BY E THAN D. MIZER
The market for at-home test kits has been growing in human retail, as consumers seek ways to measure and track their health, and
the trend is beginning to take root in the pet industry. With increasing numbers of manufacturers
entering the space, retailers have more options for
offering different types of test kits.
While few retailers report carrying at-home diagnostic test kits for pets, there are signs that consumer demand for these products, which range
from kits that test for urinary tract infections in cats
to allergy assessment tools, is growing.
“At the moment, diagnostic products for pets
are not yet [part of] a full-fledged trend, but it is
certainly beginning,” said Alexa Rose, business
development manager for Coastline Global Inc. in
Palo Alto, Calif.
Pet owners are increasingly active in their pets’
lives, she added, and this is part of the larger behav-
ioral shift that has been dubbed “pet humanization.”
“The market [for products in this category]
is currently stronger in our online shops than in
brick-and-mortar retail stores, although there is a
growing movement in both channels,” Rose said.
New testing products are becoming available,
noted Stephen Chen, founder and CEO of Petnos-
tics in Anaheim, Calif., with new competitors en-
tering the space.
Still, although there appears to be increasing
interest from shoppers, at-home diagnostics have
been met with skepticism from some retailers.
“I’m a fan of diagnostic products that work,”
said Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands,
Calif. “I’m not a fan of gimmicks.”
Grow does carry certain types of at-home testing kits in her store, she noted, specifically urinary
tract infection home test kits for dogs and cats, such
as those from Cranimals. Grow also carries Glacier
Peak Holistics’ allergy sensitivity home assessment
products, which she has carried for years, she said.
Some retailers that do not carry diagnostic pet
products expressed interest in the idea.
“We don’t sell home diagnostic kits,” said Claudia Loomis, executive vice president and customer
care officer for Cherrybrook Premium Pet Supplies,
which has stores in New Jersey. “However, we are
interested in bringing in [a product] that tests for
Because retailers generally do not directly address most health issues,
one of the best locations in-store to keep diagnostic products is near
the one section where products have the greatest direct impact on pet
health: near dietary products, industry participants reported.
“We encourage [retailers] to situate [Coastline’s] CheckUp next
to the specialty diet section, which we believe has the strongest
connection to the need for monitoring animal health,” said Alexa
Rose, business development manager for Coastline Global Inc. in Palo
Pet owners are increasingly aware of dietary issues in their pets,
including issues such as diabetes and food allergies, and placing testing
products near food offerings could help customers become aware that
they can monitor for these issues, said Stephen Chen, founder and CEO
of Petnostics in Anaheim, Calif.
“When people see [diagnostic products], it piques their interest,”
Chen said, adding that most customers come in looking for diagnostic
products when they know their pet has a specific issue and they want
help addressing it.
Petnostics is working to develop marketing materials based on
video messaging and an increasing use of social media, Chen added. It
might be useful for retailers to be proactive and reach out to customers
through social media to get the word out about diagnostic products.
“Retailers can create supplemental thought-leadership and
educational materials through a thoughtful social media and digital
presence,” said Gina Zaro, marketing director for Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products in Englewood, Colo.
The demand for at-home testing and diagnostic
products is growing as pet owners take greater
responsibility for monitoring their animals’ health.
DEVELOPMENTS IN TEST KITS
New tests are being developed, and the range of ailments and conditions that pet owners can check their pets for at home has never
Dr. Steven Hadaway, president and CEO of Perfect Pet Products in
Joseph, Mich., said his company’s products are just beginning to appear
in independent pet retail locations. The company’s Pet Health Checkup
is a urine test designed to test for multiple conditions, he noted.
It can be difficult to collect pet urine, so Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products
developed a litter designed to allow users to weigh their cat’s urine
clumps to help identify health issues and steer pet owners to the veterinarian if needed, said Gina Zaro, marketing director for the Englewood,
Dr. Elsey’s Cat Products also recently redesigned its product packaging to highlight product quality and minimize the color palette used,
Zaro noted. In addition, the company created a new tagline, “The Litter
Cats Love,” for the packaging.
Urine test kits can be used to identify a wide variety of issues and
are among the more popular at-home diagnostic products available,
industry participants reported. Petnostics will be introducing two urine
test kits soon, said Stephen Chen, founder and CEO of the Anaheim,
Another popular type of at-home test kit checks for various pet
allergies, retailers reported.
“We find [allergy test kits] to be a good starting point,” said Lorin
Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif. “[These tests tell us]
where we can start with an animal … and we’re trying to figure out if
the allergies are specific to food or something [in the] environment, or
a little bit of both.”
These allergy tests are popular, in part, because they allow retailers
to directly address dietary issues with customers, industry participants
There are also companies that are testing innovations that might
appear on the market soon.
“We are developing collaborative and unique canine diagnostic tests for biomarkers of cellular oxidative stress, for detecting
early-stage tissue inflammation, infections and cancers,” said W. Jean
Dodds, DVM, president of Hemopet, a nonprofit blood bank and maker
of the food sensitivity test Nutriscan in Garden Grove, Calif.
WHAT’S ON THE MARKET
The range of ailments and conditions that owners
can check their pets for at home has increased.