April 4, 2016

Pet hair is the scourge of many pet owners. In fact, Kelton Research conducted a survey of pet owners and found that more than half would skip their summer vacation or even take a pay cut if they never had to clean up pet hair again. Shedding is a major pain point for your customers, so offering an array of products and services to cut down on shedding—if they are effective—will build a loyal customer base.

For pet owners concerned about allergens in the home, de-shedding products can offer an effective solution to the build-up of fur and dander. This is especially important in homes with an allergy-prone family member. Excess fur floating around the home can also clog dryer vents, air filters and appliance bases. In the store, emphasize an educational approach with signage and specific displays, like a well-designed endcap that calls attention to de-shedding products. Customers need to understand that de-shedding is important for their pet’s health—and for cutting down on those annoying tumbleweeds.

Brush It Off

“Regular grooming is critical to keeping your pet’s coat and skin healthy and shedding under control,” said Rikki Mor, founder and owner of Groom Genie. “Pet hair loosens naturally so removing that excess hair regularly helps keep it from ending up on your couches, floors and black pants.”

Available in fresh colors and two sizes, the Groom Genie was designed to reduce stress during a grooming session. The brush contains bristles of different lengths to mimic the feel of fingers patting the animal while detangling and removing loose hair.

“The Groom Genie gently untangles knots and helps remove loose hair without pulling it so pets enjoy the experience,” Mor said. “Many dog and cat owners tell us that their pets who normally hate being brushed actually like the feel of the Groom Genie. That’s because it’s more like a petting session than a grooming session. It doesn’t cut or pull the fur. The brush does not have a handle so pet owners hold it in the palm of their hand, giving them more control over the pressure they use when brushing their pets. All of these factors make the grooming experience enjoyable.”

FURminator brand products round out a de-shedding mix because it’s a grooming brand with almost immediate customer recognition. According to the manufacturer, FURminator products can reduce up to 90 percent of loose hair from shedding. Because there are so many sizes and shapes available for both dogs and cats, FURminator products can cover a range of customer needs.

For customers whose dogs have thick undercoats, ActiVet’s Silver Firm Coatgrabber removes undercoat and, according to the brand, saves 70 percent of brushing time. They also recommend the brush as a finishing tool for breeds with light undercoats, making it an appealing option to stock to meet the needs of both undercoat types.

Beyond the Brush

Beyond brushes, specific shampoos, conditioners and sprays help minimize shedding and offer additional solutions to fur-frustrated customers. FURminator’s deShedding products merchandize nicely beside their grooming tools.

For a natural alternative, Earthbath offers a Shed Control Shampoo that contains a mix of naturally-derived antioxidants and moisturizers, like organic fair trade shea butter, essential green tea leaf extract, ginseng, omega-6 fatty acids, awapuhi and other natural humectants and emollients.

Leave-in products are also popular options because they deliver long-lasting moisturizing benefits, which helps keep the dog’s coat and skin healthy.

For instance, Jorge at M Boutique Fur Hydrating Butter mixes neroli and wild mint, providing a rich conditioning treatment for dogs with long coats or dry, damaged coats. It includes natural shea butter, palm butter and Moroccan argan oil.

When choosing de-shedding shampoos to stock, look for products containing the most popular and reportedly effective de-shedding ingredients, like omega-3 fatty acids, coconut and vitamin E.

Salon Services

Regardless of the cleanser’s ingredients, a de-shedding shampoo simply isn’t enough by itself and most pet owners with heavily shedding animals will find that they need to use the shampoo in conjunction with a grooming tool. This provides a unique opportunity to display these products as a package deal or as add-ons to an existing de-shedding purchase.

Not all pet owners feel comfortable fully de-shedding their dogs themselves, though, so the salon has the opportunity to provide services designed specifically for heavy shedders. This is especially true for customers who want their dogs to be clipped or sheared. Most pet owners are unwilling or unable to do that at home and look to the salon to cut down on the pet hair.

Happy customers will likely schedule services out in advance, keeping the business consistent, but groomers can also use these appointments as an opportunity to encourage owners to purchase de-shedding tools and shampoos to use between appointments. For those who are interested in between-appointment trims, stock a selection of easy-to-use grooming tools at affordable price points, like those from Andis. Educate grooming clients on appropriate at-home use as part of your service.

By offering the right mix of de-shedding products and services, you can help your customers keep their pets fur-free, their homes clean and maybe even still take that summer vacation.

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