How is demand for digestive health
products in the human sector creating
a call for the same nutritional support
in the canine world?
“Thanks to yogurt commercials on television, the
average consumer has become very aware of the
importance of good gut health on the human side.
This has driven demand for pet products to restore
or maintain the right balance of gut bacteria.”
—Kyla SterNlIeb, founder and president of Under
the Weather in South Burlington, Vt.
“The bottom line is that it’s the primary catalyst in the pet
category. The tsunami of consumer preference for brands
and products focused on improving or maintaining digestive
health is truly amazing. That’s why more and more innovation
is focused on this issue.”—Matt Keller, brandmanagerof
Supreme Source for Ogden, Utah-based American Pet Nutrition
“It’s definitely becoming a thing, and I have more
products to offer than I did five or six years ago. In
my area, I would call it more a growing awareness
than demand. Pet owners are hearing about digestive
enzymes for their dogs, but I don’t see them jumping
all over it.”—aNNa DePaolo, ownerof Dolly’s Pet
Shoppe in Sandy, Ore.
THE NEED TO KNOW
Pet store employees who can answer consumers’ questions about
their pets’ digestive health are key to encouraging sales of products
formulated to promote healthy guts.
For this reason, the ability to assist consumers in gaining knowledge
is central to employee education, said Derek J. Archambault, director of
marketing, pet and retail, for FoodScience Corp. in Williston, Vt.
“Some pets may simply need a change in diet to address digestive
issues; others may need more support in the form of probiotics or
additional fiber,” Archambault said. “Everyone has access to both good
and bad digestive health information, but sometimes this information is
simply incorrect or too difficult, or impractical, to translate into action.”
Determining the needs of the individual dog requires a bit of detective
work and plenty of conversation, according to pet specialty retailers.
Ascertaining the type of digestive issues a dog is experiencing is the
first step toward making a recommendation, said Denise Strong,
co-owner of Pawz On Main in Cottonwood, Ariz.
It’s a discussion that can take time before arriving at the root of
the problem, added Carla Pereira, co-owner of Piglet’s Pantry in Mount
“I want to find out what they are currently feeding their dog and what
it is experiencing,” she said. “Sometimes, it can take awhile to figure out
what is going on.”
Before making a purchase, today’s consumers are very involved in
their own educational process, said Kyla Sternlieb, founder and president
of Under the Weather in South Burlington, Vt. For this reason, it is
important for retailers to ensure their staff members are knowledgeable
and can confidently assist in recommendations or direct consumers to
online resources for additional research.
“Many consumers will pay a premium to shop in stores where staff is
able to provide value-added information,” she added.
Competency is everything, Strong said.
“Full knowledge of the products I carry here at Pawz On Main is
critical to sales.”
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