February is pet dental month. And, while there may be discounts on related products and services for pet owners to take advantage of during this time frame, it’s also an excellent opportunity for retailers to educate customers that dental hygiene is something that should be practiced year-round, resulting in perennial sales.
The range of dental care products now available reflects great innovation in this category. It’s no longer about ordinary toothbrushes and pastes. Brushes have gone electric and being sold along with other aids such as doggie dental floss, water additives and doggie tongue scrapers. There are even products such as the SilverTails line from the Quaker Pet Group that targets dental care specifically for senior pets.
Orapup is the first canine tongue cleaner geared to beat bad dog breath without the daily use of a toothbrush.
The tongue applicator has ultra-soft, pointed bristles designed to reach deep into the uneven crevices of a dog’s tongue and loosen stinky bacteria. The cleaning paste, which is applied to the applicator, contains all-natural enzymes and anti-plaque properties that fortify against gum disease and reduce tartar.
“There’s no forcing the dog to participate and thus no stress involved in making this a daily task,” Katy Laine Kenealy, spokesperson for the company, said.
Since launching the Doggie DentalAID dental floss for dogs in 2012, the manufacturing company SER Enterprises, based in California, has expanded from online retailing into selected pet stores and is looking at overseas markets, too.
“We are selling a lot to groomers, who use the product as part of their grooming service and then offer it to customers as a take-home product for home dental care,” Rafles Warnars, one of the founding partners, said.
Dental Cleanse for Dogs, a water additive manufactured by Natural Chemistry contains no artificial sweeteners such as Sorbitol and Xylitol, nor any artificial colorants and dyes.
“Its safe for dogs of all ages,” Jeff Fowler, senior sales manager for the company, said. “It’s odorless and tasteless and as been very well received by pet specialty retailers who are working to educate their customers about how to eliminate the bacteria causing bad breath and gingivitis in their dog’s mouth. When used daily, it not only helps to fights plaque and tarter, but works to maintain teeth whiteness, too.”
Keep Them Educated
Dr. Dave Dugan, oral surgeon and founder of Zututh battery-operated toothbrushes for dogs, agreed about the retailers’ role in education.
“Education is key and retailers play an important role in informing pet owners about the dangers associated with poor dental hygiene,” he said. “Veterinarian studies have proven that poor dental health, and periodontal disease can lead to a variety of painful and harmful diseases.
“While it may take a while for a dog to get used to having its teeth brushed, the long-term benefits significantly outweigh any potential short-term discomfort. It’s not hurting them; it’s just a new sensation that requires some getting used to, just like teaching a toddler to brush their teeth.”
To this end, the company produced a video tutorial on their website to offer useful instruction.
Misty Schneider, owner of Pet Kingdom Where Pets Rules in Algona, Iowa, said pet dental care is something promoted primarily by the veterinarians in her area.
“We do sell various products and it’s definitely a category that has promotional opportunities during February and beyond,” she said. “It’s certainly something to consider for the future. And with so much information available online [such as video tutorials], it would be easy to direct customers for more in-depth information.”
Ark Naturals just released a large sized bone in their Breath-less Brushless Toothpaste range. The product, which has earned three awards, is now available in four sizes.
“The product is extruded and not injection molded,” Susan Weiss, the company’s founder, said. “Extruded products are easier to digest and, with this type of manufacturing process, there is less chance of products breaking off in pieces.”
The outside of the chew has breath-freshening ingredients such as chlorophyll, cinnamon, vanilla and clove. The design of the chew has as “scrub” effect on teeth and gums. And on the inside, Ark Naturals’ patented toothpaste center provides three bacteriostats to inhibit the growth of plaque-forming bacteria, as well as to assist with bad breath and tartar and plaque build-up.
According to Steve Shweky, president of Fetch …for Pets!, trends in pet dental hygiene are following the latest trends in human oral care and says that the range now available now includes a variety of products aimed at making oral care convenient.
“Our top sellers from our Arm and Hammer Canine Oral Care line include: the Dental Rinse for adult dogs, the Advanced Care Fresh Breath and Whitening Toothpaste, the Toothbrush and Finger Toothbrush Set and the Advanced Care Dental Mints,” he said.
SynergyLabs, manufacturers of animal health and veterinary care products headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has an extensive portfolio of brands and products, which include a large selection of dental products.
“Our top selling product is the Dental Fresh Original Formula which is available in a variety of sizes from 4 ounces through to 32 ounces,” Carlos Zamora, marketing coordinator for Synergy Labs, said. “The range includes focused dental care such the Advanced Whitening Formula, Advanced Plaque and Tartar and also a Puppy Formula.”
Like Warnars, Zamora also said a lot of their products are sold to groomers for salon use. The smaller sizes are in turn sold to pet owners for take home applications in between grooming appointments.
Apart from promoting February as pet dental month, Shweky also believes that it’s important to utilize both social media and traditional ad campaigns in the promotion of products because campaigns have great reach and also offer their own unique benefits.
“Social media is great because it allows you to interact with the customer instantly and really opens up a dialogue,” Shweky said. “It’s also inexpensive. On the other hand, traditional ad campaigns are important because they provide a more permanent form of advertising. They also disseminate very quickly and produce short-term results with greater tangibility.”