Pet owners know that caring for their own dental health is essential from an overall wellness standpoint, and they are increasingly realizing that the same holds true for their furry companions. Oral care is part of most people’s daily routine, and now veterinarians, pet product retailers, oral care marketers, and even mainstream media outlets are trying to make it part of a pet’s as well. Pet wellness is one of the biggest market drivers in the pet market, and oral care services and products dovetail directly into this trend.
It looks like a winning proposition. In addition to being a key part of maintaining a pet’s overall health, preventive oral care can help cut down on veterinary costs, delaying or even eliminating the need for costly procedures. Yet, although dental disease is estimated to affect approximately 80% of dogs and 70% of cats, only 27% of dog owners and 16% of cat owners have had their pet’s teeth cleaned by a veterinarian in the past year, Packaged Facts February/March 2018 Survey of Pet Owners reveals in the report Pet Oral Care Services and Products in the U.S., 3rd Edition.
These low percentages are likely a result of pet owners’ not fully understanding the importance of professional cleaning, with over one-third believing that cleaning a pet’s teeth at home is just as effective as a professional cleaning. Educating them about the benefits of both at-home care with oral care products and professional oral care services—and showing them how products and services work together as part of a pet wellness regimen—will be a critical factor in helping this market achieve its full potential.
Trends Driving Innovation in Pet Oral Care Market
Product efficacy is one of the biggest concerns in pet oral care, continually driving innovation in both services and products. Better, more efficient equipment is prompting service providers to invest in the tools that will allow them to provide safer, more thorough teeth cleanings. At the same time, oral care product marketers are seeking out ways to make their products better and more attractive to consumers. In the treats market, for example, innovation typically manifests in ingredients, formulations, and product designs. on the non-edible side of the market, innovation typically centers around ingredients as well, but it also often involves product packaging and delivery systems.
With 2017 sales estimated at $5.2 billion, the pet oral care market is poised to continue its upward trajectory and outpace pet market growth overall. Growth opportunities center around “clean label” and limited ingredient products, entries targeting felines specifically, and human product tie-ins. Underpinning them all will be the ongoing efforts of pet health professionals and product marketers to play the all-important health card in driving more pet owners to take pet oral care as seriously as they do their own oral care, with pet oral care becoming part of their daily petcare routines.
-- by Shannon Brown, market research analyst