Protect Dogs Against Pests

Sandy Robins//March 12, 2018//

Protect Dogs Against Pests

Sandy Robins //March 12, 2018//

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According to Dr. Gad Baneth DVM, PhD, the director of the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a world-renowned expert on canine vector-borne diseases, companion vector-borne diseases (CVBDs) pose a growing global threat as they continue their spread far from their traditional geographical and temporal restraints as a result of climatic changes and dog travel patterns. This means that fleas and ticks are now recognized as a year-round problem in many parts of the United States.

Many dog owners tend to focus on topical and oral treatments to deal with the problem. However, there is a plethora of auxiliary products—pet apparel, removal gadgets, grooming products like shampoos and flea combs, natural food additives—giving rise to an excellent opportunity to educate customers and create a profitable in-store category.

Three years ago, PetEdge partnered with Insect Shield to develop an exclusive line of insect-repellent gear for pets offering an alternative form of protection. And, last year, they expanded the line-up to include bedding, sleeping bags, portable blankets and other accessories—all with Insect Shield’s EPA-registered proprietary permethrin formula that offers protection from the fabrics instead of on-skin treatments.

“The Insect Shield process binds a proprietary permethrin formula tightly to fabric fibers resulting in effective, odorless insect protection that lasts the expected lifetime of products. It’s registered to repel mosquitoes, ticks, fleas and flies,” explained Janine Robertson, who runs marketing and public relations for the company. “Permethrin-treated apparel is also available for pet owners and is recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), The World Health Organization (WHO) the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety and The American Academy of Family Physicians.”

The advantage of pet apparel in the form of coats, bandanas and housewares is that no re-application is required, it cannot be swallowed or over-used and requires normal home laundering for cleanliness.

Fighting Naturally

According to Chuck Kohrer, national sales manager for American-made Natural Chemistry flea and tick products, natural products have been the fastest growth segment in the industry for past five-plus years.

“We consider the category still to be extremely seasonal between April and November with consumer usage typically peaking in September and October when populations are at their zenith for a majority of the country,” Kohrer said. “While we do have coastal areas of southern California, most of Florida and the gulf coast, which have year-round parasite seasons, the southern states from inland California through Texas, where it stays warm enough for populations to survive, are usually too dry in winter months for them to thrive, reproduce and spread. We see much larger sales increases from regions when they get a mild winter that doesn’t sufficiently kill back populations, and/or early warm and wet weather that allows fleas and ticks to start breeding and spreading.

“However, preventative products are important year-round, even in northern states, since parasites will certainly survive and thrive in our climate-controlled homes with pets and humans to feed on,” he said.

The majority of the company’s natural ingredients for its shampoos, powders and squeeze-on application are sourced in the United States and Canada, while natural components that don’t grow in North America are sourced overseas and purchased through an importer bound by testing, regulations and standards of the U.S. government.

Ingredients such as cinnamon, cedar wood, clove, mint, lemongrass, geraniol and cottonseed oils are found in various combinations and potencies to comprise nearly all Natural Chemistry’s flea and tick and other parasite products.

“Essential oil plant extracts work by attacking and disrupting signals of octopamine receptors,” Kohrer added. “And, in the same way that weaponized nerve gas attacks the human central nervous system and causes seizure, organ failure, and eventually death, these ingredients attack insects. Since insects are the only creatures with octopamine receptors, plant oil extracts will kill most insects with contact in anywhere from a few minutes (fleas, mites, lice, mosquitoes) to several hours (ticks, bed bugs, cockroaches). However, their potent fragrances are detectable to insects at great distance and work ideally as repellant for a week or more with each application.”

According to Stephanie Boone of Wondercide, her company’s flea and tick control products work to kill the insect life cycle from egg to larvae and adults and are formulated to stop itching and scratching. They also comfort dry skin and leave a pet’s coat shiny.

“They are designed for in-home use, too,” she explained. “They will not stain furniture or flooring, or even pet fur for that matter. They can safely be sprayed on bedding and upholstery, too.

“I always recommend to pet parents that if you’re headed out for a walk or to the park, spritz your dog before or after to repel and kill any fleas or ticks that hitched a ride home. You can also spray their favorite bedding and furniture. To use on your dog, simply rub the coat in the opposite direction, shake the bottle, spray and rub in. Spray the body, legs, tail, belly and armpits. Spritz into your hands to rub onto your dog’s ears and face. Repeat two to three times per week or as needed.”

The Dog Bar, listed on TripAdvisor as one of the top stores to visit in Miami Beach, has a large selection of natural products to combat a year-round problem in Florida.

“Sprays are our top seller, followed by natural food additives such as food grade diatomaceous earth that can be sprinkled on food and other products from Earth Animal such as their Flea & Tick Program Yeast-Free Herbal Internal Powder,” explained owner Steven Cohen, whose store has been serving the Miami Beach community for over 20 years. “Earth Animal’s digestible powder produces a scent rejected by bugs and can be given to pets year-round. I believe that diet additives are a great way to combat the problem. And dogs that eat a raw diet are less likely to have a flea and tick issue because their diet is more aligned to nature.”

A Nifty Gadget

When it comes to ticks, attack is definitely the best form of defense. The Original Tick Key is a lightweight gadget that fits onto a key chain designed to remove the entire tick—head and all—before it can become a serious health hazard.

“The key relies on the natural forward leverage of the gadget to quickly remove the entire tick safely without touching or squishing even the toughest engorged ticks,” explained Donna Lucente, inventor and president of Tick Key Products, LLC.

Lucente launched her product more than a decade ago, and it’s currently available in 19 colors. The company has just launched some camo patterns.

The product makes a great impulse buy at a register, and Lucente and her team recently introduced new POP counter displays to help retailers make it a quick and easy sale. The Tick Keys can be sold individually as well as in three- and six-packs to kit out the entire family.

With tick-borne diseases on the rise nationwide, Linda Ball, liaison for marketing and sales at Marshall Pet Products, reports that the company is having great success with its Tick Releaser and Mail-In Test Kit.

“The kit can be used on cats and dogs and, in fact, on people, too,” Ball added. “It’s cheaper than a doctor’s visit.”

The kit allows for the removed tick to be mailed to a laboratory for testing for up to seven tick-borne diseases. The price to test for one disease is $25 and $75 for all seven diseases. The product is sold with a free clip strip for easy in-store display.