A Commitment to Wellness
Promoting the supplement category comes down to selling overall health and wellness for pets.
BY LINDSEY GETZ
There continues to be a growing interest in supplements for cats and dogs, and independent pet specialty retailers say it’s a trend that’s not going away. The leading driver is pet owners’ desire to improve pets’ overall health while avoiding the use of prescription medications.
“The problem is that Big Pharma’s options aren’t working, and animals aren’t getting better on medications,” said Lorin Grow, owner of Furry Face in Redlands, Calif. “This is frustrating to pet parents who
would, and do, often pay dearly to care for their animals only to have a sicker animal after doing so.”
As a result, Grow said, pet owners are turning to alternatives like natural supplements.
“Customers are realizing that pet food is not perfect,” said Samantha Henson, a certified clinical pet
nutritionist and merchandising manager for Premier Pet Supply, which has stores in Michigan. “They’re
even noticing visible changes—such as their pets’ coats getting duller. But when they start them on a
supplement, they notice a change, and they notice it quickly. From there, the word-of-mouth takes over.”
Chuck Francis, president of Tempe, Ariz.-based Finish Line Pets, maker of the Vet Worthy brand,
agreed that products that deliver noticeable results help feed the interest in supplements. He said the most
popular subcategories of wellness products include those that help with joints, skin and coat, calming,
and digestive issues. Pet owners can see relatively quick results in each of those categories with the use
of supplementation, Francis said.
Supplements that solve specific problems continue to remain popular with pet owners, agreed Andrew Morrison, founder and CEO of Presidio Natural Pet Co. in San Francisco.
“Supplements allow pet parents to not just provide increased nutrition to their pets, but help them
achieve a specific goal,” he said.
As pets are embraced as part of the family, this trend will only continue to grow, industry participants
“Here in Vermont, dogs have moved from the barn to the living room,” said Amanda Reilly, co-founder of Reilly’s Hemp Co. in Burlington, Vt. “Generally speaking, when dealing with health issues, pet
parents are looking for holistic, pharmaceutical alternatives or co-therapies that will help maintain their
pet’s health and wellness.”
Pet owners increasingly seek out supplements for their pets as
they learn more about the potential benefits of these products.
“Just as we supplement our
own diets with different foods or
nutritional products to achieve a
goal, pet parents have also been
looking for ways to supplement
their pet’s diet at different times of
their lives for a variety of reasons.”
—Andrew Morrison of Presidio
Natural Pet Co.