Sizzling Stock: Flea and Tick Products
Category Trends Toward Natural
When seeking to prevent and find solutions for flea and tick problems, pet owners demand convenient and fast-acting products that will do no harm.
“Pet parents are looking for safe and effective products for themselves as well as their pets,” said Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and founder and owner of Earth Heart in Dundee, Ill. “Our customers want products made in the USA, with an emphasis on botanicals and other natural ingredients.”
James Brandly, content writer and public relations manager for TropiClean in Wentzville, Mo., reported similar trends.
“Natural flea and tick solutions have increased among both cat and dog products, as pet parents are purchasing more natural solutions,” he said. “Per the American Pet Products Association (APPA), they have seen a decrease in the purchase of topical solutions, and APPA attributes this to pet parents seeking natural solutions for their pets.”
Retailers said the focus on natural options also stems from consumers becoming more aware of their own health and wanting the same for their pets.
“As people are becoming more conscientious about their own health, they have been choosing flea and tick products that are healthier for their pets,” said Josette Neubaum, owner of Dragonfly Healing House in Hummelstown, Pa. “[There are] many more concerned owners who check all the ingredients in the products they choose for their pets.”
Savvy pet owners are wary of chemicals that have the potential to cause unpleasant or dangerous side effects, thus experts report that chemical-free options are on the rise.
“Over the past seven years, the purchase of natural, chemical-free flea and tick solutions among dog-owning households increased by 300 percent, according to APPA,” Brandly said. “Pet parents are seeking natural solutions to address flea and tick issues.”
With this comes a heightened desire for transparency, as seen in many other pet product categories.
“Transparency is now more important than ever before for people choosing products for themselves, and this shift influences trends in the pet industry, too,” said Stephanie Boone, founder and CEO of Wondercide Natural Products in Austin, Texas.
Beyond a desire for natural ingredients, dog and cat owners demand products that deliver.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there is no one-size-fits-all solution,” said Mike McCutcheon, owner of H3 Pet Supply in Stratford, Conn. “It always depends on the animal. With flea and tick control products, I’ve seen every brand be successful and every brand fail and be returned. I’ve learned it just depends on the animal.”
Neubaum added that pet owners also look for ease of application and how long a product stays effective.
Because there are so many flea and tick products to choose from, Laura Gustafson, store manager at H3 Pet Supply in Stratford, Conn., said that customers can get overwhelmed.
“Nothing beats having a conversation with the customer about what exactly they’re looking for,” she said. “With so many choices, the customer often needs some guidance.”
Looking ahead, insiders see continued focus on natural solutions that meet the needs of pets and demands of owners.
“Manufacturers continually seek new, natural ingredients that effectively and safely address the issue of fleas and ticks,” Brandly said. “The category will continue to innovate new products that fit the lifestyles of both pets and their people.”