Lending Older Dogs a Hand with Senior-specific Products
Pet Age Magazine: April 2018
April 4, 2018
This excerpt features the contributions of Clear Conscience Pet Founder Anthony Bennie. The full story can be seen in the April 2018 print edition or at Pet Age online
With dogs living longer, the number of senior pets is on the rise. Now, with those over 7 years of age being categorized as adults and subcategorized as geriatric, it gives pet specialty retailers a golden opportunity to focus on this market and stock the growing number of products targeting this category beyond just food options.
According to Wendy Guyer, owner of the Pet House in Santa Barbara, California, asking the age and breed are leading questions when recommending products to customers.
“It’s important to know the age of the dog in order to make the correct recommendations whether it’s treat or toy related and is a guidance for numerous other categories of products within our store as well,” she said. “Lots of older dogs have plenty of zip and energy, but they can still benefit from products made with older canines in mind.”
Switching Things Up
As a 26-year veteran of the natural pet food business, Anthony Bennie, founder and chief nutrition officer at Clear Conscience Pet, admits that he has come to reject the conventional wisdom that prevails in the pet industry with regard to food, treats and chews for older dogs.
“The prevailing trend focuses on senior food and treats with less protein, less fat and fewer calories while adding supplements and dietary fiber. The trouble is that these senior feeding ‘rules’ are not supported by canine biology,” he said. “Protein and fat are the core life-sustaining nutrients for dogs, which is why the Guaranteed Analysis must declare the minimum percentage for both. Older dogs want and need the same game as their younger pack mates, products rich in protein, fat, and numerous trace nutrients essential for vibrant good health.”
Seven years ago, Bennie set about tackling the issue of senior dog taste fatigue creating his holistic instant gravy mix for dogs named SuperGravy.
“We recently completed a major expansion and re-imagining of the SuperGravy line from the original ‘Au Jus’ brown beef gravy to a line of three artisan crafted holistic gravies,” Bennie said. “Each is made with a single protein to provide options for dogs with allergies, and all now include live probiotics and digestive enzymes to address the aforementioned concerns about digestive efficiency decreasing as dogs age. Keeping older dogs eating is the main purpose for the SuperGravy line.”
Bennie has also focused on creating safe but tasty treats and chews that work well for older dogs.
“The Lamb Airy Bark low-density crunchy treats are an innovative spin on roasted lamb lung. It’s roasted in slabs which makes it very easy to break and crunchy without being hard like a baked cookie. And the Lamb and Beef Trachey Chews are our all-natural rugged chewing option,” Bennie added. “We are doing older dogs a huge disservice if we stop giving them rugged chewing options. And, in fact, frequent chewing with the right chews is exactly what dogs need to prevent dental problems in the first place!”