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The Little Survey

Chews Rule as the Bestselling Format for Pet Supplements

Plus more takeaways from indies in our Little Survey on supplements.





RETAILERS SHARE WHAT their customers are looking for in the pet supplement category, plus how they choose which products to carry, their current top sellers, and products and support on their wish list. A surprise to no one: Mentioned more than once on that list were supplements cats will actually take.

What issues are customers most looking for help with in their pets? (You can choose more than one.)

What type of supplements do you sell most?

Rank these qualities by importance for deciding which supplements to sell:



What do you wish existed in the supplement product category? It can be a type of product, specific brand support or anything else you’d like to share.
  • Cat supplements that a cat will actually consume. — Susan Nagel-Ress, Winky’s Pet Boutique, Chester, NJ
  • Flavors other than peanut butter and bacon. — Danielle Wilson, Bath & Biscuits, Granville, OH
  • Information easier for employees to learn quickly. Or reference materials that allow them to look up information quickly, while the customer is there. By keywords. Not all staff have the time or inclination to learn everything about every supplement, and just putting the sales material in a binder is cumbersome. — Sheila Raebel, Dogma, Arlington, VA
  • More participation in Astro Loyalty. — Deborah Vitt, Mutts & Co. Columbus, OH
  • More cognitive-support products for seniors. — Claudia Loomis, CB Pet Market, Washington, NJ
  • Fun themed packaging. — Patty Dill, Doggie Sweets, Long Branch, NJ
  • More dog probiotics that use actual dog flora rather than human flora. We have only seen one product, and it was priced too high for our market. — Jennifer Marshall, Northwoods Pets, Rhinelander, WI
  • Good quality chewable multi-vitamin. — Cathy Dervalis, Dog Day Afternoon, Belleville, IL
  • More powders, fewer chews. The chewable supplements so often have fillers or additives that can be allergens. Having a dog with a flaxseed allergy, I now have heightened awareness of this problem. — Katherine Ostiguy, Crossbones, Providence, RI
  • Supplements that don’t have ANY chicken! — Penny Murano, Unleashed, New London, NH
  • Customers wish there was a pet weight-loss supplement. — Amanda Favoino, Paws of Distinction, New Paltz, NY
  • More mushroom powder or capsules. — Kailee Ray, Pet Nutrition Center, Carlsbad, CA
  • Supplements that contain therapeutic levels of active ingredients. There is a lot of marketing of items that don’t have enough to make a difference. — Beth Staley, Happy Dog Barkery, Downers Grove, IL
  • Better access to supplements in distribution so we didn’t have to get so many direct. — Jennifer Larsen, Firehouse Pet Shop, Wenatchee, WA
  • Something to really stop dogs from eating poop! — Samm Albright, Whisker & Bone, Saint George, UT
  • Brand support in the way of social media slides or content for newsletters. — Erin Paitrick, Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming Summerville & Moncks Corner, Summerville, SC
  • Research. Actual evidence-based results. It’s hard to think many of the supplements on the market are little more than snake oil without evidence-based research. — Cassie Nilsson, The Mill Stores, Whiteford, MD
  • Regulation. — Michelle Smith, Natural Pet Center, Fargo, ND
  • QR codes on supplement packaging with links to manufacturer websites. — Paul Lewis, The Green K9, Eustis, FL
  • Organic allergy drops for dogs and cats. Something sublingual, easier to administer. — Penny Frazier, Earthwise Pet — Seabrook, Seabrook, NH
  • Better displays with features and benefits highlighted. — Rachael Creech, Adventure Pets Inc, Mandeville, LA
  • Printed materials to send home with samples. Many times we hear that they have a struggle getting their dogs to take supplements, so samples help them see if their dog will take it easily before they spend money on it. — Jennifer Williams, Ball Ground Hounds, Ball Ground, GA
  • More options for multivitamins/additives for home feeding. — Rebecca Nicholson, Yarn and Bone Pet Supply, Milford, DE
  • An independent-only line. — Sam Ellsworth, Sacandaga Dog Supply, Northville, NY
  • More glandular support for spayed and neutered dogs. — Jeffery Jensen, Four Muddy Paws, St. Louis, MO
  • Crunchy supplements for cats. Cats tend to not like the soft chews. — Alison Chandler, Noble Beast, Phoenix, AZ
  • There is a dearth of eye health supplements, which I understand because eyes are tricky and no one wants to be liable for an eye injury. But there should be more good choices. — Molly Lewis, Dog River Pet Supplies, Hood River, OR
  • Hydrolyzed treats. — Laurie Wilson, Teca Tu-A Pawsworthy Pet Emporium, Santa Fe, NM
  • B12 that’s available to indie pet stores. — Jill Hall, Grateful Paws, Leadville, CO
  • More single-ingredient products. Kind of like a drug store selection. Coq10, turmeric, vitamin b12, etc. But specifically for animals. — Jack Carey, Food for Pets, Manchester, NH
  • Looping educational video to play at the store. Also helps with line management. — Andrea Demmons, The Tailgait Market, Asheville, NC
  • It would be nice to have a build-your-own pet supplement line, all in one bag and ready to go for the day. Like the human option. — Lauren Kett, The Spur Line, Livingston, MT
  • More supplements with the NASC Quality Seal. — Cynthia Mckinney, Loyl’s Natural Pet Grocery & Groomery, Houston, TX
  • Allergy support items that work. Something with quercetin, bromelain and kale? something that has more histamine blockers. — Rachel Mcginnis, Leo & Lucky’s, Parrish, FL
  • A product that actually worked for tear staining. — Kirsten Puhr, The Nw Dog, Poulsbo, WA
  • Multi-organ not just liver, lung, heart but also spleen, pancreas. — Paula Gorman, Pet Supplies ‘N’ More, Muskego, WI
  • A chew made with quality ingredients to make the chew palatable. — Jennifer Wilburn, Shakapaw Pet Market, Sandpoint, ID
  • More vet-only supplements. — Michael Morris, Yarn and Bone Pet Supply, Milford, DE
  • More cold-pressed chews that didn’t require all the binders and fillers. — Jennie Dudley, Hairy Winston, Mount Pleasant, SC
  • Allergy supplements that work. — Tammi Bui, Wishbone Pet Care, Missouri City, TX
  • A way to show a product is working for a particular pet. People are hesitant to try something, especially if they cannot see results. — Patty Kalvelage, Spoiled Dogs Company, Grinnell, IA
  • Easier to find things like kelp, spirulina. — Jennifer Mohr, Paw Print Pantry, Niantic, CT
  • Some brands have “functional treats” that are basically a regular treat with a fancy label attached. The amount of whatever functional additive is so low that you would have to give the entire bag in order to get an acceptable dose. Imagine if we took these same treats and made them actually functional per serving. — Corey Heenan, Boutique and Pet Spa, Altamont, NY
  • More information on how important supplements are for good overall health. — Patti Carney, Hollywood Houndz, Lake Mary, FL
  • An anticarcinogen that customers weren’t instantly suspicious of because they’ve “never heard of that ingredient.” — Savanna Skinner, The Savvy Dog, Longview, WA
  • A line for cats that is both easy to administer and that they will actually eat! — Maria Cetrola, Buddy’s Pet Shop, Beach Haven, NJ
  • More choice in flavors. — Kelly Lawrence, Barkingham Palace Pet Grooming, Houma, LA
  • Supplements that cats actually like and eat without a fight. — Keith Henline, Asheville Pet Supply, Asheville, NC
  • More palatable CBD “chews” for felines. — Denise Strong Pawz On Main, Cottonwood, AZ
  • More brand support overall. — Victor Santucci Garden State Pet Center, Audubon, NJ
  • Supplements for the super picky eaters. Ones for digestive and gut health. Often the ones we have found don’t always work for picky eaters. — April Wright The Dog And Cat, Essex Jct, VT
  • Fewer ingredients at larger doses. — Kate Bowman, Clipper’s Canine Cafe, Ellicott City, MD
  • More options for palatable cat supplements. — Tonya Christiansen, Must Love Dogs, Grand Haven, MI
  • I wish there was a really good training course on supplements. — Theresa Sexton, For Healthy Pets, Wetumpka, AL
  • Effective products to help with dementia for senior dogs. — Terri Nichols, Citydog Market, Atlanta, GA
  • More staff training on products. If our staff believes in a product, we sell a lot of it. — Dani Cunningham, Lewis and Barks Outpost, Red Lodge, MT
  • More colostrum products and powder supplements. The chews sell well, but most have a bunch of added ingredients that are not needed and unhelpful. — Samantha Youngblood, Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center And Massage, Wilkinson, IN
  • Higher-concentration full-spectrum CBD. — Kristi May, Legend Acres, Surprise, AZ
  • Colloidal silver in large glass jars. — April Meier, Pawsitively Scrumptious, Crestview, FL
  • Tutorials I can pull up and in one minute tell customers why they should buy a supplement. There are too many, and employees won’t/can’t learn them all. — Heather Miller, Just For Pets, York, PA
  • Consistent dosing information. — Stephanie Rossino, Giggybites Bakery & Marketplace, Chadds Ford, PA
  • A better understanding of the ingredients being incorporated into formulations! — Johnna Devereaux, Fetch Ri, Richmond, RI
  • A product that shows a difference right away that people buy month after month. — Keri Torgerson, Mac’s Pet Depot Barkery, Milwaukee, WI
  • More one- to two-ingredient whole food powders or transdermals that work as functional meds targeting specific issues. — Julie Johannes, Happy Hounds Pet Supply, Bigfork, MT
  • More highly palatable supplements that don’t use a bunch of fillers. — Joanna Shaw, All Pet & Equine Supply, Mountain Home, AR
  • Multifunctional branding. — Virginia Schetter, Wagz Elevated Pets, Fort Collins, CO
  • I wish supplements weren’t so easy for every brand to make and sell without testing that they work. It’s an overwhelming market of options, and I am always so thorough with my choices because I only want to carry brands that truly work and have great ingredients! I also prefer vet formulated. — Mckenna Burzimati, Roxies Barkery, North Adams, MA
  • More treat-type supplements. — Doug Staley, Pet Palace of New City, New City, NY
  • A supplement that really reduces or eliminates seizures. — Brett Foreman, Eupawria Holistic Pet Center, Owego, NY
  • A magic pill to stop allergies, natural and not a pharmaceutical. — Jodi Etienne, Razzle Dazzle Doggie Bow-Tique, Bradley, IL
  • Stronger calming supplements to help dogs with anxiety and aggression during grooming!! I wish they had almost a prescription-strength supplement. I refuse to groom dogs on gabapentin or trazodone, and a lot of the calming supplements are not very strong or have little to no effect on the dogs for a calming aid. — Carly Buswell, Cosmos Cuts Pet Grooming Boutique, Swanton, VT
  • Cat-specific anti inflammatory or CBD treats. — April Lawrence, Bone-A-Patreat, Des Moines, IA
  • Samples for customers to try. — Sherry Jennings, Mississippi Mutts, Cape Girardeau, MO
  • Immune support that cats will really eat. — Susan Roraff, Susie’s Petpourri, Reedsburg, WI
  • Unbiased general supplement training. Every manufacturer has their own agenda, so something that is just the general facts would be lovely, especially for new team members. — Shane Somerville, Paddywack, Mill Creek, WA
  • More natural vitamins and less synthetics! — Jenn Frankavitz, Four Leggers Pet Supplies & Services, Beverly, MA
  • Smaller size tinctures for customers who only need them occasionally. — Alexis Quiroga, Pawsitively Sweet Bakery, San Antonio, TX
  • Efficacy studies! I hate selling snake oil — so I don’t! — Gloria Von Zech, The Principled Pet, Collingswood, NJ
  • Good support, quick responses to questions so we can better serve our customers. Educational material and social media to help promote. — Shari Wilkins, Lake Dog and Their People, Eufaula, OK
  • Liver supplement. — Kris Lamoreaux Healthy Pets Mountain West, Cottonwood Heights, UT
  • More transparency with ingredient benefits. — Lauren Gallagher, Everything But The Dog, Reading, MA
  • More items that support kidney and liver, like milk thistle. — Tracy Alford Animal Nutrition & Grooming Center, Roseville, CA
  • Clinical trials, product validation and certificate of analysis on every batch. — Elizabeth Zikmund, Give A Dog A Bone, Evansville, IN
  • More representation and samples would be amazing! Particularly demo reps for overall health products, such as salmon oil, as they can create a lasting impression on customers. — Mackenzie Howell, Concord Pet Foods and Supplies (#19)
  • A holistic anti-anxiety supplement that really works. — Elysa Cooper, Junebug’s Beach House, Kennebunkport, MA
  • Lately people ask a lot about remedies for different types of cancer that their dog or cats have. I wish there was something to help with that disease. — Natalya Schilling, Pets On Brady, Milwaukee, WI
  • More natural flea treatments that worked. Sprays are great, but not necessarily for cats. Collars are nice to have as an extra defense, but they aren’t breakaway, and for outdoor cats, this is a concern so we discourage them. And not everyone is willing to risk the topical drops prescribed by veterinarians since they sometimes have adverse reactions. — Angela Velasquez, The Kitty Bodega, Houston, TX
  • Better palatability. — Michelle Petrich, Lulu’s Pet Pantry, Burlington, KY

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. pet business serving the public, you’re invited to join the PETS+ Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the pet industry. Sign up here.



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