We've all seen it before: ears pinned back, whimpering, pupils wider than you ever thought physically possible, stiff body, pacing, trembling, the desperate attempt to simply get out.
Our hearts go out to them. We coo, trying to get them to calm down. No matter what we do, however, they continue showing signs of stress. They've always been there for us when we're down and now it's our turn to be there for them - and nothing is working.
That's when we get online and start searching: "how to calm my anxious pet." We're willing to try something - anything - to make them feel better again.
This is where the pet industry can come to the rescue. As a pet business, you can be their answer in a time of need. They will do anything to make their fur baby feel better, so what assistance can you provide them? Which pet products go hand-in-hand with exercise and mental stimulation to give pets the best possible life?
Depending on your personality, sometimes a good hug is a great way to relieve some of the symptoms of stress. It's been a long day at work with lots of crabby customers, and all you need is someone to wrap your arms around you.
Pressure wraps take a similar idea and apply it to pets. Pet Age Magazine uses the example of ThunderShirt, a product that wraps around and puts gentle pressure on a dog's torso. According to the article:
A variety of veterinarians and animal behaviorists believe the ThunderShirt’s gentle, constant pressure releases such calming hormones as endorphins or oxytocin in the animal’s brain to create a calming effect."These wraps are great for taking pets to the groomers, handling separation anxiety, and traveling. It's not guaranteed to work for all animals, but anecdotes show that many have seen significant improvements in behaviors while their pets are wearing them.
Pheromones are a well-known way to reduce stress in cats and dogs, especially as it relates to going to the vet or with separation anxiety.
To treat cat stress, Feliway mimics a natural pheromone cats use to mark their territory. This synthetic marking is designed to help them feel safe and secure in that environment. Feliway helps to create a state of familiarity that makes cats feel more comfortable.
To treat dog stress, Adaptil works similarly except that it mimics the pheromone that mother dogs emit after their puppies have been born. Likewise to Feliway, it creates an environment that helps the dogs feel calm and secure.
Natural Supplements & Pills
We're not veterinarians, so we'll leave this portion simple and to the point. There are many aspects about supplements and pills which could take an entirely new blog series to explore. Like with humans, however, it's worth noting that supplements and pills can be an answer to easing symptoms of pet stress.
There are many natural supplements available on the market to treat anxiety symptoms in pets. Brands like Homeopet and Zylkene® provide anxiety relief through natural and homeopathic supplements to treat separation and travel anxiety for pets who are outside of their comfort zone.
As with humans, the use of pills and supplements to treat stress in pets should be discussed with a veterinarian. They will know the best route to treat symptoms and will also be able to prescribe medications if need be.
Hemp Oil Pet Products
Full-spectrum hemp oil pet products with naturally occurring phytocannabinoids are a fast-growing trend in the United States. As cannabis laws continue to expand in more states and the subject of hemp becomes less taboo, we're opening up to the possibilities that these products have to improve our lives.
While the pet product category is growing fast, it's important to note that none of these products have been approved by the FDA to prevent or cure anxiety in animals or humans. Anecdotally, however, these products can seem to work miracles.
Although the subject of hemp is no longer as restricted, there are still plenty of controversies around the subject that leave pet owners hesitant to give them a try. This often leaves pet retailers with the question: should I even bother to stock these?
There are plenty of brands exploring the market, but it's important to do your research to find out which ones are using the highest quality materials and manufacturing processes to make their products. It's also crucial to implement marketing practices to reduce your compliance risk.
Therabis provides products to help dogs with itching, stress, and pet mobility. Their products for stress have been developed and refined over a period of 10 years to ensure high standards to protect the quality of animals' lives.
Another brand, HempMyPet, provides hemp-infused hemp seed oils, coconut oils, and organic dog biscuits. The focus on providing high-quality human grade ingredients for their products and never use anything they wouldn't consume themselves.
Selling Products for Pet Stress Relief
As we saw in the picture painted at the beginning of this article, there are many tell-tale signs that a pet is in distress and in need of anxiety relief. However, there are times when the customer may not know that their pet is troubled. This is particularly true when they own a cat, as felines are well known to hide their symptoms.
That's why it's important to have conversations with your customers in the store to understand their pet's behaviors. This chat works best when there's a conversation starter in the room in the shape of a well-merchandised display.
Your customer may not realize their pet is in distress, but when something catches your eye such as, "does your cat hide under the bed every time someone comes over and not come out until the next day?", this may be a clue to get them to take some action.
When you're setting up anxiety reducing products in your store, do what you can to call attention to them. Then, educate the customer on problems they can solve and how. Finally, make sure you and your employees know these products and can recommend specific ones to meet individual needs.
Stressed out pets everywhere will thank you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashley Hoffman is a freelance content marketer and writer for the pet industry. Growing up in the pet industry, she has keen insight on market trends and a passion for helping small businesses grow. Her portfolio includes various topics from pet food trends to using technology and marketing strategies to boost pet business sales. When she's not writing articles or working her day job, she's playing with her cat (Chewie), reading a book, or hiking one of Washington's many trails.
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