Keepin’ It Real
Manufacturer transparency and consumer education are keys to capturing the growing market
for natural pet supplements.
BY PAIGE BROCKWAY
As sectors of the human health care industry pro- gressively embrace naturopathic solutions, pet owners are also increasingly turning to natural
pet supplements to aid with digestion, anxiety, skin
care, joint management and more.
“Supplements have become popular over the
years, and this is due to how we, as pet parents, view
our pets as part of our family,” said James Brandly,
content writer and public relations manager for TropiClean Pet Products in Wentzville, Mo.
“This thought process has been known to many
as the ‘humanization trend’ within the industry,”
Brandly said. “The popularity of supplements is due
to the human/pet crossover as pet parents are pur-
chasing the same health-conscious products as they
would purchase for themselves.”
Toni Shelaske, owner and founder of Healthy Pet
Products, which has two locations in Pennsylvania,
“[The trend is] on the rise because the human food
and supplement market is also on the rise still, and I
think people are still frustrated with results that we’re
getting with conventional medicine … and coming to
us for alternative answers,” she said.
Natural supplements’ boost in popularity means
shoppers are more aware of their options, and con-
sumer education and trust are becoming increasingly
“[The] consumer is more educated than five years
ago, for sure,” Shelaske said.
According to Chelsea Gennings, vice president of
business development and special products for Pet
Releaf in Littleton, Colo., consumers are demanding
more transparency from manufacturers on how their
pets’ products are produced.
“Our control over our entire manufacturing process, from seed to sale, from plant to pet, allows us to
offer both retailers and customers unmatched transparency over our production process,” Gennings
For pet specialty retailers, the call for transparency might necessitate some extra research on products
before deciding which ones to stock.
Shelaske said she looks for products with the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) Quality
Seal, which identifies companies that adhere to rigorous standards set and audited by the nonprofit
“We look at more than just where the supplements
are sourced and how they’re formulated,” she said.
“We look at the company as well and the efficacy of
SET UP SUPPLEMENTS FRONT AND CENTER
Creative, prominent pet supplement displays can be key to
catching the eyes of shoppers at pet specialty stores.
“The area I have dedicated to supplements, which I call
the ‘Medicine Cabinet,’ we just keep expanding in that area,”
said Toni Shelaske, owner of Healthy Pet Products, which has
two locations in Pennsylvania.
Nancy Guinn, owner of Dog Krazy, which has five locations
in Virginia, said placing supplement samples near the
registers has helped boost sales, as cashiers can pitch the
products at the point of sale.
However, she has seen an even bigger boost from moving
her “APAWthecary” to the front of the store, making it a focal
“Now people are coming in, and boom, it’s the first thing
they see,” Guinn said.
Each month, she holds a competition between Dog Krazy’s
five locations. The stores are all given one theme to build a
large display around, and the best display wins the location’s
employees a prize, like a pizza party or a trip to an escape room.
This past September, the theme was stress and anxiety.
Other past themes included senior pets and obesity, kidney
disease, cancer, pancreatitis and irritable bowel syndrome
—for which one store built and arranged products around a