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    Natural Oils and Fats in Pet Care Products: Good for Pets, Good for the Planet

    The trend towards natural cosmetics for humans is increasingly being transferred to animal care. Pet parents
    wish for care products which fit the individual needs of their domestic animal exactly - for instance its type
    of fur - and which are beyond that free from petroleum-based components. Natural oils, fats and waxes offer
    many interesting ingredients, whose “savvy“ combination can booster animal well-being.

  • Pet care products on the rise

    In its current market research report on pet products, the global market research company Mintel speaks of “a year of innovation in pet food and products.” Mintel’s database of global product launches (Mintel GNPD) shows an ever growing number of new pet care products in recent years. The market research report reaffirms that pet parents consider their pets as part of the family and apply the same standards to pet care products as they do to personal care products for themselves: The products should be precisely tailored to the individual needs of the animal, for example regarding the type of coat, allergies, age of the animal and other parameters. Moreover, natural, sustainable and climate-friendly products are in trend. An interesting example: In the last months, more and more (natural) cosmetic brands in Germany launched solid shampoo bars. The sales arguments are sustainability-driven: Firstly, the solid shampoo bars cause clearly fewer transport-induced CO2-emissions than the heavier liquid shampoos. Secondly, solid shampoos are packed in environmentally friendly (recycled) paper instead of plastic. Such solid shampoos are now also available for pets – in addition to other care products such as nose and paw balms, combing aids, conditioners or shower baths. The aforementioned Mintel pet market report states that “in the 12 months of this review period, some 53 percent of pet food and pet product launches in Europe featured a natural claim.”

    With all understanding for humanization of animals, one might wonder: Why does a dog need extra care products, whereas wild animals do obviously not use paw balms, shampoos or alike? Concerning paw balms, nature has without any doubt intended that dogs and cats run barefoot all their lives – it’s the reason why the skin on the balls is designed 50 times thicker than on the rest of a dog’s body. However, we humans add to natural challenges such as little stones, heat and cold: for example road salt or hard grit in winter and particularly hot asphalt in summer. The man-made challenges cause extra care requirements. When it comes to shampoo, a need for care arises because human demands on the appearance of their pets are different from those on animals in nature. In addition, humans have bred animals with very different types of fur, some of which need special care.

    Possible ingredients for natural pet care products

    Natural oils, fats, waxes and related products are essential ingredients of many cosmetic products. They contribute significantly to desired care effects and influence the texture. Natural pet care products usually do without petroleum-based ingredients such as paraffin oil or petroleum jelly. For natural products, nature has an immense wealth of – mostly vegan – components in store, some of which can be used both internally and externally. They contribute both to the well-being of the animal and to its attractive appearance. To these natural components count for example:

    Adeps lanae (Lanolin) acts as an emulsifier and consistency enhancer. At the same time, it protects and cares for skin and coat, preserves the moisture of the skin and has a positive influence on skin irritations and wound healing. Lanolin is a complex mixture of fatty acids, wax esters and alcohols. It is obtained from raw wool wax. Raw wool wax is a secretion from the sebaceous glands of sheep, which is the result of the washing of sheep’s wool. A vegan alternative is Vegalan.®

    Aloe Vera is known from human cosmetics for its anti-inflammatory, wound-healing and soothing effects and is often used in cosmetic products for dry or irritated skin. Accordingly, in the field of pet care, it is for example found in paw balms for cracked and brittle balls. Aloe vera is also used internally as an additive to animal nutrition.

    Argan oil is extracted from the seeds of the Argan tree, which nowadays thrives almost exclusively in Morocco. Argan oil improves the sheen of rinse-off products such as shampoos and conditioners.


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