How Do You Get Dogs to Brush Their Tongues?

Hint: It's all in the flavor

Sometimes, it takes a roomful of R&D people to come up with a new product—and sometimes, the idea just licks you in the face.

Thanks to the quirky videos on its YouTube channel (40.8 million views and counting), Orabrush has sold millions of its tongue cleaners throughout the U.S. Then the company began getting emails—not to complain, but to beg for a version for dogs (who, of course, suffer from dog breath). ”Our biggest fans were the ones who told us to figure out how to make an Orabrush for dogs,” said CEO Jeff Davis. Orabrush listened and began selling Orapup from its website last week.

Why’d it take so long for a canine version of an ordinary people product to appear on the market? According to Davis, since we humans don’t like putting our fingers in dogs’ mouths any more than they do, the challenge was to develop a brush that Rover could use all by himself. Once the owner adds a bacon-flavored syrup to the bristles, “the dog is a willing participant in cleaning its own tongue,” Davis explained.

Michael Dillon of pet-product consultancy Dillon Media said that Orapup is part of a trend he calls the humanization of the pet industry—creating animal versions of people products (Ikea’s cat bed, for example). “Businesses are realizing that 60 percent of their customers own a dog or cat,” he said, “so they leverage their strengths into the new pet product.” And Orapup's done just that: Selling $822,000 worth of brushes in the first three days.