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February 20, 2019

The grooming sector of the pet industry has been experiencing a steady rise in recent years, with grooming and board services reaching $6.16 billion in 2017. Pete Stirling (fourth from the right in the team photo above), president of Skout’s Honor, recently gave Pet Age some exclusive insight into the brand’s philosophy and strategies.

Q When and why did Skout’s Honor enter the grooming sector of the pet industry?

Skout’s Honor launched a groundbreaking line of probiotic skin care products at Global Pet Expo in March 2018, after having built a steady following for our next-generation green cleaning products in the pet specialty space. Once we realized what was possible with the application of topical probiotics on an animal’s skin, we knew that introducing this new solution in the pet space would be one of the most important contributions Skout’s Honor would ever make toward improving the lives of pets and their families. Topical probiotics change the role of grooming products in a way that no one saw coming. They are truly revolutionary.

Q What range of pet grooming products is Skout’s Honor known for manufacturing?

We offer a full line of shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, deodorizers and two-in-one products. Each is infused with billions of live colony-forming units of probiotics, specifically designed for topical use.

Q What trends are professional groomers seeking when choosing products to carry and use?

They want high-quality products that have a positive impact on their business, but more importantly, the wellness of the animals in his or her care. Animal health and happiness is everything, and the professional groomer is often asked to act as both stylist and health expert when it comes to diagnosing and treating skin issues. As grooming and professional grooming services become more and more competitive, identifying and using high-quality, functional products that make an impact on the animal’s overall well-being can provide an edge over the competition.

Q How have topical probiotics changed grooming?

Topical probiotics are disrupting the entire pet grooming product industry. Topical probiotic solutions will be for groomers what CBD was for veterinarians in 2018.

Beyond the obvious “style” aspect of grooming, the real day-to-day struggle is keeping animals comfortable and happy. Groomers constantly find themselves treating the same animals for the same problems time and again. The poor animal (and groomer) is locked into a cycle of treat-and-repeat. Topical probiotics offer a new, natural solution that can break that cycle and allow the animal to be comfortable in their own skin, sometimes for the first time.

Unfortunately, many dogs are plagued with a variety of skin conditions, often linked to everything from allergens in the home environment, breed-specific ailments, diet and the owner’s willingness and/or ability to provide care between grooming visits. Most of these conditions are the result of “dysbiosis,” which is an imbalance in the skin’s natural microbial community. Correct the imbalance and you can mitigate many non-specific skin conditions without the need for more invasive measures. Topical probiotics are the first and only solution that can do just that: prevent itching, redness, irritation, excessive odor and shedding before they even start. A professional groomer can’t do much about what happens at home, but with topical probiotics, he or she can still have a positive impact on the overall wellness of the animals under their care.

The best part is that we are not asking the groomer or owner to do anything different from what they are already doing—just to use a better product. Our shampoos, conditioners and daily use finishing treatments can easily be swapped in to any grooming program or regimen. Don’t buy anything you aren’t already using; just buy a better product, because better is always worth it.

Q How would you describe a typical daily grooming regimen for today’s pet owners?

For a short-hair dog or cat, it could be as simple as daily petting, checking the eyes, ears and paws. It’s never a bad idea to check for parasites and other irritants that could have been picked up. A spritz of Skout’s Honor probiotic daily use deodorizer will infuse the skin with a boost of probiotics to help keep things normal. For a long-hair animal, brushing is the order of the day. The daily use detangler is an excellent product to help keep things tangle-free. The probiotics will continue to work for your dog or cat all day, as long as the probiotics support the natural microbial community. The odor-eliminating ability is one of the most amazing traits and probably the one that first drew us to the science.

Q What do you consider the major factors driving the pet grooming product industry?

An increased focus on animal wellness is the major factor facing the grooming product industry. The professional groomer is faced with problems ranging from common skin conditions to chronic conditions and outright neglect. The ability to deal with these problems by successfully applying a product-driven solution is what separates the good from the great. The ultimate goal is to produce an animal that looks and feels healthier through a product’s use.

Topical probiotics are disrupting the entire pet grooming product industry because they offer the professional groomer the ability to solve many of the most common problems without having to break from the normal day-to-day routine. This makes the groomer more efficient and ultimately, more successful. They break the cycle of treat-and-repeat and offer the pet parent a solution that stops problems before they start, so the animal never has to be uncomfortable in the first place.

Q What do you foresee as the next big trend in pet grooming?

We expect the next big trend to be Naturals+.

We define Naturals+ as products that actively benefit the animal’s overall wellness through use. Animal health is on the top of everyone’s minds and groomers are not immune to the trend. People are more aware than ever of what their pets are exposed to—from the home environment to diet and nutrition and, of course, topical/skin treatments. The natural trend will continue, but it is that next step, the Naturals+ category, that will define the future of pet grooming products.

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