Meeting the Special Needs of Senior Pets



With better veterinary care and premium pet diets, cats and dogs are living longer, healthier lives. However, older animals can pose unique challenges for pet owners. These senior pets are more likely to have medical conditions involving their digestive systems, mobility and sight. Retailers should carry products that make the lives of senior pets (and their owners) easier and their ailments more manageable.


The first step a retailer can take in building a pet store’s senior section is by carrying pet food formulated to meet older pets’ unique needs. Manufacturers like Nulo produce special senior recipes for both dogs and cats. The company’s dog formula includes glucosamine and chondroitin, which support the health of the hips and joints. Both the dog and cat senior varieties contain l-carnitine, an amino acid that helps less active pets metabolize fats.


Accompanying a senior food section should be a range of supplements and treats that can also provide support for aging pets. The 2017-2018 APPA National Pet Owners Survey revealed that more dog and cat owners are giving supplements and vitamins to their pets. Retailers should carry a broad selection of these supplements that can help them take advantage of this trend.


Our July issue featured a product round-up of supplements that could help pet parents manage their furry companions’ health. Companies like Ark Naturals manufacture products specifically designed for geriatric pets. Its Gray Muzzle line offers supplements that promote cognitive, joint and heart health as well as dental hygiene. Retailers can also choose to carry products like NaturVet’s hemp-based Joint soft chews and PetAlive’s Brain Health Booster for Senior Dogs. 


In addition to offering food and supplements, retailers should also carry products that help pets with their mobility. Several companies offer ramps that can make it easier for dogs and cats to get around. Solvit’s PupSTEP Wood Sofa Ramp gives pets a boost when they have trouble jumping up onto a bed or couch. Gen7Pets offers an outdoor solution for mobility issues with its recently re-launched Natural-Step Comfort Ramp for Dogs. The ramp helps dogs get into cars for trips to the groomer or vet.


With a wide selection of senior pet products, retailers can capitalize on the growing population of geriatric pets. Carrying food, supplements and other products designed for older animals can result in greater customer appreciation and increased sales.


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