Who Cares About Natural Dog Products Anyway?
Here at Pooch & Poodle we’ve become fascinated with natural dog products. Particularly, nutrition, health and beauty related products.
You already know that our thing is unique and stylish dog stuff for dog lovers and their pets. Which is precisely why we’ve been thinking, as we go about our daily beauty routines, why couldn’t more made-for-human products be developed or ‘re-purposed’ for our fur-BFFs? With the same (or similar) ingredients. And so, we began our search for those who’ve already put that idea into practice.
Frankly, we were surprised by our findings. For two reasons. The first was just how many natural dog products there already are out there (as well as the quality of some of those products and how well they’ve been ‘translated’ for a dog lovers audience). The second, was how many natural dog products there are out there. Huh? But you just said …
Let us explain.
Once we realized this wasn’t a novel idea (no prizes there!), we became surprised by how many holes there still are in availability. And therefore, the number of opportunities that surely still remain for taking existing human products and re-purposing them. In short, the natural pet product market is patchy.
While there’s certainly a reasonable focus on food and supplements, we weren’t overwhelmed with the availability of natural remedies and topical products (either for healing or beautification), for example.
At least that’s our perception of the supply side of the equation, based on a whole lot of googling and community research. Which clearly isn’t perfect.
So, we took a step back. The best way to understand supply … is to look at demand. And this time, we were really surprised. In a unidirectional kind of way.
A google ad words search reveals that many of us simply aren’t that interested in natural products for our pets. Of course, everything is relative (what percentage of humans are interested in natural products for themselves versus those who are not, for example). But the numbers were certainly lower than we expected.
Root Search Term
Percentage of Total Searches Once the Word 'Natural' or 'Organic' is Added to the Root Search Term.
*There was a tenfold greater number of searches for this term than the others, which still supports our supply-side observation that the organic dog food market seems to be reasonably well represented.
Now, we realise this is not exactly a scientific method. Nonetheless, we did one last piece of research to understand whether our interest in natural dog products has increased over time. Certainly, that’s been the case for human products over the last 20 years. Was the same true for natural dog products?
Our hypothesis was that it would be true, since: 1. as a society we have access to more (and better) information, 2. a global rising middle class, and 3. it’s now more socially acceptable to openly treat our pets as the special fur babies they are (and by extension care for them in the same way we care for ourselves).
To test the hypothesis, and in keeping with our robust method of enquiry, we leveraged … Google Trends. Here’s what we found:
- Searches for the term ‘natural dog food’ have been incrementally declining worldwide since January 2010.
- Searches for the term ‘natural dog supplements’ have stayed relatively constant worldwide since 2004 (with low volume).
- Searches for the term ‘natural dog shampoo’ have been on the increase worldwide since 2010.
- The term ‘natural paw moisturizer’ didn’t have enough data to return any results.
- Searches for the term ‘natural dog toothpaste’ have stayed relatively constant worldwide since 2011.
So, the results are patchy … much like the natural dog products market then.
As we said, clearly our method is not particularly scientific. The reason for decreasing searches for natural dog food could be related to the greater availability over time, for example. Why search for something you can more easily find?
Yes, we know this article raises more questions than it answers (and has a few holes, to boot). But it does confirm a suspicion. Although we at Pooch & Poodle may be natural pet product fans, as well as many of the people we associate with, the majority of us aren’t (or can't afford to be). As if we needed google to tell us that!
That said, we still believe there are significant opportunities for entrepreneurs to leverage ingredients and products used for humankind and re-purpose them for our beloved pet’s wellbeing.
What do you think? We’d be keen to hear your comments below. What are your thoughts on the current (and historical) level of interest in natural dog products? Do you search for, or buy, natural products for your pet? If you do, which type do you buy or recommend?
If you’re willing to share the best of the best you’ve come across, we’ll review one or two of them in future articles. If not, we’ll be sharing our thoughts on those we’ve already found and love.