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June 1, 2016

When it comes to taking care of their dogs’ joints, there are two types of customers: those seeking preventative care and those seeking treatment. At first glance, those seem like disparate needs; however, both consumers want the same two features—efficacy and convenience—with their joint care purchases.

Supplemental Research

“29 percent of consumers start joint supplementation after their dog starts showing signs of pain or decreased mobility and 28 percent start because their vet advised them to start,” said Vicky Mann, vice president of innovation and brand development at H&C Animal Health. “Since the majority of consumers are entering into the category because of an existing problem, the more effective the product, the more satisfied the consumer.”

Mann said that H&C Animal Health, maker of ActivPhy products, has conducted both qualitative and quantitative research to determine what consumers want in joint care.

“First, they want to know the product is safe and effective,” Mann said. “The joint supplement needs to work for their dog. Secondly, they are interested in cost per day. This is different than price. With most joint supplements, the larger the dog, the more product you need to give them. The lower the cost per day the better it is for the consumer. Finally, consumers want to know that their dog will like that taste and eat their supplement without any trouble. This makes supplementation an easier and more positive experience for the pet parent and their dog.”

On that last point, Mann reported that 60 percent of consumers prefer soft chews to other forms of supplements.

The brand has also conducted clinical research on ActivPhy products.

“Not many supplements are clinically tested,” Mann said. “Having our formula clinically proven gives both retailers and consumers additional confidence in our product. Our studies focus on the effect of our blue-green algae extract on a dog’s mobility. Our results show that 80 percent of dogs experienced a difference in their mobility after 30 days.”

Liquid Assets

At Lifes2Good, the product development focus has been on liquid solutions.

“Consumers are really looking for something that works when it comes to joint care for pet health,” said Joe Petracca, vice president of business development. “Efficacy is the first concern.”

His Pettura brand offers a liquid solution that has a pump.

“The pumping action makes it easy for pet parents to add the designated amount to food or treats, and the liquid formula absorbs three times faster than tablets, and is twice as effective,” Petracca said.

In fact, product development in this category leads Petracca to predict an increase in the number of liquid solutions available to meet consumer demand for effective, convenient products.

Getting Specific

“As consumers continue to invest in the overall health and wellness of their pets, we expect to see a continued growing interest in pet supplements,” said Jaime McKinley, vice president of new business development at Absorbine Pet and W.F. Young. “Supplements offer a simple way to ensure our pets are getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need to be as healthy as possible. Consumers will also continue to focus on the quality and efficacy of ingredients in everything they feed their pets, supplements included. They will be looking for qualities such as organically and sustainably grown and made without fillers, preservatives, added sugars, artificial colors, or flavors, which we offer with our supplements.”
Additionally, McKinley said that they’ve seen an increase in demand for ingredients made in the USA.

Aborbine’s line of supplements includes specific lifestage formulas: Ultimate Canine Hip & Joint Formula, Ultimate Small Breed Hip, Joint & Coat Formula, Well Blend Food Sensitive Hip, Joint & More, Ultimate Puppy Health Formula and Ultimate Canine Senior Health Formula.

The company is also leveraging kelp as a hot ingredient in the market.

“Our Pet Kelp Joint & Bone formula combines the benefits of organic kelp with omega-3 and omega-6 rich flaxseed, as well as glucosamine and chondroitin, to support joint mobility and strong bones,” McKinley said. “Absorbine Pet’s Pet Kelp formulas for dogs and cats use a special blend of four kelp varieties, all of it organic and sustainably grown. It’s then hand-harvested, sun-dried and ground into a fine powder, to ensure high bioavailability of nutrients.”

“Pet Kelp powdered supplements deliver more than 70 different vitamins, minerals and micronutrients that support canine health Pet Kelp Joint & Bone is a great complement to raw food diets or for virtually any pet that would benefit from kelp and flaxseed’s natural nutrients to improve wellness, mobility, and skin and coat health,” McKinley said. “It’s also easy to use—simply sprinkle the easy-to-use powder on your pet’s daily food, or combine it with water to create a gravy you can pour over their regular meal.”

The results of each manufacturer’s research resulted in similar findings: Whether it’s a chew, a liquid, a powder or even a treat, consumers want to give their dogs an effective, convenient joint care product. With a handful of options on the shelf, retailers can hit on those major pain points to help owners prevent pain in their dogs.

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