Shed happens. It’s inevitable, normal and it’s also one of the biggest complaints among pet owners.
Deshedding products will always be in demand, and numerous innovations in recent years have expanded this category beyond the basic grooming tools. Pet owners are also starting to take a holistic approach to shedding control, focusing on skin and coat health from the inside out.
Shampoos to Mitts
The grooming aisle contains the foundation of the deshedding routine. Shampoos and conditioners labeled for deshedding, like those from FURminator, are popular for the at-home groomer.
In addition, grooming mitts, like Tall Tails’ one-size mitt, pull double duty. After a bath or a play outside, the mitt cleans or dries the dog while pulling out loose hair. The Tall Tails Grooming Mitt is made of machine-washable and dryable absorbent chenille microfiber, making it a durable solution for cleaning, drying and pulling up and out those loose hairs.
A Variety of Brushes
The workhorse of shedding control is a brush. Andis and Wahl are popular in part because there’s strong brand recognition among consumers. Other standard tools, like the FURminator and KONG’s ZoomGroom, round out a reliable brush selection.
New innovations are expanding upon those traditional designs to provide bespoke grooming solutions. The BendiBrush, for instance, took the general design of a hand-held brush and tweaked it to provide a customized grooming solution for any shedder—dog or cat. From Anipure Pets, a woman-run business out of New York, the BendiBrush was created by designer Mary Fitzgerald to solve a number of grooming problems at once.
“We developed the BendiBrush to help with the issues that Maxi and Charlie were having: deshedding, along with a fear and phobia of brushing,” said Fitzgerald, noting that the brush was inspired by her pets Maxi, a cat, and Charlie, a dog. “We wanted to develop a brush that was friendly and easy for the home groomer and very effective on the pets.”
“Lots of people don’t groom their pets in between going to the professional groomer because it’s such a hassle,” said Ruth Canaan, director of sales and marketing at Anipure. “The dog is so upset. It becomes a fight. I don’t think that people realize that you should be grooming your pet in between appointments for their health, not only for the detangling and the de-shedding.”
The brush was designed to be comfortable and ergonomic for the groomer, while bending in a number of ways—even at the corners—to feel more like a massage to the pet.
“When we developed the BendiBrush, we focused on the engineering of the bristles, the individual tines,” Fitzgerald said. “The tips of the tines are rounded to protect the skin. We created a multiple-height system and focused on the placement of the tines. It can really get in the coat to separate and pull out the tangles, and it can sandwich in half so that you have tines from the top to the bottom. The knot can go right in between the tines and they gently pull through the knot. The BendiBrush allows you to gently work through tangles and the double-coated dogs to get through the loose fur to prevent knotting.”
Canaan pointed out that consumer education is one of the most important factors in helping customers understand the product.
“It’s not just a matter of selling, but educating,” she said. “We’ve been able to do some demos, but we’ve also got some great store managers who partnered with us because when we come in and talk to them, they’ve fallen in love with the brush and recommend it to clients. And a lot of even regional pet stores have that kind of holistic approach to what they sell and the products that they offer.”
That holistic approach brings together other product categories. Outside the grooming aisle, a host of treats and supplements designed to keep skin and coat healthy have increased in popularity. As dog owners take a holistic approach to their own health and beauty, the same is trickling into grooming.
Pet Naturals of Vermont offers a Skin + Coat treat that contains Vitamin E and salmon oil. Likewise, Old Mother Hubbard makes a crunchy Skin & Coat option. Numerous dog treats now have additions like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids (also sometimes labeled as Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs) to be marketed as good for the skin and coat.
Supplements have also risen in popularity in this category. Nutramax, NaturVet and Vet’s Best are among the brands that have healthy skin and coat recipes. Oils that can be drizzled onto the dog’s food are also popular simply because of the ease of use. Versions of fish oil are among the bestsellers.
However, skin and coat additives aren’t limited to treats and supplements. They’re also cropping up in dog food. Nature’s Recipe even offers a healthy skin formula of dry dog food.
Finally, as you round out your deshedding offerings, don’t forget to display near the cash register a stash of the dog owner’s perennial need: lint rollers.