This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 17, 2003

Another Pet Holiday Season to Remember

From rawhide candy canes and colored wreaths to munchy gingerbread men, this year Fido and Fluffy are likely to enjoy a bountiful holiday. (Yes, many cats do like the protein and fat smell, too.) This holiday season, we've seen even more extravagant gift offerings in the stores and on the web.

There are pup tents for puppies (or kitties) and pet water fountains, and elevated pet dinnerware set to save their cervical spines. Whether you're in the market for a collapsible dog house set with double-wall insulation to keep the weather out or a cow-print faux-fur pet bed, your pet can sleep in warmth, comfort, and style.

Doggy Times is a 50-minute DVD that keeps your pets (yes, cats, too!) occupied and entertained while you are away. The DVD includes sensory stimulating visuals and sounds that dogs love: Toys, whistles, sirens, other dogs, cats, and an assortment of activities that rush across the screen, all designed to keep your pet happily occupied and reduce your guilt level. Or if you really want to reduce your stress level and allay your fears, put your pet into doggie daycare.

Or you can buy Puppy Playmates, adorable plush toys to keep your pooch company. Accented with red bows, these soft toys include a squeaker and a rattle, so your pup can squeeze and shake them to his heart's content.

Finally, in the gift department, there's a device called Bow Lingual that purports to allow dog owners to "Strike up a conversation with (their) pet(s)!" Based on the groundbreaking voiceprint and behavior analysis of over 5,000 dog bark samples, this handy machine interprets dog's barks into one of six different emotions, then provides a phrase based on that emotion. It even has a "home alone mode" that monitors and records the dog's barks and emotions while owners are away.

Bottomline: The humanization of pets continues, along with escalating pet- related sales; the market is up to $8 Billion. We expect the trend to increase, with mounting pet ownership as more Boomer empty nesters seek to fill the emotional void left by their departing children.

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