Dogs and Dog Products Are The Stars on ABC's Shark Tank

Dogs and Dog Products Swim On ABCs Shark Tank

For millions of Americans, ABC television series Shark Tank series has provided years of entertainment. Whether you tune in to see what new and exciting products are on the market or ‘coming soon to a store near you’, or if you watch just to see how brutally honest the sharks can be; there is sure to be something on each episode to keep you engaged.

Since 2009, the series has featured a panel of investors (namely Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, Marc Cuban; along with a few guest ‘sharks’) have evaluated business investment opportunities from every-day inventors and small business owners.

Contestants on the show each stand in front of the judges, explain the business they are in or the product they have invented, and give their best ‘elevator pitch’ as to why they deserve to have the well-seasoned ‘sharks’ invest in their business.
Despite giving up some of the ownership, potential deals are worth millions of dollars in potential sales. Even if no deal is to be made, contestants benefit from the wide exposure they receive when the show hits the airwaves.

Most of the products are intended for human use, like the Squatty Potty device that puts your body in a natural position to aid in toiled use; the Scrub Daddy ‘smiling’ sponge that is stiff or soft depending on the level of scrubbing power required, and the ever popular Tipsy Elves known for their pioneering ugly sweaters.

There are, however, several products aimed at our canine (and feline!) friends that have appeared on the show. Each of them has a unique story of growing their business from nothing to something that has the potential to change lives.

Apollo Peak Wine is wine created to ‘bridge the social divide between humans and their pets. The wine is safe and enjoyable for your dog or cat and made from all-natural ingredients.

Their products come in several varieties including ‘The CharDOGnay, The Malbark, The ZinfinTail, The Doggy Mary, Cherry Blossom Pink CharDOGnay, Canine Pawrier Dog Champagne Chicken and Apple Flavor, and Pawrier Champagne Chicken and Honey Flavor. Check out their selection on their website or Amazon.

Another entrant into the Shark Tank is PetPlate, a pet meal delivery service. Similar to services like Blue Apron or Plated. PetPlate will deliver ready-to-serve Vet and Chef designed recipes which have been made from 100% real ingredients. They use only USDA-recognized suppliers and don’t use animal by-products or rendered meats. Their vegetables are natural and full of nutrients and antioxidants.
It is very simple to get started, all that is required is a quick questionnaire about your dog, and how often you would like deliveries, and from then on, a fresh shipment of meals will show up without worry.

PupBox is another subscription-based service which delivers products to your door which are curated for households with a new puppy. Each month, you receive tips, treats, and toys developed specifically for you puppy’s age and characteristics. All treats and chews are made in the USA or Canada.

One of the unique characteristics of this service is the Training and Development cards that come with the box giving you advice on Puppy Proofing hour home, the How To’s Of Crate Training, and training instructions to keep your puppy’s mind active and healthy. Any new puppy parent or owner knows that introducing a puppy into your home can cause stress and anxiety for both the owner and the dog; so having this monthly delivery can help to build the knowledge and provide the tools needed to make this a fun and enjoyable experience for all.

Speaking to treats and food, TurboPup meal bars were created by Kristina Guerrero after she took an outdoor expedition and realized that her canine hiking companion didn’t have more than treats when he needed a full meal. After lots of testing and perseverance, she created a compact bar using Made In America ingredients. The bars provide the vitamins, minerals, and omega-3s to sustain your dog. They can be fed in place of traditional meals, and are not intended to be treats. Visit their website here or check out the bars on Amazon.

TurboPup recently accepted an offer from ‘shark’ Damyond John and now they are in PetSmart stores across Canada and the United States. The day after the original Shark Tank broadcast, their sales increased by $30,000!

Do you think you have what it takes to face the Sharks in person? Do you have a stellar business that just needs some money and connections to take it to the next level? Check out the requirements and application process here!

If facing the Sharks isn’t your thing, check out these books written by the Sharks themselves to help you sharpen your business smarts:

Tuffy – Ocean Creatures Lobster

If you read a few of the posts here, you will notice that I am on the search for durable toys. While walking around the big box store while Dexter was being groomed, I scoured the toy aisle for a toy that would last. He – a ShihTzu/Terrier Mix (and his new brother – an Australian Shepherd ) are chewers, and they destroy toys like it was their job.

I found the Tuffy Rabbit which lasted a very long time, so I knew I would search for another from this manufacturer. I stumbled upon the Lobster from their Ocean Creatures group.

This toy is made from three layers of material: plastic coating, luggage material, and soft fleece for the exterior. You can feel the weight of the toy; it is substantial considering its size.

Speaking of size, this toy is 4″ high, by 10″ wide, by 15″ long. The only object I had for reference when taking the picture was a dry-erase marker.

Tuffy rates their toys on toughness and uses the “all dog toy category” as a baseline, so a toy with a rating of 1 is a “cheap plush toy”, and 4 is a “sewn nylon toy that claims to be rugged”, 5 is where Tuffy toys enter the rank, and they give the Lobster an 8 which is “long lasting a really durable”. According to Tuffy’s website, the only toys that meed the criteria of 10 (Mega strong, the Tuffest) are basic shapes like bones and circles, and their Octopus and Squid characters. The language of the descriptions on the scale don’t show any hint of objectivity toward other toys, but it gives you a starting point when looking at which Tuffy toy is right for your dog.

The Lobster has two squeakers – one in each of the front claws. Due to the thickness of the material they are enclosed in, they will last longer than the average toy, but are the standard squeaker you find in most toys.

The seams are extra reinforced with webbing, then are stitched around multiple times. There is even cross-stitching across the surfaces of the toy to reinforce it.

The only reason the rabbit (pictured below) failed was because of a lateral seam underneath that came undone, not because of an exterior seam! Once the seam on the rabbit came undone, all stuffing broke loose and it was chaos for a days picking up a lot of stuffing. These toys are crammed to the gills with stuffing. Typically I get stuffing-free toys, and the dogs enjoyed the rabbit shell even after the stuffing was removed.

It has been a few weeks now that the lobster (or “lobsta”, I imagine the dogs pronounce it it with a Boston accent) has been in play and it shows moderate fraying around the claws as the dogs play with the squeakers, but shows no signs of structural damage.

Like the tag says, no toy in indestructible. Be ware of how worn a toy becomes and remove it from play when it could pose a hazard to your pup.

Planet Dog – Orbee-Tough Squeak Ball

With a new puppy in the house, I was looking for a very tough toy; one that can stand up to thousands of chews, stayed fun, and was ‘fetch-able’.

Walking around the grocery store, I found just the thing, the Orbee-Tough Squeak by Planet Dog. This ball has all the characteristics I was looking for, and more.

 

Orbee-Tough Squeak by Planet Dog

It was very quishy so it would be easy on gums and teeth, it had a squeaker (but not overly loud!), it was rated 5 out of 5 in toughness on the packaging, and it was very bouncy and a toy that we can train fetch with. As a bonus, it is Made in the USA, and floats if I ever want to use it on water.

The ball itself is about 3″ in diameter, has a texture similar to an orange, and according to the website, comes in two colors, though the store I bought it in only had one color: orange.

The packaging is easy to remove as it was two, small, plastic hooks (like you would see on a piece of clothing that holds the price and size tag on). The rest of the documentation was a fold-out card made from paper (easily recyclable – one of the core values of Planet Dog).

When I got it home, I gave it a few squishes to make it squeek; tossed it across the floor, and the pup started chasing it right away. He carried it around, and has now ‘claimed it’. He likes following it as I throw it across the room, and it bounces easily, so it catches his attention. When throwing it at the stairs, it bounces back giving him a surprise as it bounces back toward him!

While it is more expensive than other squeaking balls, I like the durability, the Made in the USA quality, the 100% guarantee on it, and the ethics of the company. While it was a bit of a sticker shock at $16.00, the feeling quickly left me as I saw how much fun the dogs were having with it.

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National Pet Fire Safety Day

National Pet Fire Safety Day

As the calendar rolls by July 15, we are once again reminded of Pet Fire Safety day. This day is two-fold; 1) how we can protect our homes from fires started by pets, and 2) how we can protect our pets in case of a fire.

ABC television affiliate WIRC’s Amy Lacey interviewed Lt. Jason Elmore from Chesterfield Fire & EMS. Click the image to open a new window with the video.

WRIC Amy Lacey Pet Corner Firefighter Interview

WRIC Amy Lacey Pet Corner

Back in 2009, The American Kennel Club together with ADT Security Services established National Pet Fire Safety Day to raise awareness among pet owners of the fire hazards their cat, dog or other animal could pose at home, with the hope that many of these fires can be prevented.

The AKC and ADT offer these tips:

PREVENT YOUR PET FROM STARTING FIRES

  • Extinguish open flames – Pets are generally curious and will investigate cooking appliances, candles, or even a fire in your fireplace. Ensure your pet is not left unattended around an open flame and make sure to thoroughly extinguish any open flame before leaving your home.
  • Remove stove knobs – Be sure to remove stove knobs or protect them with covers before leaving the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, a stove or cook top is the number one piece of equipment involved in your pet starting a fire.
  • Invest in flameless candles – These candles contain a light bulb rather than an open flame, and take the danger out of your pet knocking over a candle. Cats are notorious for starting fires when their tails turn over lit candles.
  • Beware of water bowls on wooden decks – Do not leave a glass water bowl for your pet outside on a wooden deck.  The sun’s rays when filtered through the glass and water can actually heat up and ignite the wooden deck beneath it. Choose stainless steel or ceramic bowls instead.

KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE

  • Keep Pets Near Entrances When Away From Home – Keep collars on pets and leashes at the ready in case firefighters need to rescue your pet.  When leaving pets home alone, keep them in areas or rooms near entrances where firefighters can easily find them.
  • Secure Young Pets – Especially with young puppies, keep them confined away from potential fire-starting hazards when you are away from home such as in crates or behind baby gates in secure areas.
  • Since Pets Left Alone Can’t Escape a Burning Home – Consider using monitored smoke detectors which are connected to a monitoring center so emergency responders can be contacted when you’re not home. These systems provide an added layer of protection beyond battery-operated smoke alarms.
  • Affix a Pet Alert Window Cling – Write down the number of pets inside your house and attach the static cling to a front window. This critical information saves rescuers time when locating your pets.  Make sure to update the number of pets listed.

The ASPCA offers free window clings which you can order using this link.

The National Fire Protection Association offers this free downloadable checklist to help you prepare for the need to evacuate you and your pet. This is also helpful should you need to quickly leave your home during a fire. Household Pet Evacuation Kit

Always be prepared for pet emergencies with a Pet First Aid Kit.

 

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Can Pet Food Bags Be Recycled

Are pet food bags recyclable?

As Dexter finished the last portion of another bag of dog food, I wondered if these bags could be recycled? Grocery stores have receptacles for previously used, but clean, grocery bags, and our county runs curbside blue bin collection, but neither of these places takes pet food bags. That got me curious, what are pet food bags made from? According to the Purina How To Recycle website, the ProPlan bags that contain Dexter’s food are made from woven #5 polypropylene plastic.

Reading further into the site, there are a number of other types of packaging used to manufacture pet food bags; non-woven plastic (“#7 mixed materials”), lined paper (the ones with a thin coating of plastic on the inside), and unlined paper (similar to a paper lunch bag).

Purina Recycling Chart

Purina Recycling Chart

 

Sadly, the lined paper bags must go to trash because they cannot be broken down in to their source components easily. Clean, unlined pet food bags can go into your curbside blue bin with newspapers and other paper. The most rare types of plastic accepted in curbside programs are non-rigid #5 and #7 plastics.

Surely something can be done about all the waste created from these empty bags!

There are a few resources online which give step-by-step instructions for creating stylish tote bags, and purses, but one can only use so many totes and purses. Perhaps you could consider starting an Etsy store to sell them. For those of us who are less crafty, what alternatives do we have?

Etsy Handmade Tote

Etsy Handmade Tote

Indestructables Pet Food Tote Instructions

Indestructables Pet Food Tote Instructions

Wellness Pet Food has partnered with TerraCycle to offer a free-to-consumer recycling program where you can bundle empty bags and TerraCycle will shred and melt the plastic which can be reformed into new products. That is the ultimate goal I am trying to achieve; put my plastic back into the cycle and prevent the need to use raw materials. Kudos to Wellness Pet Food, but they won’t accept my Purina bags. So whats next?

Doing more research into #5 woven polypropylene (PP), I found that large shipping bags (FIBC – Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers) are made from the same material. There are just a handful of  FIBC recycling companies across the United States, and they don’t typically accept small shipments of a small number of items – they cater mainly to food processors, farms, and shipping companies who process hundreds at a time.

The process of recycling FIBC bags mirrors that of TerraCycle; bags are shredded, melted down and reformed into chips or pellets that can be reused into new plastic products.

Typically, these pellets are used to create beautiful outdoor furniture for consumers or use in public parks.

Poly-Wood Outdoor Furniture

Poly-Wood Outdoor Furniture

So where does that leave me? Literally holding the bag. Maybe I can mail it to an Etsy crafter, or use it in place of a tarp to protect the trunk of my vehicle, but since my curbside program doesn’t accept it, and I wasn’t able to find a place online; it seems that while they are “recyclable” in principal, they aren’t recyclable in reality.

Please let me know in the comments if you have found a way to recycle these.

 

Interestingly enough, during my research I found this company called Preserve that will take rigid plastic #5 containers, such as those for yogurt, hummus, and margarine spreads and turn them into toothbrush handles, and lunchbags.

 

Summer Heat Brings Reminder To Not Leave Dogs In Vehicles

Each year as the weather gets nicer and more people are taking their dogs with them on errands, we are reminded that did should not be left in vehicles as they can easily overheat and suffer physically and sometimes fatally.

Vehicles can reach dangerous interior temperatures even after a very short period of time.

Clearly, it is never they intent of a dog owner to injure it kill their pet, but accidents do happen. Several grocery chains, including Wegmans, post signs reminding customers to leave their dogs at home.

According to the American Humane Association, even with an outside temperature of 70-degrees, the inside of a vehicle can climb to 90-degrees in just ten minutes!

Prevention is the first step. Please leave your dog at home if it will be dangerous to leave them in your car if you are going somewhere dogs are not welcome.

Awareness is key to getting the message out. Share an infographic on your social media, order a brochure to share with friends or family. 

Action may be needed if you encounter an animal in a dangerous situation. Remember, not all areas have protections in place for people forcefully removing an animal from danger. The Humane Society Of The United States has this guideline: Get the identifying information for the vehicle and have the owner paged, call the local non-emergency police number and wait for them to arrive. 

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Main Graphic from ASPCA.

ASPCA Hot Vehicle Infographic

American worker holding flag

Pet Products Made In The USA

According to the website American Made Matters these are the Top Ten Reasons to Buy American. These apply not only to goods for people, but also for our pets.

  1. Promotes American Independence
  2. Provide Jobs for Future Generations
  3. Better For the Environment
  4. Our Government Cannot Control Foreign Labor Standards
  5. Boosts American Investment Opportunities
  6. Guaranteed Quality of Goods
  7. Guaranteed Safer and Fair Working Conditions
  8. Helps Reduce the Deficit
  9. Avoid Foreign Political Debates
  10. Outsourced Manufacturing Plants Rarely Return to the US

According to an NDP Group report cited by Pet Business Magazine, 80% of shoppers said that a “Made in the USA” claim is important to them to some degree, and 44 percent said it is extremely or very important.

To me this comes as no surprise, as I believe we all agree that the points above convince us that products made here are of better quality and help drive our economy. How that translates into sales is another issue, as imported products tend to cost less.

Next time you are in the pet store, or if you are searching online for a product, consider the full value of the purchase you are making. Below is a list of “Made In The USA” products featured in Pet Business magazine. Links go directly to the suppliers pages.

 

Angel Eyes Natural Tear Stain Powder

Angel Eyes is developed specifically for dogs and cats. 100% wheat corn, soy & dye free. Recommended for both shedding and non-shedding breeds. 100# of Angel Eyes ingredients are products of the USA.

Circle T by Coastal

Circle T Rustic Leather collars and leashes are a vintage, classic design that features antique brass metal hardware. Rustic collars are available in brick red, chocolate, and slate grey. The round collars are perfect for dogs with long hair or sensitive skin.

Collar Guard by Sandy’s Sleeve

17 million dogs suffer from contact allergens. Irritants like plastic, metal, leather, nylon, rubber. Treatment is as easy as slipping collar guard over your existing collar. Committed to safety and protection.

Emerald Pet Products

Fresh Smileezz Grain Free Dog Dental Chews freshen breath from the inside out with all natural mint, dill, and parsley. For minty fresh breath you can really smell. Made in the USA.

Frenchie’s Kitchen

Human Grade, gently cooked, frozen food for dogs. 100% Human grade ingredients, 100% whole food ingredients, 100% USA sourced ingredients. If dogs could cook, this is what they’d serve.

Buddy Valastro Pets: Dog Treats

Hugs Pet Products is proud to announce our new line of Buddy Valastro Dog Treats inspired by his signature bakery items. No corn, no soy, all natural ingredients, slowly baked to perfection.

Dogs Leave Paw Prints On Our Hearts

This paw-shaped garden stone is a unique gift for any dog lover. Handmade in the USA and guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Reflective Rope Leads

Featuring premium 3/8″ polyester rope with a reflective tracer, sewen leather joins, brass hardware. Folds easily for carrying & storage. 4 & 6 ft. lengths in five colors. Made in USA.

Pet ‘n Shape Ham Bone

A Pet ‘n Shape classic and ideal holiday reward for pets, our ham bones are proudly made and sourced in the USA from free-range, grass-fed beef and contain no artificial additives, colors, or preservatives.

Petmate Vari Kennel

Petmate Vari Kennel is ideal for dogs at home or on the go. Tough, durable construction with specially designed features for pet’s comfort and security. Easy-to-assemble. Wide variety of sizes.

Indus Dog Diner

Beautifully constructed hardwood diner with a modern, brushed stainless steel top. Available in two sizes and two stunning finishes – natural or walnut.

PetzLife Dental, Flea & Tick, Calming, and more

PetzLife is an animal wellness company dedicated to creating innovative, all-natural products that improve pets’ lives. All PetzLife products are human grade, and every ingredient is sourced from reputable suppliers and made in the United States.

Poochie Bowl; Ultimate Travel Dog Bowl

The Poochie Bowl enhances traveling with your dog, by eliminating the mess. You no longer need to carry additional food or water, and is 100% made in the USA.

Preppy Puppy Treats

Preppy Puppy offers over 150 different types of gourmet treats including soft filled pastries, every-day treats & birthday. Wheat, corn & soy free. Made with all human grade ingredients.

Redbarn Pet Products

Redbarn Naturals Bully Slices Dog Chews are trimmed pieces of rawhide, coated to help tempt picky eaters. Our new Vanilla flavor contains functional ingredients to support dogs’ joint health.

Sandia Pet Products

Sandia Pet Products, a U.S. manufacturer of collars, leashes, and harnesses for dogs, cats and ferrets, offers superior quality, stunning designs, great variety, fast shipping, and affordable pricing.

USA Ground Rawhide Treats

New Ground Rounds are beef-hide treats made and sourced in the USA. They’re grain-free and blended with morsels of vegetables, fruits, and more. 4-packs, 8-packs, and 2-lb. jars available.

Dog Toys With Give Back

WO Design dog toys are made in the USA, durable, floatable, interactive, BPA-free, and recyclable. Each unit sold provides 2 meals for orphaned children and widows around the world.

Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net