In its efforts to help people and pets lose weight and sustain a healthy lifestyle, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has released the “Top Pet Fitness and Weight Loss Products for 2010.”
Half of the nearly 171 million dogs and cats in the United States are overweight, according to the association, which was founded by Ernie Ward, D.V.M., a certified personal trainer and USA Triathlon coach. With that figure in mind, the pet industry is developing innovative and effective exercise and weight loss products to combat the problem, the association noted.
The top products for 2010 — rated on innovation, practicality, availability, cost/benefit, durability, ease of use and pet/owner acceptance — are as follows:
Harnesses and Leashes
“Exercise is critical to keeping your pet fit and healthy,” Ward says. “A comfortable leash and harness system is a must for exercising with your dog.”
- Canicross Belt by Canadog Supply of Manitoba, Canada. The dog is leashed to an owner’s waist belt leaving the hands free for other uses. The belt comes with a bottle holder and a pouch to hold keys, a cell phone and/or sanitary bags.
- Tru-Fit Smart Harness by Kurgo Products of Salisbury, Mass. A walking harness that also works as a car restraint device.
- Wacky Walk’r by Wacky Walk’r and Pets Inc. of Collegeville, Pa. Colorful leashes made of rubber tubing that stretches if/when a dog pulls on the leash.
“Play is an important part of keeping pets physically and mentally healthy,” Ward says. “While there is no substitute for one-on-one interaction, we’ve found some toys that can ramp up the fun for everyone.”
- Wood Chuck with Orbee-Tuff RecycleBall by Planet Dog of Portland, Maine. The Wood Chuck is made of bamboo and reused cork scraps while the ball is made from “regrinded” rubber that normally would be discarded.
- Go get it! by Petmate of Arlington, Texas. A compact, retractable ball thrower. Fits regulation sized tennis balls.
- Sway by FroliCat, a brand of Brilliant Pet of Chicago. The product magnetically suspends a toy from a variety of flat surfaces.
- Dog Casino by Nina Ottosson, available from the Company of Animals in the United Kingdom. The idea is for the dog to dislodge the removable bones and then pull open the sliding compartments to reveal hidden treats.
- My Agility Set Toy by Oscar Newman Luxury Pet Couture of Chicago. The agility set, made out of tiny, pastel-colored poles and tunnels, is designed for small-breed dogs.
“I am a techie-geek-exercise enthusiast,” Ward says. “Each year I love trying out the cool gadgets and figuring out what helps people and pets get fit together.”
- Dog-e-Minder by Dog-e-Minder of Hollywood, Fla. A small device that records when a dog last ate, was walked or received medication. Can be worn like a dog tag.
- SpotLight GPS Pet Locator by Securus of Raleigh, N.C. The GPS uses satellites and a cell phone connection to help locate a lost dog. Pet owners can set up safe zones and be alerted if their dog leaves those areas. The device attaches to the dog’s collar.
- Eyenimal by Sas Felis Innov of France. A video camera that attaches to a pet’s collar. The 8 GB built-in Flash memory and battery can capture images continuously for up to 2.5 hours, according to the company. Recorded videos are transferred to a computer via a USB cable.
- FitPaws Balance Disc by Ball Dynamics International of Longmont, Colo. A hard rubber half-ball designed for canine workouts.
- HyperKewl Evaporative Cooling Dog Coat by TechNiche International of Vista, Calif. A vest designed to keep a dog cool for five to 10 hours, according to the company.
- CocoTherapy Coconut Chips by Oscar Newman of Chicago. The treats are made from dehydrated organic coconut meat and contain no sugars, salt preservatives or chemicals, according to the company.
- See Me Reflective Leash and Collar Covers by Pat Bay International of Tolland, Conn. The reflective product slips over existing collars or leashes.