Regional pet food, healthy snacks, aquariums that can be operated by app and orthopaedic dog beds are just some of the latest trends from around the globe that trade visitors discovered at Interzoo 2018, the world-leading exhibition for the pet supplies industry taking place this week.
The exhibition’s organiser, WZF (Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Zoologischer Fachbetriebe GmbH), expects to welcome about 40,000 trade visitors from more than 100 countries to Nuremberg before the exhibition closes tomorrow (Friday).
About 2,000 exhibitors are displaying innovations, enhancements and tried-and-tested products, including innovative food, care products and accessories for four-legged friends, rodents, birds, horses and for animals living in aquariums and terrariums.
The vast majority of animal owners feed their cats and dogs preprocessed food. Manufacturers tailor their products’ recipes to the age of the cats and dogs and to their special health needs based on the latest scientific insights, ensuring that the animals receive optimal care. Producers are also focusing on using natural ingredients, so that fewer and fewer flavour enhancers, preservatives and dyes are ending up in the bowl.
Today, animal owners expect to have healthy pet food that offers functional benefits beyond pure nutritional value. This trend is especially evident for snacks: functional chewy twists, like dental snacks for dogs and special products to support healthy skin, coat, joints and digestion, will be on show at Interzoo 2018. Snacks are also available as treats for in-between meals and as rewards. Examples include vegetarian snacks and baking mixes for dog biscuits, which owners can prepare fresh when needed.
The bones and raw food (BARF) movement remains a trend. Pet food producers have long included this trend in their programmes and are offering ready-made BARF mixtures.
Since dietary supplements are extremely important with this method, producers have integrated ready-made supplements with plant-based protein sources and minerals, vitamins and trace elements into their product lines. For the first time, the BARF menu has also included raw insect larvae as a rich source of protein. Freeze-dried meat snacks are another highlight. Dry bones and raw food can be kept for long periods without refrigeration, are lightweight and ideal for on the go.
Sustainability and regional resources
At Interzoo, it is clear that manufacturers are taking the notion of resource conservation seriously and making products that are environmentally and socially responsible. Some companies have set a goal of becoming climate neutral. A few producers are embracing environmentally friendly packaging. Collars and dog beds are being produced in a way that conserves resources and are being made out of waste products, for instance.
A trend towards regional resources is also emerging. A few pet food producers are deciding not to use sources of exotic meat and are concentrating on regional ingredients, sometimes exclusively from organic farming. Producers are opting for gravel sources in Germany to create base gravel for aquaria.
Combining work, mobility and pets
Modern technology is also being deployed more and more when careers and mobility are combined with pet ownership. Gadgets like automatic feeders help to feed animals at programmable times. Another example is RFID technology, which supports pet keeping with automated pet doors, for instance, and allows cats to come and go without their owners having to open the door.
Energy-saving aquarium and terrarium technology
Owners can also monitor and attend to their aquariums flexibly from the road when they are not home. Aquarists can check and adjust the temperature, water level, oxygen and CO2 levels, light and food using an app with connected control devices. This technology allows for perfect fish care.
Modern applications are helping beginner and advanced aquarium enthusiasts alike: Anybody who is not tech or chemical-savvy will soon find simple but effective solutions on the shelf, such as toxin removers for aquariums and LED controllers to simulate natural biotopes without users having to know what colour spectrum they must use for which biotope.
LED technology helps pet owners to save energy since LED lightbulbs provide more light and use less power: These new lightbulbs help colours to appear much more vibrant in the underwater world and encourages the growth of aquatic plants and coral. LED is even used in dog jackets so dogs are visible when they are taken for a walk during the dark winter months.
Modern technology is also being adopted to take account of safety considerations: Innovations include tiny, light-weight GPS-based tracking devices for pets that work in more than 200 countries and are fitted to the collar.
Customised equipment for every taste
Stylish or functional? Hand-made dog collars, leashes and tags look like they have been individually ordered. Almost every wish can be fulfilled, even for furniture like scratching trees and dog beds. Animal lovers will soon be able to find magnificent Rococo-style dog and cat beds, such as hand-made beds with a solid oak frame, in shops. Styles are extremely varied and are offered to fit in with the animal owner’s home furnishings. Scratching furniture for cats is designed to have an elegant wood look.
A large number of elegant multi-functional carrying cases and classically designed hollow beds can be used to transport small dogs. On the other hand, functional furniture supports health, for instance beds for dogs with joint or spine problems.
Fitness is still an important issue
Animal fitness remains an important issue at Interzoo 2018. Suppliers will showcase many kinds of activity toys that challenge small mammals, birds, cats and dogs mentally and physically and enhance interaction between people and animals through play.
They include easy-to-use fetch toys for cats and dogs, stimulating water toys and chewing and pull toys.
More information: www.interzoo.com