So,What Are The Options?

April 26, 2011

Since we opened our new store in 2006 and began selling pet food, we decided to only carry grain free diets. At first there were only a limited number of foods that were on the market that were totally grain-free. In the past year or so it seems like more and more pet food companies are jumping on the band wagon. I, for one, am very glad that they are seeing the light. Dogs do not eat corn on the cob, rice or wheat as a natural part of their diet.

I love those pet food commercials where the corn and grains come cascading down making it seem like a good thing to put in the food. Cats, especially, don’t eat grains. They are true carnivores. If they had their choice…it would be MEAT.MEAT.and MEAT.

If you have read our philosophy on grain-free feeding on our web site then you know how I feel about it. If not, please read it and you’ll see why.

In this blog I don’t just want to sell someone food, but give the options on diet and what to look for.

First there is price. Pet food that is mainly meat sourced is going to be more expensive. This is one of the reasons that many pet food companies pump their foods full of things not so good for your pet. It costs them less and they can sell it at a lower price than premium food. Sometimes, though, a food will have a higher price but is really low quality. Most foods sold at vet offices are very expensive, but offer little nutritional benefit. They just have a vet label on them and people assume that they must be good. Price , though can be paid in different ways. If you buy a better quality of food, chances are you’ll be spending less in vet bills later. Skin problems, ear infections, weight gain, diabetes are all usually direct problems from feeding a lower quality of food.

Ingredients: They first ingredient of any pet food should be a named meat protein. Look for beef or chicken or whatever protein is the main source. Just the word meat is not good enough. It can be beef or chicken meal….not meat meal. That could mean just about anything. Usually if a food just says meat, it means it is rendered and can be things such as skin and connective tissue.  There should be several sources of protein at the top of the ingredient list. Ingredients go by weight, so the more protein base the better.

Be sure that you are not feeding a food that has meat grown in China. Even though some companies will say that the chicken or beef is completely safe. You can never be too sure about what is really being fed to the animal that is used in your pet’s food. More and more pet food companies are getting their ingredients from China. They will tell you it is very safe to feed it to your pet…but do you really want to feed your pet something that has not been grown in the United States or Canada where there are guidelines as to what can be called meat?

Whole vegetables and fruits: These are important and  should also be included in the diet. They add a good source of vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. I would even go as far as to say that some whole grains can be of benefit to some pets who can not handle a completely protein based diet, but the grain should be very far down the list of ingredients. Oatmeal and quinoa  can both be descent additions without adding too much sugar in the form of carbohydrate to the diet.

A best by date: that should be at least 3 months away from the date you purchase. Pet foods with synthetic preservatives may have a date two years away!

Things to watch for: Meat by-products. These can be in the form of any meat or poultry. Some foods only have “meat flavoring”. You can find this on some of the so called veterinary pet foods. What the heck is meat flavoring, anyway? Many of these by-products are over processed and can be rancid by the time it is added to the food. Many companies will spray on a flavor enhancer to hide the smell and taste.

Added sweeteners. Dogs, like humans have a sweet tooth and many pet food manufactures add sweeteners to enhance flavor or to hide rancidity. Look carefully. some companies come right out and say on the label…corn syrup, but do some research and look for other names that are used as well. There are lots of corn glutens and other corn derivatives that are added to make the food palatable.

Artificial colors: These are those little green and orange things found in some foods that make it look like carrots and peas. They are just dyed to look that way to you…the dog doesn’t know what peas and carrots look like. These are chemicals that your pet does not need to ingest!

Artificial preservatives: BHT,BHA and Ethoxyquin are the three main culprits. All of these are known carcinogens with ethoxyquin being the worst. It is used mainly in fish and have been outlawed for human consumption. You truly do not want your beloved pet to ingest these things. Some pet food companies, years back, went as far as to say that BHA and BHT can prevent cancer in pets. Nothing can be further from the truth.

I hope this post is helpful and you do some checking up on the food that your pet is eating. Don’t just listen to the person at some big box retailer. They are there to sell food!  No matter what the ad on T.V. says…these people are not experts on pet food! Again…don’t be fooled by a food that you can buy at the vet’s office. They make a huge profit on food from those companies to push their brand of pet food. Go online and research the product. Get feed back from other consumers and from breeders. There are some good websites that are not owned by pet food companies that have good info on what is in your pet’s food and what isn’t. dogfoodanalysis.com is a good one that I happen to like. There are many others…good luck and good feeding. Your pet will love you all the more for it!

What is that “offal”smell? Or….the benefits of Green Tripe

December 29, 2010

Green tripe is the unbleached stomach of ruminants such as cows and sheep. The tripe reserved for human consumption is bleached and carries none of the health benefits of unbleached, green tripe.

The green color comes from the undigested grass and hay that the animals eat. The color can even be almost black or gray in some cases. The word green is used to distinguish it from the bleached tripe.

The health benefits are many, including better digestion and healthier teeth and jaw muscles. The tripe contains many amino acids that few dog foods have. It has a calcium to phosphorous  ratio of 1:1 , magnesium and potassium. Complex B-vitamins, vitamins A,E,C and D, as well as Omega-3’s. It also contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus. The good stuff found in yogurt.

When combined with a raw diet or with kibble of good quality, tripe can aid in better and smaller bowel movements, healthier skin and coat and more vitality in older dogs.

Sick and elderly animals can greatly benefit by having a small portion added to a daily diet. Especially those with kidney and liver issues.The enzymes in the tripe help with kidney and liver function.  Some breeders swear that the moment they added tripe to an elderly dogs diet they had more energy.

Breeders in Europe have been feeding tripe for years and years. It has just recently caught on here in the U.S. along with the raw diets. Just as a personal note, I have been feeding a raw diet combined with tripe for quite some time. My dogs have great coats, healthy teeth and don’t need bathing as often as when I fed strictly a kibble diet.

The gastric in the tripe are wonderful for cleaning teeth and the rubbery, stringy texture works a little like dental floss, getting in between those back teeth that are so hard to take care of.

Picky eating dogs will all come running the minute you take off the lid! Just be warned…the stuff smells bad, I mean really bad! This is only for the fresh or frozen tripe. You can get it freeze dried or canned, although a little of the nutrients get lost in processing. It is all still a wonderful addition to your pets diet. Please take some time and research the benefits of tripe and I believe that you will all agree that your pet should have this tasty…but smelly…addition to their diets.

Was that a cough?

December 6, 2010

Just like human kids in school or daycare, dogs in doggy daycare and boarding environments are susceptible to whatever bug is going around. While standard vaccines do prevent the most serious diseases, large gatherings of canines will come up with the occasional case of Bordatella (Kennel Cough), Giardia, or Coccidia. Your dog is at increased risk of catching communicable canine ailments when socializing with other dogs.

Bordatella is an air borne virus. The moment you leave your home environment, your dog is susceptible.  Especially if your pet is never around other dogs. I find that the dogs who are more exposed to others are less likely to develop Kennel cough.

We are diligent in minimizing health and safety risks, but it’s important for clients to understand some of the inherent risks. Bordatella, or Kennel Cough, is the most common health issue in Doggy Daycare. Bordatella is the canine version of the common cold. Symptoms include watery eyes, runny nose, and/or sneezing, along with a pronounced cough. Bordatella is an airborne virus that your dog can catch at the dog park, daycare, walking around the neighborhood, or even at your veterinarian’s office. We do require daycare dogs to have Kennel Cough vaccinations, but like a human flu shot, the vaccine is not 100% effective. Not only that, but if your pet has just been vaccinated, especially with the nasal drops. They are given a mild case to build up their immune system and can spread it by coming into contact with a dog who has a weakened immune system or has not been vaccinated for that particular form of the virus. Each manufacturer is only able to catch about 50% of the 200 different variations of the virus. If your pet is in daycare or boarded on a regular basis, we recommend not only getting them vaccinated every 6 months, but to ask your vet to use a different brand of vaccine. Some dogs show NO symptoms at all. They can be carriers and not get sick, just as some humans can pass along a cold while they never get ill themselves.

I am not one for over vaccinating your pets. But if they are around large groups of dogs, I find it necessary

Both Bordatella and Giardia love this wet, cool weather. This is when most cases occur. Not to say your pet can not contract these illnesses in the warmer weather, but it is just more likely to happen during the fall/winter and early spring months.

Giardia and coccidia are intestinal parasites that may cause diarrhea or vomiting. Dogs can get these parasites from contact with the feces of infected animals (domestic or wild) or from contact with contaminated standing water. The parasites can be spread at daycare when dogs inspect each other’s rear ends or if they have direct contact with other dogs’ poop. And we all know how they love to inspect each others droppings!!

Giardia can cause severe dehydration which further weakens your dog’s ability to fight the parasite. If your dog has vomiting and diarrhea, take him to your veterinarian’s office immediately. Coccidia causes similar, but less severe, symptoms. Most dogs recover quickly with prompt medical attention.

Dogs can get worms in the same way they can get giardia or coccidia. The Muttley Crew is diligent about quickly cleaning dog waste and if we see that a dog has worms, we will isolate the dog and contact the client to let them know. Once wormed, a dog should stay home for at least a week to give the dead parasites time to work their way out of the dog’s system. If your pooch seems to be a bit under the weather, please keep him home and seek veterinary attention if symptoms persist. It is not fair to expose your dog’s playmates to potential health issues.

Some dogs can be carriers of these illnesses and show no symptoms at all. These we can do nothing about. However, if we even suspect that a dog is ill in some form, the dog is quarantined and the owner called immediately. We do our very best to make sure all pets that come to visit are not exposed, however these are all things that we sometimes have no control over. Please keep that in mind if your pet ever comes down with an illness while at our place or some other. Most kennels take extreme care not to let anything spread, but we are talking about illnesses that can occur no matter how mush you sterilize your place of business.

I hope I answered most questions about dog illnesses in in daycare or boarding.

 

Cleaning Up!

October 7, 2010

Dogs can be messy things even if you only have one of them, so imagine how hard it is to keep things clean with fifty of them! As I like to say to our clients as they see their fully housebroken pet lift their legs on any vertical surface that is handy… “they love indoor plumbing!”.  Dogs not only have that keen sense of smell that lets them pick up any small trace of scent left by the dog before them, but many feel the need to pee on everyone elses pee. Both male and female dogs can not stand for any spot marked by some other dog to stand. They must let everyone else know that THEY WERE THERE TOO!

One pooper sets off a storm of poopers. Just as you clean up one mess, you turn around and there are 10 more…this all happens in a matter of seconds! They get it all out until the next round starts… or until the next pet comes in the door!

To keep things clean and smelling good as well as keeping things sanitary, takes a lot of work. Especially when we have such a strong commitment to the environment and not wanting to use anything that may be toxic to pets  (as well as people). The way we do it is to use earth and pet friendly products. For cleaning up solid waste we use poop bags made from corn starch. They decompose fairly quickly when exposed to water or other elements. We then use a cleaner that I make myself to spray on the area and wipe it clean with washable towels. The cleaner is composed of teatree oil for killing fungus and then mixed with Listerine. Yes…good old fashioned Listerine. The active ingredients are Thymol (make from the herb thyme) this kills most germs and the 24% alcohol made from corn gets the rest. The mixture not only kills fungus and other germs but smells great! The best part is that this mixture can be sprayed right near the dogs without any worry of them getting ill from side effects of exposure to chemicals. You can literally spray the stuff in your mouth. It may taste terrible but it won’t hurt you!

We use recycled plastic bags for most of our trash-cans. All cleaners that we  use on a daily basis from our toilet bowl cleaner to our  window cleaner, are eco-friendly as we can get. We recycle all of our plastic and any paper that we use.

Many dog daycares and groom shops use paper towels and bleach. Both are so bad for our planet and very hazardous to use around the pet. We do use bleach at night to soak all water bowls and toys to fully sanitize them. We also use a viruside in our mop water and wall/kennel spray at night to make sure we get as many nasty germs as possible. This is only done once all pets are out of the building. You have no idea how these chemicals can affect a dog. They have delicate sinus tissue that can be damaged by things like chlorine, which when mixed with just plain old water makes makes it even more dangerous, not to mention the fact that bleach mixed with ammonia (urine) can be deadly to pets and people.

Understand though, that no matter what you do or a kennel does to kill all germs. Many are airborne. Some dogs may have an illness and  can be asymptomatic so you have no idea that they are a carrier. Some vaccines only cover a small percentile of the variations of a certain virus.  I’ll discuss illnesses that can occur in pets no matter what one does in a later post.

You Bowl Me Over

September 7, 2010

It may seem a little silly to post about pet food bowls, but in fact, there are some very important things to consider about your pet’s bowls.

First, you should never use plastic bowls unless there is no other choice. Plastic is very porous and is hard to sanitize. Bacteria can live in the small pits and chips that can occur with regular use. These bacteria can cause everything from salmonella to coxydia. Both dogs and cats can develop infections on their chins from unclean plastic pet food bowls. They can also develop a form of acne that is directly related to plastic pet food bowls.

Most plastic bowls are made with the chemical BPA-Bisphenol A, which can be an endocrine disruptor. Dogs and cats with certain illnesses can really be at risk of developing impaired immune systems from the disruption. This chemical is also suspected of causing cancer.

Stainless steel and ceramic are much safer choices to make. These can easily be sanitized in the dishwasher. The chance of chin infections is basically nonexistent. If you decide to use ceramic bowls, just make sure they are lead-free. Ceramic bowls should also be checked often for cracks or chips in which bacteria can easily grow.

Next we’ll discuss raised bowls.  If your pet is a large breed — or even a small breed that just happens to have long legs — a raised bowl is a must. Your pet has to crouch down to reach its bowl, putting strain on the shoulders and neck. Just raising the bowl a few inches can really relieve the pressure, especially on the pet’s shoulders. It’s better for their digestion as well.

Some pets “wolf” down their food eating too fast — which can cause stomach problems, such as gas in the stomach caused by swallowing too much air. Some pets may vomit or have severe gas pains.  To avoid this problem you can purchase special bowls that have “fingers” or a raised area in the middle that means the dog will have to eat his food more slowly.

So while pet bowls, may seem simple, pay attention to details. A good bowl will save your pet many problems down the road.

Spas for dogs?

August 30, 2010

Some grooming establishments offer spa treatments for dogs–and some offer such treatments for cats.  Do dogs really benefit from spa treatment? I have been in the grooming industry for over 30 years and in my professional opinion, the answer is no.

These treatments are nothing more than a good way to separate people from their hard-earned money. Facials for dogs. Hot oil wraps. Aromatherapy. Exfoliating.  These are all offered as an add-on charges to grooming at about $10 a pop. Some people can afford it and if they want to spend their money that way, I say more power to them. But my problem is when people feel obligated. Many pet owners feel that if they don’t buy these services that they are some how depriving their poor dog of some sort of miracle treatment that will cure their dog’s skin problem.

I’ll let you all in on a little secret. That facial product that some places are hawking is nothing more than regular dog shampoo. It just has a little bluing added to it to make white dogs appear more white. If used too often it can make your white dog turn gray. I don’t think that most grooming salons know that they are paying about $15 more a gallon for the same stuff they probably already use. The oil treatments typically only make your dogs coat greasy. If the dog has a dry coat, a topical approach won’t help. It needs to be addressed by changing the pet’s diet. That’s where the problem starts: systemically.

As far as aromatherapy…well, maybe if you had a candle that smelled like, oh I don’t know… like something the dog rolled in!!! That would be more appropriate.  I have heard, though, that natural lavender can have a calming effect on dogs just like it has been known to on people. I can’t weigh in on this because I have no proof one way or the other. I have seen groom shops that light candles while they wash your dog — and charge you for it!!! I didn’t notice that it did much at all.

Then again, I believe in just good old-fashioned grooming, a clean dog with a great clip. We don’t even offer nail polish at my place, because it is just too toxic to pets. They tend to lick their feet a lot and can wear away the polish. Most pet polish is made in China and you never know what is in it. It may contain lead or other toxins.  The polish also has to be removed every time with acetone — another chemical — while both the dog and groomer have to breathe in the fumes. As a beginning groomer, I worked for a woman who owned and showed Standard Poodles. She also owned a grooming salon. Every single dog we groomed had their nails painted, bows in their ears, and heavy spray on cologne. This was the way we did things. As time has passed, I have become more sensitive to strong odors, especially chemical smells. I have many, many clients that have the same problem, so I decided years ago to use a good quality pet shampoo that is made with only natural ingredients. The dog smells clean and doesn’t need to have something more added.

I used to put bows on all dogs. That was a sign that your dog had been to the groomer! I ended up picking most of them off of the floor as owners would — in most cases — pull the bows out and toss them.  I quit doing it.  I quit wasting my time and money on ribbon and made a sign. Now we will gladly put bows in your dogs ears at no charge, but only if you want them.

We gladly give medicated baths or flea baths. These are included in the groom. We DO NOT charge anything extra. We need to bathe your pet anyway, so why charge more for the same process? Sure the medicated shampoo costs a few dollars more per gallon, but I have a hard time charging an extra $5 per dog to make up that few dollars. If I wanted to make it equal, the cost would be about 25 cents per pet.

Our pet shampoos have no Sodium Laureth Sulphate, no phosphates, and no chemically enhanced smell to it. In my opinion, it’s just the right thing to do for your dog, the person who bathes your dog, and you.

Walking The Dog

July 20, 2010

As a dog daycare operator and groomer for 30+ years, I have found that many clients feel that just daycare is more than enough exercise for their dog, and sometimes it is. However, large breed dogs need at least 30-45 minutes of good solid exercise a day. The best form of exercise for a dog is walking. This not only keeps a dog in good physical shape, but it also helps  with behavior issues. I see dogs on a daily basis that are destructive in the home or have truly serious behavior problems that could be cured by a daily walk. Most of the aggressive behavior that I witness at times could also be completely fixed by that daily walk.

Walking your dog not only burns off excess energy, but helps you bond with your dog. You get a chance to become the leader in training your dog. It will help in setting boundaries that are so important for dog training. Your dog will more than likely meet other people and other dogs during your walk which will be a great chance to work on social skills. It will give you, the owner, a time to work on leash corrections. This, in turn, will lead to being more at ease with other dogs. New people too!  The best behaved dogs…especially larger breeds,that I see, are the ones who get a daily walk.

A good link for dog walking info and training can be found at http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/dogwalk.htm

Walking helps digestion as well, which builds a strong immune system. This is helpful in house breaking too. If your dog is on a schedule for relieving itself, it will have less or no accidents in your home.

So get out there and walk your dog. they will love you even more for it!!!

No Fleas Please

July 20, 2010

In our dog grooming facility we’ve noticed that fleas are out in full force. Dogs are coming in daily with little crawlies on them.  We had a break at the beginning of this year with all of the cold, wet weather. However, when the temp soared in the last few weeks … the flea eggs have hatched.

I recommend switching between two different types of flea product. That way the fleas won’t develop a resistance to a certain chemical, and believe me they do. I’ve seen it time and time again where a client will use one type of flea medicine only to find that the dog is covered in fleas a week later. The owner of the pet will over-dose the pet by adding more flea product before the month is over. This can make your pet ill or even burn the skin where the product is applied. So please be careful when using these products.

We not only carry the popular flea medicines, but we also sell several brands of natural flea killing shampoos. These use things like orange peel oil and neem to kill the fleas without chemicals. These are not residual, but they will kill any existing fleas. If you wash all bedding and vacuum very well… getting rid of the vacuum bag or dumping the canister outside and wash your pet with a good flea shampoo, letting it sit on your pet for at least 5 minutes, you should be able to keep a handle on a mild flea problem.

If it’s too difficult to wash your pet at home …please give us a call and we’ll be happy to give your pet a good flea bath. We do not use any type of chemical shampoo or flea dip on your pet.  In my professional opinion these are just too harmful to both the pets and to the person(s) bathing the dogs and do not work any better than non-chemical shampoos.

To Shave or Not to Shave?

June 14, 2010

Many people ask us to shave their long-haired dogs during the summer in hopes that it will do one of two things:

  1. Help with shedding.
  2. Keep the dog cool.

Contrary to popular belief, shaving does not eliminate shedding. The dog will still shed, but since the hairs are shorter, you just don’t notice them as easily! Brushing a dog regularly will keep the  shedding down. For the purposes of this discussion, we’re talking about Huskies, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and the like. There are other long-haired breeds–such as Labradoodles and Standard Poodles–who still need clipping.

As far as keeping the dog cool, pets have a different way of keeping cool than we do. In this system, the coat actually helps to keep the dog cool. The coat acts as insulation against heat as well as cold. As long as the dog’s coat is well-maintained and the undercoat is removed, leaving the coat on is best.

Dogs have no sweat glands, so cooling by condensation like a human doesn’t work. (The one dog who does have sweat glands is a certain South American hairless breed.) So while you would certainly feel too hot if you were wearing a fur coat, your dog doesn’t. Instead, dogs pant to keep cool, and they must have access to cool water at all times during the warm months.

Not only does the coat insulate against heat, but it protects the dog from sunburn. Dogs lack natural skin protection from sun exposure. Skin burn in dogs can be painful as well as set them up for skin cancer. Yes, dogs can get skin cancer just like humans and it’s usually from sun exposure.

If you’ve ever had your long-haired dog shaved just remember how bad that coat looked in a month or so. The guard hairs grow out first, while the undercoat grows out slower.  It looks terrible.  Sometimes the coat never makes a full recovery. There can be bald patches or thin patches.  It can even change the pigment of the skin. The dog sometimes has to be shaved every time to make it look presentable.

One of the few times I would agree with shaving a long-haired dog is if the dog has a heavy coat and is elderly. Older dogs don’t lose their undercoats as easily and have trouble with keeping cool in the usual way.

The other time I would agree with shaving is if a dogs undercoat is so matted that shaving is the least painful way to deal with the coat.  Keeping your pet’s coat in good condition is the best thing to do.

I would also agree to take a pet’s coat shorter — not shaved — in the summer if the pet swims a lot. A long coat can stay wet for quite some time and start to smell sour. A shorter clip can be done on most breeds as long as the undercoat has been taken care of properly.

I know some other groomers will be upset with this post since big, hairy dog shaves are a good source of summer income. I care more about the health and look of the pet than the money I could pocket.

I try very hard to talk owners out of a shave if I feel that we can accomplish a good groom and maintain a good coat on the dog. Get a good brush and comb to keep your dog cool this summer. It’s better than the clippers.

Support Small Business

May 6, 2010

This post is a little different from all my other posts.  It’s still about pets, but only in the fact that I happen to own a small business that is all about pet care.  As our long-time clients already know, we are a dog daycare, a grooming shop, and pet supply shop.

I want to share an anecdote. I was in a local business — a very small one at that. I was speaking with a woman who worked there who happens to also be one of our grooming and daycare clients.  I asked her about what kind of food she fed her dogs. She gave the name of a food that we carry, and then told me how much of a hassle it was to drive over to a “Petwhatever,” one of the big box retailers.

When I told her we carry that particular food, she said she didn’t even think to look at our store. That she had been going to “Petwhatever” for so long that it was just habit.

Not only are we just a short way down the street, but there is another small pet supply nearby. If we don’t carry what you are looking for, the other place has it, and the prices aren’t much different than “Petwhatever.”

I don’t think people realize that by supporting small, local business we keep the money right here in our community. We don’t have a board of directors to answer to or shareholders across the country collecting dividends. We spend our dollars right here, in the same place the money comes from: the local community.

We employ seven full-time employees and three part-time employees. Our employee turn over is very low because we pay an above average wage and have a strong animal care ethic. We also encourage our staff to join us in shopping at small local businesses. This keeps businesses right here in Cedar Mill open through this economic downturn.

We don’t import all of our supplies from China. As a matter of fact, The Muttley Crew carries many products made right here in the Northwest. We DO NOT sell any food or treat that is manufactured with products that are from China. Many of you remember the melamine scare a few years ago, an issue of of great concern to all pet owners.  There are many ingredients in various pet foods that should not be there because they are very unhealthy and unsafe. We pride ourselves on trying to educate pet owners on better pet nutrition.

Our employees are well versed in animal nutrition and we keep up to date on new data concerning pet foods and treats. My wife, Jean, who works in the store in the afternoon can answer most questions anyone might have on what sort of diet would be best for your pet. We are not interested in just pushing whichever foods we happen to be getting a better wholesale deal on. Not only that, if we feel that your pet would do better on a food that we don’t happen to carry, we’ll tell you where to find it.

We pride ourselves in carrying quality products, not just cheap junk that may be contaminated with lead paint or some other sort of product that could be toxic for you pet. Your pets health is of utmost concern to us… not the bottom dollar.

If anyone reads Spot magazine you will know that we won best dog grooming and best cat grooming categories . Your pet’s health and safety are paramount to us. We strive to make your pet safe and secure in our daycare. We try and make it an enjoyable and healthy experience for your pets. Not only that, but your dogs are cared for by the same people each time.  The big box stores do not have the same people working with your dogs (and cats) each time.  Pets thrive on routine and are more comfortable when they know the people who are working with them.

This just doesn’t apply to pet stores. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Please consider how many small businesses have gone under because some  big box retailer has moved in.  Gone are the days when you went into your local -whatever- store and you were greeted by name. Where your local -whatever- store would go above and beyond to help.  When customer service was just that — service. Well, in small, locally owned businesses, those days are not gone. Please support your local businesses whenever you can.