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Grooming Marketplace: Dental Sales Don’t Have to End With Services

Groomers can offer myriad oral health-related products for home use between cleanings.
By Sandi Cain

As dental health awareness increases, more products are being introduced that could make dental care lucrative for groomers who are looking to tack on additional sales between teeth-brushing sessions. In addition to standard and unique toothbrush designs, manufacturers also offer and treats that promote dental health.

Toothbrushes and other dental products can add dollar signs to a groomer’s cash register. Courtesy of Bamboo Pet Products
Last year, Los Angeles-based Bamboo Pet Products started selling Quadbrush, with a four-bristle design for easier brushing. Three heads surround the tooth to clean it, while the fourth head simultaneously cleans the opposing tooth.

Amy Osete, Bamboo’s vice president of marketing, said the product’s design helps prop open the pet’s mouth and cushions any reflexive biting. It’s currently available to consumers at major chain pet stores, by catalog or online from and various other online retailers; groomers are targeted through trade publications, distributors, websites and trade shows.

Dentaclean’s Happy Tails offers a Dentaclean 3 in 1 Toothbrush with rounded bristles that brush top and bottom teeth simultaneously. The El Paso, Texas-based company also has multi-pack dental kits for both dogs and cats.

Randy Shapiro, president of Happy Tails, said the company hasn’t received many inquiries from groomers. He’s not alone. Jeff Reynolds, executive director of the National Dog Groomers Association, said the group doesn’t even have workshops on dental hygiene at its annual trade show; an indication the niche is still wide open.

Water additives that promote clean teeth, such as Oxyfresh Pet Oral Hygiene Solution, are popular with consumers looking for an easy way to keep their pets’ teeth healthy. The solution is the company’s best-selling dental product.

Many water additive oral cleaners are popular among pet owners who are concerned about dental health but prefer a less hand-on approach to care than brushing. Courtesy of Oxyfresh
Benedent Corporation also sells a similar water additive called Plaque-Off. The yucca-based solution is formulated to improve breath, eliminate bacteria and prevent plaque build-up.

Crunchy treats have long been touted as another way to keep pets’ teeth clean by helping to remove build-up from teeth during chewing. Many new ones claim to have proven health benefits.

“We saw a huge gap in the marketplace for treats that were fun and healthy,” said Hartz’s Lelay. The resultant Crunch & Clean dog and cat chews include a new patented ingredient that blocks tartar (similar to the one used in Crest toothpaste), along with extra flavor, crunch and size for just 2 calories per treat, according to the manufacturer. Used daily, they’ll have an impact after about a month, Lelay said.

Last summer, Happy Tails introduced Rawhide Rollups—a rawhide tube with a filling of healthful contents that the company reports help improve oral hygiene and freshen breath. The company has since added more flavors.

“We felt that consumers were becoming more involved in pet health, and that’s why we introduced it,” Shapiro said.

Hartz and Happy Tails follow on the heels of the VeggieDent Tartar Control Chew for dogs introduced in 2008 by Virbac Animal Health. Denise Skurdalsvold, senior marketing manager for the Fort Worth, Texas-based company, said an independent study determined the vegetarian chews reduce plaque by 37 percent and tartar by 70 percent in dogs.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council offers a seal of approval for food products formulated to reduce plaque and tartar that’s accepted by veterinary groups in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Great Britain.

With such a variety of dental-related products currently on the market, groomers looking to enter this retail category have their pick of the stock. <HOME>

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About 25% of my customers accept the teethbrushing and OxyFresh products I sell. I charge $10 for brushing and educate as best I can about their at home responsibilities
Carol, Henderson, MI
Posted: 1/17/2010 12:17:00 PM
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