4 Ways Supplements Help Improve Pet Health (and Your Sales!)
Let’s face it: despite the high quality food brands you sell at your store, many pets could benefit from supplements. Pets experiencing symptoms like lack of energy, dull coat, upset stomach, bad breath, and even cancer can benefit from the right supplement recommendation. Even better, you have the opportunity for an add-on sale for nearly every customer that walks through your door.
From synthetic multivitamin capsules all the way to nutrition-based solutions like kefir, pumpkin and wheat grass, there is something out there for every pet. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to a Pet Parent to choose the right pet supplement for their pet’s unique needs – that’s why your expertise is so important.
Nearly every Pet Parent that shops at your store has a health issue with their pet they would like to address, even if they don’t know it yet.
Getting to know your customer and their pet is key!
"Oh what a beautiful dog! What's her/his name?"... this is a surefire way to break the ice and get any pet parent to chat with you... we all have one thing in common we, love talking about our pets!
Once you have your in, ask them about the health of the pet. Strike up a conversation about common symptoms like paw chewing, itchy skin, diarrhea, or even more complex situations like diabetes or seizures, is a great way to find out how your supplement suggestions can truly benefit that pet’s life.
It’s important to note (and to tell your customers) that they should always consult their veterinarian before giving their pets anything that may alter their body chemistry. They need to be sure there are no underlying issues causing a pet's symptoms. Protect yourself by making the disclaimer that you are not a vet and that your suggestions are based on your personal experience helping other customers. Always encourage a Pet Parent to seek the advice of a professional veterinarian if they have questions or concerns.
So let’s talk about the most common opportunity you have, you'll see these wagging their tails into your door every day!
#1 Increase that Pep in Their Step
Products supporting the hips and joints can make an immense difference in every pet’s life - not just old dogs and cats! The range of potential solutions is actually fairly large including omega oil supplements, CBD treats, Glucosamine/Chondroitin and MSM tablets, medicinal mushrooms, and herbs like turmeric and ginger.
If a pet is showing signs of energy loss due to sickness or aging, a well-rounded vitamin supplement can help promote overall well-being and increase their “get up and go”. Senior pets can especially benefit from supplements to keep them feeling youthful and comfortable in their later years.
#2 Put an End to a Dull, Itchy Coat
This is one of the most common issues and also the easiest for you to spot. Recommending a supplement that contains healthy omegas like fish, coconut or hemp oil can greatly improve skin health, leading to a smoother, shinier coat.
...Maybe she's born with it, maybe it's supplements.
What’s great about this supplement category is that no matter what the Pet Parent is feeding, boosting omegas in the pets’ diet can have a positive effect. Even for those feeding a substandard food, creating a positive change in the pets’ appearance that the Pet Parent can easily see gains their trust and opens the door to further discussions about nutrition.
#3 Get on Board with Gut Health
A healthy gut is probably the most important factor in a pets’ life and unfortunately, often the most overlooked. The GI tract is the first line of defense for a pet's immune system, so making sure their gut is in tip-top shape is critical.
The first line of defense is proper nutrition. Finding out what the Pet Parent is feeding and making suggestions is a great first step towards finding a solution. Whether or not the Pet Parent chooses to transition to a new food, support the GI Tract with the beneficial bacteria found in probiotics. These happy-gut products come in powder/capsule form, and even in whole food forms like goats’ milk, kefir, and sprouted seed supplements. These same suggestions apply to a pet that is experiencing just the occasional upset tummy episode.
#4 Take the Stink Out of Those Sweet Kisses
Dental health is a major issue and according to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will develop some form of oral disease by age three.
Here is a great infographic demonstrating these stats that our marketing team put together on for Pet Dental Month, which is held every year in February.
Having a robust dental category in your supplement section is paramount to helping Pet Parents with this icky issue. Products like water additives, dental chews, and toothpaste are all popular options. But think outside the box: Items like bully sticks and raw, frozen bones are great tools for reducing plaque and tartar and helping a pet potentially avoid a costly and invasive dental cleaning.
Optimize Your Supplement Section
A final note - Whether you choose to group products by brand or problem area (ie. Dental, Skin & Coat, etc), make sure it’s easy for you to make informed recommendations to your customers. After all, they are trusting you to help their pet live a better, healthier life.
What are your favorite supplements to recommend to Pet Parents?
How are you merchandising? By Brand? By “Problem Area”? Another way? What are the most common issues your customers ask you about?
We’d love to know your thoughts leave a comment below and let us know!
About Kc Mutchler
Kc Mutchler is the Pet Food Experts Midwest Regional Sales Manager who oversees five territory managers. Kc has been passionate about animals since she was a young girl, nursing small animals back to health wounded by her cat. She currently lives in Chicago with her husband, new baby boy, and her 2 junior sales associates: Darwin, an Irish Setter, and Dewey, a Corgi mix. She's passionate about empowering her customers with resources, and right products necessary to help their stores not just survive, but thrive. And at the risk of causing mass riots in the streets of Chicago, she puts ketchup on her hot dogs.