BY AUDREY PAVIA
Smallanimalbedding, aprac- tical necessity for owners of mice, hamsters, rabbits
and other small pets, continues
trending toward products that
are eco-friendly and comfortable for pets and convenient for
“Beddings that offer systemic
improvement, are dust-free and
improve respiratory wellness are
vital,” said Brian Wood, president
of FiberCore in Cleveland.
Kayla Welling, general man-
ager of Arizona Feeds Country
Store in Tucson, Ariz., sees a
trend in products that are kind to
“Recycled products are on
people’s minds more than ever
before,” she said. “We’re happy
to see that because we live in a
very green-friendly environment
At Sierra Fish and Pets in
Renton, Wash., assistant manager
Matthew Hill also sees a trend in
natural bedding products.
“People want all natural,”
he said. “They are very eco-con-scious out our way nowadays.
They want recycled paper-type
products and products that are
Clean and Cozy
For small pets, the role bedding
plays in providing a hygienic,
comfortable environment is key.
WHAT’S NEW TO THE BEDDING CATEGORY
Cleveland-based FiberCore recently launched the Eco-Nest Pack, which is designed to provide an enriching environment for
the pet, said president Brian Wood.
“The product encourages nesting and foraging,” he said. “We’ve seen firsthand how quickly mice and gerbils have taken
to it. It’s been encouraging to us because we go into product development with two thoughts about animals: Let’s improve
health and decrease stress.”
The Eco-Nest Pack is eco-friendly and also helps promote interaction between humans and their small pets, according
“Customers love seeing their pets engaged,” he said. “The pets aren’t just in a static environment. That’s not desirable
for a pet’s life.
“This is all about enrichment,” he said. “It’s very satisfying to see a pet making a nest out of our product. They’re happy,
and so are we.”
FORM AND FUNCTION OF THE DISPLAY
Standing out in the bedding and litter category is all about putting features and functionality on display, said Lucas Stock,
communications manager at Oxbow Animal Health in Murdock, Neb.
“One bedding may look very similar to the next, but do they feel the same and function equally well?” he said. “We
encourage retailers to make bedding samples available for customers to touch and feel. For obvious reasons, a soft, uniform
bedding is a much easier sell than one that is coarse and clumpy. Pet parents want their companions to be comfortable and
will opt for a product they can feel for themselves.”
Lisa Kniceley, marketing and trade sales specialist for Vitakraft Sunseed in Bowling Green, Ohio, advises putting bed-
ding displays near the food and treats.
“This will help consumers to find this product more easily,” she said.
Keep small animals in the store in order to demonstrate the use of bedding, said Brian Wood, president of FiberCore in
“Keep gerbils, hamsters and mice in the store,” he said. “These are all gateway pets. A 6-year-old buying a hamster
and shopping for supplies eventually becomes a 16-year-old who has learned to properly care for a small pet and will buy a
60-pound bag of dog food in the same store one day. Engage people. Make your pet store a destination spot.”
Kayla Welling, general manager of Arizona Feeds Country Store in Tucson, Ariz., reminds retailers to keep the store spotless.
“Run a clean store,” she said. “Have your staff be mindful of keeping an eye on the neatness of the store. Getting out
there and keeping it safe and tidy is key.”
EDUCATION IS EVERYTHING
Educating pet owners about small animal bedding is vital for sales, and for the
health of pets, according to manufacturers and retailers.
“Consumer education in this category is everything,” said Brian Wood, pres-
ident of FiberCore in Cleveland. “It’s important to offer customers real options.
Many products on the shelves are similar, so having firsthand staff knowledge of
each product is a benefit.”
Lucas Stock, communications manager at Oxbow Animal Health in Murdock,
Neb., said that bedding can sometimes become an afterthought for certain
“These customers may be inclined to purchase the first bedding they
come across, or purchase bedding based solely on price or visual appeal,” he
said. “One key education point is a simple reminder of how much time certain
pets spend interacting with their bedding each day. When you consider that
some pets will spend
most or all of their day on
their bedding, it becomes
easier to make specific
on product functionality
and softness. For instance,
a soft bedding with high
absorption is a small in-
vestment in a pet’s comfort,
hygiene and health.”
Helping customers under-
stand the value of a particular
type of bedding can help make
sales, said Lisa Kniceley, mar-
keting and trade sales specialist
for Vitakraft Sunseed in Bowling
“Consumers may not realize
all of the benefits that a bedding
offers,” she said. “Retailers can
speak with customers regarding the bedding, offer the bedding in an adoption kit
and also use it in their store.”
“This is all about enrichment,” he said. “It’s very satisfying to see a pet
making a nest out of our product. They’re happy, and so are we.”
all of the benefits that a bedding