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Sizzling Stock: Pet Health Aids

Posted: June 28, 2012, 6:30 p.m. EDT


Make It All Better
Become a health aids destination for consumers by stocking supplies that maximize pet comfort and healing.
By Sandi Cain

As Americans become more health-conscious, they seem to be paying more attention to pet health. Manufacturers are responding with products that protect a dog’s paws, provide first aid relief for minor scrapes and scratches, treat bug bites, or provide extra comfort for those times when an e-collar is an absolute must.

Canine SOS
Emergency kits can come in handy for minor cuts or scrapes—or after a car accident while on the road. Wag’N Enterprises of Herndon, Va., takes that one step further. Its Rover Respond’r Mobile Emergency Kit includes car decals that alert first responders to look in the glove box for pet information. It also contains transport forms in case a pet needs to be taken to a veterinarian, a ”passport” that can hold pet information and records, including veterinary contacts, and more.

Pet health news
Many e-collars are available, including those made with soft or hard materials, as well as inflatable ones. Sherri L. Collins/BowTie Inc. at Petstop Warehouse
The company also has Mayday kits with medical supplies that it sells during hurricane season, oxygen masks for emergencies, and a pet bandana that comes printed with a quick-reference guide of emergency procedures for pets, said founder Ines DePablo.

Other first aid kits are more customized. Show-Me Animal Products of Kansas City, Mo., sells an all-natural first aid kit and this year added a feline-specific first aid kit to the 2-year-old natural product line, according to executive director Randy Hylton.

Retailers who sell this line typically have personal relationships with their customers, Hylton said.

“They’d know if a customer takes a dog on trips or hiking and maybe upsell with that [first aid] product,” he said.

The company is considering a more extensive first aid kit suitable for a household’s evacuation pack as well.

Pampered Paws, Noses and More
Whether in snow and ice or on sand and rocks, a dog’s paws need to be maintained and noses need to be protected. Paw booties, nose balm and paw balm are among the products that protect dogs from nose to toes, while spa-style moisture and healing sprays keep dogs ready for new adventures.

Debbie Guardian said paw balm was such a no-brainer she couldn’t believe she hadn’t thought of it until she was at an event on a  scorching day when dogs were obviously in discomfort on hot pavement. Opie & Dixie LLC’s natural Healing Paw Balm hit the market in early 2011 and has been a best-seller for the company, said Guardian, its founder. This year, the San Francisco manufacturer launched a companion product, Snoutstik, for dry noses that is particularly targeted to senior dogs and those with flat noses susceptible to dryness.

One product frequently mentioned by retailers for paw maintenance is Musher’s Secret, designed to help working dogs in the far north.

“We sell a ton of Musher’s Secret,” said Aquila Brown, owner of The Yuppy Puppy in Spokane, Wash.

She also carries Spectrum Laboratories’ Soothe spray, designed to treat hot spots, cuts, itchy dermatitis and bug bites.

Canine spa products get their own section of the store at Urban Dog Market in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The retailer carries Happy Tails nose and paw balm along with Vetericyn wound care healing spray, owner Melissa Sikic said.

Spa-style Soothing Balm by Juno’s Garden of Pacifica, Calif., is a mainstay for Petagogy in Pittsburgh because of its moisturizing properties, store owner Heather Blum said.

Other products also bring spa treatments to mind. The organic Paw Conditioning Treatment from Aroma Paws in Tarzana, Calif., is known for the protective barrier it creates for dogs walking on cement, ice, snow or sand, according to the company. Another new Aroma Paws product, Canine Massage Oil, is designed to provide massage relief for dogs and uses specific oils for specific ailments. A lavender oil helps to calm dogs after vigorous activities or walks, for example, noted company president Crystalyn Guzman.

Fashionista dogs might enjoy sporting paw booties that also protect the paws. Those are carried by Paw Prince in Anchorage, Alaska. The shop also offers Natural Dog Snout Soother for dry noses.

Flexible Collars and Cones
Medical cones and e-collars are a staple of dog ownership, much to the dismay of the canine crowd. But newer cones and e-collars are a far cry from the traditional inflexible plastic cone of days gone by, with more styles and sizes to choose from.

Soft cones get high marks from some pet stores.

“We really like the Comfy Cone [by All Four Paws], as it’s much more comfortable than the regular stiff plastic cones,” said AdreAnne Tesene, proprietor of Two Bostons, a pet boutique with two stores in Naperville, Ill.

Flexibility allows dogs to eat, drink and sleep comfortably while providing the barrier needed to heal a wound, she said.

Even cushier is an inflatable, pillowlike collar from Weston, Fla.-based Headroom Limited Inc. The BooBooLoon, approved by product distributors for the veterinary industry, will soon be included in an emergency travel kit to be distributed by The Stevens Co. in Canada, according to Vincent Colangelo, Headroom Limited Inc.’s vice president of business development. It’s also available in seven European countries.

More traditional e-collars have evolved as well. Azusa, Calif.-based Cardinal Pet’s Remedy + Recovery e-collars are wrapped with soft foam to prevent irritation and come in several neck sizes.

The aforementioned Comfy Cone from Santa Monica, Calif.-based All Four Paws has a new design. It includes a sewn pocket with a removable stay over each seam that allows for both comfort and structure. When the stays are removed, it becomes a soft cone.

“It bridges the gap between the soft and firm collars,” vice president Jaclyn Bogart said.

This summer, the company is launching disposable liners for the Comfy Cones to be used on dogs in pet hospitals. The liners are a peel-and-stick variety that can easily be changed, the company reported. They can also be used on collars rented to veterinary clients. 

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