pet professionals to examine the goods of more than 1,100 exhibitors at Mandalay Bay Convention Center. It runs through Thursday.
And it is a dog’s world, in keeping with the fact that dogs are the most popular pet in America, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. But this isn’t a parochial crowd; food, health treatments, furniture, transport, gadgets and, yes, jewelry for all manner of pets is on display, including cats, small animals such as hamsters and gerbils, reptiles, birds and even horses.
While only one live cat was spotted — being lovingly stroked among a display of beds — as well as a couple of ferrets (but no horses), dogs were all over the place, in the groomers’ competition, in individual exhibits and being led by people determined to prove them as service animals. Legacy exhibitor Kong drew attention to its durable dog toys with an appearance of two standard poodles, one groomed to look like a zebra, the other a giraffe, who were tossing a Kong around.
Bowsers Pet Products, whose wares are billed as “a dog’s world of luxury,” displayed contemporary beds and the more than 100 designer fabrics, all of them machine-washable, from which they can be made.
Baubau also showed off a collection of pet beds that could best be described as post-modern, and gave equal time to cats with cozy wall pockets and perches, some of the latter shaped like punctuation marks.
A cat that spends its time hopping on and off one of those probably is pretty fit, but for those who aren’t, The Little Cat displayed a circular cat exerciser that resembled an oversized hamster wheel.
Cats in need of exercise also could avail themselves of Doc & Phoebe’s indoor hunting feeder, which is said to “fulfill the need to hunt for food.” To use it, you tuck the food inside an self-propelled oval object that’s complete with ears and tail for realistic effect.
Thirsty cats can find relief with Catit’s Flower Fountain, topped with a fountain head shaped to resemble petals, with water pockets for when the fountain is off and an LED nightlight in case your cat forgets it can see in the dark.
If your pet is more likely to have scales than fur, you might consider the Double Door Paludarium from Zoo Med Laboratories Inc., which is an aquarium topped with a terrarium, the better to accommodate canopy-, land- and water-dwelling critters.
If your tastes run to, say, lizards, but you’re squeamish about feeding live insects, Leopa Gel is poised to come to the rescue with tube-dispensed foods that are said to mimic the real thing.
And speaking of squeamish: The Catch-a-Caca “dog poop catcher” suspends those cleanup bags on the end of a telescoping rod for easy carrying in a pocket, presumably after the bag has been removed.
Which brings us back to products for dogs. Tuffy’s array of toys included some that looked like Mom and Dad’s favorite adult refreshments, such as Barkparty and Blameson.
If actual water isn’t good enough for your dog, you can get juiced-up versions with extra nutrients, such as the portable square plastic containers of Doggie Water 2 Go “hydration system for pets,” or Doggie Water, which comes plain or in flavors such as bacon, chicken or steak, in one-liter pouches or bottles of concentrate.
All Four Paws was offering the self-explanatory Chill Collar and Comfy Cone, plus the Wipe It, “because drool happens.”
Doggles (dog goggles) are available in several sizes, dog cake mixes in several flavors and treats in numerous varieties. Dogs that keep up with pop culture can get chew toys themed to “Toy Store 4” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
And those who have entire menageries could consider The Pet Gazebo from Adventek, available in 3-, 4- and 5-foot diameters. With the varying sizes and the available breezeways to connect them, they seem as though they’d be suitable for dogs, cats, ferrets — pretty much any pet, except maybe horses.