Bringing home a new puppy or kitten is an exciting time for your customers. Hopefully, they’ll start shopping for food and supplies before the new baby arrives, but if they don’t, they’ll likely need even more help with last-minute shopping. You can help reduce the stress of this busy time by making the shopping process as easy as possible, while also increasing sales by pre-selecting certain high-quality products that will thrill your customers. 

Tina Adams is the operations manager at Northpoint Pets and Company in Cheshire, Connecticut. She says their store has new puppy and new kitten checklists readily available for their customers.

“New pet owners, or owners who haven’t had a pet or haven’t had a puppy or kitten in a while, may not recall all the items that are needed,” Adams explained. “We want our customers to be prepared for the arrival of their new family member, and the checklist gives them a guide to follow in case there are items they didn’t think of.”  

Northpoint’s new puppy list includes: bowls, bed, crate, leash, collar, ID tag, food, toys, treats, grooming items (nail clippers, styptic powder, shampoo, wipes, brush), dental care, poop bags, cleaning products, first aid supplies and age-related supplements. The new kitty list includes: bowls, bed, collar, ID tag, food, toys, treats, scratch post or cat tower, litter box and litter, grooming items (nail clippers, shampoo, wipes, brush), dental care, cleaning products, first aid supplies and age-related supplements. 

Denise Clarke, vice president and owner of Care-A-Lot pet supplies with three locations in Virginia Beach and Newport Beach says their store also has new puppy and kitten lists available online. Each list contains general selections for Safety & Comfort, Nutrition, Grooming & Care, House Training and Toys & Treats. 

Having these lists gives your customers a starting point to remember the types of things they’ll need for a new pet without naming specific products or foods and gives you the flexibility to guide them to the specific products that are most appropriate for their pets.  

As the president of a rescue group and pet parent to many dogs and cats over the years, I know one of the biggest challenges new pet owners face are housetraining and the challenge of protecting expensive floors and carpeting. 

Charlotte Gooding is the division merchandise manager of soft flooring for The Home Depot, which is acting on the needs of pet parents.

“We at The Home Depot are seeing a noticeable increase in interest and demand for home and décor products that can withstand the wear and tear of our pets,” Gooding said. “The best place to start when pet-proofing a home is always going to be your floors. For this reason, we love Lifeproof with Petproof Technology Carpet – available exclusively at The Home Depot. Lifeproof’s Petproof carpets are designed with pets and durability in mind and feature lifetime stain protection, superior softness, and exceptional durability. It is the perfect carpet for families with children, pets or just high-traffic rooms.”  

With an increase in demand for pet-proof products in recent years, Lifeproof also launched an artificial grass featuring its Petproof Technology to help homeowners pet-proof their indoor and outdoor living spaces. The Lifeproof with Petproof Technology Premium Pet Turf is made with high-performance yarn to look and feel just like real grass with a reduction in maintenance, even under heavy use. “This artificial grass includes ultra-flo backing, which provides durable backing against dogs digging and drains two times faster than the industry average so liquid waste passes and will not puddle. Plus, this turf separates pets from dirt and dust, so paws do not get dirty or muddy,” said Gooding. 

I recently visited a fellow rescue group president who transformed her entire backyard into a sanitary, dog-friendly area by installing pet turf. The turf looked great, rinsed and drained easily and made pooper scooping a breeze. I realize your customers might not want to transform their whole yard, but by creating a designated potty area with pet turf, they’ll not only make clean up a breeze, but be better able to enjoy their yards by avoid the issue of friends and family inadvertently stepping on “landmines” when the puppy is allowed to potty wherever he or she pleases. They’ll also avoid dead patches of lawn that are killed by pet urine.  

Pet turf can also be used for balcony “potty stations” or even indoors for puppies in lieu of the hundreds of puppy pads owners go through in pad training. Additionally, the product can be of great use to new kitten owners as well. For those opposed to filling landfills with cat litter, the turf could be used instead, either inside a litter box or in a home-made potty station. Alternatively, artificial turf gives cats and kittens a fun play mat that provides a different texture for additional physical and mental stimulation.

 

Amy P. Castro, MA, is a business, leadership and communication expert, author and speaker who helps organizations develop leaders and build amazing teams one person at a time. She works with pet industry professionals who want to grow their loyal customer base by building a “Best in Show” team that can deliver a 5-Star Customer Experience. Amy is also the president of Starlight Outreach and Rescue, a nonprofit rescue in the Houston, Texas, area, and she has personally fostered more than 1,000 shelter pets.