Love is All They Need!
If there is anyone who can shower you with never-ending unconditional love, it would be your four-legged furry friends. A few bellies rub and you earn yourself some slobbery kisses that make all your worries fade away. Pets become a crucial part of the family and doting pet parents would do anything for their furbabies. However, these days, many people bring home pets out of curiosity and novelty and it all ends up in a big mess.
With half-baked or zero knowledge about pet care, grooming and nutrition, people often end up hurting their pets. The poor animals suffer at the hands of such owners and often find themselves on the streets, sick and frail, as soon as the novelty wears off. When we bring home a pet, we take on a huge responsibility. A pet has so much to offer; love, companionship and security to name a few. All they need in return is a caring pet parent.
Our Furry Friends Deserve the Best
Pet parents often find themselves in a fix when looking for pet grooming products. The market is filled with hundreds of brands and products. The choice is overwhelming and even well-meaning people sometimes end up using wrong and harmful pet products.
On the other hand, there are many who don't think twice before using products meant for human beings or even detergents for giving their pets a bath! The third most deplorable category would be those who neglect their animals to an extent that they don't even bathe them for weeks at a stretch. Animal skin is highly sensitive and using human products or detergents irritates their skin and they end up developing skin conditions requiring treatment.
Captain Zack to the Rescue!
Captain Zack was born while addressing this huge issue of finding the right pet product. Mohit Lalvani, MD and Founder of Captain Zack explains how he used his years of experience and knowledge of skin and hair care products to develop a shampoo that would stop making his pet Zack's skin itch. The secret lies in the ingredients. He stresses the fact that all pet parents need to read and research the contents of a pet product before blindly going for even the most popular ones. One thing led to another and Captain Zack soon launched a range of pet grooming products that all pet parents can safely use on the sensitive skin of their pets. Mohit explains how Captain Zack offers the best quality while using safe ingredients in pet products and about spreading much-needed awareness regarding pet grooming. Read on to find out more.
"In terms of functionality, a lot of other brands do work as good as ours. But what we ensure is safety and longer life of the pet and a healthier life of the pet." Mohit Lalvani, MD & Founder, Captain Zack
Interview with Mohit Lalvani: Captain Zack for All Your Pet Grooming Needs
- Q. Please tell us about yourself and your background?
- I have a Bachelor's degree in Commerce but I am an entrepreneur by heart. I did not want to work for anybody after finishing college, I wanted to start my own business so I became a distributor for a couple of companies in the USA to import chemicals. I later sold that business, and using my experience in the hair care and skincare industry, I started a new brand, Captain Zack in 2017. It was inspired by my pet Zack, hence the name Captain Zack. We offer pet grooming products but we have also ventured into nutrition now.
- Q. Was there anything in particular that led you to start Captain Zack? How did you go about it?
- I started my previous company in 1990 and sold it in 2015. With around 30 years of experience in the hair care, beauty and skincare industry, I decided to venture into the pet grooming industry. There is a difference between human and pet grooming products. What humans use is more acidic because our pH is more acidic. However, animals’ skin is more sensitive, more alkaline. What inspired me to start Captain Zack was my own pet, Zack as I used to see him itch quite a bit and it got worse with time. That was when I decided to leverage my experience and knowledge to create a shampoo for Zack. What basically started off as a fun project for Zack, later evolved into making shampoos and then into an entire grooming range for the pet community.
- Q. pH aside, is there any difference in the quality of the products made for humans and those for pets?
- Whether you use a product from Estee Lauder for humans or a product from Captain Zack for pets, there is no difference in terms of the quality of ingredients used. Captain Zack is like an Estee Lauder for pets. We use the best quality ingredients made to suit the sensitive skin of our pets. So, one difference is pH and the other is the right use of preservatives. Earlier, preservatives like formaldehyde which is used to embalm dead bodies were also used in grooming products. Formaldehyde is carcinogenic which is why we don’t use it in our products; however, some other pet grooming brands still use it as they don’t care what goes into their products. At Captain Zack, we ensure the good and right quality of preservatives, right pH, balanced formulations, no colours and no artificial fragrances in our products to prevent any skin conditions from using the products.
- Q. How else do you ensure the quality of the products?
- One huge advantage is that we make the formulations ourselves even though we get the products made at a contract manufacturer. Although animal testing is banned, our products have been tried on Zack and many other dogs that I know of. We have also conducted clinical trials of these pet products on human skin to validate them. We conduct tests on volunteers who have sensitive skin, we run a study on them and check if they show signs of irritation or if the colour of their skin changes and causes a reaction. So, we have been successful in testing our products as well.
- Q. Are there any pet products that could be used on human skin without causing a reaction?
- Using pet products on human skin is fine but using human products on pet skin is not good. A lot of our vets use our pet products on their own skin.
- Q. How do you introduce a new line of products?
- We want to be innovators in the pet grooming industry, but we also want to stay with the market and meet the customer’s demands. For example, when I made a shampoo, a lot of our customers said that their dog's hair was getting tangled which led us to create a leave-in conditioner. On the other hand, something like Paw Butter, was our innovation since nobody had asked for it. The dogs are walking on their paws when they go down for a walk 6-7 times a day which causes their paws to get cracked. When I started this brand, Zack was already 8 years old and his paws were already cracked from all the walking in those 8 years. His paws are absolutely fine now because of the prolonged use of Paw Butter. So, there are some products that the customers need and we make them and then there are some other products that we innovate because we know that the market needs them.
- Q. In what way are Captain Zack products better than the other pet products in the market right now?
- There are two main parameters to gauge a product; performance and safety. In terms of performance, there could be better brands than Captain Zack, but when it comes to safety, we are the leaders. There is no regulation in this country that tells you that you have to disclose the formula or the ingredients on the packaging and there is no FDA approval required. So, I could easily make a product and mention two of my ingredients on the packaging and get away with it. But at Captain Zack, we mention every ingredient in the same way as we would for a personal care product or a beauty care product because we follow the same guidelines. We do this because we want the pet parents to know what is in there when they pick up a product so they can Google and check if it's good or bad for their pet. There are a lot of brands that do not use safe products.
- Q. What are you trying to achieve through this brand?
- The one thing that I want to achieve through this brand is to create awareness and educate pet parents. We are actually catering to two kinds of people; one is the customer or pet parent and the other one is the consumer or the pet. The pet parent needs to be convinced to use the right product for the consumer, that is their pet. I know of hundreds of people who use Rin bars and washing powders to give their dogs a bath. I want to be able to convert them to Captain Zack and that would be a very big transformation. My objective is for Captain Zack to be a thought leader in safe pet care and hygiene. Unlike many other brands, we don’t use artificial fragrances so our products don’t have long-lasting smells. If you want your pet to smell nice, use artificial fragrances but if you want him to smell nice and not have any itching issues, use Captain Zack. Our goal is to educate the pet parent, the customer, in order to take care of the pet who is the consumer.
What to Pamper Your Pooch with from Captain Zack
- Q. What would you recommend to someone buying from Captain Zack for the first time? Or what would you recommend to someone to start with if they haven't been grooming their pet well and what to use next?
- I would recommend pet parents to start with shampoo first because the other products like Paw Butter would be luxury products. It could be a luxury for somebody but a necessity for another. Once you start using them and understand the benefits, you become a regular. It is not necessary to use a leave-in conditioner every time. Waterless shampoo is also a fancy product that you may not have to use all the time but shampoo is a must. Since shampoos are most important, we have 6 types in our range for different conditions like antimicrobial, moisturizing, ticks and fleas, soothing shampoo etc. Once you start with a shampoo, you should then decide what kind of shampoo is required for your pet. You can then move onto the other products needed for hair and skin.
Here are some of the top products from Captain Zack that you definitely must consider for your beloved pet's grooming.
Barking Up the Tea Tree Shampoo
This moisturizing shampoo consisting of natural ingredients like Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E will reduce skin irritation, itching and dryness and nourish and hydrate your dog’s coat as well as repel insects and parasites. If your dog has been itching, get this Anti-Microbial Shampoo now for Rs. 360 for a 200 ml pack and see the difference.
Groom Boxes Customized to Suit the Breed
The Groom Box is a selection of grooming products specially put together to suit your pet breed. Along with shampoos, conditioners and paw butter, there is a soft, absorbent hand towel to give your pet a rub after bath and a fun toy for playtime. With this curated box of 8 pet products, you get a free pet scent and get to choose between a free pack of veg/non-veg treats! With so many products, the box is the ultimate choice for all pet grooming requirements. Get one now at a discounted price of Rs 1,999.
Tick'et to Fleadom - Waterless Shampoo to Repel Ticks & Fleas
This Waterless Shampoo made of Lemongrass and Citronella essential oils, is a tick and flea repellent that is mild enough to be used daily. Its natural ingredients and Anti-Irritant, Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Fungal and Antiseptic properties make it perfect for your pet’s skin and keep the skin moisturized and the fur healthy and free from fleas. A 250ml pack is available for Rs. 440 here.
Advice and Tips, from One Pet Parent to Another
- Q.You mentioned people bathing their pets with Rin, what are some other common mistakes people make when grooming their pets?
- Using Rin for bathing their pets, not washing them properly, using human shampoo, not rinsing off the shampoo completely, not giving them a bath regularly are a few of the many mistakes people make. We need to set a bathing regime for pets just as we do for ourselves. The average Indian is not even giving his dog a bath once a month, sometimes even longer than that. I want to tell them to give their dogs a bath once a week. The basic mistake is not knowing what you should do and how you should take care of your dog’s grooming regime. At Captain Zack, we have an answer to everything, whether it's related to hair or skin.
- Q. Any advice that you have for pet parents shopping for pet grooming and hygiene products?
- There are two things that ensure that your pet lives for long. One is what he eats and the other is what products you use for his hair and skin. Even though your vets give the right advice, you need to be aware and should read up on your own as well. These days pet parents are spoiled for choice in India. Five years back, there were hardly ten brands in all and now there are five hundred more which makes it all the more difficult to decide what is good and what is bad. Don't blindly follow what you see on social media, but trust the packaging of the product. If there is a brand that is disclosing what they have used, you can trust that because there is regulation for pet grooming products. You can’t trust what you see on social media unless you buy the pack.
New Products at Captain Zack
- Don't Call Me Knotty Dog Serum: You can keep your dog’s coat lustrous, healthy and detangled with this serum and also keep skin inflammation away. Rs. 449 for this all-season multipurpose serum.
- Because I'm Furfect Cat Serum : A serum specially developed for your cat’s fur to gently detangle knots and to nourish the coat with the goodness of almond, kale and rice bran. It can be purchased for Rs 486
- Jerky Treats: A selection of jerky treats for your doggo available in various flavours, types and combos. Get your dog a treat now. The range starts from Rs. 261.
Where Can You Find Them?
Getting to Know the Founder
- Q. Tell us about your interests and what you like to do in your free time.
- Ans. In my free time I like to listen to music and I am a DJ by passion. The last two years have been in lockdown but in 2019 I used to do some gigs in Bombay. My second hobby is to drink and I love my alcohol. Of course whatever I do, be it music or exploring good wines and good malts, I love pets. I have 7 cats and 2 dogs and I can't imagine a minute of my life without them. You would be surprised that I am lying on the floor of my house half the time because I like my pets playing around me and walking over me, licking my face. So that's how I de-stress. I am not too much of a reader though but for me it is this.
- Q.Do your cats and dogs get along well?
- Ans. Yeah, The cats and dogs get along well but the seven cats fight amongst themselves.
- Q. You have an interesting initiative, University of Barkley. Please tell us how that came about.
- Ans. I created Captain Zack because I wanted to create a product for my pet and then it became a product for the community. Now, how do I communicate with the pet parents about what type of quality of grooming they should be looking for and a lot of other questions about grooming which are unanswered by Google. Sometimes you don't know whether Google is right or wrong. Vets do know but it is subjective sometimes. So, I created University of Barkley, as a content delivery platform where I would like to do no selling. It is not about Captain Zack but is like a Wikipedia for pets. We have faculty members for medicine, for nutrition, for grooming, for training, mind, psychology. We are the ones delivering content to around 5000 pet parents who have enrolled in the University of Barkley. We keep having webinars and we keep in touch with them. Captain Zack came up with this idea of creating a virtual university where you come with your questions, and we the faculty, answer and this way we are building a community as well. So, there is community, there is commerce and there is content and I want to be the thought leader for all these three things when it comes to pets.
What's Next for Captain Zack?
- Q. So, what’s next for Captain Zack?
- Ans. For Captain Zack, next is nutrition. We are looking at introducing wet food, not dry food. We are also looking at extending a whole bunch of accessories that are safe. For example if it's a bed, it should be a safe quality bed. Similarly, mats and toys also. We can't help it now, but we want to slowly avoid plastic toys. We are looking at including crochet made toys which are very very safe even if it goes in the mouth.
Take Proper Care of Your Pet at Home
As your pets' caretaker, your job is to provide them with good hygiene habits at home. Brushing their teeth, combing their coats and providing them with healthy food all keeps them in tip-top shape. Never punish with physical force, or demean the dog in any way. Dogs will love you forever if you treat them correctly. The more you really hang out with your dog the more fulfilling your life together will be.