A Growth Category
Aware of these concerns, manufacturers are producing technologically-advanced products to combat the parasites.
“Sales are likely to greatly increase in this category due to the tick epidemic in North America,” said Linda Cope, global marketing manager for Marshall Pet Products. “Out of all of our diagnostic tests, 78 percent of the ticks tested positive for Lyme disease and Anaplasma.”
Because of these increases, Cope predicted that a larger customer base will be shopping for prevention products.
“You’re going to see more and more people purchasing tick prevention and aid products because of the fear of contracting tick-related diseases. The number of people who have contracted Lyme disease has increased two-fold, leading consumers to seek out solutions to help protect them against this disease,” she said. “Why take the chance with tick-borne diseases?”
To test for diseases, Marshall released a product that both removes the tick and allows the dog owner to mail it in for analysis.
“We have a new product called Tick Releaser Spray & Mail-In Test Kit, and it recently won the top award at Backer’s Total Pet Expo,” said Cope. “It’s an all-natural spray the helps release the tick and includes a handy test kit that you can send in to a third-party research lab for diagnostic testing for common tick-related diseases such as Lyme disease, Anaplasma, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and more.”
In a related trend, as the customer demand for flea and tick products rises, so does the demand for natural options.
“People are concerned about their exposure to certain chemicals—seeking out natural cleaning products, reading food labels, avoiding artificial scents in their homes—and this line of thought extends to how they treat and care for their pets,” said Tom Peters, Healthy Dogma’s president and CEO. “The idea that natural products aren’t as powerful or effective as synthetic, chemical-filled ones is fading. We’re going to see natural remedies and healthy food products for pets only continue to grow as time passes and pet owners learn of other options.”
“We have seen a growing preference among consumers for natural products and sales of our UltraShield Green Natural Flea and Tick spray reflect this trend,” said Kenneth Oh, general manager of W.F. Young’s pet care division. “Our product is unique in its laboratory-proven repellency of both fleas and ticks and consumers are responding to this. We are also seeing a resurgence of interest in collar and medallion type products, which we believe will continue to grow in popularity and has been a driving force in our product development efforts as we look forward to 2015.”
Currently, W.F. Young’s bestselling flea and tick products are the UltraShield EX 17 waterproof product and the UltraShield Green Natural formula.
“Our research shows that consumers really like the ease of use associated with the continuous spray EX product,” said Oh. “Its 17-day waterproof formulation makes this product a real alternative to more expensive spot-on and collar products. Finally, its enhanced repellency of not just fleas and ticks but also flies, gnats, mosquitos and other biting insects is especially important in parts of the country such as the Midwest and South where these types of pests can be problematic.
Topical products aren’t the only option. Healthy Dogma’s bestseller is a food additive called Flee Flea Flee!
“We refer to it as Grandma’s old farm secret for flea control. It’s what was used for hundreds of years before chemicals. In essence, ticks and fleas simply decide your pet is now an unfavorable environment,” said Peters. “The supplement combines the benefits of skin and coat supplements with garlic and yeast to naturally ward off fleas. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and antiviral and antifungal. It also soothes dogs’ skin. Nutritional yeast also repels fleas and ticks, plus has the benefit of being a source of vitamin B. Kelp contains a concentrated amount of minerals, and flax meal is the richest plant source of antioxidant lignans and omega-3 fatty acids.” He said that customers are initially concerned that their dogs won’t eat the garlic, though he reports that most have found they actually love the taste.
With the rising rates of parasitic diseases and the expanded reach of pest populations, 2015 will be a big year for flea and tick products. Be prepared with an understanding of what diseases occur in your area to help your customers choose the most appropriate product. From traditional topical products to natural options, and from tick removers like Tick Key to food additives, offering a variety of choices will ensure that you’re meeting your customers’ needs and preferences while providing reliable disease protection to their dogs.