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Good Grooming Pays Off

How pet grooming products are faring in today’s market.



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In the pet grooming products category, problem-solving is the name of the game. Industry insiders see this especially with skin- and coat-care items.

“People are seeing the merits of keeping their dogs clean,” said Cynthia Fox, creative director at Pet Pantry Warehouse, which has locations in New York state and Connecticut. “In the past, vets said to wash them one to two times a year or you’d ruin a coat, but that’s a fallacy. When you use quality products—pH-balanced products—you can clean the coat and skin beautifully.”

She reported that the rise in self-grooming services has led customers to be more interested in products for the skin and coat.

“Grooming products are a staple, as anyone who loves their pets is always going to be in need of grooming products,” said Dawn Leoso Duncan, vice president of Glo-Marr Products, a manufacturer in Lawrenceburg, Ky. “The trend driving sales is the need for skin care. Skin issues cannot be ignored and have to be treated.”

Many owners want more than a basic shampoo. They are looking for problem-solving products. The top reported skin concern is itchiness caused by environmental or food allergies, Leoso Duncan said. Popular products are simple and fast acting, she added.

“Owners are looking for products that are easy to use,” she said. “We offer many skin care sprays and creams so that the pet owner can spray the area of issue and provide instant relief, as compared to having to give the pet a bath. It’s much easier to treat the area than bathe a 90-pound dog.”

Another trend in grooming products revolves around creating an at-home spa experience for pets.

“This category evolves as the human market also evolves,” Leoso Duncan said. “Things like aromatherapy that became popular for humans is now popular for pets, and any human trend that can be used on pets is always evolving.”

Cindy Rein, owner of Luke’s All Natural Pet Food, a pet store in Coral Springs, Fla., agreed, adding that as with human products, consumers are scrutinizing product ingredients.

“We find many clients looking for spa products which do not contain the ‘concerning’ ingredients they hear about in their own personal care products,” she said. “We also see the desire for tear-free and gentle products for their furry family.”

Pet owners are particularly drawn to products with naturally derived ingredients, and that feature little to no fragrance, enzyme-based technology, and no parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

“We hear many requests for fragrance free or only lightly scented with essential oils,” said Tori Rosay, pack leader at Dexter’s Deli, which has three locations in the San Diego area. “Scent or the lack thereof is a big selling point, along with no dyes or artificial perfumes.”

Following human trends, essential oils and cannabidiol (CBD) are showing up in many more pet grooming products.

“CBD has grown wings in the last year,” said Ric Sommons, owner of Dolittle’s, which has four stores in the Charleston, S.C., area. “Products are moving away from seed oils to avoid human allergens, as the proliferation of allergies has made it more important.”

Grooming products are a core need for pet owners, and manufacturers continue to innovate and reformulate as consumer demands evolve.

“Grooming products will always be a staple in the pet industry,” Leoso Duncan said. “When your pets live in your house, you have to take care of them.”

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