Ohen it comes to aging, humans and animals have a lot in common, with nutrition and exercise becoming more important as mobility changes. The good news is that pets’ lifespans have improved thanks to advanced veterinary care and better eating habits, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“With pets living longer and more research being conducted on the needs of older pets, we are getting a clearer picture of how their needs change as they age,” says Vic Mason, president of World Pet Association (WPA). “This knowledge is prompting many companies to think about how best to meet these needs and bring products to market that, interestingly, share similarities with products for the elderly. It’s exciting to see how our industry is leveraging this knowledge to improve the lives of companion animals at every stage.
The dietary needs of pets become especially important as they age. For senior dogs, supplements and foods containing glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate or omega fatty acids may help relieve symptoms of arthritis, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Supplements for bladder care, mental health, anxiety, digestion, joint health, and skin and coat support have also gained momentum recently, along with oils and gels that stimulate the appetite or add calories to food for older dogs and cats.
Comfort & Mobility
As animals age, they often find it more difficult to move. For pets with arthritis, recent surgery, or conditions such as hip dysplasia, specially designed slings and harnesses with handles that allow pet owners to safely lift their companions are especially helpful. Ramps and stairs are now functional and stylish, aligning with the different aesthetic preferences of pet owners, as well as collapsible options suitable for small quarters.
Socks with handles that fit pets’ toes can help pets avoid falls on hard floors. Raised water bowls offer a simple way to reduce neck strain, and orthopedic beds not only keep pets comfortable, but can also help improve mobility. There are even bed options with built-in heating functions or separate warmers for pain relief.
As pets get older, it may become more difficult for them to get to their bathroom. Although urinary incontinence is not uncommon, it can be a sign of more serious health issues and warrants a conversation with a veterinarian. Pee pads, belly bands for male dogs, and pet diapers are popular products for senior pets. Many companies now offer washable and reusable options that are more environmentally friendly than the disposable varieties.
Like people, exercise plays an important role in every phase of a pet’s life, and this is especially true in their later years. Low-impact exercises like walking and swimming can help keep pets healthier longer by preventing boredom and depression and contributing to muscle mass.
Help your customers get their senior pets out by stocking items like fitness trackers, which can help pet owners see if their pets are slowing down too much – a common sign that pets may have health issues or pains. The winter months can be more difficult for older animals. Toys that can be filled with nutritious treats can help keep pets indoors entertained and mobile, and warm coats and boots or paw wax can make walks outdoors more comfortable.
Supply of senior pet products
Pet owners are actively seeking solutions to provide their senior pets with the best possible quality of life, which presents exciting opportunities for pet product retailers. Discover proven products and the latest trends for senior pets at SuperZoo, August 23-25, 2022, or visit WPA365.org. This virtual marketplace makes it easy to connect with vendors and manufacturers offering the most in-demand items for pets at all life stages, including dental products, dietary supplements, and targeted oils for different health conditions, and incontinence supplies.
“WPA365 provides a convenient way to learn about products that meet the specific needs of older pets,” Mason said. “By connecting with manufacturers and suppliers, as well as the pet community, retailers can gain valuable insight into what works for other store owners, gain details on how specific products benefit older pets and close deals on items that will help them capitalize on the current growth in the senior pet space, all online.”
Learn more about worldpetassociation.org/why-wpa365.