By Keith Loria
Now more than ever, pet owners are focusing on the health and wellness of their pets as they would any family member, and thatâ€™s caused a rise in natural supplement sales. As a result, more manufacturers are coming out with new products, and pet specialty retailers are expanding their product mix.
Kirk Forrest, owner of Wag Nâ€™ Wash in California, Md., has found the newest trend to be the use of cannabidiol (CBD)-based pet supplements to help alleviate anxiety, pain and inflammation.Â
â€śWeâ€™ve seen an influx of clients looking for more natural and holistic treatments and an increase in herbal therapy purchases,â€ť he said. â€śItâ€™s important to have more than one product formâ€”chewable, liquids, etc.â€”to diversify consumersâ€™ options and to fully train and educate the staff about the benefits of the products.â€ť
Harald Fisker, president of Grizzly Pet Products in Woodinville, Wash., said the new kids on the block for pet specialty, as born by popular demand, are hemp-enhanced products.Â
â€śThese products are enhanced by small amounts of hemp oil or hemp meal, typically from organically grown hemp, which is naturally refined to products containing certain amounts of CBD, but zero percent THC, the active chemical in cannabis, etc.,â€ť he said.
The market for non-CBD, natural supplements and remedies that support petsâ€™ health is also gaining traction. In response, Denise Strong, co-owner of Pawz On Main in Cottonwood, Ariz., is expanding her storeâ€™s assortment.
â€śI have been doing extensive research,â€ť she said, adding, at press time, that she hoped to find quality suppliers at the SuperZoo tradeshow in Las Vegas in June. â€śI spend extensive time on research, so I have the proper knowledge to market the products. I try to have firsthand experience in the use of the products I sell by utilizing the supplements with my own six dogs for their needs.â€ť
Among the marketâ€™s offerings for natural supplements is the Life by TropiClean line. James Brandly, marketing coordinator for TropiClean in Wentzville, Mo., said the line provides several solutions to help optimize a dogâ€™s health.Â
â€śLife by TropiClean Supplement for Dogs offers supplements that address specific issues like hip and joint, skin and coat, calming, probiotic and digestion,â€ť he said. â€śEach supplement we produce offers a natural solution for pets and their people. Our supplements are easy to use, and dogs love them.â€ť
While natural pet supplements sales are on the rise, pet specialty retailers looking to maximize the sales potential of the category should continue to look for opportunities to market these products and educate customers on their potential benefits, according to industry participants.Â
â€śHost in-store promotions and offer online coupons that showcase different pet supplements,â€ť said James Brandly, marketing coordinator for TropiClean in Wentzville, Mo. â€śTropiClean offers numerous resources on our free pet professional site on our website for retailers to utilize. Itâ€™s our role to provide solution-based dog supplements that are effective and easy to use with packaging that clearly communicates its appeal to pet parents.â€ťÂ
Bend Pet Express, which has two locations in Bend, Ore., dedicates the entire month of September to food toppers, mixers and supplements that can be added to petsâ€™ food, with a promotion called â€śWhatâ€™s in your bowl?â€ť
â€śWe get that most people add something into their petsâ€™ food bowl, so we have samples, freebies and screaming deals in September to allow [customers] to try stuff out,â€ť said Kim McCohan, chief happiness officer for the stores. â€śThis is where we talk one-on-one about supplements and adding them into their petâ€™s diet for that extra kick.â€ť
Additionally, in June, the store heavily promotes calming supplements in anticipation of July Fourth fireworks, which are a source of anxiety and fear for many pets.Â
Retailers also can boost consumer awareness of the category by placing products in prominent areas of the store and creating attention-grabbing displays.
TropiClean offers a merchandising display for its Life by TropiClean line that groups the supplements together in organized rows.Â
â€śRetailers need to keep their shelves clean and easy to navigate to attract people to the supplements,â€ť Brandly said. â€śThe packaging and display helps catch the customerâ€™s eye, helping educate the customer on each product.â€ť
At Bend Pet Express, the most common supplements are displayed next to its popular kibble bags so customers can grab both at the same time.
â€śSignage helps,â€ť McCohan said. â€śImagine a senior bag with a hip and joint product next to the bag with a sign that clearly indicates this is for those dogs that need a little extra help standing up. We also created really simple mini signs that are nothing but an image to get the point acrossâ€”a tooth to indicate dental health, a scale for weight loss, an up-close hair follicle for skin and coat, etc.â€ť
Kirk Forrest, owner of Wag Nâ€™ Wash in California, Md., said he places trending natural supplements toward the front of the store by the checkout area.Â
â€śThis is where we have the most traffic and have the most potential influence [over] our guestsâ€™ purchasing habits,â€ť he said.
Pawz On Main in Cottonwood, Ariz., merchandises supplements in different areas of the store.
â€śSome new products are displayed right at the checkout counter,â€ť said co-owner Denise Strong. â€śThe remainder have their own unique display cabinets and cases in prominent areas of the store.â€ť
Julie Miller, director of marketing for NaturVet, a division of Garmon Corp., in Temecula, Calif., said the company now offers hemp-based solutions to address several health issues: Allergy, Calming, Immune and Joint.Â Â
â€śThe new line combines hemp seed oil and hemp seed powder for pet parents looking for the additional health benefits from hemp-based products,â€ť she said.
While many new cannabidiol (CBD)-containing products are of the tincture type to be used by the drop, Grizzly Pet Products is initially focusing on a krill oil-based calming product with hemp oil, as well as existing joint products enhanced with hemp oil or hemp meal, in both cases intended to soothe and offer joint support, said Harald Fisker, president of the Woodinville, Wash.-based company.Â
â€śBoth Grizzly Calming Aid and hemp-enhanced variants of Grizzlyâ€™s Joint Aid line will be shown at SuperZoo,â€ť Fisker said at press time.