Finding the Awe in Spa Products
Spa grooming products with natural, sustainable ingredients that are free from unpopular
chemicals are available in premium to value-priced options to keep pets looking great.
BY SANDY CHEBAT
Spa grooming products and services are strongly mirroring the human market, as pet owners increasingly seek to extend these indulgences to their animal companions, industry participants
“From facial treatments and scrubs to medicated baths like oatmeal
treatments to nail and pad care, pet owners will spare no expense to
give their dogs and cats the same treatment as they do themselves,”
said Steve Nicolosi, national sales manager for Glo-Marr Products in
In fact, a majority of dog owners ( 76 percent) believe it is important
to buy pet grooming products that are of a similar quality to grooming products that they use for themselves, according to market research firm Wakefield Research. In a survey conducted by the firm
in May, 85 percent of dog owners said knowing exactly what’s in a
product, where the ingredients come from and where it was made is
important to them.
A focus on more natural and sustainable ingredients, U.S.-made
products and the absence of chemicals that pet owners want left out
of spa grooming treatments are key features in the category that are
coming from the human side, according to industry insiders.
“As with many other consumer markets, we’re seeing a strong
demand for grooming products that are made in the USA and are
naturally based,” said Bianca Rossi, head of marketing, Americas, at
The Company of Animals in Davenport, Fla. “The trickle-down ef-
fect we’re seeing consumers making in their own purchase behaviors
with shampoos and conditioners we are now seeing them make with
the at-home grooming products they’re purchasing for their pets.”
At Pussy & Pooch Pethouse and Pawbar, which has stores in
Southern California, clients prefer all-natural, chemical-free products
without parabens and sulfates, said Janene Zakrajsek, founder and
chief creative officer.
“There’s been a huge shift toward using products that are less
harmful to their pets and the environment,” she said.
Fernan Juarez, co-owner of Pet Cuts Pet Salon & Market and of
Groomingdale’s Mobile Pet Spa in North Hills, Calif., agreed, adding
that customers want more organic ingredients and products that do
not use harsh chemicals or artificial fragrances.
“Everyone knows that organic is better, so if they can afford
organic, they want it—especially for their pet who’s like their kid
in their family,” he said. “People love their pets and are willing to
spend on them.”
Several industry insiders reported that with the trend of
earth-friendly and natural products comes higher costs. For example,
Richard Ticktin, CEO and chief creator and innovator at SynergyLabs
in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said that one of the increasing costs stems
from using coconut instead of petroleum as the surfactant.
“As pet lovers and owners, we want products that are made with
the care and diligence we would use for human babies, with nothing
to make pets uncomfortable and unhappy, and containing as many
natural ingredients as possible,” he said, adding that gentle, tearless
and natural are very important attributes that consumers seek.
“Preservation systems are better today and safer for the earth—
and more expensive,” Ticktin added. “It’s not tangible for the user,
but the benefit is there.”
According to industry participants, there are several product features and ingredients that consumers are on the prowl for when they
consider a dog spa grooming product, including: cleansing and detoxifying charcoals and clays; essential oils with added benefits such
as calming lavender and lemongrass oils, and oils that help re-mois-turize such as aloe vera, tea tree and emu oils; botanicals such as argan
oil and moringa oil; manuka honey; pansy extract; bamboo; micellar
water; and a blend of ginger and green tea.
However, what dog spa grooming products do not include is also
significant to note, insiders agreed.
“What most people are looking for is what’s not in them, [such
as] parabens, sodium lauryl sulfates, dyes and soaps,” said Joseph
Manzi, president of Total Pet Care in Holbrook, N. Y. “And [the trend
is] here to stay.”
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