Global Pet Expo, the largest pet industry trade show in the world, took place in Orlando, Florida from March 22 – 24, 2017. This year was my fourth time in attendance.
Together with my photographer and friend, Cathi Marro, we explored the nearly 3,435 booths of foods, supplies and products over a space the size of seven football fields. That’s 7.5 miles of pet stuff! The expo truly is global with 27% international companies taking part.
Each year there are a number of new exhibitors and this year was no exception. There were 223 first-time exhibiting companies.
According to the American Pet Product Association, Americans are set to spend nearly $70 billion on their pets in 2017. This is approximately $3 billion more than in 2016.
Each year I have attended Global, there is a segment of the industry that stands out. One year it was the influx of nutraceuticals; one year the introduction of products and supplements to assist pets with joint issues. For 2017, I observed many products designed to calm.
With more and more cognitive and behavioral studies on pets taking place, we have discovered that many of our pets are stressed or suffer from anxiety – everything from separation anxiety to true chemical imbalances.
There are now a number of supplements, sprays, toys, games, clothing items and sound proof tunnels to help our pets feel safe and calm. I plan on sharing more on some of the items in the coming months.
Another huge trend is cannabis for pets. We’re talking CBD from hemp; not the psychotropic THC from marijuana. There is a difference. Cannabis for pets does not get them high. Instead, the CBD (cannabidiol) addresses multiple systems in the body. Every mammal has an endocannabinoid system. That means we are naturally receptive to CBD. Dogs have more receptors than other mammals, which means they often receive the most benefit. There are many studies proving the positive effects of CBD. For dogs and cats (and humans), CBD can address inflammatory issues such as IBD and joint issues. Neurologically, it can relieve anxiety, reduce or eliminate seizures, reduce stress and more.
As you can imagine, not all cannabis for pets products are created equal. I saw my share of science-backed products vs. cheap products with barely any CBD. Two whole plant extract companies stood out – Treatibles and CannaBoost by Pawflex. More about cannabis in the coming months.
Global Pet Expo also gave me the chance to meet up with old and new friends, like cat expert Ingrid King of the Conscious Cat, Animal Behaviorist Jacqueline Munera and a woman I have been looking forward to meeting for quite some time, world-renowned Cat Behaviorist, Pam Johnson-Bennett.
I was also very excited to see my friend Kate Benjamin of Hauspanther / Primetime Petz, who won Best In Show for her new product, Catysmile Backpack Cat Carrier.
There was much fun to be had, as well. I made friends with a Corgi named Remy.
Almost took home this balloon Corgi:
And watched Ricky the cat drive Surfin’ Jack the dog around in the Lucy Pet Products car. Yes, that is a cat driving a car.
There is much to share from my discoveries at Global Pet Expo. Stay tuned for details on wonderful foods and products in the coming weeks.