Where would you go if you wanted to see the newest, most innovative pet products on the market today? Google search? TikTok? No—the Global Pet Expo in Orlando is the place to go. With 20,000+ attendees and 1,100 exhibiting companies from 85 different countries, the Global Pet Expo is the largest pet product industry trade show in the world.

Interested in knowing which companies are up-and-coming? The winners of the PetCare Innovation Prize sponsored by Purina will tell you which companies to keep your eye on. This year’s winners are:

  • Arch Pet Food (https://archpetfood.com) provides allergen-friendly, sustainable pet food (with its protein source from crickets).
  • Swiftpaws (https://swiftpaws.com) for play enrichment products and their game of chase, the Lure Coursing Kit, as seen on Shark Tank and ESPN’s Fastest Dogs.
  • Ryer (https://ryercat.com) for oral health care products built for cats.
  • BestyBnB (https://bestybnb.com) helps social service agencies secure safe, temporary homes for pets during their owners’ time of crisis.
  • VetChip (https://www.vetchip.com.au) for a biosensing implant device that continuously monitors and transmits heart rate, breathing, temp, respiration, oxygenation levels, activity, and location data to the pet parent’s smart device—alerting them to any changes that may signal an illness.

A few other interesting products were an enrichment toy called The Pupsicle by WOOF, a birdwatcher’s dream device for taking up-close, high-resolution photos via a seed feeder called FeatherSnap, and Fear Free’s ongoing effort to provide products that improve animal well-being via their partnership with H&C Animal Health and their new line of pheromones.

In addition to exploring all the great exhibits and the latest high-tech pet products, I delivered a talk on “Emerging Pet Technology and Its Impact on Businesses” at the expo. The talk was well attended and several startups in the space contributed to the discussion moderated by Graysen Gilbraith Biensch.

Of course, the expo was not all work—one can’t go to a pet expo and ignore the opportunity to get some puppy kisses while also helping a rescue group!

I am also excited to announce my new role as a member of the Pet Industry Advisory Council for the American Pet Products Association (APPA). APPA’s objective is to monitor consumer habits to identify trends and new opportunities in pet ownership and pet product and service consumption. The association has released its State of the Industry 2024 Report. The human-animal bond is as strong as ever (across all ethnic groups and different generations), and the industry anticipates growth with a forecasted industry expenditure increase of 2.7% over 2023.

Additional insights in the report include:

  • A shift to an omni-shopper approach, splitting between brick-and-mortar and online buying.
  • A strong interest in subscription-based
  • There were more than 113 million households buying pet products, with an average value per buyer of $738 (a 4% increase over the previous year and rising).

Finally, I would like to finish by spotlighting a startup whose technology can positively impact your Veterinary business operations by assisting veterinarians via voice dictation and AI to streamline clinical documentation. Veterinarian Electronic Assistant, or VEA, takes your spoken notes and transcribes them into accurate records. Not only can VEA simplify the workflow, but it can also improve outcomes through efficiency. Visit https://www.veaforvets.com to learn more.

Technology is changing the way pet professionals care for pets, engage pet parents, and grow their businesses. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of some of these innovative changes because, according to Steve Jobs, “Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity—not a threat.”