MAKE A SENIOR SECTION
John Sandiford, CEO of Gen7Pets in Elverson, Pa., noted the three
key “Ds” in marketing products for senior dogs.
“Display, demonstrate and delight,” Sandiford said. “Display
the products, demonstrate them and delight with exceptional
Mandie Sweetnam, category manager, travel and access,
for PetSafe, a brand of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn.,
said that customers like to see and feel products.
“Displaying a product or showing it in use really resonates
with a customer,” she said.
For Sally Adams Trufant, general manager of B&B Pet Stop
in Mobile, Ala., changing things up has dramatically increased
sales of pet strollers.
“We moved our pet strollers from up above, on the top
shelf of the pallet racks, and put them in our ‘ballroom’ area up
front—where we host events—and they are selling like crazy,”
The store used to sell one stroller every six months, and
now it is selling a couple of strollers a week, Trufant added.
“Customers want to continue their daily walks with their
older pets and need a place to allow the pet to rest,” she said.
“Quality of life is the goal these days.”
Susan Weiss, CEO and founder of Ark Naturals Products for
Pets in Naples, Fla., recommended setting up a senior section,
including the foods, supplements, remedy products, piddle pads,
collars, stairs, beds, etc., that accommodate senior needs.
“Make it easy for pet parents to learn how they can continue to have a great relationship and life with their senior pet,”
Education is the key to marketing senior dog products,
agreed Holly Allen, co-owner of Dee-O-Gee in Bozeman, Mont.
“We try to couple products such as joint-support supple-
MAKING AGING EASIER
ments next to senior foods or digestive enzymes alongside
omega supplements,” she said. “We also do a lot of in-store
signage with facts, statistics and pictures.”
Allen also suggested utilizing customer testimonies. For
example, before and after photos, or placing an aging pet’s “bio”
and photo alongside product information, with a discussion of
Maturation is unavoidable, and pet owners are seeking products
that will afford their dogs more comfort as the years advance.
Ark Naturals Products for Pets recently added two formulations
to its U.S.-made Sea Mobility Joint Rescue line of supplements. The
Sweet Potato and Cranberry formulas are meat free, and they contain veterinarian-recognized standards for joint-support ingredients
for mobility and flexibility, said Susan Weiss, CEO and founder of the
Naples, Fla., company.
“We know that lower protein levels are helpful for animals as
they age,” Weiss said. “These meat-free formulations still offer
amazing palatability and immediately lower protein levels while
providing an alternative for dogs who have difficulty with various
The unique nutritional needs of older dogs is receiving par-
ticular attention, said David Yaskulka, vice president of marketing
communications for Halo, Purely for Pets in Tampa, Fla. In July, the
company relaunched its brand with a holistic, humanely sourced
line of foods for dogs and cats, which can help meet demand for
diets for aging dogs.
“The offerings consist of whole meat, humanely sourced
OrigiNative proteins and non-GMO vegetables that reflect the
brand’s broader mission: to change the way companion animals are
fed and farm animals are raised,” Yaskulka said.
The grain-free Holistic line includes both dry and wet senior
selections. Dry formulations include wild salmon and whitefish,
“The key ingredient in Halo products is whole meat versus meat
meal, making it highly digestible for dogs of all ages,” Yaskulka said.
Many senior dogs suffer from arthritis and incontinence issues,
and Snappy Snoozers’ orthopedic beds are designed to comfort aging pets by taking pressure off their joints, said Roberta MacDowell,
president of Snappy Snoozers in Loxahatchee, Fla.
“The pet parent has the ability to make the bed as firm or as
plush as needed based on the amount of air added to the mattress,”
The mattress can be cleaned with a sanitizing wipe, leaving
little room for the harboring of germs, bacteria and viruses, while
the quilt is machine washable, MacDowell added.
Climbing in and out of a vehicle can be problematic for an
elderly dog, so Gen7Pets recently introduced ramps and steps to
make the process easier, said John Sandiford, CEO of the Elverson,
“The Natural-Step Ramp with its Poly-Grass surface is ideal for
all pets,” Sandiford said.
Poly-Grass allows the dog to obtain a grip and feel secure while
walking up a soft surface that will not scratch its paw pads, Sandiford said, adding that the artificial grass will not scuff or scratch the
Meanwhile, Gen7Pets’ Conversion Steps are designed to provide
safe and easy access to couches, chairs and beds. Furniture-grade,
wood construction offers sturdiness, while carpet treads and standard stair height provide ease of use, Sandiford said.
“Pet parents make a commitment to keep their furry family
members healthy and comfortable in their golden years,” said
Mandie Sweetnam, category
manager, travel and access, for
PetSafe, a brand of Radio Systems Corp. in Knoxville, Tenn.
As a result, more dogs are
thriving in those golden years
than ever before, said Susan
Weiss, CEO and founder of Ark
Naturals Products for Pets in
“The upshot is that dogs
are living much longer and not
just sleeping through old age,”
“Humans and pets want to
be able to enjoy their special
bond for as long as possible,
older dogs are still engaged,
and money is no longer an
issue,” she added. “For this
reason, we introduced our
senior brand of supplements,
Consumers’ desire to give
dogs a good quality of life in
their senior years drives demand
in food and other product
“We see this with purchases
of healthier dog foods, adding
more nutraceuticals to the diet
and spending on items such as
orthopedic beds as opposed to
more traditional foam offerings,” said Roberta MacDowell,
president of Snappy Snoozers in
Maintaining the well-being
of the older pet also includes
affording access to areas of the
home that might become more
of a challenge to reach with age,
such as the couch, bed or car,
Antislip socks can give
older dogs better traction.