Your Neighborhood Go-To
The life of a pet supply store employee may seem like it’s all treats, pet toys and furry visitors. But at the best stores, staff members are knowledgable and well-trained. Many are happy to advise customers on everything from food selection to training and socialization, as well as common household problems like dealing with the litter box or getting fur off the upholstery.
While ostensibly you're there to get supplies for your pets, a good store also takes great care of you, offering support for managing the many aspects of caring for your furry companion.
Finding a good store
Pop into your nearest pet supply store or ask pet-loving friends for recommendations. Nancy Fedelem owns three pet supply stores in Portland. Her advice:
• If you love your neighborhood and it has a pet supply store, support it. The businesses near your home make your neighborhood cool.
• Second, look for friendly and knowledgeable staff. They can answer or help find answers to your questions.
• Variety is just as important in our pets’ lives as in ours. Your local pet supply store should have a steady rotation of new and interesting things to offer your dog or cat.
Pet supply stores also have unique cultures. “We strive to make it easy for our customers to find fantastic products for their pets and be assured that they are also making good choices for their environment,” says Christine Mallar of Green Dog Pet Supply. “We believe that living sustainability does not have to mean making drastic changes in our lives. Simply considering where things come from and where they go when we’re finished with them can be a big step toward living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.”
In her stores — Salty’s Pet Supply, Fang! Pet & Garden Supply, and Three Paws Neighborhood Pet Supply — Fedelem says customers often ask what’s the best food she carries. “My answer is always, ‘They are all good. Let’s find the right one for your pet’s needs.”’
Getting a welcome
Pets are welcome at pet supply stores. This helps for practical matters like fitting them to the right collar or coat, and also nurtures a happy vibe. Fedelem says when people take their pets to her stores she’s even more excited about their visit. “Anybody who works at a pet supply shop pretty much needs to be crazy for every pet they see. I’m the same at work as I am outside of work: all I want to do is pet all the dogs!”
Getting sound advice
Many pet supply stores have over-the-counter treatments for common conditions like minor anxiety. Some neighborhood stores swear by calming products such as Cannabidiols or CBDs (medicinal quality cannabis compounds), herbal calming formulas, and calming pheromone collars and sprays.
At her stores, Fedelem says, “Staff can make suggestions on things that could help improve digestion, coat quality, and arthritis, just to name a few.” Or if you have a pet who’s lost interest in food, staff can help with that too. “They can send you home with samples of foods to try and suggest some tricks to get your pet interested in their food. You won’t get that kind of service online.”