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The 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards Winners

Pet Product News names the winners of its 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards.


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From pet food and treats to grooming tools and toys—and everything in between—new product introductions flood the market every year, while the industry’s major trade shows expand to make room for the influx of product marketers looking to dazzle retail buyers with their latest wares. This productivity is a sign of the industry’s continued growth and the vast consumer demand for innovation in the world of pets.

But with so many choices and so little time to mull them over, what’s a retailer to do? 

Pet Product News’ (PPN) Editors’ Choice Awards is one way in which we endeavor to help. 

Every year, PPN invites manufacturers both big and small to show us their latest introductions and enter these products to be in the running for a PPN Editors’ Choice Award. Up until 2017, we would collect all of these products, put them to the test with our team of furry, finned, scaled and feathered experts, and then unveil our top picks among the bunch. 

Last year, we switched things up a bit. Rather than having simply one round of winners, PPN added a finalists round to honor the many products that really captured our imaginations, impressed us with their ingenuity or quality, or just seemed plain cool. This finalist round, which we shared with readers in the October issue, allows us to highlight a greater number of awesome products while keeping the winner’s circle earmarked for the cream of the crop as determined by our team of product evaluators. 

Aside from being able to honor manufacturers for a job well done, PPN’s Editors’ Choice Awards is an opportunity for PPN to help retailers narrow the field when it comes to choosing new stock. We hope that providing our picks for the hottest and latest products out there inspires our retailer readers and offers up some ideas for new goods for the new year. 

So here we present the 35 products that have won the top honor of our 2018 Editors’ Choice Awards. After a thorough period of testing, these introductions victoriously made it to the finish line, having proved to be yummy, sturdy, fun, inventive, nutritious, useful, eye catching or novel—and, most likely, some combination thereof. 

Aquatics & Exotics 

Central Aquatics’ Zilla Vertical Décor uses strong suction cups that allow these realistic décor pieces to stick to the glass higher up in the terrarium where geckos, frogs or snakes feel safer. The lightweight pieces are made from hard foam and painted to blend in to the terrarium. Available in Mushroom Ledge (with reusable feeding dish), Broken Branch, Rock Cave and Rock Ledge (with two reusable feeding dishes). 


Greenfeather Bird Supply’s Full House is loaded with not-plastic-coated playing cards, hardwood shapes, 1-in. Parrot Rings, honeycombed paper, plastic crystal rings and not-sulfur-coated cornhusk on paper rope. It offers small/medium to large beaks a tantalizing variety of beak-appealing textures for foraging, shredding and chewing fun. It is comprised of eco-friendly, recyclable and some compostable parts. 


Hikari Sales USA offers Hikari Vibra-Bites. Great for all types of tropical fish,  its nutrient mix offers many unique benefits, the company states. It has a pellet design, which mimics a bloodworm moving through the water, and its incredible color-enhancing ability helps fish glow with a flood of color. It also features exacting nutrient balancing through extensive feeding trials that helps offer excellent growth and form. 


Python Products offers Professional-Quality Large Tubing. Available in three-quarter-in. and 1-in. inside diameter in both clear and black, the tubing is medical grade, nontoxic and UV stabilized. Like all Python tubing, it is made in the USA. It is perfect for pond and aquarium plumbing applications. 


Supreme Petfoods’ Selective Naturals Grain Free Guinea Pig Food and Grain Free Rabbit Food are blended with timothy hay. High in fiber and grain free, the food respects the natural diet, with recipes that include essential foraging ingredients and garden vegetables. It supports digestive well-being and has all the vitamins and minerals guinea pigs and rabbits need to help keep them in the very best of health naturally.


Ware Pet Products presents Kapok Build-a-Bed, Build-a-Nest and Build-a-Hut. Kapok is the softest bedding to keep a small critter cozy. Making the product very eco-friendly, the packaging for these products actually transforms into the product itself—turning into a bed, a hut or a nest. Each product is printed with vegetable-based inks.  

 

Cat

Caru Pet Food offers Classics Cat Stews. These specialized, limited-ingredient natural diets look, smell and taste like a home-cooked meal and can be served to cats in every life stage. The stews are USA-made in a human-grade facility using human-grade ingredients sourced in the USA. They are packed with added vitamins, minerals and taurine, and they contain no GMO ingredients, grains or gluten. 


DuckyWorld Products’ The Kitten Kaboodle countertop display packs it all: 52 Yeowww! Catnip brand toys that are 100 percent stuffed with organically grown catnip, made with durable cotton twill fabric and made in the USA. It offers a fun, wacky look with a ton of variety that makes it the perfect mini display of all of the company’s best toys. 


Jascor offers the Messy Cats 2 in 1 Cuddler/Cat House. This cat bed and house is the perfect place for a messy cat to chase its dreams while spending time in a secure and private hideaway. It features bolstered sides when closed and a hidey-hole when opened. 


Kent Pet Group presents World’s Best Cat Litter Advanced Series Picky Cat. Developed in partnership with pet behaviorists, it helps prevent litterbox accidents with a natural, plant-based ingredient that safely attracts cats to the box. The corn-based litter carries the brand’s hallmark concentrated power and is perfect for newly adopted cats, kittens, senior cats or any fussy feline. 


P.L.A.Y. (Pet Lifestyle And You)’s Feline Frenzy Cat Toy Collection is available in eight whimsical sets, all filled with USDA organic catnip. The line features a range of engaging shapes and textures, from barbecue favorites to crawly critters. The plush toys are 100 percent machine washable (with catnip removed) and feature eco-friendly stuffing and azo-free dyes. 


The NestEgg Cat Lounge & Side Table, part of the Hauspanther Collection by Primetime Petz, is a sleek side table for pet owners with a raised lounge pod for cats. Cats love to sit in sinks, so the NestEgg was designed to create the same feeling. The plastic pod can accommodate a variety of other uses including toy storage, cat grass planter, beverage server, ice bucket or candy dish. 

Dog 

2 Hounds Design presents the Coqui collar. The custom jacquard ribbon was designed in honor of Puerto Rico, where diminutive coqui frogs are native. The frogs are featured on a tropical background of green and brown palm trees, lined with verdant green satin. The collar is made on industrial sewing machines and features premium hardware and bonded nylon thread. 


Rawbble Dry Food for Dogs, from Bixbi Pet, utilizes protein from fresh, single-source meats in a limited-ingredient diet. The balanced food offers optimal amino acid absorption, balanced fiber levels and the right quality and quantity of fresh meat proteins. It is available in four recipes: Chicken, Duck, Lamb and Pork. It comes in three sizes: 10 oz., 4 lb. and 24 lb. 


EQyss Pet Products’ Elite Anti-Itch Shampoo is infused with natural ingredients fortified with soothing oils, extracts, vitamins and aloe to provide immediate itching relief. It’s also formulated to help heal raw, sore, inflamed hot spots fast. 


Fetch for Pets’ relaunch of its Wags and Wiggles grooming line offers everyday shampoos, conditioners, fragrance sprays and wipes for dogs. The products are made with pet-friendly ingredients and are free from SLS, parabens and DEA. Wags and Wiggles products come in a variety of scents, including very berry, lemon drop and zesty grapefruit. The line also includes a puppy shampoo, outdoor shampoo and dry shampoo. 


Fluff & Tuff offers Tico the Sloth, a soft durable dog toy made with thick mesh liner and double-stitched seams. The sloth was given the name Tico, which refers to a native of Costa Rica, after fans voted to name the sloth on social media. Tico’s long arms make the toy a great choice for tugging and tossing. The large toy is 15 in. tall. 


Fromm Family Foods’ Four Star Nutritionals Rancherosa features a hearty blend of beef, lamb, pork and trout paired with pinto beans, peas and chickpeas. It joins a diverse menu of kibble for dogs, designed for variety and formulated for all life stages and styles. The grain-free artisan recipe is meticulously prepared using the highest-quality ingredients at the company’s family-owned-and-operated manufacturing facilities. 


Green Coast Pet offers Unsweetened Applesauce with Pumpkin for Dogs. The applesauce is simply a healthful treat for on the go or anytime, presented in individual-serving containers that provide a great snack dogs love. 


Halo, Purely for Pets’ Halo Whole Food Condition-Specific Supplements for dogs do not include any binders, fillers or added flavors—just 100 percent whole ingredients. The condition-specific daily “supplemental foods” are formulated to address a specific condition while also supporting the overall health, aging and wellness of a dog. The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC)-certified supplements include Joint & Hip Support, Senior Dog Defense, Sensitive Stomach, Skin & Coat Support and Immune Support. 


Health Extension Pet Care offers Culinary Cans, a super-premium collection of grain-free canned diets. These meat-first recipes are created with whole foods, such as real salmon, venison, quail and beef, plus other health-boosting ingredients, such as turmeric and apple cider vinegar. Natural ingredients are added such as pure coconut oil to help support optimal health. The foods do not contain any wheat, corn, soy, GMO ingredients or artificial preservatives. 


MiracleCorp offers Hamilton Ribbon Overlay Fashion Nylon Collars and Leashes in new designs: Botanical, Gingham, Athleisure, Fish Scale, Multi-Dots, Southwest, Bandana and Cactus. The products are made with 100 percent premium custom nylon with jacquard ribbon overlay. The company’s team of designers developed these patterns by carefully analyzing emerging and continuing trends in all areas of the fashion, interior design and lifestyle markets. 


Petcurean Pet Nutrition presents Go! Solutions Meal Mixers. The freeze-dried meal mixers for dogs fill a gap in the marketplace for consumers seeking specialized solutions to help support common pet health issues, the company states. Recipes include Digestive Health Turkey Meal Mixer, Hip & Joint Support Pork Meal Mixer, Skin & Coat Care Salmon Meal Mixer and Weight Control Turkey Meal Mixer. Each recipe is made with freeze-dried nutritional and functional ingredients including single-source primary proteins and whole fruits and vegetables. 


Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff GuRu Ball features five different openings in which to hide treats. Once treats are buried, dogs will have to chew and squeeze to release them. The toy is designed to dispense treats only after the dog applies enough pressure to pop them out. The texture of the toy is gentle on a dog’s gums. 


Ruffwear’s Knot-a-Hitch is a campsite dog-hitching system that uses climbing-inspired components and hardware. Designed with car camping in mind, this comprehensive and intuitive system allows dogs to roam at camp while remaining on a leash. It includes a strong kernmantle rope that can be set up between two trees or secured to a single post using Ruffwear-designed hardware and an easy-to-use tensioning system. 


Stella & Chewy’s offers Raw Coated Biscuits. Inspired by the whole prey diet, each Raw Coated Biscuit recipe includes meat, organs and bone. Each biscuit is coated with the company’s freeze-dried raw, is high in meat and organ content, and crafted only in USA kitchens. The family of products include: Cage-Free Chicken Recipe, Grass-Fed Beef Recipe, Cage-Free Duck Recipe and Grass-Fed Lamb Recipe. 


Tether Tug’s Easy Tug lets dogs pull and tug anywhere, without giving owners the constant shoulder strain that comes with traditional tug toys. The EasyFlex technology stretches as a dog tugs and keeps pets playing and burning extra energy. The product comes with the attached bite tug toy. It is a great solution for kids, adults and seniors to use and interact with their dog. 


Walk Your Dog With Love’s BroadBand Big Dog Harness is made from 5,700-pound test material for extra strength and fits dogs from 80-250 lb. The harness leads the dog from the front to give owners steering, meaning more control. It comes with Scotchlite 3M reflective material for nighttime walking safety and is made of the same satin-finish, softer, thicker, heavier nylon as the company’s Sportso Doggo dog harness. 

Dog & Cat

Hip Doggie’s Hemp Eco Pet Carrier has a 100 percent hemp soft-sided exterior with three windows made from all-natural sea grass. Its dark gray mesh interior offers maximum privacy. There are two entryways: one on top and a zip-down opening on the side. The shoulder strap is adjustable and detachable, and it connects to any rolling luggage handle. The carrier fits pets up to 14 lb. 


Wild Ginger Shampoo, from John Paul Pet, is formulated to gently hydrate, protect and help rebuild and repair dry, brittle pet hair. It features wild ginger extracts, which balance moisture for maximum shine. It has almond oil and chamomile to soothe, while aloe adds moisture. The cruelty-free product contains no parabens and is EDTA free. Wild Ginger Shampoo comes in a 16-oz. size. 

Loving Pets presents the Bella Roma Travel Bowl for on-the-go pet owners. Its patent-pending design folds flat for easy and compact storage. The bowl’s folding legs provide support. It comes with a carabiner for easy hanging from a backpack or belt loop. The BPA-free, dishwasher-safe bowl is available as a single bowl or a double diner. It comes in three sizes and two colors.


Manna Pro Products’ Espree Natural Oral Care line features sprays and gels for dogs and cats, as well as a water additive, chews and an oral care kit. The sprays and gels are formulated with a natural blend of peppermint oil, grapefruit seed extract, grape seed extract, thyme oil and neem oil to remove plaque and tartar without brushing, freshen breath and support healthy gums. 


Pureluxe Pet Food’s products of the same name feature fresh turkey, lamb or salmon as the first ingredient. The recipes also have omega-3 fatty acids and a proprietary blend of micronutrients including coconut oil, cranberries, taurine, L-carnitine, prebiotics, active probiotics and kelp. Pureluxe for dogs comes in six specifically formulated diets, and five diets are available for cats.  


Sleepypod’s Go Bag helps on-the-go pet owners easily organize all their pet’s essentials. A tapered profile makes it comfortable for cross-body carrying. It comes with two mini packing cubes and an insulated food pouch. The bag has gusseted side pockets, a flat base for stability, an exterior utility ring for hanging a leash, an interior lanyard for keys and a large padded pocket for a tablet/computer. It comes in jet black, glacier silver and strawberry red. 


Ziwi Peak New Zealand Free-Range Chicken Recipe, from Ziwi, is made from chicken 100 percent sourced from free-range New Zealand farms, and raised without added hormones or growth promotants. The gently air-dried Free-Range Chicken Recipes contain 96 percent chicken meat, while the canned recipes contain a minimum of 91 percent chicken meat. Both air-dried and canned formulas include organs, bone and New Zealand green-lipped mussel, combined with essential vitamins and minerals. 

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