The Formula for Happy Dogs
Victoria Chuidian, sales manager for Okinawan Happy Dogs, discusses how the right natural health supplements can improve the wellbeing of canines in any life stage.
Pet Business: How is the market for natural health supplements for dogs? Is it growing? If so, what is driving this growth?
Victoria Chuidian: The market for natural health supplements for dogs is solid and growing steadily each year. Whether consumers are realizing the cost-saving benefits in vet care or just have an increased demand for health products for home maintenance, the market for natural health supplements claims a good portion of a growing market. For example, joint health claimed 45 percent of total category sales for health supplement in 2010—and it is projected to grow in 2014.
It may also be that consumers have become more conscious of the benefits of natural supplements to their own health and want to provide their pets with the same benefits. For example, one of our sister brands offers human-grade, clinical-strength joint health supplements, which are often bought by pet parents for shared use. So, in some cases, pet parents and pets are taking the exact same health supplements. This contributes to easy application, as a pet parent will be more likely to remember to integrate supplements into their pet’s routine if it is also a part of their personal health routine.
PB: Tell us about Okinawan Happy Dogs’ approach to providing natural health supplements. What distinguishes the company in the market?
Chuidian: Okinawan Happy Dogs’ approach to providing natural health supplements for dogs is simple: create 100-percent natural products to holistically manage dog health. This means that formulas target common health issues, but also offer full-body health benefits. For example, our Diarrhea Relief is a simple, holistic formula with easy application to any dog food or treat, and it works to manage symptoms within a day. It it may also be used in small amounts daily to maintain internal health.
So, purchasing one formula doesn’t limit the consumer to use it for one symptom; it is rather an investment for overall health needs. Any of our formulas can be used daily, whereas our competitors cannot say the same.
PB: Okinawan Happy Dogs was born from a human natural health supplements company. How does this impact the products you offer?
Chuidian: Okinawan Happy Dogs was born from Everyday Wellness and Okinawan, a human natural health company. This origin impacts the quality of our pet products because each formula boasts a human-grade standard and is inspired by a combination of ancient Eastern holistic medicine and modern medical discoveries. Human-grade standards are a priority for us as a wellness company for pets because it guarantees quality. A lot of companies may use non-human-grade [formulas], which include toxic fillers and ingredients that, when used over a long period of time, can [lead] to health issues.
PB: What are some of the biggest misconceptions that pet owners have about natural health supplements for pets?
Chuidian: The biggest misconception pet owners have about natural health supplements for pets is that all natural supplements are the same. The formula, quality of ingredients and production process are all big factors in product differentiation. Okinawan Happy Dogs prides itself on ethical and high-quality standards in every aspect of production, from formula development to packaging.
Understanding the importance of consistent standards in ethics and ingredient quality can contribute to the big difference between various natural health supplements for pets and humans. For example, Okinawan Happy Dogs’ uses a unique formula base for all of our supplements of turmeric and milk thistle, on top of the other herbal ingredients that target a health issue. Moreover, this base is present in strong hip and joints, so a customer is investing in both a hip and joint supplement, on top of an immune-boosting and antioxidant-building base. This is one of the many differences between just one joint formula on the market, compared to other basic glucosamine supplements.
Retailers can best dispel misconceptions by focusing on the details of differentiation—some formulas are made for puppies, some for seniors. Knowing that every product is different can help consumers make the right choices.
PB: What are the latest and most exciting developments from Okinawan Happy Dogs?
Chuidian: The most exciting developments so far are our probiotic formulas, and the upcoming nutrient treats that we will release later this year. Okinawan Happy Dogs has just released two new probiotic and enzyme pet toppers—a classic chicken flavor and a vegetarian version. There are not many vegetarian options on the market, in terms of probiotic pet toppers, so this is a great opportunity for pet parents with vegetarian preferences or dogs with protein allergies to dip into the natural supplement game.
PB: What types of charitable endeavors does Okinawan Happy Dogs undertake? Why is giving back a priority for the company?
Chuidian: Okinawan Happy Dogs is involved in a lot of community giving. We participate in local adoption events and hand out starter packs to families who adopt. We are also always promoting rescues and adoptions nationally, as we understand that many rescues have difficulty being seen. We use social media as our main platform for adoption and rescue promotion.
We believe raising awareness on the need for homes is the first step in decreasing the rate of animals who are red tagged or at risk for termination because shelters are too full. We are always eager to work with dog rescues to supply holistic alternatives to vet care. Giving in the form of knowledge and basic tools for holistic health is important to our company because it’s the first step to making a difference in common health and pet practice.
PB: What does the future hold for the natural health supplements category and Okinawan Happy Dogs?
Chuidian: We are looking forward to expanding into different tools of delivery for our natural health supplements, from a recipe book on using our formulas as cooking ingredients to nutrient treats for easy delivery on the road.