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Dog Marketplace: Promote Dog Skin and Coat Care Naturally

Posted: Oct. 16, 2012, 3:45 p.m. EDT

Products with ingredients that are designed to comfort and heal are growing in popularity with dog owners.
By Audrey Pavia

As dog owners become more educated about pet care, they are paying more attention to their dogs’ skin and coats. Consumers are willing to spend money on quality skin and coat care products for the comfort and well-being of their dogs.

An important trend in canine skin care products is the inclusion of natural ingredients in shampoos, conditioners and other therapeutic grooming products. Several new products in this category emphasize the healthful properties of natural ingredients.

Dog skin care products
Trial or travel sizes can help introduce skin products to curious customers. Carrie Brenner/BowTie Inc. at Pet Country
“Our newest skin care products are part of a complete redesign and branding of our Spa by Tropiclean line,” said Brian Collier, creative marketing and public relations coordinator for Tropiclean in Wentzville, Mo. “During that process we decided to also introduce new items such as Paw & Pad, our oatmeal-enriched, soap-free paw treatment.”

The skin of a dog’s paws and pads can crack easily and become damaged through the changing seasons, Collier said.
“This can cause pain and discomfort and also be dangerous by allowing an opportunity for infection,” he said. “Using a selection of natural ingredients enables products like Paw & Pad to effectively treat damaged or irritated skin.”  

Also featuring oatmeal as an ingredient is Lambert Kay Fresh ‘N Clean Oatmeal & Baking Soda Shampoo, produced by PBI/Gordon Corp. in Kansas City, Mo. Designed to be used for frequent bathing, Fresh ‘N Clean Oatmeal & Baking Soda Shampoo soothes dry and irritated skin, according to the company.

Pet skin care products
Easy-to-understand solution centers offer information and encourage sales.Katie Ingmire/BowTie Inc.
“Most dog owners don’t want to shampoo too often because they are concerned it will dry out the dog’s skin,” said Kim Nguyen, director of marketing of consumer animal products within PBI. “However, our chemist has spent years understanding dog skin, which is more sensitive than human [skin], and has designed products for dogs with the correct pH.”

Oatmeal is the most beneficial ingredient for a dog’s skin, according to Nguyen.

“Oats soothe irritated skin and help nourish dry skin,” she said.

There is a limited range of brands in D.O.G. Pet Boutique’s  spa product section, and many of them are made up of natural ingredients.

“Overall, our most popular products are anything that consists of natural ingredients like oatmeal,” said Christian Velasco, vice president of the trendy West Hollywood, Calif., retailer. “Our customers always are searching for products that will keep dogs from itching. We find that oatmeal is great at keeping pets’ skin hydrated and ultrasoft.”

Natural ingredients also provide the basis for a new product called Reliever Achiever, by Peaceable Kingdom Essentials in Hershey, Pa. Designed to help soothe and heal minor skin abrasions, irritations and hot spots, the product contains several active organic botanicals, including calendula, an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic herb, and chamomile to reduce puffiness and cleanse pores, according to the company.

“By combining these herbs, we accentuate their therapeutic actions,” said Cindy Wenger, owner. “Herbs with similar actions become more effective, and those with different actions enhance the effect of the other.”

The product is easy to administer and eco-friendly, Wenger noted.

Offer Tear Stain Solutions
Many dogs are prone to staining around the eyes, the result of tears that leave a dark area on the skin and coat, said Dr. Heidi Watkins, DVM, of Airport Irvine Animal Hospital in Costa Mesa, Calif. This can cause the skin to become irritated and susceptible to infection, she added.

Manufacturers of canine skin care products are offering ways to gently eliminate tear stains while also caring for the coat.

“NaturVet Tear Stain Supplement is formulated to help eliminate unsightly tear stains from the inside out,” said Scott Garmon, president of NaturVet in Temecula, Calif.

“The natural active ingredients of cranberry extract and calcium ascorbate help support the immune system. Marshmallow root helps lubricate mucous membranes, and Oregon grape root is a natural antimicrobial.”

Another approach to dealing with tear stains is through a dietary supplement, such as Angels’ Eyes, which comes in beef, chicken or sweet potato flavors.

“Angels’ Eyes gets to the root of the problem by working internally,” said Lynda Winkowski, president and CEO of Angels’ Eyes in Sunrise, Fla. “Products that work internally are easy for the consumer to use without worrying about irritating the area around the eye more than it is already.”

The supplement is a popular seller with customers at Elephant Nose Pet Center, a retailer in Morristown, N.J., noted Julie Pilas, owner.

“It’s a product that our customers like,” she said. “It really seems to work.” —AP

At Gardens by Grace, an all-natural retail store in Chambersburg, Pa., Peaceable Kingdom’s Reliever Achiever is popular.

“Our customers are dedicated to healthy lifestyles for themselves and their pets,” said DK Guyer, president. “They like Peaceable Kingdom Essentials products because [many of them] are USDA certified organic. Plus the product is very effective and the price is far below that of buying individual tinctures or flower remedies.”

Products made to care for specific parts of a dog’s body are also a trend in the canine marketplace. Two new items designed for use on dogs’ faces and on teeth and gums are available from San Francisco-based Earthbath.

“Our two newest products are Earthbath Totally Natural Facial Wipes and Tooth & Gum Wipes,” said Paul Armstrong, president. “Our facial wipes are designed especially for use on pets’ faces and around sensitive areas like eyes, which can have a tendency to accumulate gunk and goop that needs attention. They can be used at the end of a bath to avoid having to wash your dog or cat’s face with shampoo and water or between baths as needed to freshen up.”

Tooth & Gum Wipes are designed for daily use as a convenient toothbrush alternative, Armstrong noted.

“We all know that we should brush our pets’ teeth daily, but it’s oftentimes easier said than done,” he said. “Tooth & Gum Wipes are easy to use and formulated with baking soda and peppermint, which naturally remove odor and help keep pets’ mouths clean.” 

For some breeds, an important part of keeping the coat in good condition is through regular clipping. To make clipping easier for dog owners, Andis Co. in Sturtevant, Wis., introduced three new clippers: the 12-piece EasyClip Versa Kit, the 9-piece EasyClip Clipper Kit and the 12-piece EasyClip Combo Kit. 

“The 9-piece Clipper Kit and 12-piece Combo Kit feature the EasyClip Clipper, a powerful, adjustable blade clipper designed for light body grooming,” reported Gary Stanczyk, vice president of sales.


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