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Sizzling Stock: Supplements

New, Natural Ingredients Drive Sales



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Pet supplementation is on the rise as consumers better understand the value of giving their cats and dogs additional nutritional support. 

“Globally, the supplement category is trending up,” said Fiona Stanton, international marketing manager for Lintbells in Hertfordshire, England.

The two factors affecting this growth are the humanization of pets and the evolution of nutrition science, said Casey Jones, president of Vet + Instinct in Phoenix.

“Consumers are becoming much more aware of the power of supplementation and diet to lead to a long and healthy life for their animal, as well as to support any specific concerns that they may have about their animals’ health,” Jones said.

Anthony Santarsiero, president of Trupet in Tampa, Fla., said he continues to see human trends spill over into pet supplements, as pet owners turn to these products to address a host of health concerns that their pets are experiencing.

“The category has evolved amazingly in just a few short years,” Santarsiero said. “Gone are the days when joint supplements took up most of the shelves. In their place has come a plethora of really great products targeted to specific ailments or issues.”

Jones reported that supplement sales are strong for both dogs and cats, although pet owners are buying different types of supplements for the two species.

“In dogs, we see supplement sales that better reflect their human counterparts’ needs,” such as joint-pain relief, he said. “In cats, the big sellers support feline-specific problems, such as hairball reduction, amino-acid support and urinary health.”

While products for hip and joint pain management remain steady sellers, they have been joined by many other options.

“Synthetic-free, organic, whole-food supplements are popular [and] provide vitamins, minerals, probiotics and enzymes easily absorbed by the body,” said Denise Strong, co-owner of Pawz On Main in Cottonwood, Ariz. 

She added that she only stocks USA-made and -sourced supplements and recently added raw cow’s milk kefir and raw goat’s milk to the mix.

Connie Romano, owner of Bark Out Loud Doggie Boutique and Café in Mansfield, Texas, said a raw goat’s milk supplied by a local farmer is popular with the store’s shoppers.

“The goat’s milk is good for digestive support and awesome for allergies, with probiotics and antioxidants,” she said.

Companies also reported frequent requests for cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp oils.

“This year, we are seeing a definite surge in interest in CBD,” Santarsiero said. “We’re currently being acquired and merged with a CBD pet company—Bona Vida—and will be entering into this market in a big way. The main issues surrounding CBD continue to be responsible sourcing and making sure the consumer is adequately educated.”

Other popular supplement ingredients include curcumin, tea tree oil, probiotics, bone broth and green-lipped mussel.

“We also continue to hear from our customers the desire to have better visibility to not just what goes into a product but also where it is produced, how is it produced and what steps we take to promote safety and efficacy,” Santarsiero said.

Essential oils sometimes spark concern over safety and efficacy, insiders reported; however, when used responsibly, they can offer a simple, natural solution for pets, said Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and owner of Earth Heart in Dundee, Ill.

Natural ingredients and homeopathic solutions remain a strong focus for dog and cat owners who increasingly are educating themselves on natural product options for themselves and their pets.

“Seeing more natural options become readily available has been a great step forward,” Santarsiero said. “Over the next few years, we will see even more unique products being developed.”

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