Shopping Online VS. Brick & Mortar Pet Store Shopping

           In today’s society it’s hard to get out and shop for everything you want in life. A lot of us have turned to online shopping to get the things we need. At one point in time, we all have ordered something offline and it’s almost exciting waiting every day for that package to show up, to have that anticipation follow you until you slide a blade through the packing tape and rip all of the paper out of the box to reveal your ever-awaited purchase! The one place I, personally, believe this phenomenon isn’t appropriate is in the pet industry.

              Now, as the owner of many different kinds of pets I’ve had plenty of experience with buying various products like food, cages, crates, toys, collars, and leashes. Never in my life would I buy something I couldn’t put my hands on and make sure that this purchase wouldn’t be easily ripped apart into shreds that one of my critters could choke on or even just rip apart after spending money on it. I would never buy food that I couldn’t open right on the spot if I had to (hypothetical situation, but if I’m buying the food, it’s gonna be opened anyways, so if I buy it, then open it at the counter to check no one would care.) to make sure there’s no mold, or other junk in there. I would never go online where I couldn’t simply bring a bag of food back to a store and get another bag that same day. What if I had no more of my food and was relying on a bag coming in the mail, and it’s coated in mold or has bugs in it? I then have to wait to return the bag, and wait more time for the bag to get shipped to me and overall, it’s a pain and a hassle. Yes, it can be less expensive to purchase some products online, but is it really worth the risk?

The pet store I shop at/used to work at offers a 100% pet food guarantee: If your animal doesn’t like, or gets sick because of a food, we will exchange the food over and over again until we find a food that works for your dog. The only things required for this guarantee: the bag should have ¼ of the food left in it, and that you return it within 30 days. We also have an entire staff who makes sure we stay updated on nutritional knowledge, all of the foods we carry, and recall information, and on how different animals work around their nutrition. If one person doesn’t know the answer to a question, another will, and we all strive to make sure the customer is satisfied.

Some online stores have a 100% return policy and they take everything back for the year after a purchase, which seems great, but what it can mean is that they know they carry product that people will buy, not knowing it won’t be appropriate to their dog, because it happens everyday, people will buy a chew toy that doesn’t quite hold up to their dog’s jaws and it ends up shredded, shattered, or worse. Not only is this a pain for anyone who wastes money on the toy, but it can run health risks for the dog from choking to impaction, and that $15 dog toy can very quickly become a $1,500 vet bill.

My rule of thumb is: if I can’t put my hands on it, I won’t buy it for my dog. Nice and easy. I’m also not going to be that a**hole who walks into a store to see an item, then go home nad order it offline either because that’s just a sh*tty move, and I wouldn’t do that to a business. Especially since I shop small, and I like to maintain relationships with the people who work at/own the stores I shop at. It’s a nice atmosphere and you can build a trust with those people.

So you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, and shopping online is easy, but is it really worth it for the sake of your dog? If you’re not going to want to take the time to go out and buy your pet a bag of food or a toy, don’t own it. It’s really that simple. If that’s the case, that animal is most likely not getting the proper amount of attention anyway. Having any animal is a commitment, everyone knows that, but it’s not just a money commitment or a care commitment. It’s a time commitment where you have to dedicate time into training and caring for and loving this pet that you bring into your home. Bring your dog with you to the store to pick up his food. Most pet stores allow dogs on leash and it’s a fantastic socialization exercise that’s 110% safer than bringing your dog to the dog park. Make it an adventure, and use it as a training experience. It’s fun, trust me, I’m doing it now.

If you can’t make that commitment to your animal and yourself, then maybe it’s time to rethink being a pet owner.


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