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Fat Cats & Corpulent Canines

Though Fido and Fifi are perfectly happy chomping down on spillover from trash cans, we spend an inordinate amount of money on specialized food for pets, not to mention other treats. Nielsen reports that over 60% of Americans own a pet and spend on average $1.5 billion a month on them. In fact, the amount we spend on our furry friends is up 33% since 2009 to $60.59 billion annually, according to the American Pet Products Association.

The recent holiday season also saw a big spike in spending on pets. And, just as humans like to start the post-holidays with a goal of losing weight and eating healthier, it appears pets are also in need of a diet. Research from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention indicates that over half of dogs and cats are overweight, and this extra fat can cause a host of problems such as diabetes and heart disease.

Welcome to the fertile world of products that help plump pets get in shape. One such item is the WonderWoof Smart Bowtie, a Bluetooth device that connects to a dog collar so the owner can monitor the dog’s activity (www.wonderwoof.com). In addition to wearable tech items, other products include diet food, dispensers that dole out perfect portions, treadmills, exercise wheels and high-end fetch toys. Plus, there’s a plethora of services for animals such as nutritional counselors, insurance agents, day cares, walkers, trainers and even special camps. For example, the Morris Animal Inn in New Jersey offers a five-day fitness program.

Promo product sales professionals take note: Just as wearable tech and fitness items are hot commodities in the human sector, they’re also the cat’s meow for the pet sector. Now is the time to jump with both feet (and paws) into this lucrative market.