Let’s Give a Big Smile forNational Pet Dental Month - Ignite2X Full-Service Brand Marketing Agency
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Not only are pets receiving better, cleaner levels of nutrition these days, but fido and fifi are flashing more pearly whites, too, as pet parents increasingly embrace better oral hygiene for their pets. With February marking National Pet Dental Month, it’s only appropriate that we give the pet oral hygiene category a quick exam and share some ways for brands to effectively connect with pet parents to encourage more regular pet oral hygiene practices as a gateway to better pet health.

The Growth and Impediment of Pet Oral Hygiene

Thanks to new developments in pet pharmaceuticals, greater access to pet healthcare insights and the humanization of pets, our 4-legged friends are living longer, healthier lives than ever. As an extension of this trend, veterinary practices are also more actively engaging pet parents in discussions about disease prevention. Given that periodontal disease is the most common clinical condition found in cats and dogs and is linked to a host of pet health-related issues, ranging from tooth loss to organ failure, the importance of clean teeth and healthy gums in pets is clearly a conversation worthy of elevation and one that’s getting more attention.

In keeping with pet ‘humanization,’ the American Pet Product Association (APPA) reports that the U.S. pet oral care products market is expected to reach $1.9 billion in 2024, with a CAGR of 6.6% through 2029.* Still, and despite increased communication regarding the role proper dental care plays in the health of pets, few pet owners actually brush their dog’s (8%) or cat’s (4%) teeth on a daily basis,* driven by a number of stubborn obstacles, including:

  • Perceived physical challenges associated with brushing pet teeth – no one wants to wrestle with the cat or dog and run the risk of a scratch or bite!
  • Limited knowledge/awareness of products that will facilitate routine dental care
  • Misperception that brushing is for older pets, while onset of tartar build-up actually begins at age 3
  • Ease of resorting to periodic teeth cleaning procedures at the vet, despite cost and anesthetic-related risks
  • Busy lives/lack of time – only 70% of adult Americans claim brushing their own teeth twice daily!

The Road to Prevention and Better Health

So, what can pet brands operating in the oral hygiene space do to better connect with pet parents, encourage prevention of tartar build-up, and drive more sales in the process? The best place to start is by addressing the factors currently impeding care, and offer solutions that educate, remind, celebrate, and reward with fun, engaging marketing programs and messaging that appeal to the love we hold for our pets. That said, here are some marketing approaches, ranging from digital to traditional, that pet oral hygiene brands of all sizes and distribution footprints can place into action to do just that.

Social Media:

  • Create engaging content that sells the emotional fulfillment associated with beautiful ‘pet smiles’ and knowing that good pet oral care is a true sign of love and care
  • Post videos/tips demonstrating actual product use to create confidence among pet parents in using oral hygiene products – in turn reducing anxiety for both pet owner and pet and helping to ultimately drive more active dental care
  • Promote community engagement so pet parents can share their experiences with your brand to help build trust/inspire others to consider purchase/active use
  • Stage digital contests/challenges to create engagement with brand followers such as “showcase your pet’s smile,” “5-star dental check at the vet” etc.
  • Build social following and form shopper connections through fun yet informative content and emotionally relevant visuals – always linking posts to the brand website as another contact point for elevating pet parent experience and bond with the brand

Brand Website:

  • Like with social media, integrate videos/step by step tips showing ease of use
  • Establish site as a trusted, educational hub, creating strong bonds with pet parents:
    • Stress prevalence of periodontal disease and importance of adopting good oral hygiene practices early in pet life to reduce risk of future dental/health issues
    • Share available research data and images which capture outcomes of poor oral hygiene to stir emotion and encourage pet owners to take action
    • Post success stories with before/after photos to inspire routine use
    • Create FAQ section for addressing common concerns/provide troubleshooting tips
  • Collect email addresses for remarketing purposes (discounts/promotions)

Customer Loyalty Building/Email Campaigns/Interactive Apps:

  • Implement digital loyalty programs that reward consistent purchase, offering exclusive discounts, freebies, educational resources, etc.
  • Leverage email database to send reminders about importance of oral health/benefits of using brand, along with exclusive discounts/offers to drive repeat purchase
  • Develop digital apps for reminding pet parents to engage in routine use, and consider gamifying the experience by incorporating progress tracking, rewards or challenges to promote consistent use


  • Provide clear, concise usage instructions, ideally including on-pack QR code that links to online demonstration video to build trust and elevate confidence in purchase

Special Packs:

  • Create bundle packs offering range of oral hygiene products to encourage a comprehensive dental care routine
  • Offer trial-size products or freebies tied to other product purchases

Veterinarians/Specialty Pet Retailers:

  • Because staff in these settings are more apt to offer personalized selling/have deeper knowledge of products, offer educational POS materials, brand swag, and pre-pack displays for reaching pet parents in these channels
  • Offer exclusive promotions/in-store displays and demos to drive sales and traffic into supporting vets/smaller retailers

By employing a mix of these strategies, pet brands can develop a holistic approach for educating and encouraging pet parents to adopt and maintain a consistent oral hygiene regimen that promotes the overall health and well-being of their pet…and that’s definitely something worth smiling about.

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*Sources: Mordor Intelligence, Ipsos