As pet owners become more educated in grain-free pet food, they don’t mind paying for it if it means a healthier dog or cat.
“Because of the recalls and just caring more about their dogs and preventative care,” said Dana Shores, general manager with the family-owned Dale’s Town & Country Store in Surprise. She said educated pet owners are buying grain-free pet food instead of traditional dry dog food from the grocery store.
“They’re realizing that grain free is a lot better for the animal” since corn, wheat and soy products are hard for animals to digest and cause allergies. “So a lot of manufacturers have come out with grain-free dog food and grain-free treats.” The benefits are you feed less, they eat less and have smaller stools. “It’s just a better overall diet for the dog.”
Shores said when they first got their first bag of grain-free dog food that cost $76, she wondered if they’d sell it. “They buy it. We get a lot of Sun City people in here. A pet is a part of the family, so they don’t mind spending the extra money.”
Consumers are starting to figure out what’s good for their pets and “they’re going to pay for it.”
The store recently got a grain-free dog food that’s $29.99 for 28 pounds. “It’s pretty phenomenal,” Shores said. The most economical grain-free dog food before that was $43.99 for a 30-pound bag.
On jerky treats, she said consumers can be misled by the USA label on the treats because they may be packaged here. “A lot of the jerky treats have been recalled because they’ve been made in China,” and the ingredients they may contain.
Shores said The Blue Buffalo Co. is one of several brands that has jerky treats from which the protein source such as chicken or turkey is not only grown in the U.S., but also processed and packaged here. “You kind of have to be careful. It’s consumer beware.”
People need to read the packages, Shores added.
The store also carries slow feeders invented for large “dogs who voraciously eat their food and don’t get the feeling like they’re full or they have an indigestion problem if they eat too fast because they can’t digest it all and a lot of dogs will throw up afterward.”
The slow feeders help them play a little bit more. “It’s more interactive so they have to find their food and it’s harder to eat it as fast” because of the little mazes, so “it slows them down.
People are buying them and there is a lot of success with the large dogs. “People come back and tell us that they work.”
Shores said smaller dogs normally don’t have the problem the large dogs do, so it’s only available for the large breeds.
Thirty years in business, they have three generations of family working there. They started out with equine products such as hay and now 45 percent of the business has gone to the dogs.
“We have a large variety of pet supplies, dog grooming. We have a low-cost economical vet that comes every Saturday,” Shores said. They also have a spay and neuter clinic that goes to the store twice a month and the price “is very reasonable.”
Dale’s Town & Country Store is located at 14344 W. Waddell Road in Surprise. For information, call 623-584-5737 or visit http://shopatdales.com.