Pet parents splurge on health-oriented products

Consumers are spending when it comes to pet care and grooming. "Overall, the humanization of pets is driving both the grooming and dental categories," said Brian Collier, a spokesman for Naturel Promise. "Pet parents are, more than ever, concerned about the well-being, comfort and health of their pets."

(For the full category review, including sales data, click here.)

There has been growth in pet grooming products, as people view grooming as a way to spend quality time caring for their pets. Pet Head, from Bed Head creator Kyara Mascolo, now has Dog Nail Polish in four colors. The fast-dry, one-coat polish can be used on humans and dogs, according to the company.

Products made with natural and organic ingredients also have become more popular with consumers. A recent study from Packaged Facts revealed that 38% of pet owners believe that natural/organic brand pet products are often better than standard national brands, and 63% are very concerned about the safety of the pet products they buy.

Naturel Promise brand is just one line that offers a selection of grooming products for pets that includes natural ingredients and promotes such benefits as a fresh breath, a healthier coat and less shedding. The brand also markets a spa line for pets.

Pet owners also are more focused on providing their pets with good health care. The American Animal Hospital Association says that poor dental health can lead to more serious pet health problems, such as heart, lung and kidney disease, and that regular teeth brushing at home, coupled with regular dental checkups, can help pets live longer, healthier lives.

Sales of toothpastes and gels, tooth sprays and brushes are on the rise. Triple Pet's line of pet dental care products covers the spectrum of needs for both dogs and cats, including an EZ Dog unique triple-headed toothbrush design, as well as White-On Disposable Teeth Cleaners, plaque remover and toothpastes.

Collier said many consumers still fail to provide proper dental care for their pets because they assume proper brushing will be a challenge. "Our goal is to continue educating consumers about the importance of dental health, while also connecting them with products that make taking care of their pets' teeth easy and affordable," he said.

The increased popularity of pet Halloween costumes is another example of how pet parents see their furry friends as family members. The National Retail Federation estimates that 15% of pet owners dress their pets for Halloween. Last year, the NRF said, pet costume sales increased 20% over 2011 dollar sales.

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