Found: That special something for a family pet

August 23, 1993|By Sandra Crockett | Sandra Crockett,Staff writer

Welcome to the wild, wonderful, wacky world of everything anyone could possibly need, want or imagine for the family pet.

Pet products from the practical to the sublimely ridiculous were displayed at the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. trade show, held this weekend at Baltimore's Convention Center. More than 300 manufacturers showed their wares to the 2,000 retail shop owners and distributors who attended, says Clare DeNicola, APPMA spokeswoman. The show was not open to the public, but the products there will be available at pet stores this year.

Products such as the ones Donald L. Lolik was pitching. The marketing representative for California-based St. Jon Pet Care Products preached the importance of good doggie and kitty dental care.

"We would like to think that more and more people are doing it every day," he says. "It" is brushing their dog's and cat's teeth. Start when the pet is young because older dogs initially "can be reluctant," Mr. Lolik says. "But it's important. They do get gum disease."

For the really obstinate pet who refuses to submit to tooth brushing, the company markets dental gauze pads (to wipe over the teeth) and breath sprays.

Although, Mr. Lolik touts the benefits of the products, he has a sense of humor about the whole thing. "If my mom had asked me what I would be doing with my life, I would have never thought I'd be saying 'selling doggie toothpaste.' "

But, hey, would he rather tell Mom he was hawking "Skunk Kleen" or "Lust Buster?" Actually, it's a pretty good living for Grace L. Bean, president of G.G. Bean, Inc. located in Brunswick, Maine.

The company makes environmentally safe sprays that neutralize unpleasant odors. For instance, if you have the great misfortune of getting zapped by a skunk, a spray of "Skunk Kleen" can instantly make you socially acceptable, Mrs. Bean says. There's also "Ferret Kleen," and "Urine Kleen" and the generic "Pet Odor Kleen" among other products.

But "Lust Buster" is one of Mrs. Bean's most popular items. "This one has really taken off," she says. The product cools a frisky male dog's ardor by neutralizing the odor of a female dog in heat. The spray is used on female dogs, and can also be applied to floors, rugs and furniture.

"It's particularly good when people have a dog that's in a show," she says.

Dog and cat shows are not the only animal venues for looking good, though.

Businesses such as "Doggiduds" and "Pedigree Perfection" were displaying rain slickers, cat and dog T-shirts with sports team logos on them and sweaters in numerous color combinations.

And to show you care on those special occasions, there were holiday gift baskets filled with all kinds of treats. Perhaps anticipating that Fido would eat up all that lavish attention, some of the gift baskets are made of rawhide bones. "Obviously, the baskets can be eaten too," says Mark G. Hirschberg, vice president of Vo--Toys, Inc. located in Carlstadt, N.J.

"Natural" is a popular buzz word for animal products. Barry A. Armbruster, vice-president of Pets Supply Imports Inc. located in South Holland, Ill., touted a product for the health-conscious pet (owner) -- "Good Boy Yoghurt Drops." "It's one of the most popular treats out there," he says.

Although the abundance of goods was targeted at cat and dog owners, there were also products for bird, fish, reptiles and many other creatures.

Dick Hebert, of D.D. Commodities Ltd, which manufacturers bird products and food, says the company's 100 percent fruit-and-veggie mix is a popular item.

"It's trail mix for birds," he explains. "Most other mixes have some seeds mixed in. But ours are totally human-grade products -- they're just for the birds."

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