December 1, 2014

Grooming and deshedding products help dog owners keep their homes clean.

“When it comes to grooming, consumer trends indicate that pet parents are doing more grooming either alone or between visits to the groomer,” said Alyssa Guertin, associate brand manager at Pet-Ag Well Animal Group. “They are also looking for products that make their jobs easier and more beneficial for their pets. The total number of households with dogs is increasing and pet owners are more likely than the average U.S. population to own their own homes according to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey. Pride in home ownership could be an indicating factor that people want the best of both worlds: to share their lives with pets while maintaining their investment in a home.”

One place to start is with the right grooming tool. Brands like Conair have carry-over appeal because consumers are used to purchasing their products for personal grooming.

“The most influential consumer trend in the deshedding category is the demand for professional grade tools that are versatile and adaptable to meet their growing pet family’s needs,” said Amanda Hilton, director of consumer marketing at United Pet Group, who manufactures FURminator.
In the coming year, FURminator plans enhancements to their existing product mix.

“For 2015, enhancements and innovation are our focus. We hope to introduce extensions to our line of de-shedding tools that allow for improved comfort, grooming solutions for multi-pet households and bold new color options,” said Hilton.

According to Green, consumers look for deshedding tools that will remove dead, excess hair to control the shedding that piles up inside the home. The JW GripSoft brand offers several options to achieve that.

“The JW GripSoft Deshedding Tool removes loose fur and debris to reduce overall shedding and promote healthy skin and coats and features an ergonomic comfort-grip handle to make grooming more comfortable for the pet parent,” said Green.

“The JW GripSoft Adjustable Deshedding Loop features the same ergonomic handle and is ideal for removing large volumes of dead pet hair to reduce shedding around the house. The unique looped blade conveniently slides in and out of handle to create different sizes as well and has both coarse and fine teeth for long and short coats, providing an effective grooming solution for a variety of pets. The GripSoft Double Row Undercoat Rake features two rows of round tipped teeth and loosens lightly matted parts of the coat while lifting out dead and shedding hair from the undercoat.The non-slip, ergonomic handle design makes the grooming process safer for the pet and more comfortable for the pet parent.”

In the store, retailers should ask their customers about their dogs’ breed and coat to guide them to the correct tool. But the deshedding category includes more than just tools. Stock the right mix of topical products to help dog owners keep their dogs’ coats groomed.

“What we do to combat shedding is to make conditioning products like Avocado Mist or Premier Conditioner that repair the hair from the root to the tip,” said Dallas van Kempen, president of EQyss. “They also lubricate the hair. Normal things abrade the hair and cause shedding. By lubricating the hair you can reduce the amount of hair that sheds.”

“Other products, such as deshedding shampoos, should be selected based on their mode of action,” said Guertin. “For example, those with a lower pH or ingredients help close the hair cuticle and smooth it out. This allows grooming tools to more easily pass through the coat and physically remove loose dead coat.”

Another aisle that capitalizes on the demand for deshedding products is the supplement aisle.

“Shedding is one of the top complaints of pet parents, so it is important that retailers offer them efficacious choices above and beyond grooming brushes and combs,” said Guertin. “Healthy skin and normal shedding can be supported from the inside out with daily food supplement products like Lambert Kay Linatone Shed Relief Plus, to promote normal shedding cycles.”

When it comes to merchandising deshedding products, Guertin suggested retailers take advantage of the two shedding seasons.

“Mostly, these products are merchandised with other like products,” she said. “However, especially around the two key shedding cycles, spring and fall, retailers may want to consider pulling deshedding products out onto end caps or vignettes to promote awareness to pet parents. Retailers may also consider bundling products like grooming tools, de-shedding shampoo, shed relief food supplements and household cleaners to offer a discount when purchased together.”

Finally, van Kempen stressed the importance of retailers staying on top of new developments. While it’s simple to stick with the same product mix, this is an ever-evolving category.

“It’s most important for a retailer to give their customers the best product that’s out there,” said Van Kempen. “Customers don’t know what’s out there. They only know what’s in your store. Retailers should make themselves aware of newer lines with better ingredients.”

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