Beyond the Bathtub
Busy pet owners look for quick between-bath grooming solutions.
K Products such as paw wipes and deodorizing sprays
can help pet owners clean up their dogs after outdoor
play or between grooming appointments.
BY JEN SOTOLONGO
As pet owners become more knowledgeable about the ingredients that affect the health and well-being of their dogs, they are seeking more bath and grooming products that contain nontoxic ingredients they recognize. In fact, manufacturers and pet specialty retailers report that the trend the pet industry
has experienced with an increase in healthful, all-natural foods has now extended to between-bath and
“Dog owners are looking for products with more natural ingredients in them, as they consider their pets as
members of the family and treat them as they would treat a child,” said Paul Armstrong, president and CEO
of San Francisco-based Earthbath. “The concern for the general health and welfare of their dog usually starts
with food and transitions to healthy grooming options.”
Rob Flanagan, president of Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery, a multistore pet franchise that offers a
self-service wash and creates its own line of shampoos, said from pet food to specific ingredients in shampoos
and conditioners, pet owners are becoming more aware about pet product ingredients.
“There is a deep curiosity about how any ingredient would assist their companion, what is the best fit and
whether there is anything that could be harmful,” he said.
Manufacturers and retailers reported that sales of grooming products continue to grow, noticeably increasing during the summer months when dogs spend more time outdoors with their owners.
“We do tend to see greater sales of cleaning products in the summer months, when dogs are liable to
get wet and dirty,” said Lisa Rousseau, owner of Lisa’s Dog House in North Bay, Ontario, Canada. She also
reported an increase in sales around the Christmas holidays, “as everyone wants a clean pet when their
Dog owners are looking for simple solutions to grooming and bath time, according to Rousseau, and fast
and easy is key, she added, as dog owners have less time to give regular baths.
As a result, manufacturers are developing products that make bath time quick and easy, as well as contain
high-quality, nontoxic ingredients.
“Dog owners love a clean dog but are short on time for such tasks,” said Elyse Horvath, founder of Phoenix-based Natural Paws, which offers a dry shampoo that gives pet owners a convenient way to keep their
dog clean more often.
On-the-go products such as wipes and sprays that enable dog owners to quickly touch up a dirty spot or
freshen up their dog before company comes over without the need for a full bath are becoming more popular.
In response to the trend, Dr. Sniff will launch a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner that will “make it
easier for those pet parents that have a hard time wrangling the pups for bath time but without sacrificing
the health and silkiness of the coat,” said Samantha Kent, founder of the Dallas-based company.
Word-of-mouth recommendations have proven to be among the
most valuable sources of marketing for between-bath products,
according to industry insiders.
“We tend to allow our customers’ experiences and word of
mouth tell our story, because it’s so much more compelling to hear
first hand that this product solved a particular issue,” said Elyse
Horvath, founder of Phoenix-based Natural Paws.
Rob Flanagan, president of Wag ‘n Wash Natural Food &
Bakery, which has 16 stores in the U.S., agreed.
“What we have found the most useful is our guests raving
about their experience and telling their friends and family,” he
Working with social media influencers can be hit or miss,
insiders reported. While some have found success using
influencers, Samantha Kent, founder of Dr. Sniff in Dallas, has
become wary of the concept after testing the tactic.
“We have noticed that paid social is becoming less effective as
people become more aware of influencers endorsing products for
pay without enjoying the product and are able to filter out ads,”
she said. “I personally believe in non-paid influencers or just using
influencer photos for content, not for product sales.”
Horvath has found the opposite to be true in her experience,
noting that individual influencers each have a unique point of view
with the readership to match.
However, sometimes products speak for themselves, according
“We’ve learned that once people try our products, they become
loyalists forever,” said Paul Armstrong, president and CEO of San
Francisco-based Earthbath, adding that an active social media
presence and sampling programs can also help create loyal