Q4 FOCUS: Senior Products
Industry insiders share advice on selling senior products.
Brook Bickford, owner of Gone to the Dogs Boutique in St. Pete Beach, Fla., has noticed that many customers are concerned with food choices when buying for their older pets.
“Dogs are living longer,” Bickford said. “Some brands seem to target older dogs, and customers come in looking for dry foods that are better for their aging pets. I’ve also noticed many people concerned about joint health, and there’s been a lot of emphasis on products that have benefits to a senior dog.”
Chris Bessent, a holistic veterinarian and CEO of Herbsmith in Hartland, Wis., said veterinarians and retailers have done their jobs so well over the years that dogs are living longer and there’s a large population of older animals, which brings new challenges.
“We are recognizing that older dogs need better products [such as beds], joint support and supplements that will help their brains function as thoroughly as they can,” Dr. Bessent said. “The baby boomers are often the ones with older dogs and are willing to support them, so retailers could definitely benefit by creating a section in their stores dedicated to seniors.”
Fred Silber, president and CEO of Enchanted Home Pet in Clifton, N.J., said the company has responded to trends in senior products with its newly improved PetTherapeutics pads, which feature orthopedic memory foam.
“Our cooling, warming and magnetic pads are made with a three-core structure, which includes memory foam,” he said.
The PetTherapeutics pads arrive at retail stores in a PVC bag, allowing the merchandise to be seen and felt by customers more easily while it is on the shelves, Silber said.
Linda Jangula, CEO of Wiki Wags in Lavon, Texas, noted that buzz for senior products is at an all-time high, and her company has responded accordingly.
“We believe the trend is stronger than ever focusing on natural products, whether it be vitamins, pain-relieving products or other geriatric products,” she said. “Our Wiki Wags products fall right in line with geriatric needs when pet owners are facing senior incontinence or other health issues causing urine leakage.”
Getting the Word Out
Jangula said that the fourth quarter brings with it all the wonders of winter, and pet owners know their pets are less likely to enjoy the rigors of the cold and wet weather—
especially older pets, as their joint and hip pain can be heightened at this time. That’s why she urges retailers to inform their customers about the products available.
“There are still many folks who do not know that these items are available,” she said. “Educating people is of great importance. Stores currently carrying them could help with a special focus-of-the-month product.”
Bessent said that adding photos of older dogs to the products on the shelf will connect customers with the items and increase sales.
Designing Health offers The Missing Link, the first United States patented pet supplement, the company states, adding that it is proven to work in independent studies. The new Senior Health Formula features New Zealand green mussel and a probiotic for better nutrient absorption. designinghealth.com
Gen7Pets’ Indoor Carpet Ramp Mini is a solution for pets that need easy access to furniture up to 2 ft. off the floor. This ramp allows dogs to securely grip its surface, adding stability when traveling up or down the incline. The carpet surfacing will not scratch or irritate paw pads. The ramp is 42 in., lightweight, and easy to open and fold. The soft rubber-grip handles allow easy transport, and the automatic locking latch prevents accidental or unexpected openings. gen7pets.com
Healthy Dogma’s ArthroMax K9 Mobility is an all-natural hip and joint supplement for dogs in chewable, liver-flavored wafers available in 60- and 100-count containers. The product combines hyaluronic acid, boswellic acid, green-lipped mussel and tart cherries with other joint health ingredients including methylsulfonylmethane, natural eggshell membrane, glucosamine and chondroitin. healthydogma.com
Solvit Products’ PupSTEP Plus XL Pet Stairs provide owners with an economical way to help their pets reach their favorite places. The XL is wider and taller than the original version, allowing pets to reach even the tallest beds. Despite weighing only 9 lb., the stairs will support more than 200 lb., making them suitable for all sizes of dogs. Built-in side rails and nonskid feet allow pets to climb these stairs with confidence, and when not in use, the steps fold down for easy storage and transport. solvitproducts.com
Krysak Industries’ H4Legs H-Bed is constructed from two types of foam to create 3 in. of active support (or 2 in. on the small sizes). The bottom layer is high-resilience foam designed to quickly spring back and aid the animal when returning to an upright position, while the top layer is a visco-elastic (memory foam) designed to contour and conform to a dog as it rests. The USA-made bed contains no zippers or mechanical closures to break or bite. Colors include navy blue and cherry red. h4legs.com