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Pet health and well-being continue to be a focus for pet owners who are paying closer attention to their own health and who want to make their dogs as comfortable and calm as possible, especially as they age.

“With the explosion of the human wellness and self-care culture over the last few years, combined with the fact that we want our pets to live longer, healthier and high-quality lives, the supplements category is surging for our canine companions,” said Rob Johnson, vice president of sales, North America, for Brilliant Salmon Oil, which is produced by Chicago-based biotech company Hofseth BioCare.

“Sales are exploding for supplements,” he added.

Consumer demand continues to drive sales upward even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, industry insiders reported.

“Since pet-related categories have been deemed essential, we have noticed very little disruption in our sales demand,” said Steve Ball, CEO of Zesty Paws, a pet supplement brand in Orlando, Fla.

Nancy Guinn, owner and president of Dog Krazy, which has seven locations in Virginia, said in-store sales are up 19 percent over last year, with an additional huge boost to online sales.

“Our supplement category is up as people have been working from home and are paying more attention to their pets’ overall health,” she said.

Supplements that offer problem-solving benefits and provide relief are resonating most with pet owners, insiders report.

“Right now, we’re seeing pet parents become increasingly interested in three categories,” Ball said.

These include functional products for joints, probiotics and cannabidiol (CBD) products, he reported.

Pet specialty retailers are noticing these trends in their stores.

“CBD has been and continues to be a big seller,” Guinn said. “Calming supplements are another great seller for us as well as supplements for sensitive tummies.”

Aquila Brown, owner of The Yuppy Puppy, which has two locations in Spokane, Wash., also reported an increased interest in CBD.

“CBD is still huge here and growing,” Brown said. “Relief for joint issues and separation anxiety are the main concerns of our client base.”

Manufacturers are introducing a variety of solution-oriented supplements to meet consumer demand.

In the spring, Zesty Paws launched its Aller-Immune OraStix, which was created to protect skin from seasonal and environmental factors. According to Ball, the sticks contain the unique ingredient EpiCor, which uses a combination of polyphenols, fibers, polysaccharides and metabolites to support the immune system. Aller-Immune OraStix contain other beneficial ingredients such as cod liver oil, turmeric, and hemp to provide immune and histamine support while promoting healthy teeth and gums, Ball added.

Earlier this year, Hofseth BioCare launched its Brilliant Salmon Oil in the North American market. The heart-healthy, human-grade pet oil is derived from fresh Norwegian Atlantic salmon. It gives dogs a shiny coat, softer paws, increased energy and enhanced appetite, company officials said. Brilliant Salmon Oil is a pure, unrefined and gently liberated product with zero additives, officials added.

“Retailers love the 59 percent margins that Brilliant Salmon Oil offers so they can pass along incredible quality and value to their customers and keep them coming back again and again because their pet’s health will be greatly improved,” Johnson said.

Consumer Education

Share Your Supplement Knowledge

Though dog supplements have become more appealing to pet owners, finding solutions to common ailments is just one step of the process.

“Overall in dog supplements, we’re seeing an increase in pet parents being more inquisitive when it comes to supplement ingredient levels and efficacy,” said Lara Bernhardt, director of consumer marketing for Parker, Colo.-based manufacturer H&C Animal Health, noting that consumers want to be better informed about correct dosing and allergen-friendly ingredients.

Pet owners that seek knowledge about supplements will likely turn to pet specialty retailers for expert advice, and consumer education is key in this category.

The Yuppy Puppy, which has two stores in Spokane, Wash., uses a variety of tools to educate consumers about the benefits of supplements. One effective tool that continues to yield dividends is the community class the store taught on cannabidiol (CBD) for pets. The taped class was used to create a YouTube video.

“We often send the link to customers who reach out to us online, and they inevitably come in to purchase products,” said owner Aquila Brown.

Nancy Guinn, owner and president of Dog Krazy, which has seven locations in Virginia, also uses social media to get the word out. It’s easy for her to promote products because she has tried them on her pets at home.

“I find that talking about our products on social media and sharing my experiences with that product helps sell what we carry,” she said. “We also ask vendors for samples and include them in our Krazy Sample Krates that we send out at the end of every month. Our Krates have already introduced three new lines into my store just by sending out samples.”


Trade Talk

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Ann Hudson, vice president of marketing for Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis

What solutions are dog owners seeking from pet supplements, and what does Whitebridge offer in this category? 

Maintaining a healthy body has become top of mind for many people, a concept that easily transfers to pets. It’s not just about supplements that solve problems but supplementing good diets to avoid problems. 

Products for skin, digestion, mobility and even dental health are found in the supplement aisle, but the same active ingredients are also in foods and healthy treats. The fastest-growing brands simplify the science. The right solutions for dogs and cats merge the benefits of proven active supplements in treats and food that are fun to feed.

Dogswell has solutions in food and treats that span a natural immunity boost to the highest level of glucosamine in the category. Dogswell food is serious science in a holistic diet that appeals to consumers looking for simpler formulas and appealing ingredients. Dogswell Vitality jerky is made with natural ingredients that have specific health properties, like coconut oil and mango. Dogswell Hip & Joint jerky contains 2,000 milligrams/kilograms of glucosamine. Soon, we’ll be taking this innovative approach further with natural supplements.