Rover wags tail for doggie ale
There's nothing like a refreshing brewski with your best friend after a long, sweaty hike or an afternoon playing Frisbee in the park. But what if your best friend is your dog? That was the dilemma for northern California pooch lovers Jamie and Kevin Miller. So they decided to create Happy Tail Ale for their dog Kodi, a 120-pound Akita. The beef-flavored brew is made from artesian water, malted barley, all-natural meat drippings, glucosamine and vitamin E. Even better, the nonalcoholic beer, made by Napa, Calif.-based Dog Star Brewing Co., is human grade, so if your customers really want to bond with their pets, they can lap up a cold one alongside their doggie pals.
Pampered pets provide pretty profits
Anyone who's ever paid a vet bill for an x-ray or ultrasound knows that pets can be costly. But that's not the main reason why U.S. animal lovers spent $36.3 billion on their pets in 2005, more than double the $17 billion spent in 1994, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. Experts say the jump is due mainly to all the bling human handlers are buying their furry friends—from designer carrying cases to afternoons at the spa. But costs for essentials are also going up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, pet food costs were projected to be 4 percent higher in 2006, compared to an 0.4 percent increase in 2005. And pet service costs, including vet visits and grooming, rose more than 5 percent per year from 2000 through 2005. Still, Americans haven't stopped adding pets to their families: APPMA reports that about 63 percent of U.S. households owned a pet in 2006, up from 56 percent in 1998.
Celebrate National Pet Week in May
In honor of National Pet Week, May 6-12, why not encourage your customers to monitor your pudgy pooch's weight, insuring optimal health? Martha Garvey, author of My Fat Dog (Hatherleigh Press, 2006), offers the following tips to slim down your dog:
- Give her at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.
- Use measuring cups to monitor her food intake.
- Put one person in charge of feeding the dog to make sure she's not over- or underfed.
- Remember that like humans, dogs need less food as they get older.
- Limit treats to rewards for active tricks only.
To get more information about National Pet Week and to purchase a variety of promotional materials, including posters, balloons, banners, brochures, bookmarks, Frisbees and other giveaways, visit www.avmaaux.org/petweek.html or www.petweek.org.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXVIII/number 3/p. 88