March 21, 2017

Dental spans nearly every category in store, from food, treats and toys to chews, specialty items and grooming. The good news: There’s a product for every customer.

Bad Breath
Dental disease is prevalent in upwards of 80 percent of dogs over age two. Since February is the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet Dental Health Month, it’s a natural opportunity to create a display and educate your customers on product choice.

A fun, easy way to fight bad breath is with a food additive. For the natural customer, Woofmints are an effective way to help fight bad mouth odor. These vegan and gluten-free gel capsules freshen a dog’s breath naturally with a blend of organic sunflower oil, organic peppermint oil and parsley oil. Small enough to hide in food or a treat, Woofmints gel caps dissolve in the stomach, providing long-lasting fresh breath from within. They’re available in 60- or 120-count bottles.

Chews and Treats
“Consumers are looking for any product that will keep their dog’s teeth clean,” said Laura (Jones) Lang, president of Jones Naturals, LLC., which produces several products that benefit a dog’s oral health. “Our types of natural chews, including bones, pig ears, ligaments, etc., all help promote healthy teeth and gums because they naturally create an abrasive chewing action on the dog’s teeth.”

Greenies are also a perennial bestseller. Because they’re available in a variety of sizes, there isn’t a lifestage or breed that can’t find appropriately sized Greenies. They also carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval, which lends weight to a consumer’s purchase decision.

Zuke’s Z-Bones are edible dental treats that are formulated without wheat gluten, cornstarch or synthetic chlorophyll. Instead, the chews are potato-based and maintain dental hygiene by scraping and polishing the dog’s teeth. Z-Bones may be sold individually or in multiple-count pouches in three recipes: Clean Carrot Crisp, Clean Berry Crisp and Clean Apple Crisp.

Nylabone offers a range of chews, some edible and some designed to be long-lasting. The Advanced Oral Care FreshBars and the Tartar Fighting Treats both include the brand’s Denta-C, a scientifically-formulated blend of ingredients clinically proven to reduce plaque that harbors bacteria.

Nylabone remains one of the top sellers for consumers who seek a long-lasting, toy-style chew. The chews are infused with flavors like beef to entice dogs to chew, and the raised nubs and various textures scrub teeth and promote gum health.

Mammoth produces Flossy Chews, a line of dog toys designed to floss dogs’ teeth as they play with the toys. Some products include knotted ends or rubber to scrub the teeth. The brand’s line for tough chewers, Flossy Chews Extra with Z-Core, is made from premium material that is two times stronger than rope.

Dental treats are favored items because dog owners can feel like they’re spoiling their pup while helping to prevent dental disease. Functional treats have emerged in nearly every category—from joint care to skin and coat to, of course, dental care.

Isle of Dogs has three different versions of functional dental treats. Smile is made from crunchy baked grains and apples to help scrub tartar and Norwegian kelp to help maintain healthy teeth and gums, along with parsley to fight bad breath. For dogs who need a bad-breath formula, the Breath line includes a blend of parsley and toffee flavor extract.

Daily Essentials are a power food option that target dental health through whole food-based treats. Crunchy apples help scrub tartar, while parsley and peppermint help to fight bad breath. All are sourced and made in the USA and are a popular choice among customers who want function balanced with flavor.

Alternative Choices
Treats aren’t always the best option, especially if the dog is battling obesity along with dental disease. While tooth brushing is an option, many dog owners don’t brush their dog’s teeth because they’re intimidated by the process or their dog reacts poorly to it.

For those who do brush, Petsmile by Supersmile toothpaste received the Veterinary Oral Health Council seal of approval. When paired with a soft-bristled, flat toothbrush, brushing really is the best option for long-term oral health. Since many customers are so reluctant to attempt brushing, consider hosting events like in-store demos for brushing best-practices featuring product recommendations.

For February’s Dental Health Month promotion, educational signage or employee demos might attract customers to try new products. The American Veterinary Medical Association houses educational materials on their website for free that can be downloaded and passed out to customers or hung in the dental aisle.

Consider using in-store signs to call out dental items in aisles outside the dental-specific one. Endcaps are also effective, along with smaller items—like the individually-wrapped Z-Bones—at the cash register.

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