Your customers may describe their mutt as a traditional "Heinz 57" or come up with a unique designation: "A North American Booger Hound." But now, if they really want to know the background of that puzzling pooch, two companies offer DNA testing. Beltsville, Md.-based Metamorphix uses a cheek swab to identify DNA in the Canine Heritage Breed Test. Mars Veterinary, based in Rockville, Md., uses a blood sample to determine a dog's lineage. Although inquiring minds may be the main reason people want to know just what their dog is, vets say knowing a dog's genetic background may help them recognize health or behavior problems before they become serious.
Does your dog need a cell phone or a PDA?
Two new electronic products will help today's trend-setting dog stay connected. The Hear Now Two-Way Talk and Train isn't really a cell phone; it's a two-way wireless radio that lets people talk to their dogs up to a distance of two miles. One controller can transmit to up to 14 dogs, letting owners shush barking dogs without having to shout. And, should Rover wander away, anyone who finds him can push the button on the collar and be connected to his human. The Pet Master, a hand-held electronic device, can keep track of Lassie's play dates, training times and veterinary appointments as well as phone numbers for the pet sitter, groomer and vet. It has other useful information as well— pet-friendly hotels, emergency vet clinics and pet-friendly attractions.
Cats rule the castle
More cats than dogs are pets in the U.S., but more households have dogs than cats. The American Veterinary Medical Association reported in December that 82 million pet cats live in 37.5 million households in the U.S. versus 72 million dogs in 43 million homes. According to research published on About.com, 34 percent of households with cats have incomes of $60,000 or more, and 32 percent of people who own their own home share it with a cat.
Natural Foods Merchandiser volume XXIX/number 3/p. 96