Catering to Comfort
Aging is an inescapable evolution, and pet owners’ desire to see dogs
live well during their golden years is fueling demand for senior-
BY LIZETT BOND
PRODUCTS FOR PETS
Not long ago, the canine transition from active puppyhood to the more sedate twilight years was considered the inevitable progression of age.
Today, it’s a different world for senior citizens of the four-legged
variety. Hip and knee surgeries are common, as is cancer care. Instead of pulling teeth, veterinarians discuss dental health. Readily
available joint supplements help dogs stay limber, special equipment allows easy access to the bed, couch or family car, and senior
nutritional needs are subject to scrutiny, said Susan Weiss, CEO and
founder of Ark Naturals Products for Pets in Naples, Fla.
“It’s actually not so different from the evolution of humans,”
Weiss said. “The senior portion of a pet’s life may require products
similar to those used when they were younger; however, certain in-
gredients, hardness of products or manageability are considerations
that need to be adapted as a dog ages.”
Pets are living longer these days, thanks to “better veterinary
care, healthier diets and well-educated pet parents,” said Mandie
Sweetnam, category manager, travel and access, for PetSafe, a brand
of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn. “It’s all about maintain-
ing or improving the quality of life for our pets.”
At Dollys Pet Shoppe in Sandy, Ore., owner Anna DePaolo noted
an increased demand for hip and joint supplements and said educa-
tion plays a strong role in product selection.
“A customer may not come in asking about a senior product
specifically,” DePaolo said. “For instance, they might be looking
for joint supplements, and, at that point, we’ll have a conversation
about the age and needs of their dog, and discuss the most appropriate product.
“Not all supplements are created equal; I’m very specific in what
I recommend and also suggest customers do their own research,”
At Hay Connection in Norco, Calif., customer service associate
Michelle Laning said that the majority of customers purchase an all-
life-stages food and tend to stay loyal to their brand of choice.
“The products we carry already contain glucosamine and chon-
droitin,” she said. “However, if a customer comes in looking for relief
for an elderly dog, we recommend InflamAway by Natura [Health
Products], which we carry in moderate and maximum strengths.”
Along with proper nutrition and supplementation, pet owners
want their beloved pets to remain as mobile as possible, and that
includes providing a range of products, such as ramps and steps,
that will allow dogs to feel relaxed, content and comfortable, said
John Sandiford, CEO of Gen7Pets in Elverson, Pa.
At Piglet’s Pantry in Mt. Dora, Fla., co-owner Carla Pereira said
that looking after the dental concerns of elderly pets is also a consideration, and, for that reason, the boutique stocks Leba III, a dental
spray from LebaLab Inc.
“Because veterinarians prefer not to perform anesthesia on older
dogs, this product is sprayed into the dog’s mouth and, over time,
alleviates the tartar,” Pereira said. “It’s a homeopathic remedy.”
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