Sandy Robins//December 3, 2013//
Sandy Robins //December 3, 2013//
Small animals are very often “starter pets” in households with small children and also popular classroom companions. Consequently, good stain and odor control is key to happy co-existence.
Interestingly, when people bring dogs and cats into their homes, they take care of stain and odor issues from the get go. Yet, there is a common misconception that small animals don’t smell. Consequently, retailers often find themselves in the role of educators recommending suitable products. And, there’s no shortage of products out there.
According to Becky Mata, manager of Animal Kingdom in Santa Monica, Calif., customers faced with stain and odor problems often want a personal recommendation to ensure that they will be able to eradicate their own issues.
“Customers regularly ask what products we use to clean our store cages,” she said. “We only stock all natural products and, in fact, we use everything we stock on our shelves. Further, we try and educate owners that no matter the size of the small pet, the cage should be thoroughly cleaned on a weekly basis.”
“It’s important that small animal owners are never disappointed by odor control issues or difficult cage cleaning,” he said. “The better the cleaning experience with starter pets will possibly keep them engaged in the pet industry as future owners of other pets.
“Kaytee’s latest litter pans have built-in metal hooks for attaching and locking the pan in place so that it doesn’t get tipped or knocked over. The metal hook clip is also chew proof.”
With the same goals in mind, Ware Manufacturing headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., recently added to their line of critter bathing products.
“Our new Critter Potty/Dustbath can be used for either litter training pocket pets, or to support dust bathing behaviors in dwarf hamsters and gerbils,” Heather Cappel, creative coordinator for the company, said. “The Critter Potty/Dustbath comes with free samples of both the dust bath and litter so that pet owners can gauge how their pet responds to the possible uses.
“We have also introduced the egg-shaped Chinchilla Dust Bath in a larger size making it more roomy and comfortable for natural chinchilla dust bathing. The enclosed design helps to keep litter and dust inside, minimizing the mess in the cage. The lid also snaps off for easy cleaning.”
Because small animals are so popular with children, the color of the cages as well as the accessories such as litter pans is very important.
“We’ve always focused on bright and cheerful colors that appeal to both children and their families,” Cappel said.
This extends to bedding with odor control, too and hence the popularity of products such as Kaytee’s new multi colored Birthday bedding and Absorption Corporations’ CareFresh’s confetti bedding.
Last year, Absorption Corporation reevaluated their compressed small animal litter products and introduced CareFresh Litter Plus in small and large pellet sizes.
“We added little bits of blue bedding into the mix for additional absorbency, odor control and to encourage small animals’ natural foraging behavior,” Jim Gorrell, brand manager, said. “It’s been very successful with sales nearly tripling since it launched.
Attacking odors with all natural products from an internal standpoint is another way of handling the situation.
GoodBye Odor is an additive added to a small pet’s food or water to prevent odors usually associated with pet excrement.
“The product contains natural plant-based amino acids and takes about three – five days to balance the pet’s system in order to make a noticeable difference,” Linda Cope, media relations spokesperson for Marshall Pet Products based in Wolcott, N.Y., said.
The product, originally developed for human use, has been successfully used on ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs and other small pets.
As a way of promoting the product and creating a word-of-mouth buzz, the company runs a bi-monthly contest on their website offering entrants an opportunity to win a six-month supply of this product for their pet.
“It’s a great way for us to interact directly with small animal owners and get insight into their take on pet ownership,” she said. “We’ve also started to manufacture the product in treat form with GoodBye Odor Treats for Ferrets. It’s made in the USA with all-natural ingredients and is veterinary-tested and approved.
“And, because it’s a treat, it’s something that young owners will enjoy giving to their pets. Treating is a great way to interact with a pet and enhance that human-animal bond.”
Many times a customer might ask for something they can spray to eliminate odors in a room, but that is also safe for pets.
Kanberra Gel and Kanberra Spray, are all-natural products that clean air and surfaces, attack mold and mildew, and neutralize odors.
Their proprietary blend of oils contain pure pharmaceutical grade tea tree oil, and no chemicals, which makes it safe to use around pets.
Zero Odor, is another option.
Its patented formula bonds with odor molecules in an irreversible reaction that’s powerful, yet odorless, non-toxic and biodegradable.