Dec. 19, 2007 -- Not only do Americans love their furry friends, they love to pamper them, especially around the holidays.
From lavender-scented cologne to eco-friendly shampoos, more companies traditionally known for their people-grooming products are reaching out to dogs and cats, and their owners.
Pets mean big business in the United States.
The American Pet Products Manufacturing Association says consumers will spend more than $40 billion on their pets this year and a whopping $3 billion on grooming and boarding products.
Pamper Your Pooch
Hair-care giant Paul Mitchell has a whole line of grooming products for pets, including detangling spray and tooth wipes. The line also includes a tearless gentle shampoo for pups with sensitive eyes.
John Paul Pet Full Body and Paw Bath Wipes, $11.99 EntirelyPets.com
Isle of Dogs, which uses evening primrose oil in many of its canine products, has recently launched a styling line that includes mousse and hold sprays.
Isle of Dogs Volume Support, $22 IODogs.com
Part of the Family
Daniel Marx is a consumer products analyst at Moody's Investors Services. He says as people become more accustomed to treating their pets like family members, they're more likely to drop more money on their pets, often lavishing them with high-quality food and nicer living arrangements.
Marx says baby boomers might be behind the pet product boom — as boomers start to retire from the work force, they have more time and money to devote to pets.
Origins' Doggy Dip Silky Coat Dog Shampoo, $27.50 Origins.com
And you can't ignore the fact that more American households have pets, with more households keeping more than one.
According to the 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey, 63 percent of U.S. households own a pet, up from 56 percent of households in 1988.
Naturally Safe, for Pets and People
Candace Smith owns the Texas-based pet-care company Cain and Able Collection, named after her dogs, whom she calls her babies. Able is a golden retriever; Cain is a German shepherd-husky mix.
Smith said she started her pet-care company several years ago while looking for a natural bug repellent for her dogs. "I didn't want to put a poison on my pet." When she couldn't find what she was looking for, she came up with her own all-natural line.
Now her products, which range from candles to soap-on-a-rope to peppermint-scented shampoo, are sold in 2,500 retail stores and 16 countries. On average her products sell for $12. Gifts sets are more.
Smith says her shampoos have been her best-selling item, but lately she's selling a lot of toothbrushes, toothpaste and paw rub.
Cain and Able KissAble Toothbrush and Toothpaste, $12.50 CainandAbleCollection.com
Not familiar with paw rub?
It's a soothing balm for dry, itchy paws, containing aloe, shea butter and vitamin E oil. Sounds nice, right? Smith likes it so much she uses it on her own skin. She says it works wonders for her dry skin and chapped lips — and is fully ingestible, something that is very important when marketing to animals.
She says her company has almost doubled in size every year since she started selling products in 2004. But she's seen the most growth at salons and spas for people. She attributes this to the number of hotels adding pet services to their spa menus. And the growing number of pet-friendly hotels.
All of Smith's products make you think spa. They are infused with citronella and essential oils and are devoid of harsh detergents. Other companies rely on avocado and safflower oil, and whole-wheat proteins.
Cain and Able Between Bath Body Spritz, $4.50 - $20 CainandAbleCollection.com
Smith says she's responding to her customers' needs. Ever since the enormous pet-food scare, Smith says customers are asking more pointed questions about ingredients. "People are becoming more educated on how to take care of pets more properly."
Moody's Marx agrees. "Maybe in the past there were smaller organic brands that didn't get much attention but following [the] pet scare there is more focus."
One of the companies Marx tracks, Central Garden and Pet Co., has seen an increase in demand in its all-natural line, Breeder's Choice. "The days of dogs living outside are probably over."
Kiehl's Cuddly Coat Conditioning Rinse, $16 Kiehls.com