First Aid & Wound Care for Animals
As awareness for pet first-aid products grows, retailers have the opportunity to be a source of knowledge and to provide the latest category innovations.
Accidents happen; that’s why almost every household has a first aid kit under the bathroom sink. But what about when a dog or cat gets hurt? Band-Aids don’t exactly stick to fur. Luckily, big strides are being made, making wound care products for pets more effective and increasing consumer awareness.
“The pet first-aid and wound-care category has seen significant growth recently for several reasons,” explains Tony de Vos, president of Cardinal Pet Care. “One is that Americans are more aware of the need for emergency planning. Even for everyday cuts, scrapes and irritations, pet parents are becoming more aware of the importance of keeping pet first-aid products on hand.”
Not only is the category currently experiencing a period of growth, experts say it has the power to stay.
“Wound, skin, eye and ear care products are important to have available to your customers because they are typically needed on a moment’s notice. [They] are more resilient to online competition and position the retailer as a one-stop-shop for their consumers,” says Geoff Hamby, marketing director for Vetericyn Animal Wellness.
Of course, it takes more than simply putting a few bandages and antibacterial ointments on the shelf to make this category worthwhile. Retailers need to stay up to date on the latest trends in order to offer their customers the best possible first aid and wound care solutions.
As pet owners seek to heal their animals, they don’t want to do so at the expense of the environment, which is why many manufacturers, like Cardinal Pet Care, are turning to sustainable practices.
All of Cardinal Pet Care’s Remedy+Recovery products are created using solar power at the company’s Southern California manufacturing facility. Products include the Medicated Hot Spot Spray, Liquid Bandage For Dogs, Antimicrobial Eye Wash and Ear Rinse, and Hydrocortisone Lotion.
“Retailers and pet parents can be assured that Remedy+Recovery products are made from eco-friendly materials using sustainable manufacturing practices, which is an increasingly important factor in consumers’ buying decisions today,” says de Vos.
CBD products are currently booming across the pet industry as new ways to utilize the power of hemp for pets’ health are discovered—including wound healing.
Colorado-based manufacturer Pet Releaf is an industry leader in hemp-based health products and, like all of the company’s products, its Canna Care cream is made with 100 percent plant-based ingredients.
The topical CBD treatment utilizes a variety of plant oils and extracts, including USDA organic hemp oil, to provide therapeutic, skin-penetrating wound care for dogs.
“There are a lot of misconceptions in the market on the benefits and healing properties of CBD products. The fact that not all CBD products are created equal is an important message for retailers,” says Chelsea Gennings co-founder and vice president of Pet Releaf. “We use only the best quality hemp products because our pets deserve the best.”
Hemp isn’t the only buzz-worthy ingredient changing the pet first aid and wound care category. Honey has also been making waves as a natural alternative in recent years.
“Honey is one of the simplest, most well-understood and safest treatments for the all pets,” says Sean Carroll, co-founder of HoneyCure in Detroit.
HoneyCure is a first aid and wound care product based on the concept of wet wound healing. The all-natural solution is made with FDA-approved Manuka honey blended with tea tree oil for antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and pest-repellent action. Plus, pet parents can rest assured it’s backed by professional veterinarians.
Groomer Tested & Approved
In New Jersey, the team at Groomers Helper is harnessing the power of a different natural ingredient—minerals—to produce ClotIt, a blood clotting powder.
“As a grooming safety company, our credo is to ‘do no harm,’ which is why ClotIt fit so perfectly into our family of products,” says Chuck Simons, inventor of the Groomers Helper Family of Products.
Unlike other blood clotting products that chemically burn wounds closed, ClotIt is a powder made of natural minerals to quickly stop bleeding without any stinging, staining, clumping or odors. It can be used for all wounds from the smallest nick to major trauma.
California-based manufacturer Vetericyn is another company that utilizes an innovative ingredient in its wound care product. However, it’s not found in plants; it’s a molecule produced by the animals themselves.
“We believe that we’ve created one of the most exciting solutions in the industry right now with our proprietary manufacturing process,” says Hamby. “Part of this process uses hypochlorous (HOCl), a molecule that is naturally produced by the body’s immune system as a response to combat ailments.”
Vetericyn Plus products use a super-oxidized HOCI solution to jump-start the healing process while also cleaning, irrigating and moisturizing wounds. The wound care products are non-toxic and safe to use for all animals.
As every owner can attest, pets love to lick. That’s great when it’s a greeting after work or to lap up cool water, but it’s not so great when the licking prevents wounds from properly healing.
Traditionally, plastic cones have been used to prevent pets from reaching wounds and sutures. Netherlands-based manufacturer Suitical, however, has created a new way for pets to recover in style—the Recovery Suit.
Created in 2007, the Recovery Suit is a breathable full body cover that acts as an alternative to cones or full body bandages. The suit is made of breathable, stretchy cotton and Lycra to provide a snug fit while maintaining freedom of movement.
“By using the Recovery Suit to prevent [pets] from interfering with the wound or suture after the procedure, the majority of dogs and cats will recover quicker, as there is less stress involved,” says Melvin Kok, CEO and managing director of Suitical. “[Pets are also] more comfortable because the suit acts like a second skin.”
Selling Wound Care
With so many new solutions and ingredients on the market today, it’s crucial for retailers to be a source of expertise to help direct customers to the best solution.
“Since education is so important for optimizing this category, retailers should display POP material in their first-aid section to clearly explain what each product is used for,” advises de Vos. “Pet parents often need guidance in choosing the product that’s right for their dog’s condition, and the availability of such educational material will … make it easier for them to buy.”
Another way retailers can add value for their customers in this category is through cross merchandising. Thanks to the popularity of first-aid kits, wound-care products are a natural fit for bundling.
“Pairing a reactionary product, like wound and skin care, with a commonly purchased product, like shampoo, is a great way to introduce shoppers to first aid. There’s a lot of untapped potential for this in the first aid category,” says Hamby.
Overall, industry experts share Hamby’s optimism about the future of the category, especially for natural remedies.
“Wound care in the pet industry is quickly developing to include more natural products,” adds Carroll. “We predict there will be many more products on the market that have a natural aspect to them. It’s likely to keep growing for some time.” PB