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Keep Calm

Thanks to innovative manufacturers, owners of anxious pets now have a bevy of soothing products to choose from.


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Providing relief for pets suffering from anxiety is a priority for many dog and cat owners. As a result, pet specialty retailers and manufacturers are seeing a growing demand for over-the-counter calming products.

“Humans are well aware of the impact stress takes on our health, and we are more in tune with the signs of stress and anxiety in our pets,” said Kyla Sternlieb, president of Under the Weather in South Burlington, Vt. “Whether it’s being left home more often, travel or changes in [a pet’s] environment, pet parents are looking for products to [help pets] cope with anxiety.”

Tom Wien, director of marketing for Cardinal Pet Care in Azusa, Calif., attributed the growth of the anxiety-relief product category to shifting lifestyles for pets and owners. 

“A big factor driving this growth is the inclusion of pets in more activities today, such as family outings, office work days, vacations, holiday gatherings, and visits to friends and relatives,” he said. “Although this is fun for everyone, it takes dogs out of their familiar routine and can make them over stimulated, hyperactive, anxious or nervous.”

Products that contain cannabidiol (CBD), a hemp derivative, are also becoming more popular with customers as they seek more natural solutions for treating their pets’ anxiety.  

“Consumers and retailers are looking for more plant-based and holistic products when selecting options for their companions,” said Chelsea Gennings, vice president of business development and special projects for Pet Releaf in Littleton, Colo. 

“Transparency in manufacturing and ingredients has become of the upmost importance, with a priority placed on companies who are producing truly organic products,” she added. 

Marketing

Calling Attention to Calming

Because the demand for anxiety-relief formulas for pets is on the rise, marketing these products often yields strong results for pet specialty retailers that sell them.

“Once we brought in cannabidiol (CBD) oil, I sent out an email and immediately had a huge response,” said Sherry Redwine, co-owner of Odyssey Pets in Dallas. “People came in the very next day to get some, and we sold out within three days.”

Danelle Aleman, manager of Cozy Pet Supplies in Upland, Calif., finds that a certain type of pet owner is interested in anxiety-relief products, and she does the majority of her marketing through social media to reach these individuals.

“We have found that the more technologically savvy and millennial customers are the ones who are looking for alternatives to help their pets’ anxiety,” she said. “Social media is a great way to reach them.”

Eric Bittman, CEO of Warren London in New City, N.Y., said that these savvy pet owners are often interested in what is in the products.

“When marketing these products, always make sure to include all ingredients, because many pet parents want to make sure it is a safe product,” he said. “Whether it’s a CBD oil, a calming spray or any other anti-anxiety product, knowing what your pet is taking in, and how and why it’s safe, is the first thing they will look for.”

New Products

Calming Solutions

Manufacturers are creating new products to satisfy the growing number of pet owners seeking anxiety-relief solutions.

Cardinal Pet Care released its Remedy+Recovery Calming Lavender Mist and Remedy+Recovery Calming Lavender Mist & Disk Kit at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla., in March.

“Remedy+Recovery’s Calming Lavender Mist is a safe and gentle calming spray that contains two botanical relaxing agents—lavender and valerian oil—both known for their natural anxiety-relief properties,” said Tom Wien, director of marketing for the Azusa, Calif.-based company. “The Remedy+Recovery Calming Lavender Mist & Disk Kit includes a 4-ounce bottle of Calming Lavender Mist, along with a set of four adhesive-backed fabric disks, which easily attach to flat surfaces. The kit makes it simple to turn any area, such as a pet bed or crate, into a calming area.”

Pet Releaf recently released its first line of products under its new division, Pet Releaf Professional, called Liposome Hemp Oils. 

“Our certified USDA organic cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil has had proven success in helping with situational anxiety,” said Chelsea Gennings, vice president of business development and special projects for the Littleton, Colo.-based company. “This brand-new oil technology gives pet parents the convenience of administering our CBD hemp oil directly on their pet’s food without losing any efficacy.” 

Tevra Brands’ new USA-made Vetality Triple Action Calming Sniffer Soft Chews are designed to help calm dogs during stressful situations.

“The product contains a patented pheromone on the outside for an immediate calming response,” said Caryn Stichler, vice president of marketing for the Omaha, Neb.-based company. “It can help reduce stress, which may cause inappropriate behaviors in dogs. It also contains a calming blend of L-tryptophan, thiamine and niacin on the inside for longer-lasting calming benefits.”

Under the Weather in South Burlington, Vt., released Calming Soft Chews for Cats at Global Pet Expo this year, said president Kyla Sternlieb. The product was introduced for dogs last year.

“These targeted formulations are designed to promote relaxation and balanced behavior during times of stress,” Sternlieb said. “Both contain L-theanine for relaxation and sleep, and L-tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin once absorbed.”

In January, MaxWell Pet debuted Calm & Happy, which is designed to help animals dealing with new situations.

“It is a unique biotherapy formula developed to help calm animals exhibiting nervousness, hyperactivity, discontentment, or those responding to environmental stress,” said Dr. Stuart H. Garber, founder and developer of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based company.

Consumer Education

Provide Product Guidance

The nature of anxiety-relief products calls for customer education, according to retailers that sell these products.

“We believe education is critical in this category, and that’s why we have the manufacturers come out and do training days with our employees,” said Danelle Aleman, manager of Cozy Pet Supplies in Upland, Calif. “This is so they are well versed on the products and can pass that knowledge on to our customers.”

Denise Strong, co-owner of Pawz On Main in Cottonwood, Ariz., spends as much time as is necessary to educate each customer on the product they are considering.

“We provide them with literature to take home with them as well,” she said. “When we first launched Pet Releaf cannabidiol (CBD) hemp oil several years ago, we hosted an on-site seminar, ‘The ABCs of CBD,’ which was wildly popular.”

Laura E. Haupt, owner of Bark & Meow in Tarrytown, N.Y., asks customers a lot of questions so she can understand the situation that the animal is experiencing.

“I then make an educated decision on what to recommend,” she said. “I feel it is important to educate the customer on how and why I am recommending a product.”

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