The surge in demand for organic skincare and haircare products has led to an influx of these in the marketplace. And the pet care industry has jumped on board the organic bandwagon too.
What Indian pet parents have started to notice is that most of the commercially available pet care products use harsh chemicals to combat fleas and ticks — a common occurrence with furry friends. But, using these products can sometimes lead to grave skin issues that may even need hospitalisation.
Drishti Brahmania (26), a resident of Mumbai, is one such pet parent who had a bad experience with using chemical-laced products for her three-year-old dog’s atopic dermatitis.
“In 2017, my dog Tiger, an Indie rescue, developed atopic dermatitis. It is a pruritic skin condition that is caused by an allergic reaction when a pet inhales airborne substances like pollen or house dust. He would keep scratching himself which would lead to scabbing and he needed to be given medicated baths regularly,” says Drishti, adding that Tiger never found any relief in commercially available products or the ones recommended by the veterinarian.
So, she took matters into her own hands and started researching about ingredients typically used in pet products. When Drishti read through the ingredients used to make the vet-recommended shampoo, she found that there were chemicals which were also used in detergent powders. Shocked to understand that there was no regulatory body that checks what goes into making these products, it led to her creating her own range of organic products that use ingredients which are natural, certified-safe, and devoid of harsh chemicals.
Positive Changes in Tiger’s Condition
In 2018, Drishti wanted to start making organic products to treat Tiger’s skin condition. Though she did online research, she wanted to ensure that she is trained the right way to make the products.
“I took two short courses on Cosmetic Formulation and Aromatherapy at the School of Natural Skin Care and Lansh Training institute to get certified. These courses helped me understand the types and quantity of ingredients or oils I can use in my products,” says Drishti.
The first product she made was a shampoo that was devoid of Sodium Laureth Sulfate, a common ingredient found in shampoo, soap, and even toothpaste. Instead, Drishti used coconut and sugarcane as a base for her product and added essential oils that were aromatic and therapeutic.
“After using the handmade product for a week, I could see changes in Tiger’s condition. He would scratch less and would feel very comfortable after his baths. After regular use for a few more weeks, his dermatitis cleared up,” says Drishti, adding that she then recommended the product to other pet parents in her community whose dogs suffered from similar conditions.
Over the next few months, Drishti introduced a handmade nourishing soap and developed a small clientele through word-of-mouth.
The Start of Happy Puppy Organics
In 2019, after receiving a good number of orders for the organic shampoo, Drishti started an Instagram page named Happy Puppy Organics, to market her products. Apart from that, she also introduced new varieties of shampoos, soaps, massage oils and paw balms.
“All the products are made in small batches because I make them at home with help from my mother for packaging it. The products are made using plant-based ingredients that are sourced from certified organic farms,” says Drishti.
By 2020, Drishti was offering over 10 products and she launched a one-of-a-kind hemp seed oil and healing balm that can be used topically for various skin conditions in pets.
Sudharshana Reddy, a resident of Hyderabad, purchased both the products for his dog who was suffering from an allergic skin condition that causes itching and patchy hair loss.
He says, “Though my dog, Groot, was prescribed medicines and sprays by the veterinarian, none of it healed his condition. I purchased the hemp seed oil and balm after surfing for organic products on the internet and reading positive reviews about Happy Puppy Organics products. After just four days of using the product, I noticed his itching reduced. In one month, the redness on his skin also reduced, the itching stopped, and his fur slowly started growing back.”
Till date, Drishti continues to receive thousands of orders every month and positive reviews from all her clients.
(Edited by Divya Sethu)