As dogs and cats advance through life stages, they need different foods, supplements, chews, and other items. Retailers that offer the right combination of products, and that have staff who can explain the various life stages and the pets’ needs, can benefit from loyal consumers returning to purchase items throughout the life of the pet.
Consumers are becoming well educated about products designed for different life stages, and they are willing to spend on their beloved pets.
Manufacturers say life stage products are gaining popularity as pet owners seek innovative products that fit their specific needs. “An animal’s nutritional needs and physiology change as they age,” says Geoff Hamby, director of marketing for Vetericyn Animal Wellness. “Each major life stage—puppy, adult, and senior—has key biological needs that require different nutrition to drive optimal physical and mental health.”
For young animals, the focus is on growth and development. For adult pets it’s everyday wellness and performance, and with senior pets it’s mobility, digestion, and energy.
“Consumers are savvy and understand that their pet’s age is an important factor when considering health products for their pet,” Hamby says. “They know a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t beneficial and have begun to seek out products that are tailored to their specific needs.”
Items such as chews are available for dogs of different ages. NPIC makes several teething rings under its N-Bone brand. N-Bone Puppy Teething Rings have a unique shape and provide a teething aid to alleviate discomfort by massaging and soothing the gums, and are formulated with DHA and calcium to support the puppy’s nutritional needs.
“Puppies need more calcium to help promote healthy development,” says Sam Chen, director of sales and marketing. “A senior dog does not require as much.”
In addition, the dental ring helps support the dog’s behavioral needs, and the texture and hardness of the products are designed to be life stage appropriate.
For adult dogs, N-Bone Adult Teething Rings are made with real chicken, fortified with DHA, probiotics, prebiotics, and other functional ingredients that are essential to help support healthy skin and coat and digestion, and the twisted shape and dense texture help remove plaque and reduce tartar buildup. N-Bone Senior Dental Rings for dogs 6+ years are fortified with functional ingredients like DHA, glucosamine, and chondroitin, while the pliable texture is easy to chew without damaging fragile teeth.
“Pet parents are looking for pet treats that contain natural and functional ingredients that address pets’ health, oral hygiene, and wellbeing,” says Tara Loupot, senior marketing manager. “All products we manufacture target dental health, while supporting teething relief and vital health needs, including joint, weight management, puppy development, skin and coat and senior care.”
“As recent studies show, 41 percent of pet owners are paying more attention to their pets’ health and wellness,” says Andrea Henderson, vice president of marketing for Pet-Ag. “Many are focused on learning more about their pets’ diets, the ingredients used, and what their pet may or may not need.”
Also, Henderson says, 61 percent of U.S. pet consumers are willing to pay more for food customized for their pet’s specific dietary needs.