Reasons to ONLY Purchase Your Pet Food from An Independent Pet Food Store

by in Frontpage Article May 9, 2016


Reasons To ONLY Purchase Your Pet Food From An Independent Pet Food Store

Do you want an expert to personally monitor how your pet is doing with a particular pet food? Sort of like your own personal pet food dietician? Shop ONLY at an Independent Pet Food Store.

Petco has recently announced a new campaign – “What we feed them matters”. Petco’s press release states they are providing “nutrition education” in-store and online. On the Petco Food Matters webpage it states things like “There’s a difference in what we offer. Because some ingredients, like preservatives, can be harmful to pets, we carefully select the brands offered on our shelves.”

It sounds good, but…walk into any Big Box pet food store or message an online pet food store and ask these questions:“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” and/or “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” and/or “Who manufactures this pet food?” I’ve done this – many times. Each time I’ve gotten the deer in the headlights look (or the standard non-response email that all our pet foods are quality). They don’t have a clue about what they are selling.

Now here is what happens in many Independent Pet Food Stores…

You walk in – and the store is tiny compared to the Big Box store. You look around and there might only be 15 different brands of pet food in the store (by the way – that’s a good sign! – more below). You ask the same three questions…

“Which pet food sold here is made with USDA inspected and approved human edible ingredients?” “Which pet food sold here is made with no ingredients from China?” “Who manufactures this pet food?”

In most (not all) Independent Pet Food Stores – 100% of the pet foods sold are made with human edible ingredients (food ingredients not feed ingredients). Many will not carry a feed grade ingredient pet food – if they wouldn’t feed it to their own pet, they won’t sell it to you.

At the risk of losing customers – many Independent Pet Food Stores will not carry one pet food that contains any ingredient sourced from China. I know several store owners that are completely China free – food, treats, toys, beds. This isn’t easy – and it isn’t cheap. Most are not interested in selling cheap products – they want to sell quality products.

And Independent Pet Food Stores that I am familiar with, know exactly who manufactures (and where) each food they carry – in most cases store owners have had lengthy conversations with the pet food owners (not sales reps – owners) before a new food is even brought into their store. You have a question about a pet food they don’t know the answer to – they will call the pet food owner and ask for you.

And why are the Independent Pet Food Stores only selling a few different brands? If you ask them why, you’ll probably learn it has nothing to do with shelf space. It has everything to do with quality – most will ONLY sell real food from companies their experience tells them are quality and safe. Most want to carry more brands – but they won’t sell their souls or risk your pet’s health for sales of iffy pet foods. I consider it a good thing (a great thing) to walk into a pet store and not be bombarded by hundreds of brands and varieties.

(Most) Independent Pet Food Stores…

  • Provide ongoing monitoring of your pet’s nutritional health for no additional fee.
  • Are the front line of defense against problems with an ingredient change of a food that could affect your pet.
  • Are constantly gathering feedback from other customers on each brand they sell. Very beneficial to each of their customers.
  • Know the quality of ingredients, country of origin of ingredients, where and by who the pet food was manufactured by, and recall history of every product they sell.
  • If they don’t have answers, they will get answers for you directly from the manufacturer.

But here is what I consider to be the best benefit of shopping only at a Independent Pet Food Store…

Personal attention. Not just someone to answer your questions, but personal attention to how your cat or dog is doing a particular pet food. With each return visit, most Independent Pet Food Store owners ask how your cat or dog is doing on the food, and if things aren’t just right – they will steer you towards a brand that might be better suited for your pet. A slight change of ingredients or perhaps even a different ingredient supplier in another brand might be the best your your individual pet. (Most of) These people have the experience with their brands and know how to direct you. It’s like having your own personal pet food dietician for no extra charge.

I have lost count of the conversations I’ve had with Independent Pet Food Store owners where a pet food consumer came in with a sick pet. Sick to where everyone else had given up hope the animal could be healthy again. The store owners knowledge and experience of what bad nutrition can cause and what good nutrition can cure – has guided countless sick pets back to health through good food.

Small miracles happen everyday in these little stores. Please support these people – buy your pet food from them. I know so many of these folks, believe in what they do, and learn from them. I hope all of you get to know your local Independent Pet Food Store too.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

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