Customers typically seek out joint care treatment for two reasons: prevention or treatment. As a result, it has become a growing category.
“According to the Nutrition Business Journal, joint health supplements account for nearly half of the pet supplement market in the U.S., and this category grew 4 percent in the past year,” Vijay Sasi, DVM, MS, the director of research and development at Vets Plus, Inc., said. “Dogs are living longer because they’re getting better nutrition and veterinary care. As a result, we are seeing increasing growth in age-related problems, such as joint problems. Obesity in dogs is another factor in adding stress on the joints and causing pain.”
Some products pull double-duty as both a preventive and a treatment. One such product is produced by
“Our NuJoint Plus supplement is a natural hip and joint therapy for dogs,” Nicole Assael, business development manager at NuVet Labs, said. “NuJoint Plus helps to accelerate the healing process and reduce pain quickly for dogs that are suffering from osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia, and it can also be used as a preventive measure to help reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis in healthy dogs.”
Another option is Sound Dog Viscosity, manufactured by Herbsmith, Inc.
“It’s two products in one,” Chris Bessent, DVM, and founder of Herbsmith, said. “It’s joint fluid support with the highest levels on the market. The other part of our formula are herbs that address the soft tissues, as well.”
For dogs suffering from joint issues, this product provides both short- and long-term support.
“The nice thing about our product is that it makes the joint fluid nice and thick and viscous, but that takes about two weeks,” he said. “Ours adds the herbs and those herbs have immediate effect. It decreases inflammation immediately.”
Waipiti Labs also produces a joint product that contains a mix of traditional herbs, along with Elk Velvet Antler, which contains glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, hyaluronic acid and more.
Nutramax Laboratories produces Cosequin, which helps support healthy joints and cartilage. It comes in a variety of strengths to fit individual pets needs.
Another option is ProLabs’ FLEX Rx, which can help dogs of all breeds and sizes. Fed once daily, FLEX Rx has been proven to improve and maintain joint health, in even the most challenging cases, according to the company.
Tomlyn, creator of pet health and wellness products, recently launched a new line of Joint and Hip Chews.
The veterinarian-formulated chew supplements are designed to maintain healthy cartilage and support normal joint and muscle functioning. The supplements are easy to administer, only one or two daily, which enhances compliance, and contain ingredients including glucosamine, MSM, chondroitin from Perna canaliculus and creatine.
Make It Tasty
Beyond efficacy, Rachael Creech, co-owner of Adventure Pets in Mandeville, La., said that, taste is a factor among her customers seeking joint care supplements.
“If your dog needs some kind of antibiotic or medication, you’re going to force him to eat it every day,” she said. “But a good portion of people are doing it as a preventative. But if your dog won’t eat it, then you’re not going to force them to take something that’s an optional supplement.”
She strives to offer her clients palatable supplements, and would like to see joint care in a variety of tablet sizes to appeal to different-sized dogs.
One of Creech’s favorite brands for this is Pet Naturals of Vermont.
“The hip and joint family of products are all available as highly palatable chews,” Dom Orlandi, president of FoodScience Corporation, which manufactures Pet Naturals, said.
Several other good-tasting products are also available. Vets Plus manufactures chewable tablets and soft chews for joint care that are palatable.
Ark Natural’s Sea Mobility Joint Rescue is available in chicken, beef, venison and lamb. Zuke’s Hip & Joint Support, which features 300mg of glucosamine, 50mg of chondroitin and natural eggshell membrane, comes in three different flavors, peanut butter, beef and chicken.
Beyond taste, another trend impacting the market is the shift toward human-grade, holistic ingredients.
“U.S. nutrition trade magazine, Today’s Dietitian, predicted next year’s biggest trend as gluten-free and said that consumers are increasingly shopping with an eye on healthy products,” Assael said.
Among her customers, Creech says that many come in having done a significant amount of research.
“Sometimes they’re looking for specific products and sometimes they’re looking for specific ingredients in a product, so we help focus them,” Creech said.
PureLife 4PETS Dog & Cat Joint Mobility offers a comprehensive alternative to chondroitin and glucosamine-based products for joint health in a tasty tablet specifically formulated for dogs or cats. Featuring PureLife’s exclusive ingredients, the tablet is designed to provide pets with both short- and long-term support of joint health.
For those looking for an alternative to pills or treats, Madra Mór makes Mobility Mud.
Mobility Mud is fortified with peppermint and menthol for penetrating pain relief. Dogs will enjoy the cooling sensation when it is massaged into their skin. Menthol is a local anesthetic that simulates nerve receptors in the skin to relieve pain.
Education and Training
Sasi said that customers are demanding more product knowledge from their retail store.
“Retailers that train and educate their sales staff are better positioned for success,” he said. “Manufacturers that offer displays and product packaging that educates the consumer at the point of sale are also ahead of the game. Our PetsPrefer Soft Chews for Dogs display does just that. We also give our customers access to our staff veterinarians to help them with questions.”
Educating your customers will help make the joint-care sale.
For their customers, Pet Naturals of Vermont launched a Pet Health Degree program, which uses online videos to educate retail associates on the features and benefits of Pet Naturals supplements.