The human health and wellness space developed significantly during the global pandemic, and pet owners have begun to seek new ways to better care for their pets. As a result, demand for natural pet supplements has soared, industry insiders report.
Substantial market trends are driving growth in the category, and sales are increasing. In 2021, the global pet supplements market size was valued at $1.9 billion USD, and it is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.9 percent from 2022 to 2030, according to a report from Grand View Research, a San Francisco-based market research firm.
“Millennials are a major driver in the natural supplement market today,” said RaChelle Baca-Lobre, founder and global director of sales of Rover’s Wellness, a manufacturer in Franklin, Tenn. “They are generally willing to spend more money than previous generations to ensure the health of their pets and gravitate toward products with clean labels that are prepared with top-of-the-line ingredients. Sustainability and responsible sourcing are also key.”
Regardless of a pet’s age or lifestyle, supplements can provide relief for hip and joint pain, improve cognition, alleviate anxiety, support urinary health and aid common ailments. Pet owners commonly seek supplements when they first notice a pet is anxious or suffering from an illness, insiders noted.
The pandemic impacted trends in this category. Pet owners who spent more time at home better understood the needs of their pets and identified issues, such as anxiety or stool problems, insiders said.
Ted Hayes, president and owner of Life Line Pet Nutrition, a Gig Harbor, Wash.-based manufacturer, expects to see increased demand for naturally sourced products as the value of natural supplements becomes more apparent.
“Post COVID, we have seen an increase in demand for our natural products,” Hayes said. “Customers are better understanding, more than ever, the value in not only wild-caught salmon, but products that are sourced from operations using sustainable practices. Our sales have more than doubled, as customers do their research, looking for all natural, sustainable fish oil products.”
The biggest drivers for fish oil supplements are the reduction of inflammation of the joints and treating skin issues or sensitivities, Hayes said. Life Line Pet Nutrition’s Wild Alaskan Fish Oil provides pets with omega-3 nutrition, is crafted with astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant, and supports overall brain and heart health, he added.
Supplemental feeding is a trend that officials at Grandma Lucy’s are seeing increased demand for, said Brian Butler, vice president of sales and marketing for the Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.-based pet product manufacturer.
“We are seeing major growth in our Pumpkin Pouches,” Butler said.
Made in the company’s California facility, Grandma Lucy’s Pumpkin Pouches are an all-natural, superfood supplement that make an easy, healthy addition to a pets’ daily diet, Butler said. The product currently comes in four varieties that provide remedies for inflammation, skin and coat problems, and digestive and bladder issues.
“People continue to look for ways they can elevate their current feeding routines without changing their pets’ diet,” Butler said. “We choose our ingredients based off what we think is best for pets and our customers. All of our products are freeze-dried in house, and we found that pumpkin was a fiber-soluble way of delivering ingredients that are easily mixable into pets’ food, whether it is sprinkled on top of dry kibble or adding water to it as a treat.”
Grandma Lucy’s also offers Simple Replacements for pets struggling from digestion foods. They are a great option for pets on new medications that may have eating disorders after vet visits or surgeries, Butler said.
Many people take vitamins and probiotics for their own health and request similar products for their pets, said Addie Schuhle, owner of Pet Food Depot, a pet supplies retailer in Phoenix.
“The natural pet supplements category is exploding in 2022,” Schuhle said. “Our bestsellers to date are from the NaturVet line. We see requests for calming and recommend solutions such as hemp-based treats and CBD [cannabidiol] oils.”
Christy Love, CEO of Super Snouts Hemp Co., Diggin’ Your Dog and Super Snouts Health Solutions, manufacturers of broad-spectrum hemp products in Reno, Nev., said pet owners primarily seek solutions for mobility, digestion, allergies and calming.
“Super Snouts pet wellness products are simple, effective and affordable,” Love said. “We are a results-driven company that focuses on innovation.”
Super Snouts Hemp Co. released CBG Mojo soft chews to support restorative health in January. They include cannabigerol (CBG) and turkey tail mushrooms as the active ingredients. The company’s newest supplement product is Lion’s Roar, which is a single-strain lion’s mane mushroom used to support cognitive health, specifically in aging pets, the company reported. In addition, in February, the brand introduced a soft chew version of its best-selling Joint Power powdered mobility supplement.
“Always look at the ingredients before purchasing,” Love said. “Make sure that the active and inactive ingredients are high quality and look for whole food, simple ingredients when making your choice. Also, find supplements that have the National Animal Supplement [Council] Seal. This means that the company has undergone a very rigorous audit of their products and their facility.”
Defined by the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC), the NASC Quality Seal identifies products from companies that are committed to quality, vigilance, and continuous improvement to promote the well-being of companion animals and horses.
With hemp products, retailers should always demand a certification of authenticity for purity, Baca-Lobre said.
“There are several well-established, highly responsible pet supplement brands available,” Baca-Lobre said. “But when it comes to packaging and promoting hemp oil products, many brands will make confusing or misleading claims. Sadly, these products can potentially threaten the health of our pets. Retailers can help their customers avoid a negative experience by introducing them to supplements that bear the NASC Quality Seal. We are proud to offer a hemp oil tincture that was the first to earn the right to display this seal.”
Rover’s Wellness released four new varieties of Rover’s Canine Wellness Chews as well as freeze-dried Chicken Bites and Beef Bites in July and plans to announce several new additions this month.
“We have introduced a new broad-spectrum hemp oil tincture containing 1,600 milligrams of CBD for dogs,”
Baca-Lobre said. “We are also debuting our Broad-Spectrum Hemp Oil Salve and Transdermal Gel Pen for dogs and cats. Each of these products are 100 percent THC free and are infused with true broad-spectrum hemp oil.”
Consumer & Employee Education
The pet supplements category offers quality solutions to countless remedies, but confusing labels and misinformation can make pet owners feel overwhelmed. That’s where independent pet specialty retailers can step in with guidance.
“One way to confirm whether a supplement is natural is by simply checking the label,” said RaChelle Baca-Lobre, founder and global director of sales of Rover’s Wellness, a manufacturer in Franklin, Tenn. “Consumers should look for products that list whole food ingredients. Labels that list nutrients individually, such as vitamin B, are likely to be synthetic.”
Hemp oils have become a popular option for pets that struggle with anxiety, painful joints or inflammatory conditions. However, the different extracts made from its components can be confusing to pet owners, Baca-Lobre said.
“One of the most significant facts that we want our retailer partners and pet parents to understand is the difference between full-spectrum and broad-spectrum hemp oils,” Baca-Lobre said. Rover’s Wellness [products] are infused with certified organic broad-spectrum oil, which means that they are truly THC free. Full-spectrum pet supplement providers cannot make this claim.”
Consumers can also do independent research to identify their pets’ needs at different stages in life.
“If a pet is [predisposed] to skin allergies or currently suffers from skin issues, selecting a fish oil containing borage oil is essential to the health of a pet’s skin,” said Ted Hayes, president and owner of Life Line Pet Nutrition, a Gig Harbor, Wash.-based manufacturer . “In contrast, if a pet parent has a puppy or pregnant pet, selecting an oil with the highest concentration of DHA will best support the brain development in those animals.”
Specifically for retailers, Grandma Lucy’s offers a Learning Module Software (LMS) with classes on different products, said Brian Butler, vice president of sales and marketing for the Santa Margarita, Calif.-based manufacturer of made in the USA pet products.
“At Grandma Lucy’s, we work really hard to educate our independent retailers and give them the opportunity to serve their community,” Butler said. “Our hope is that retailers use our resources to educate themselves on our offerings to learn what would work best for their location and meet the needs of their customers. We are proud to have outside sales representatives throughout the nation who can consult retailers on a local level.”
It’s important to note that selling supplements is all about establishing trust, Baca-Lobre said.
“Shoppers are drawn to products from brands whose missions align with their very own,” Baca-Lobre said. “When a brand cares as much about the health, happiness and safety of their pets as they do, pet parents feel more confident purchasing their products.”
All-in-one soft chew supplements are a preferred first choice and easy to add into pets’ established diets, said Addie Schuhle, owner of Pet Food Depot, a pet supplies retailer in Phoenix. Her store carries a large selection of natural supplements and has at least one product for most ailments.
“NaturVet, Natural Dog Co., Diggin’ Your Dog and Pet Releaf are some of the brands we have on hand,” Schuhle said. “We try to minimize options by only carrying NaturVet as a complete line. We help educate customers on their pets’ foods by recommending online research. Brochures and signage from manufacturers also help us provide on-hand information.”
Joe McIver, brand director at Whitebridge Pet Brands in St. Louis
Human trends often influence new product development in the pet food category. Are there similarities in the pet supplement category? What goes into creating new supplements at Whitebridge, and what’s new from the company?
Just as with food, the pet supplement category is influenced by trends in the human market. Pet parents want their dogs and cats to enjoy the same health and wellness benefits that they themselves derive from supplements, and in many cases, the proven actives in human products are also effective in pets.
Omega-3 and -6 fatty acids are a good example. At Grizzly, we focus on omega, which are vital to many aspects of both humans’ and pets’ health, including boosting the immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems, and supporting strong joints and skin and coat health. We also offer joint health supplements, another popular human category. Our Joint Aid Liquid contains five active ingredients that work together to promote joint health: glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM (methyl sulfonyl methane), hyaluronic acid and wild Antarctic krill oil.
Apart from its products, our company is strongly aligned with another of today’s human trends: sustainability. Grizzly’s Omega fish oils use 100 percent wild-caught fish, a more ecologically sustainable sourcing practice than farming, which releases waste and chemicals into the ocean and surrounding environment. We also utilize the whole fish nose-to-tail, all parts not designated for human consumption, to minimize waste. Our commitment to sustainability and minimizing our environmental impact is what ultimately drives our product development and production.