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February 6, 2019

Brushing your teeth every day keeps the cavities away. We hear this and more from our dentists so much that the act of taking care of our teeth has become a habitual routine in our lives. The same care applies to pets, yet many don’t think much about it, even when their pet has bad breath.

Many pet parents are unaware that bad breath is one of the first signs of periodontal disease, a disease that is just as common among cats and dogs as it is for us. This disease can filter into the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, leading to serious health concerns ranging from tooth loss to organ failure. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) states that approximately 70 percent of cats and 80 percent of dogs develop some form of periodontal disease by the time they’re 3 years old.

Bringing forth awareness to consumers is at the forefront of the dental market. Manufacturers are educating themselves to create innovative solutions and providing retailers with the tools needed to teach consumers about every new dental product to hit the shelves, as well as the importance of keeping their pet’s mouth clean and healthy.

According to the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 23 percent of pet parents learn about new products from retail associates. It’s crucial for retailers to be familiar with all the dental products in the market in order to best educate and guide consumers to the product that fits their pet’s needs for a healthy lifestyle.

Brushing/Gels

It is recommended by many veterinary professionals that pets’ teeth be professionally cleaned at least once a year and for pet parents to keep up with pet oral care in between visits. Just like we have multiple products for daily oral care, the best method for pets’ teeth is a complete routine of brushing products, supplements and dental treats.

“The most effective oral care plan involves more than just a dental chew,” said Kerri DaSilva, brand manager for Ark Naturals. “Alone the products work extremely well, but together the benefits are multiplied even further.”

And according to the 2018 Consumer Insights Market Structure Study, 47 percent of pet parents believe dental chews and sticks alone are not effective. Manufacturers and retailers benefit most from offering a variety of dental products for consumers to create a full dental kit that works best for their pets. The first tools to address are brushes, toothpastes and gels.

Having been in the human dental care industry for over 35 years, Oxyfresh knows the importance of easy and effective ways to support dental health at home with products that don’t cut corners and pet parents can always feel good about. Its unique and exclusive Oxygene, a non-toxic ingredient that is safe for all pets, neutralizes bad breath on a molecular level and helps reduce plaque and tartar formation.

“This isn’t just about pets having fresh breath; the quality and years of their lives depend on it,” said Melissa Gulbranson, vice president of marketing at Oxyfresh. “Using products that matter to their dental hygiene like daily water additives, dental gels and sprays are an easy way to keep pets’ teeth clean in between teeth cleanings to help ensure protection against gum disease.”

Oxyfresh has an innovative pet dental care line that includes its Pet Dental Daily Water Additive, Pet Dental Gel and its new Pet Dental Spray. These products are easy to use for even the busiest pet parents and feature ingredients that safely and effectively clean pets’ teeth and gums. The company is also releasing an innovative pet dental kit that features everything needed. In addition, Oxyfresh is spreading the word on dental awareness through campaigns, partnering with key organizations to create better access for customers. For retailers, Oxyfresh recommends getting creative and displaying dental products prominently in their stores.

Petsmile’s toothpaste is the only toothpaste awarded the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) Seal that inhibits plaque from forming on pets’ teeth. It features the brand’s Calprox formula, which dissolves the bio-film where plaque forms and bacteria adhere to, all while whitening and strengthening pets’ enamel.

“When Dr. Irwin Smigel ‘Father of Aesthetic Dentistry’ founded Petsmile, he was already manufacturing Supersmile Professional Whitening Toothpaste for people for over 25 years,” said Ephraim Diament, vice president of Petsmile. “He launched Petsmile with the simple idea that ‘cats and dogs need healthy teeth and gums, just like people.’”

The company is launching its double-ended Petsmile Professional Pet Toothbrush, the first and only toothbrush with patented 45-degree brush heads designed to remove plaque, bacteria and debris from under the gumline. It is also launching a dental chew infused with its Calprox formula and a new flavor, Savory Duck, for its toothpaste line. Petsmile spends great effort educating retailers and vet practices at trade shows, and has also created the free e-book Petsmile’s Oral Health Guide for Your Pet for consumers to use as a definitive guide for taking care of their pet’s teeth and gums.

Pura Naturals Pet’s mission was to create the first organic dental gel. Focusing on safety and beneficial ingredients, the company succeeded with the launch of its award-winning Organic Dental Solutions kits that are USDA-certified and USA-made. This is due to the company’s passion about educating others on the importance of dental wellness for pets.

“Good dental care is important to all of us and it’s even more critical for pets who rely on their owners for their dental hygiene,” said Beth Sommers, president and chief merchandising officer of Pura Naturals Pet. “We’re working with one of our retailers to include our dental brush with bags of dog food. It’s a great way to further promote the importance of brushing and [is] something other retailers could do.”

Pura Naturals Pet has created numerous tools for retailers to utilize, including data sheets, education pieces, testimonial documents, digital posters and POP Shelf Talkers. The company will be doing more product education and training with retailers and distributors. It believes that creating good dental habits now with organic ingredients and providing education on the importance of brushing pets’ teeth regularly can offset dental problems and costly veterinary visits in the future.

Treats/Chews

Treats and chews are equally important and beneficial tools in dental kits to brushes, gels and toothpastes because they take care of pets’ teeth in a way that is fun, convenient and rewarding for both pets and consumers.

“It is difficult for owners to find time to brush their pet’s teeth, so as manufacturers, we need to continue to develop edible dental products that will make it easier for pet owners to provide oral care,” said Kim Kolodzi and Ginny Bischel, DVM, co-owners of Team Treatz.

Another statistic from the 2018 Consumer Insights Market Structure Study showed that 65 percent of dental buyers purchase dental chews in addition to other dental products. By having an assortment of dental chews and treats, consumers are able to find the right product to pair with other tools in their dental kits that suit the individual needs of their pets.

GREENIES offers an easy way to help dog and cat owners keep up with their pets’ dental health while also providing a delicious treat for them. Its dental chews help freshen breath, maintain healthy teeth and gums and control plaque and tartar buildup.

“In addition to oral care treats like GREENIES Dental Chews, pet owners should make sure to schedule regular veterinary exams and teeth cleanings,” said Kristen Bednar, brand manager of GREENIES. “By understanding the importance of oral care for pets, retailers and manufacturers can provide customers with products that can help keep their pets happy and healthy.”

The GREENIES brand will be launching new GREENIES Dental Treats for dogs that are specific to their life stages. The GREENIES Puppy 6 months+ and Aging Care Dental Chews will be crafted with the unique needs of young and senior dogs and will go alongside the core dental treats range. The company is turning on a significant investment in TV media and digital/social support for the first time in a few years to support better oral care for dogs. GREENIES also suggests for retailers and manufacturers to maximize the presence of oral care in the aisle with in-store signage and sampling, and provide discounts and educational materials to help support better oral care for pets.

Better oral care also means products that are 100 percent natural. Swedencare’s mission with its ProDen PlaqueOff products is to offer a natural alternative to chemical-based dental applications. PlaqueOff helps with maintaining dental hygiene by being consistently applied as a supplement to feeding regimens, which is an easy and inexpensive way to maintain oral health.

“Ask the question—how do you care for your animals’ mouth today?” said Scott Reinhardt, vice president of sales and marketing at Swedencare. “Your customers are depending on your advice; that’s why they visit your store.”

Swedencare has new and improved crunchy Dental Bites with better flavor and value. And its new Bison & Apple PlaqueOff System Dental Care Bones clean teeth with abrasive action. Bison is rich in vitamins and minerals and is a lean protein source, while apple is a great fiber source that helps freshen breath. With these products and more, Swedencare plans to continue educating the public on the need for better oral care for dogs and cats.

Merrick Pet Care also promotes better oral care with products that focus on cleaning teeth and freshening breath. Merrick Fresh Kisses is the first all-natural dental treat that features a double-brush design to clean teeth by removing plaque and tartar, formulated with mint breath strips and coconut and botanical oils to freshen breath in a natural way.

“Dental health month is a great annual reminder of the importance of pet dental care, but we need to encourage pet parents to establish a daily dental health routine with their pets,” said Jilliann Smith, director of communications at Merrick Pet Care, “just like we need to remember to floss our own teeth and go to the dentist each year.”

According to GfK, Merrick Fresh Kisses has become the number three dental brand in Pet Specialty, proving to be the industry’s best-performing treats product launch since 2014. By continuing to partner with pet specialty retailers, Merrick is rolling out a new “Get Fresh Kissed” digital and social campaign to remind pet parents that its all-natural treat both cleans and freshens breath. Merrick also features Zuke’s Z-Bone Dental Chews to give another option for an all-natural dental treat that’s made with an ideal texture to gently clean teeth. It is specially crafted with apples and carrots to help freshen breath for the pets of outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Team Treatz provides a USA-made, palatable, fun and affordable treat that will help keep pets’ teeth clean and gums healthy. The company designed a dental treat that owners can trust as a quality product that brings excitement to the dental treat market because they feature lovable characters that consumers relate to.

“Our goal was to create a licensed product that also served a purpose,” Kolodzi and Bischel emphasized. “We continue to highlight the importance of dental treats on our packaging, hoping that consumers will embrace the health advantage they provide their pet.”

Team Treatz is planning to reach consumers using their favorite characters with the launch of Sanrio’s Hello Kitty dog and cat dental treats, Grumpy Cat dog and cat dental treats, Snoopy dog dental treats with Peanuts Worldwide, as well as Warner Bros.’ Scooby-Doo and Super Hero treats. The focus for Team Treatz has been the development of quality formulas as well as securing licenses to bring to market one-of-a-kind character-embossed chews that are healthy and fun rewards for pets.

Behind good dental chews are good ingredients, and Emerald Pet puts that at the forefront of its dental treats. Fresh Smileezz dog dental treats contain coconut oil, kelp, dill, parsley and mint to help eliminate bacteria in the mouth while also neutralizing the odors coming from the stomach. Many of these ingredients started on the human side as natural alternatives to address overall oral care and have since transferred over to pet oral care.

“Just like we see in the food category, we will see an increased focus on protein sources and active ingredients,” said Glenn Novotny, president and CEO of Emerald Pet. “Several ingredients have come to the forefront as having dental properties beyond just the typical scraping action found in most dental treats.”

Emerald Pet is also focusing on educating retailers to bring more awareness about dental health. If retailers provide as much information as possible about the active ingredients contained in each of the treats, it will help the consumer make a decision that best fits their pet. Also offering a variety of dental care products that contain different ingredients will be especially helpful for consumers with pets that have ingredient sensitivities.

Dozers were created after the CEO’s dachshund passed away due to health issues that could have been prevented with better oral health. Dozers combines safe, natural ingredients with functional design.

“We recommend a combination approach: regular brushing, regular check-ups, professional cleanings when needed, and providing dogs with toys and treats like Dozers to encourage their natural instinct to chew,” said Bonnie Robson, brand ambassador of Dozers.

Dozers is currently working on a new hybrid chew, both treat and toy, designed for longer chewing time and other products as well. The company is also planning more sponsorship events and trade shows to educate consumers and retailers alike on how Dozers can fit into their dental line.

Ark Naturals believes in a comprehensive solution for pet dental care that provides a balance of products that work together to achieve visible results for all pets. Its products address pets’ overall well-being by targeting all areas of the body, including the joints and connective tissues.

“Enzyme products that can be added to water or sprayed on the teeth to help keep oral bacteria in check can be used in addition to physical chews, but not in place of them,” DaSilva explained.

Ark Naturals is expanding its dental care line with its latest Brushless-Toothpaste formulations for sensitive gums and deep cleaning. Both new types of chews have the active ingredient-packed toothpaste mixed throughout to clean further and deeper than most treats. The company is also expanding communication efforts to discuss the myriad of benefits of using natural products for optimal health.

There is a wide variety of products on the market that cater to pets’ oral needs. From brushes to treats, each product targets specific areas of pets’ mouths to help strengthen them and fend off oral diseases. It is imperative for manufacturers, retailers and customers to be educated and informed on the importance of maintaining pets’ oral hygiene. While a combination of dental products is the best approach to oral health in between professional cleanings, any dental product is beneficial to improving a pet’s overall health, happiness and well-being.

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