The Latest Pet Industry Trends from Global Pet Expo 2024

by Britt

On March 20-22, 2024, pet industry professionals from across the globe gathered at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, for the Global Pet Expo.

Presented by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), the exhibit floor showcased 1,100+ companies, including 300 first-time exhibitors. This included 1,000+ product launches, the latest pet industry news, a packed New Products Showcase, and more!

But what did we discover while attending the show? Here are some of the hottest trends in the industry, as seen at this year’s show:

Mind the Budget

In the last decade, we have seen a growing interest in spoiling our pets regardless of the cost. However, following the events of 2020, many pet parents are feeling the pinch that is society’s current financial state. So, how do we reconcile the two?

Many brands came into this year’s show with a focus on providing high-quality pet care with a budget-friendly mindset. This included two distinct approaches.

Some companies focused on finding ways to keep the price point low. This included changes to production, simplified designs, and sourcing quality supplies at a fraction of the cost. They then transferred these savings directly to the consumer, allowing you to spoil your pets without breaking the bank.

The other trend we saw was to create premium products that, while requiring an upfront investment, are designed to last for years to come. By not having to replace them repeatedly, you will save money over the product's lifespan.

Overall, we were excited to see so many ways pet parents can improve their pet’s quality of life, even when finances are tight.

Sustainability for the Future

A growing understanding of the impact of our pets on the environment has put pressure on the pet industry to find ways to prioritize sustainability. Some experts say that caring for a medium-sized dog can have a similar carbon footprint to driving a large SUV.

How do we address this without giving up our pets? We saw several brands rising to the challenge!

There was a growing number of companies creating adorable and functional toys from recycled materials. Snugarooz had a wide assortment of brightly colored, crinkly, and squeaky plush toys made from recycled water bottles. WestPaw added more products to their popular Seaflex line of 100% recyclable toys made with recycled ocean-bound plastic.

We also saw a focus on sustainability in pet food and treats. One company that really stood out was Arch Pet Food. The company previously demonstrated their commitment to eco-friendly pet ownership by introducing alternative proteins in their food and treats. One product that we found very impressive was the Dehydrated Copi treats, made from an invasive species in our waterways.

Other shifts towards sustainability included changes in packaging to reduce unnecessary plastics, the use of hemp-based bedding for small animals, and more sustainable decisions being made during production.

Keep Your Kitty’s Teeth Clean

We have long been focused on the importance of dental care for dogs, with many dental care products to choose from. However, our cats are often overlooked in this sense. It’s an oversight we’ve never fully understood. After all, we also want our feline friends to be free from dental disease and pain.

We were happy to see so many companies focusing on products that will help us clean a cat’s teeth.

One product we came across was a specialized dual-sided cat toothbrush from Ryercat. Brushing a cat’s teeth is already challenging; there is no need to make it even more difficult with an oversized dog toothbrush.

If your cat refuses to let you brush their teeth, you’re not alone. Luckily, there are other options to remove plaque and tartar. For example, the popular Whimzees dental treats are now available for cats! These treats come in a variety of tail-wagging flavors, including chicken, salmon, and tuna. Your cat won’t even know you’re caring for their teeth.

High-Tech Pets

Technology is constantly evolving, driving many changes and innovations in our society. It comes as no surprise that the same trend can be seen in the pet space. Companies are not only inventing new tech-based products but also identifying updates that make these products even more helpful for pet parents everywhere.

One example is the growing number of automatic litter boxes available. These not only make it easier than ever to provide your cat with a clean box for their business, but they are also helpful for those with a busy schedule, keeping them away from home for short periods. The concept is simple: A sensor is triggered when your cat uses their kitty toilet, and the box rakes the litter to remove clumps.

But what happens when the litter starts to run low?

It sounds like a simple problem, but one that we didn’t see answered until we were introduced to the LaLa Home Self-Refilling RealScooper Litterbox. Compartments on the top of the box hold fresh litter, which is then deposited into the box when it’s running low. It may not seem like a major update, but cat parents can tell you that something so simple can be major in terms of their cats’ care.

Other tech-related developments we saw were improved pet GPS and tracking devices that were lighter and had better range, better-quality pet cameras to monitor our pets from the office, and even a dog TV designed to showcase videos in a unique color filter that optimizes the images based on the colors they see.

It’s clear that the trend of our pets going high-tech is here to stay.

Health Care at Home

This is a trend we first reported after SuperZoo 2023, but the focus on being more involved in your pet’s health care continues to be front and center. Home testing kits have been gaining popularity for dog and cat parents, allowing us to assess many aspects of our pet’s health and well-being, including food intolerance, urine testing, testing for specific diseases, and more.

After SuperZoo, we shared that we were impressed with the DoggyBiome and KittyBiome Gut Microbiome Health Test Kits from AnimalBiome.

At Global, the company took it a step further. They are now launching their Gut Microbiome Test for all Animals, allowing all parents, regardless of what pets they have at home, to focus on managing and improving their pet’s gut health. The test can be used for small animals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

This trend also ties nicely into the first trend we identified regarding budget-friendly pet care. It allows pet parents to avoid expensive vet bills by being proactive with their pet’s health.

All-Natural, Baby!

One aspect of the pet industry that is constantly changing and evolving is our understanding of the safest approach to pet care. As we learn about different products and materials, we empower ourselves with the information needed to make better decisions than were once considered the industry standard.

We see this a lot with the introduction of natural product options.

Plastic and nylon dog chew toys have long been a go-to for dogs needing to chew. Unfortunately, we have learned the hard way that they can introduce some concerning risks. The harder toys, designed for heavy chewers, are so hard that they cause chipped or broken teeth.

If your dog does manage to chew up the toy, breaking pieces off, these materials can put your dog in danger by causing a choking risk, intestinal blockage, or bowel obstruction.

At the show, we were introduced to BetterBone, an alternative to traditional nylon chew bones. Made from cellulose and sugarcane oil, the chews are all-natural and non-toxic. If your pup breaks off and swallows a piece, it will break down effectively in the digestive system. The BetterBone representatives even ate pieces of their chews to show how safe they are.

Flea and tick prevention is another category where we are starting to see more natural products emerging.

While we won’t advocate against chemicals (there are some safe and effective veterinarian-recommended products out there), many pet parents are looking for a more natural solution to keeping these pests away.

There were many natural flea and tick products at the show. Several companies offered natural flea and tick sprays, but we were impressed by the dedication demonstrated by Kin+Kind. Not only is the Flea + Tick Relief! spray made from all-natural ingredients, but it’s also cruelty-free and carries the USDA Biobased designation.

We were also impressed with the science and innovation behind products like the FleasGone natural flea and tick-repellent tag. The representatives at the FleasGone booth were more than happy to explain how their electromagnetically charged tag forms a protective shield around our pets.

Showcasing the Human/Animal Bond

Are you a proud pet parent? If so, this one’s for you! We have long had a wealth of products available to showcase our pet’s personality, including brightly colored collars, creative bandanas, and adorable printed T-shirts. However, one fun trend we saw at Global Pet Expo was the growing number of “Mommy and Me” (or “Daddy and Me”) gear.

In terms of attire, this ranges from matching raincoats to leashes and collars with a matching waist bag. One small business, Wag Around Town, introduced a fun, unique accessory called the Charmdana.

Made from lightweight rubber, the bandanas look very similar to Crocs, including having the ability to show off your favorite Croc Jibbitz (charms). The company also has their own Wag-Witty Charms with cute pet-focused designs. Wear matching charms with your pup, or choose something complementary to show the world you’re with your best furry friend.

Travel Made Easy

Are you considering traveling with your pet? This isn’t a new trend by any means, but one that we love watching as companies continue to double down on their commitment to supporting stress-free pet-friendly travel.

We saw several companies roll out new and updated travel products, including backpacks, carriers, seatbelts, car seat protectors, strollers, and more.

PetWise, the parent company of Sherpa (among other brands), put on a media event where they discussed the brands under their umbrella, what each brand offered, and the company's future. As part of that, they shared Sherpa’s high-quality travel products.

One thing that quickly stood out about Sherpa was the “Guaranteed on Board” promise that their airline-approved carriers offer. If you use their carrier with any of their participating airlines and are denied boarding due to the carrier size, the company will refund the cost of your flight and your pet’s airline fee.

With so many rules and regulations to consider when flying with pets, this is a great benefit for pet parents!

We also saw many companies making travel-friendly versions of their existing products. These new variations were either smaller or could be packed up to make them more portable. In doing this, pet parents can easily bring all their pet’s favorite items along regardless of where life takes them.

Final Thoughts from Global Pet Expo 2024

Three days simply aren’t long enough to see everything on the vast show floor. However, we were impressed with what we saw. The pet industry never fails to surprise us with its commitment to innovation and the lives of pets worldwide.

The above trends offer a glimpse of the promising future for our furry, feathered, and scaly friends.

Whether you’re searching for new food and treats to support your pet’s nutritional needs or shifting to a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and want to incorporate your pet into those plans, the options are available. We encourage you to visit your local pet store and check out the newest products they have brought in.

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Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her “pack” which includes her husband John, their 2 dogs – Indiana and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

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