June 4, 2014

When PetSmart and Petco announced their plans to pull all dog and cat treats made in China by the end of this year because of continuing fears that they are making pets sick, pet owners, the media and even non-pet owners applauded their efforts.

© Amy Planz | Dreamstime Stock Photos

But, their move was something that many independent pet retailers have been doing for years.

“All the treats we carry are USA or Canadian made,” said Heidi Vanorse Neal, owner of the natural pet store Loyal Biscuit in Maine. “We are an all natural pet store.”

Loyal Biscuit has never sold treats from China, nor does it ever plan to.

The move by the two “big box” stores, which got so much media attention, will help drive more business to her store, she believes.

“It is bringing to light that people need to be more aware of what they are feeding their pet,” said Neal. ““I believe this will benefit consumers greatly. It increases knowledge of ingredients and they pay more attention which in turn, helps small businesses as well.”

In addition to not selling treats made in China, Loyal Biscuit takes it a step further and carries treats with no corn wheat or soy by products.

“It’s the ingredients that make the treats natural,” said Neal. “We only sell products with no additives.”

Much like Loyal Biscuit, Parker’s  in Chicago doesn’t carry these treats either.

“A lot of our treats are locally made,” said Michael Sheets, the store’s assistant manager. “We only carry USA made treats. We always have.”

The staff at Parker’s is very educated when it comes to pet nutrition, which also helps bring customers through their door.

“When it comes to treats and food, we know exactly what customers want and what they need,” said Sheets. “We are able to offer a level customer service that the big retailers just can’t.”

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