Pampered Pooch: Grooming’s Important Role in Pet Health – Pet Age


If these past two years have taught us anything,   it’s  that the pet industry is  a  resilient  one. Multiple sectors of the industry, including grooming, have seen a positive effect from the pandemic. The increase in pet adoptions – the 2021-2022 APPA National Pet Owners Survey reported that 70 percent of U. S. households own a pet, which is up from 67 percent reported in its  previous  survey – combined with the humanization trend and social media influence, have driven the growth of the grooming category.              

For pet groomer Jess Rona, her clients and their pets have become like family. Rona is an award-winning groomer, owner of Jess Rona Grooming, social media influencer, content creator and executive producer, creator and judge on HBO’s animal grooming show Haute Dog. She has styled pets belonging to Katy Perry, Jane Lynch, Maya  Rudolph  and many more.            

Rona has devoted her life to the grooming profession and has seen great success, which she attributes to social media. She has a combined Instagram and Facebook following of  just over  253, 000.  

“Social media in general has fully taken my business to the next level, ” she said. “It’s  given me the opportunity to reach a larger audience, spread joy and show the world what beautiful dog grooming is.   I believe  it’s  changed the tidying industry. ”         

It  should  come as  no  surprise that social media  can have an  impact  on  pet businesses. The APPA Pet Owners Survey revealed that Millennials are the largest cohort of pet owners at 32 percent, followed by Boomers at 27 percent and Gen X at 24 percent. Millennials  grew  up  within the  digital  era  and  are digital natives, expertly navigating the different channels like Instagram, Facebook,   Twitter  and Pinterest, just to name a few.            

Visuals are a major part of most social media postings. Video demonstrations with eye-catching graphics paired with voice-over narration can teach the viewer, while keeping them entertained. Luckily, this industry has the appeal of animals, a key marketing tool. Social media gives groomers, retailers and brands another platform that is, for the most part, free  of cost. Rona uses it  to  “let my work speak for itself. I  don’t  have to prove myself anymore, which used to be a big part of the career. ”         

These industry professionals  can use social media to their advantage to educate pet owners and at the same time, promote their business.   Rona posts grooming clips and tips highlighting the services at her Los Angeles grooming salon as well as the  latest  tools and techniques she uses.   In an Instagram post from Oct. 20,   Rona shared her top three puppy training tips for  first-time  combing. In another, she featured the Andis  PulseZR  demonstrating how to use the tool during a grooming session.    

Partnerships between industry content creators  and business businesses  can be an easy  transition  into the social media world. In  May 2021,   Rona and  Andis  Company  joined together to  introduce the brand to at-home pet parents.   Then  in August, the  company  announced it was rebranding to empower content creators, like Rona, using unique visual storytelling.  

“Our new brand identity celebrates a new generation of creators, ” said Angie Vlasaty Peterson, Andis Company’s director of branding, in the release. “The stories of customers using our tools to express their creativity has always been our motivation to innovate, and we are excited to showcase their inspiration and passion with our new look. ”  

One innovative tool, the Vida Clipper, has a slimmer, lighter weight design to help reduce groomers’ fatigue while working with any size dog.   With a slim body shape, this particular clipper is easy to hold, reduces hand and wrist strain and makes it easy to maneuver in tight spaces. The particular clipper also easily adjusts to 5 different lengths plus includes an USB-C charging port, convenient for charging the particular lithium-ion battery in the salon or on-the-go.  

“It’s great for groomers who need a small, versatile clipper for tough spots, or at-home pet parents who want to touch up their pet between appointments, ”  said  Michelle  Eskowski, animal product marketing manager for Andis Company.  

Although Rona’s Instagram is full of vibrant colors and  beautiful dogs after their appointment, the girl explained that as a groomer she sees the less glamorous side behind typically the camera: ear infections, rotting teeth, nails growing into pads and  skin  issues, all of which can be avoided. She says pet parents should understand the importance of at-home grooming “because there are so many things that pet owners take their dog to the vet for that are preventable. ”   

“When pet parents have a basic knowledge, they end up saving so much time, energy in addition to money on their care, ” Rona continued.            

Retailers should be working with brands to learn this ins and outs of products to pass upon that knowledge to pet owners to encourage at-home grooming  by  including  tidbits in their conversations with customers.  

It’s  possible for a first-time puppy owner or cat owner to come into a store looking to  purchase  grooming items but is unsure where to start. A retailer should keep a stock of  assorted products  categorized by animal type,   coat  and skin type.   Four  Paws on the Beach owners  Meghan and  Matt  Ruona  keep  a variety of products  on the shelves  of their two  Oregon  pet stores in  Manzanita  and  Cannon Seaside.   For these  store  owners, they look to bring in products that are “high quality  and even [are]  as close to natural and organic  as possible. ”  

Matt Ruona explained further that “the reduction of waste, especially within grooming products,   is  important to us. ” While looking for safe  products  that are  environmentally friendly, the pair discovered Project  Sudz  Organic Shampoo Bars. These bars  were made to minimize single use plastics while providing solution-based shampoos for both cats and dogs.   With five shampoos to choose from, retailers can provide environmentally conscious parents with a product that  includes organic  ingredients.  

Industry professionals are also  seeking  a natural and preventable approach to pets’ skin health.   Since its launch in 2016, Skout’s Honor’s Probiotic Grooming line has since experienced explosive growth with a following from  those professionals.   The brand has partnered with GROOMER’S CHOICE, a leading distributor of professional grooming supplies, equipment and products for groomers and retailers,   in order to  bring its products to pet lovers.    

Skout’s patent-pending and  scientifically proven  probiotic technology is the only natural, non-medicated alternative to traditional treatments like steroids and antibiotics, designed to support and promote pets’ skin health. Its Probiotic Grooming Solutions line  includes  shampoos, conditioners, detanglers, deodorizer sprays and other essentials.    

The products pet parents are scouring the internet for are influenced by the humanization trend and it has crept into the grooming sector.   The trend can be seen in often the verbiage as the phrase “pet spa” has started to appear more  frequently  in recent years, whether it be used by brands, retailers,   groomers  or owners. Treating pets to high-quality grooming or even “spa” products means shampoos and conditioners, sprays together with body and paw wipes that offer solutions and preventative measures while being safe for use.    

Besides pet humanization and the social media influence associated with pet grooming contributing to the market rise, the growth can also be attributed to the demand for new, innovative, convenient pet grooming products based on research and development. Owners are seeking solution- and preventative-based products that also feature the latest advancements they can use at home.        

Regular  grooming  does more than  help  pets look fresh and smell clean. It also is an important part of a pet’s proper hygiene, which  can reduce the risk of skin issues, matting, ear infections,   fleas  and other health issues. The Thera-Clean System – using tap water — uniformly generates microbubbles that  “allow the entire follicle to be cleaned deep into the dermis unlike other devices and/or products that can only get at the debris on the surface, ”  said Kyle  Darling, president of Thera-Clean.  

“Bacteria,   fungus  and allergens can survive deep down in the hair foillicle, and they must come out before the skin can start healing, ”  he added.  

Dr . James  Zarowny, the company’s lead veterinarian consultant, has written protocol programs on how to implement your baths, protocols on different skin problems, how many baths will be needed and frequency of the baths. Thera-Clean  provides  video calls to educate clients and their staff whenever they feel they need  assistance. The company also provides marketing materials that are client specific and designed to share with their own clientele. Posters, videos and over 125 before/after case images are at their own disposal.        

No matter which  lens  you look  through, pay-per-use self-serve wash stations add  value  to a business.   As a store owner, these stations  provide  an  additional  revenue stream and allow your staff to focus on their other responsibilities. As a pet owner, using a self-serve dog wash station is a convenient, easy, affordable way to continue to bond with your pet through grooming. Some dogs really feel more comfortable being bathed by their owners, especially as they age, and these stations can help ease the stress of being bathed.        

Evolution Dog Wash offers self-serve dog wash machines and cleaning items that put dogs first, ensuring their comfort,   safety  and care. Although there are several models to choose from,   these products are  “American made, outfitted with  aircraft  quality stainless steel and  cutting-edge  technology, then wrapped up in a sleek head-turning design, ” said  Matt Ogden, owner of Evolution Dog Wash. “ Every  model is self-contained and features built-in shampoo,   conditioner  and a grooming grade blow dryer. ”     

The newest addition to the company’s portfolio is the entry level Evolution Dog Wash Mini. Built on a slightly smaller frame with a lower price point, the brand believes the new Mini will be an attractive solution for smaller store fronts, pet stores, veterinary clinics, dog groomers, boarders and additionally breeders and other locations not wanting to invest as much up front.      

When washing a pet at home,   Vetericyn  has found that will pet owners want a quick bath time without the old school hair shampoo application process. To solve both these issues, the company developed the  FoamCare  trigger system.    

According to Geoff Hamby, director regarding marketing  at  Vetericyn, the design “allows the pet owner in order to quickly spray on the product rather than ‘plop’ it in one spot and  manually work it over the dog’s entire body. ”  

“That,   coupled with the exact foaming action,   made for a truly innovative pet shampoo or conditioner that makes bath time fast and frustration-free for owners, ”  he continued.      

The  FoamCare  line comes in three formulas: all-coat, thick coat and medicated. These options give pet parents the ability to select a more personalized shampoo without overwhelming them with too many options. The  FoamCare  pet shampoo is plant-based, paraben-free and free of chemical dyes.    

“It’s formulated to help pets retain essential skin oils and the unique formula is designed to rinse easier than any other pet shampoo, ” Hamby  explained.      

Another use of plant shampoo on the market is a Buddha Bubbles. Made with organic ingredients for sensitive skin, this biodegradable cleanser is both antiseptic and antifungal. For dogs with sensitive skin, this shampoo and its matching conditioner are two products that are a safe and natural way to soothe irritated pores and skin. The shampoo  is a  a  natural bug repellent that  features  notes of  lemongrass  and  is made with organic rosemary, shea butter,   oats  and eucalyptus.   While the shampoo cleans and neutralizes odors, the Buddha Bubbles  Conditioner seals in the odor control with tropical botanical scents.  

Lucy Caprez,   marketing director for Natural Cravings, the company that created Buddha Bubbles, reiterated much of the same sentiments as  Matt Ruona  when it comes to extra waste. “We created the bottles in 8oz  for the conditioner plus 16oz for the shampoo because you wash twice and condition once. So , why have double the conditioner when you only use half of it, ” said Caprez. “It’s one of those  little things  that I thought of that isn’t necessarily industry standard. ”  

Wipes,   spritzers  and sprays can be used in between  groomings, at-home or on-the-go  as temporary solutions. Much like dry shampoo for humans, waterless  shampoos are  a simple way  to freshen  up a pet.   TropicClean  Papaya in addition to Coconut Waterless Shampoo features a soap-, paraben- and dye-free formula that leaves pets smelling fresh, while also cleanses and conditions the pet’s skin and coat.      

“We also expanded our offering with this popular fragrance and now offer Luxury 2-in-1 Papaya and Coconut Deodorizing Wipes, ” said James Brandly, trade marketing communications specialist for Cosmos Corporation, the company that created the  TropiClean  brand.      

He continued, “The category is all about ease of use with results, and  TropiClean  Between-The-Bath products are easy to use and safe for pets and their people. ”     

At TrueBlue, health and wellness are highly regarded as they are as important to a rich full life for animals as it is for human members of our families. The company carries products for dental hygiene, skin and coat care as well as ear and eye care but has seen a high demand for wipes specifically. TrueBlue offers three body and paw wipes, an ear wipe, eye wipe and dental wipe. Although one wipe is  particularly designed  for cats ,   TrueBlue founder  Doug Gleason  notes  all  TrueBlue  wipes  can be safely used on  cats.    

“I think [health and] wellness is playing a bigger part in grooming overall. In the human world they call this category health and beauty.   I think we  are seeing the health side of it gaining a little bit more importance, ” said Gleason. “The dental, ear,   eye  and grooming wipes, because they really hit  the  trend, are some of our top sellers. ”  

Another brand that  creates grooming wipes  for cats and dogs  is  earthbath. Although it is widely known that dogs need to be groomed,   it’s  a misconception that will cats  do not.    

“Cats may need to be groomed due to health, age, or other issues that prevent them from doing an adequate job on their own, ” explained Yvonne Roth,   head of  marketing for  earthbath .   “We decided to offer cat products as well because we knew there was such a need, and cat products tend to be merchandised separately from dog products in stores. ”  

The company has completely relaunched its grooming wipes and  has  been rolling them out as they are available. The key differences are the new and even improved wipes, which are plant-based, gluten free, non-GMO together with vegan. Roth explained of which to reduce plastic usage, they have replaced the 100-count hard tubs with a resealable soft pack that uses significantly less plastic than before.  

For  PawZ  Dog Boots, safety is a priority. Founded on the idea of protecting pet’s paws and owners and the home, the company has extended its offerings of paw essentials products to include  SaniPaw  Wipes and Spray. “With the pandemic, there has been a heightened sense of understanding the importance of keeping their paws sanitized to protect not only our furry friends, but their humans too, ” said Andrea Friedland, director of customer service and additionally engagement for  PawZ.        

The active ingredient in  SaniPaw  Wipes and Spray is chlorine dioxide, which is also the active ingredient in mouthwash and is used by municipalities to purify tap water. Friedland explained, “Chlorine dioxide is also known for efficacy in the presence of organic matter, in other words, dirty environments. This is important because dogs clearly have organic matter on their paws. ”     

Body and paw wipes  are not  the only type of baby wipes on the market. Jax & Cali, founded by mother-son duo Gail and Andres  Bergovich, extended its wipes inventory when it created toothbrush wipes. These easy-to-use pre-moistened finger-sized wipes feature  Bactase  Oral, which is an unique formula of a patented blend of natural enzymes the fact that inhibits and reduces bacterial growth,   plaque  not to mention inflammation. Made in the U. S. A., the Toothbrush Wipes are natural, cruelty-free  and human grade, and also Gail  Bergovich  said, “The reason for its success is that it actually works, and the product does what it says it does. ”   

Innovation seems to be taking the grooming world by storm  from sleek, cordless handheld clippers to a range of wipes,   and as pet owners continue to be passionate about their animals, the sector is only projected to grow. Retailers should be prepared with knowledge about the options pet parents  have  for  their  animals’  specific  grooming needs.    


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