BY: Jennifer Higgins
It is quite clear that, in these days of pet ownership, there is very little left to a pet owner’s imagination when it comes to pet care products and the body parts on which these products are used. One need only take a walk down the aisle of bathing and grooming products to see that there are items available for everything from oral hygiene to a cornucopia of tonics and tinctures that are guaranteed to improve the health and appearance of their coat. Amongst these “body parts of interest” is one of the most conspicuous of them all: a pet’s ears.
One Step at a Time
Miracle Care, a brand under MiracleCorp, has an extensive ear care line that promotes a holistic approach to a pet’s ear health with no antibiotics or hydrocortisone. One of the more popular Miracle Care ear care products is the R-7 Ear Care Kit. A very user-friendly ear care system, the Ear Care Kit can be used for both dogs and cats and includes both an ear cleaner as well as an ear mite treatment. Made from whole ingredients (water, apple cider vinegar, chamomile and marigold), the Natural Ear Cleaner is free of alcohol, reduces or eliminates odor and takes care of wax build up, all while incorporating chamomile as a soothing agent. The R-7 Ear Mite Treatment is a Pyrethrin-based liquid that controls spinose ear ticks and ear mites. Of course, the cleaner and mite treatment can be purchased separately, but Miracle Care has taken the guess-work out of the process by combining them into a kit.
Miracle Care also offers a distinctive three-step plan for comprehensive ear health. The first step involves using the Ear Powder, which helps to remove moisture, bacteria and odor. Next comes the Ear Cleaner (described in the previous paragraph), followed by the Ear Drying Crème which is a special liquid that dries to a powder and acts as a moisture barrier. Moisture is an ear’s nemesis, so it is important to control.
“We’ve seen success when having signs that call out different health products: ear, eye, and first-aid,” said Liz Thomas, account coordinator with The Impetus Agency, who advises retailers on product display. “Products can look the same and our products do better when in the appropriate sub-section verses a broad ‘Care’ section.”
The Nitty Gritty
In keeping with the “holistic approach,” Pura Naturals Pet promotes and practices “all-natural, eco-friendly pet wellness.” The brand has recently made improvements to its Pura Tips ear cleaning swabs.
“[We’ve had] great success this year with our new and improved Ear Cleansing System,” said Julie Creed, vice president of marketing for Pura Naturals. “Our Ear Cleansing System is really different from anything else in the market.”
Instead of going high tech, Pura Naturals Pet has gone back to the basics, concentrating on the fine details such as the use of components and ingredients that are clean and non-toxic. This is done with the intention of not only ensuring the product is safe, but also bringing the importance of these details to the consumer’s attention.
“The kit comes with a USDA Certified Organic Mullin Oil serum that’s free of dyes and perfumes for a natural clean that disinfects and deodorizes,” Creed said. “The new Pura Tips are a medical grade foam, critical for ear infections and the handle is made of a sturdy plastic that won’t break or splinter like a traditional wood stick swab. We have no adhesives in the assembly, so there are no toxic glues.
“Group your wellness products together and create outposts for key products for add-on sales,” she added. “Our shelf talker works well to communicate features and benefits to the store customers.”
If holistic and natural isn’t enough, the desires of consumers will often motivate retailers to look for products that are well known for having the support, recommendation and backing of the veterinary community. One such manufacturer from Pet King Brands, Inc., is ZYMOX.
“Veterinary recommended, ZYMOX has established a reputation for being effective products that work without antibiotics to manage some of the most troublesome conditions that affect pets most: skin allergies and ear infections,” explained Dan Archetti, national sales director for Pet Kings Brands, Inc. “The #1 seller for 20 years is the ZYMOX Ear Solution and it has often been described by pet parents as ‘the product that worked when all others had failed.’”
What sets these ear care products apart from the competition are the enzymes and how they factor into the efficacy of ZYMOX ear care products. The benefit of the enzymatic action is that there is no pre-cleaning of the ear required. Instead, these enzymes come in contact with organic matter in the infected ear and go to work on it. Even better, since there are no antibiotics, there will be no antibiotic resistance. ZYMOX also offers an Ear Cleanser that controls microbes with the use of surfactants and enzymes.
When asked why they chose to carry ZYMOX ear care products in their retail store, Amber Haslam, Independent Grooming Contractor at For Healthy Pets in Montgomery, Alabama, revealed that ZYMOX ear care products were requested by store patrons, predominantly those who frequent For Healthy Pets.
“Clients use it because it works and have given accounts on how well it works,” said Haslam, who goes on to say that these customers report that they like the ingredients and that For Healthy Pets is very serious when it comes to ingredients.
Despite the fact that ZYMOX has recently come out with an ear treatment product that doesn’t contain hydrocortisone, Amber explained that customers at For Healthy Pets know that it don’t mind the presence of hydrocortisone; their true concern is high potency steroids. ZYMOX ear treatment products have a low potency steroid and, according to Haslam, customers feel better about that. In addition, ZYMOX ear treatment products has a great retail price point, making it economically feasible and a good value, which appeal to budget-conscious customers.
Ears Need Trimming, Too
When it comes the unique tools used in the care and appearance of pet ears, Andis has stepped up to the plate with their specialized clippers and trimmers. In 2019, Andis will be rolling out their new Easy clip Mini II Clipper/Trimmer.
“As an extension of our Easy Clip product family, the new Easy Clip Mini II is a compact yet powerful, lightweight clipper and trimmer with enhanced cutting performance and blade speed for trimming pets’ ears, paws and face,” said Allie Haen, public relations manager for Andis. “Andis has designed each of our grooming tool lines to be ergonomically shaped and comfortable in hand, while providing efficient and reliable grooming results.
“The soft-grip design on our Precise Trim Cord/Cordless Trimmer, for example, helps reduce fatigue and guarantees a secure grip when trimming and shaping sensitive areas like a pet’s face, ears, and paws,” Haen added. “We certify that only the highest quality materials are used in our grooming tools and aim to ensure that our grooming tools are both durable and comfortable, therefore making the groomer’s job easier.”
With regard to placement, presentation and visibility, Haen advises retailers to invest in sample products and other educational materials.
“Introducing product or educational videos onsite at the store, as well as sample products on display that customers can physically hold, can help consumers make a more informed retail purchase,” she said.
Sometimes, a customer’s ability to get a product in their hands, so they can experience it physically, increases the potential that a purchase will occur.