By Kathy Hosler
As a groomer, you may not think that you play an important role in the oral health of the pets that you groom, but you can – and you should. Studies show that by the age of three, seventy percent of dogs and cats begin to show signs of periodontal disease. Good oral health is a key to a pet’s overall well being. Periodontal disease can lead to serious problems and can affect a pet’s heart, liver, and kidneys. And, inflamed, swollen gums and loose, rotting teeth can be a constant source of pain for the pet. The odor from a diseased mouth can be very offensive.
We have all worked on pets whose breath is so bad that you can smell it as soon as they enter your door. And how many times have you seen pets with their teeth and mouth in such bad shape that it’s almost impossible to touch, let alone groom, their faces? Wouldn’t life be immeasurably better for those pets (and you) if they had healthy tartar-free and odor-free mouths?
Educating your clients and providing them with the products they will need to create and maintain the good oral health of their pets not only benefits your client and their pets – it also benefits you and your business. In fact, retailing products that promote good oral health for pets can become a gold mine for you.
We groomers usually see the pets on a regular basis, and often we observe dental problems even before their owner does. We all know that a large portion of pet owners never look in their pet’s mouth and some of them don’t have a clue how to care for their pet’s oral needs. If you are not already educating your clients about the lifelong importance of good oral care for their pets – now is the time to start.
Many groomers offer teeth brushing and breath freshening services as an add-on, but that is just the tip of the iceberg as to how you can be involved in the pet’s oral care. Although it’s never too late to introduce your clients to products that will improve and then maintain the pets oral health, getting the owners involved when their pet is young is ideal. You can start by explaining how important good oral care is to their pet’s overall health. Then you can introduce the owners to the basics of dental hygiene, beginning with a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste, and show them how to use it correctly. If the owners are unwilling or unable to brush their pet’s teeth, there are a multitude of other oral care products available that will get the job done.
There are oral care sprays and gels that work to remove plaque and tartar from the pet’s teeth and to freshen their breath. An even easier way to promote and maintain oral health is with an additive the owner simply puts in the pet’s drinking water. They won’t even have to touch their pet’s mouth.
In addition, there are a multitude of specialty products that you can retail to pet owners. There are the basics like finger toothbrushes, single-use toothbrushes that are prefilled with pet toothpaste, and complete dental care kits. There are also pre-moistened dental wipes and pads, oral gels, foam, sprays, and water additives. There is an almost endless selection of dental treats, bones, biscuits, and chews that are designed to promote oral health by removing tartar and plaque, freshening the breath, and helping to maintain healthier teeth and gums, all the while giving the pet the natural satisfaction and enjoyment of chewing.
There is also a huge assortment of pet toys that are designed to aid in oral health when the pets chew them. For instance, rope toys act like dental floss to remove the plaque and tartar from teeth. All of these dental care products, treats, and toys can become a source of year-round repeat sales for you, which will certainly boost your income.
Even if you don’t have a large retail area, or are a mobile or house-call groomer, making these products available to your clients should be a priority. Carrying a complete selection of pet oral care products will benefit everyone involved – the pets you groom, their owners, you, and your business. Now, that’s something to smile about!