FIRST AID AND SAFETY
Show and tell remains the most profitable way to display safety and first aid merchan- dise to customers.
“The proof is in the pudding … or in this
case, in the solution,” said Dan McFadden, vice
president of animal wellness for Oculus Innova-
tive Sciences in Petaluma, Calif. “What the pet
owner sees with their own eyes will be the most
compelling evidence there is. We recommend
that retailers keep a demo bottle of product
readily available [to treat] a pet with a wound
or skin affliction on the spot. The customer sees
improvement and [returns] to the store to buy
their own bottle of product.”
Annie Smith, marketing channel manager for
Tender Corp.’s Adventure Medical Kits brand in
Oakland, Calif., agreed that retailers must show
the consumer how and why they should carry
first aid products.
“For example, place an Adventure Medical
Kit with a gear package that might include a
first aid kit, dog treats, poop bags and a leash,”
Most Valuable Pets Inc. in Lexington, Ky.,
features different types of first aid sprays on the
front counter and explains the uses to customers.
“It’s amazing how many people will buy
them on impulse,” said Melissa Whitton, owner.
“Tell customers all the different uses for them.
Also remind them it’s good to have on hand, like
Jennifer DiGrazia, CEO of PawFlex Inc. in
New York, recommended that stores offer a wide
range of health care options like they do with
treats and collars and leashes “in order to satisfy
the needs and demands of the new generation of
pet owners who are educated and informed and
are raising pets like children.
“Stores that carry the generic useless crap will
be known as stores that carry cheap useless crap,
and serious pet parents will not shop at those
stores,” she said. “Having a good first aid and
safety section shows the customer you care about
the well-being of their furry child, and you are not
an ‘all about profit’ store.”
Holding pet safety seminars or pet first aid
training sessions in the store can be a great way
to engage the community and draw attention to
products that people might not know exist, said
Jill Connolly, product and marketing manager
for RC Pet Products in Vancouver, British Co-
And at River Town Feed & Pet Country Store
in Petaluma, Calif., pet supply buyer Jennie
Frey said pictures of before and after treatment
are hugely helpful, especially if the staff are
not available on the floor when the customer
“When they see a picture and check it out,
writing that it’s nontoxic or contains no antibiotics or is OK if licked, these are the little things
that catch their eye to bring them over to the
product,” she said.—SC
FIRST AID AND SAFETY PRODUCTS:
Unlike many products that are natural impulse buys or part of a family’s regular shopping trip, first aid and safety products are a unique niche that requires promotion and education. Pet owners need to be educated that they have the ability and the supplies they need to
help their pets, especially at times when the veterinary office is far away or closed, said Annie Smith,
marketing channel manager for Tender Corp.’s Adventure Medical Kits brand in Oakland, Calif.
“We usually just educate our customers by providing pamphlets and talking with them,” said Jennie
Frey, pet supply buyer for At River Town Feed & Pet Country Store in Petaluma, Calif.
Consumer education is critical because there is so much “snake oil” promoted as scientifically proven, said Dan McFadden, vice president of animal wellness for Oculus Innovative Sciences in Petaluma,
“It’s important for customers to be made aware of clinical studies and other science that validates
the efficacy of a product or ingredient,” he added.—SC
Because today’s cat treats are more than just tasty morsels, customer education is important when selling this category. “Understanding the dietary needs of their pet is vital for
our cat clients,” said Jessica Spaid, store manager of Zulu Dog
+ Cat Boutique in Chicago. “They don’t just want to buy any
treat—they want to buy the best treat for their cat, and we are
there to help figure that out. We ask questions about their pet
and their pet’s taste and overall diet and needs, rather than just
showing them the top-selling treat.”
Joanne Buchanan, manager of Teca Tu—A Paws-worthy
Emporium & Deli in Santa Fe, N.M., said that whenever they
can, her sales staff tries to turn customers toward healthful
“It’s what’s best for all involved,” she said. “The cat owner
has some peace of mind that they’re doing right by their cat. We
make recommendations all the time and take the approach that
we need to look at promoting good health over cost.”
Chelsee Mundy, marketing and sale representative for Have-
Paws in Chattanooga, Tenn., said that even with the world’s
knowledge at their fingertips thanks to the Internet, consumers
feel like they are getting better information from retailers.
“They look to them as sort of experts on whatever they sell,”
she said. “Retailers as a whole would be wise to always keep a social media presence with lots of information about their products.”
“People are getting more educated every day,” she said. “I
think this will lead to a quality increase across all products in the
RUFUS & COCO’S Wee Kitty Clumping Corn Litter is
made from natural, biodegradable and environmentally
sustainable corn. It forms scoopable clumps that can
be discarded easily, either by flushing it away or adding
to compost or garden mulch. It also traps odors; within
five minutes of a cat using the litter, no ammonia odor
remains. The litter is gentle on paws, ideal for sensitive
noses and virtually dust free.
VITAKRAFT SUNSEED offers Purrk! Playfuls cat toys.
The stimulating cat toys either come with or contain Feline Silvervine. Silver vine, a nontoxic plant grown in East
Asia, has long been known to elicit euphoric responses
in cats, the company reports. The line includes Door
Dangles, Deep Sea Bug and Desert Bug, Frisky Fish, Marvy
Mouse and Perky Bird, as well as refill packets of Feline
Silvervine, which come with a bonus fuzzy mouse.
SCOOP CLAW’S Kitty Litter Claw is
HOW DO YOU TRAIN STAFF
designed so that anyone can keep the
litterbox clean without having to bend
or stoop. It has a 32-in. ergonomically
designed long handle and a rustproof
body made of ABS, which is durable and
lightweight. Users simply position the
claw over the waste, twist, squeeze the
handle to scoop the waste, shake and
release it into the waste container.
ABOUT FIRST AID AND SAFETY
PRODUCTS FOR PETS?
“We do bimonthly
training meetings and
include new products
that come in and the
uses for them. We
encourage staff to walk
around on their shift,
read packaging and ask
us questions. In-screen
monitors or televisions
play videos from
some have to do with
WHITTON, owner of
Most Valuable Pets Inc.
in Lexington, Ky.
PETSTAGES presents its Invironment Grass Patch
Hunting Box. The toy combines hunting fun with a
touch of nature. Its faux grass top is designed for scratching, hunting and lounging, while the jingle balls inside are
fun to bat and chase. “Discovery” sides offer more hunting
opportunity and make the toy enticing for one or more cats.
SNUGGLY CAT’S Ripple Rug cat activity mat provides a place for cats to hunt, stalk, pounce and hide. It’s also a
comfy retreat for them to sleep in or on. Different-sized holes become “lookouts” for prey. Cats love to pounce out
from (or into) the holes, and are always
ready to catch, pull or nibble at their toys.
The carpet fibers are designed to withstand
clawing and biting. The rug makes playtime
more enjoyable for owners, as the rug gets
clawed instead of their hands.