SHOWER THEM WITH KNOWLEDGE
Dog owners are becoming increasingly concerned about the products they use on their pets.
As with dog food, owners are looking for between-bath products featuring minimal ingredients
derived from organic and natural sources that do the job, according to industry insiders. Pet
specialty retailers can help pet owners find the options they need through simple education.
Rob Flanagan, president of Wag N’ Wash Natural Food & Bakery, a multistore pet franchise,
said employees are trained to help customers find the right between-bath products for their
“At Wag N’ Wash, we are solution focused with all of our products, so we respond to their
requests by making sure we first understand the presenting issue, then work with them to find
the right solution,” he said. “For example, if a companion has itchy skin, it could be a reaction
to a shampoo, or it could also be a result of their diet. Our pet experts work with the guardian to
ensure we are solving the problem, not just the symptom.”
Dogs have different needs and energy levels at varying stages of their lives, said Lisa
Rousseau, owner of Lisa’s Dog House in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, and the store works to find
products to accommodate these requirements.
“Gaining control of a puppy to do basic grooming is a challenge with all of that energy, and
older dogs have a hard time with the stress of a bath, especially when dealing with older dog
issues [like] sore joints, incontinence, etc.,” Rousseau said.
“Pet parents like that they can do a spot-clean on the dog’s backside if there’s been a potty
accident,” she added. “And then in the middle are the active lifestyles. Folks who do a lot of
travel and camping enjoy the ability to remove some of the allergens the dog picks up on the trail
and having an ‘emergency bath’ solution when water is scarce.”
The demand for between-bath solutions and other grooming products has increased,
particularly for products that offer both quick DIY solutions and natural or organic
ingredients. Recognizable, proven ingredients in grooming products also command both
higher prices and more interest from consumers.
“Natural plant essences, which can easily be identified as natural, are much more
attractive to a buyer than a cheaper product with a lot of chemical compositions in it,”
said Elyse Horvath, founder of Natural Paws in Phoenix.
“The labeling must be clear and leave no questions in the customer’s mind about
whether it’s ‘worth it,’” she added.
Moreover, when grooming products combine solutions to multiple issues, buyers see
their dollars stretching further, according to industry insiders.
“A moisturizer that also helps with allergies or a dry shampoo that also helps relieve
skin inflammation will be much more likely to be purchased,” Horvath said. “This can be
attributed to the fact that people love a deal, so a single purchase to achieve more than
one positive effect is an exciting buy.”
What are the biggest between-bath trends you’re seeing with customers?
“Customers are expressing an increased interest in products that
would be considered ‘all-natural.’ The fewer ingredients the better,
in fact. Most people are interested in their cleaning and grooming
solutions being biodegradable, as well. Products that are safe for
a pet and safe for the environment are the products that are hitting
the mark with our specific customer base.”—LISA ROUSSEAU,
owner of Lisa’s Dog House in North Bay, Ontario, Canada
“Owners are looking for products that not only
check the ingredient boxes [for] natural/organic,
but also actually perform.”—SAMANTHA KENT,
founder of Dr. Sniff in Dallas
“Dog owners are looking for solutions to the myriad of challeng-
es dogs can have such as itching, allergies and skin sensitivities,
odor control, fleas and so forth.”—PAUL ARMSTRONG, president
and CEO of Earthbath in San Francisco
ZIPPYPAWS’ Drake the Dragon is made out of
ultra-soft plush to provide a sense of comfort
and companionship. This toy is created in soft
shades of blue and orange. These colors, along
with a multicolored embroidered puzzle piece,
are features that symbolize autism awareness.
The toy is part of the Zippy Charity line, which
was created to help provide support for the
health and well-being of children with disabilities. Proceeds from sales of the toy will go toward Paws With A Cause’s Service
Dogs for Children with Autism program. Paws With A Cause is a nonprofit whose
mission is to increase independence and quality of life for people living with
disabilities nationally through custom-trained assistance dogs. For every toy
that is sold, $1 will be donated. zippypaws.com
UP COUNTRY offers Pinecones and
Elves dog collars. The collars are
made from high-tensile strength
nylon webbing, and are stain and
fray resistant. They are designed to
last a lifetime. Coordinating leads
are available. All collar and lead hardware is cast—not welded—brass for
extra strength, and the buckles are Coast Guard approved for high weight hold.