I know, I know: we are first and foremost supposed to support our local pet supply store. Believe me, if I had one in my town, I would not be writing these words. The closest independent pet supply store is 30 miles from me, and believe me, when I go to that town for any reason at all, I also go to that store and buy stuff. (Shout-out to my friends at Trailblazer Pet Supply!)
In my town, we have a chain pet supply store, and I was super glad when they opened a store here a few years ago; it meant that there were at least a few foods I could pick up there, and at least a few toys, leashes, and other items that meet my standards for safety and quality.
When I want really cool, top-quality stuff made by U.S. manufacturers, I go to the independent stores. And I mean, any independent pet supply store I see open in any town in any state I travel to. My family members all groan when they see me spot a “pet supply” sign when we are on vacation, because they know we are going to pull over and they are going to have to amuse themselves for at least a half-hour while I walk the aisles and chat with the employees. (Independent store owners all stock different, unique stuff that grabbed them at one or two of the huge annual pet supply trade shows, and I think of them as curators; almost every independent store offers something that I’ve never seen before.)
But, guys, when I open the dog food container and all of a sudden it’s incredibly low, or I’m feeding a starving mama and her nine growing puppies and going through food at an unpredictably fast rate and I’ve been crazy-busy putting the magazine to bed and haven’t so much as taken a shower for a couple of days, being able to punch up my favorite online store and order food and have it on my porch in two days – you guys, that’s a blessing.
Mama is not keeping up with the demand, and I just ordered five pounds of milk-replacing formula to get us through the next couple of weeks. And the dry puppy food I like to soften in formula and feed to the growing pups is not one I can get in my very close chain store, OR my favorite independent store 30 miles away. Yes, I could have them order it, and wait a week, and drive a half-hour over there and a half-hour back… but no, placing an online order is just too easy. And when you are feeding four big dogs – Otto, Woody, my tenant’s dog (I don’t know exactly how this happened, but here we are…) and the foster mom – food goes much faster than my fractured attention span can keep up.
What about you guys? Are you using online dog food delivery? Or are you strongly against it?
I always order online because local stores don’t carry what I prefer to feed my dog. I can choose from more variety, and have super quick delivery, can change delivery dates, quantities, flavors, etc. much easier than going to a brick-and-mortar store.
I never order online. My dog eats a raw diet and I like to go to the store myself to buy it. I think buying local is good for the community.
I also live out of town(80 miles either way) and order on line as well. It’s a god sent.
I understand the big temptation here, but I think it is hugely important that we resist our addiction to convenience because over the long haul and in so very many ways, it is killing us!
Instead of aiding this newer adjunct to industrial consolidation, we ought to be making the efforts to increase our competence to use whole foods and to cultivate relationships with local sources – for our own food and for our pets.
We can take the short view on occasion. I have occasionally bought a book from Amazon when I could absolutely not find it anywhere else. Usually an out of print to replace a copy that disappeared after being lent to customers or friends. But Amazon is destructive to independent book sellers, publishers, exploitative to its workers and horrific for the environment. You have to understand how consolidation — in ALL industries, including pet food — only appears to increase consumer choice and convenience. Over the broad spectrum and long term, it corrupts by undermining standards and coming to own government regulators. It rewards only size and efficiency. It destroys the distinction between the values of commerce and industry and those of professions.
Our store has taught homemade pet food making in a way that increases people’s flexibility when market disruptions occur. Yes, it takes some time to learn how to do this, but it is not any more difficult than the knowledge and competence acquired through a good high school home ec course. You can wean yourself off commercial pet food to whatever extent you are comfortable with, and yet know that if suddenly your favorite store can’t get your usual brand, or there are supply chain issues that interfere with availability, or a major recall occurs – you can go to local producers and ordinary grocery stores and get what you need. Your animals will be better off if their bodies are accustomed to handling different types of food – the way ours are! You can substitute with confidence, when you need to.
By getting on the Chewy bandwagon, you are supporting a trend that undermines quality and accountability, supports the industrialization of veterinary medicine, and makes us more dependent of ever larger, more vertically integrated industries whose core interests are NOT ours.
I implore you to take the widest and deepest view possible here and support not only the independent pet supply stores, but local food suppliers and independent pet service providers. Do you want a world where PetSmart/Banfield provides everything but dictates the range of what is possible, including mandating the vaccines a dog must have to even be served? PetCo may have dog training classes that are convenient, and some of them are even taught by good trainers. But they sell shock collars, too.
As an independent provider of services, plus carefully selected commercial foods, but who strives always to increase people’s competence and ability to support cross sectional initiatives for environmental sustainability, organic and family farms, decent labor compensation and safety standards, and professional clinical practices that don’t serve rapacious industries. Don’t be seduced by the convenience of these food delivery systems! Sure, use them in an emergency. Don’t fall into the purist trap! But take the time to plan ahead and commit to making your buying habits support a better world — while there is still time (I hope) to be effective.
Do you sell medicinal dog food also?
Quite frankly, I was shocked when you wrote this article. I am typically a supporter of WDJ however, I will now take a longer look. I own an independent retail store that also educates the consumer on proper foods. I am also a Clinical Pet Nutritionist. This is something you won’t find at Chewy/Petsmart or Petco. As a small business, we are all trying to survive the economic climate and when you tout the services of an online big box store I wonder where your allegiance really lies.
I love chewy. I am able to send my 90yr old grandma quality food for her dog remotely. She is 90 and partially blind and I live on the opposite side of the USA. She cannot drive to buy raw food for her dog let alone prepare it. Food delivery is a blessing for many of us. Those who judge and ramble can keep on doing so. Chewy is here to stay and I will be forever grateful for them.
I used to order on Chewy a lot and I see the benefit of doing so. However My dog has inflammatory bowel disease and needs to be on a special diet of freeze dried raw food which is not sold everywhere and is very expensive. He can eat Primal or Stella and Chewy freeze dried raw only which goes for about $30/14oz on average in my area which is incredibly expensive. Petsmart and Petco don’t carry this food in my area. Chewy carries it but I go to my local Pet Supplies Plus because they have constant sales and coupons so I usually only pay in the range of $20 – $25 per 14 oz bag which is worth the local trip to the pet store for me, even in the pandemic needing to wear a mask/social distance, etc. Granted Pet Supplies Plus is not an independent store, but it is a franchise and provides jobs in our area and had great products and I love the service and staff there.
I order online. I get fresh products from Chewy and the selection is fantastic! Not only food but brushes, combs and toys. And, it’s all delivered to my door! Especially with COVID-19 out there, I appreciate being able to keep my pets’ food in house thanks to home delivery.
I am 69 years old, with severe arthritis in my hip, knees, ankles, and shoulders. (One hip was replaced 11/21/2018) Limited mobility. If not for online ordering, it would be much more difficult to feed my 300 pounds of rescue dogs. There are five; two small, two labs, one very large GSD puppy.
With this coronavirus mess, I am lucky to have been able to get about everything we need by ordering online and having it delivered. Also, I can always find the varieties of the premium foods I feed my dogs.
I feed a blend of three or four varieties — from different manufacturers — in case there is a recall. *IF* there is a recall of one of the foods, it’s only one-quarter or one-third of what my dogs are eating. That’s a smaller chance for a problem. I also research a dog food maker’s history of recalls prior to feeding that brand or formula. Lastly, I mix fairly small batches of the kibble blend (in case there is a recall) and keep it stored in a tightly sealed food storage bin.
Once we can safely go to grocery stores again, I plan to start preparing part of their diet in my kitchen.
I love having Ollie deliver my dog’s fresh, frozen dog food. My dog is 13 and has lots of energy, beautiful coat, and actually dances for her dinner
I am unhappy with Chewy supporting HSUS. That said, I order a grain inclusive kibble from them that is not readily available locally. In fact, my local small chain seems to only carry the DCM suspect types of kibble. I have cooked for my dogs in the past and will continue to feed some home cooked meals. I could buy via Amazon, but at least Chewy specializes in pets and I’ve been told, easy returns if needed. I feel like we are already overly dependent on big online retail and it’s only getting worse. COVID has changed everything for those of us at risk.
I love Chewy and have been using them for several years for getting my dog food and other needed items for my dogs. They are less expensive, their delivery has been very prompt (until interrupted by COVID-19, which is undersatndable), and they have been more than helpful when needed. And they are certainly more well stacked than the pet stores, which saves me time effort and money because I don’t need to visit or contact each pet store in the area.
I order online because I am handicapped.Otherwise it is very difficult for me to get food, toys, and other needed things for my wonderful dog.
We need diverse outlets for our dog needs as most tend to be out of stock at one time or another, even Chewy. I do not like their huge support of HSUS so have been looking elsewhere for dog needs outside of food. I do not buy dog food on line but local. However, there are many unique grooming supplies I would be hard pressed to find locally. When Chewy and others were forced to charge tax there really was no more reason for us to order food on line as I can get it for the same price locally or at my vet if it is RX food. Those who order everything on line, please don’t feel the need to apologize and explain. It’s your money and there is only so much to go around so use it wisely! Just placed an on line order today, no food, no tax, no Chewy but much needed supplements and coat care supplies.
I too buy from Chewy. After working a long day and being on my feet, I would stop at a local pet store and was often told my brand was “coming in Thursday,etc. so stop back”. When I found Chewy and another then local on line supplier, it was so much easier. As a busy working woman it was such a convenience, it made my life just a little easier. I still go to the local store on occasion to buy my outdoor birdseed.
As far as the veterinarian comments, both veterinarians at the practice I used for 35 years retired. The practice was sold to a corporation and the vets were pushing products and services I didn’t want or need. The personaI, caring touch was replaced by corporate profit. Unfortunately the average pet owner doesn’t know it’s now corporate owned and they are being pushed to spend more. I switched to an independent practice. That being said, I see this in human medicine too. The young vets coming out of school are saddled with debt, they don’t want to take on more debt by purchasing a practice. They also want the mobility to not be tied to 1 area of the state or country. Working for a corporation, from their point of view, frees them from the debt, from the burden of running the practice- hiring office staff, payroll, compliance’s with regulations,e.g. X-ray safety regulations, etc. etc. I don’t like all of what I see but I don’t have the answer either
I don’t know what the answer is.
The last 3 weeks I’ve started ordering my three dogs’ food on line from Nom Nom. I did so because my two 8 pound poodles have been fed homemade food successfully from recipes I purchased from Dr. Schmalberg the nutritionist at the Gainesville Vet School in Florida several years ago. Recently I took my friend’s standard poodle (58 lb.) in to live with us so I decided to purchase a freshly made menu that comes through Fedex on dry ice for all of my dogs. It has worked out great so far. Now they have four varieties to eat – beef, chicken, pork and turkey – and they love it. It smells so good, you want to try it! (but I didn’t.). I chose Nom Nom because the nutritionist is Dr. Schmalberg and you can choose which food variety or varieties you wish to try. I am hearing that feeding a variety of foods may help to prevent food allergies. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised in 4 – 5 years if none of my poodles have food allergies. In the past I’ve had so many problems in purchasing dog food. Either the dogs didn’t like it, the food didn’t agree with them, the pet shop stopped supplying it or the mfg company changed how the food was being made, etc. Nom Nom.comm allows you many choices including speaking to a live, knowlegable person!
Oooops, sorry -NomNom.comm should be NomNom.com in the blog above.
I tried to go to this site but it didn’t work. It’s NomNom.com?
I always like to read these opinion letters. They show how different situations call for solutions that some people may like for good reasons and others are against , equally for good reasons. In the end you have to do what works best for you.
I order my food on line. It is organic kibble recommended by my breeder. The breeder guarantees the health of my puppy as long as she remains on this food, which can only be purchased directly from the manufacturer. I supplement with organic fresh blueberries, vegies, grass fed beef, chicken, etc. I probably spend as much on my dog’s food as I do on our food. This being said, I still support our local pet supply stores whenever possible.
What is the name of the kibble? I am looking for some good quality kibble for my Japanese chin.
I usually don’t order (canned) dog food from Chewy, because my independent pet store sells it CHEAPER. But, with shipping delays, and “out of stocks” at EVERY level, I am SO grateful that I can get my dog’s food at BOTH Chewy and my local store.. (She has a severe allergy to some food ingredient, possibly yeast, with 2 SCARY visits to the emergency all-hours clinic in my town.) I heartily support my independent pet store, whose staff know a TON more about canine nutrition than most vets! But, Chewy has always been super informative to it’s customers, offers lightening fast shipping, and has a VERY generous “return” policy. I will (and do!) support local businesses whenever possible, but my dog HAS to have food that will not make her sick! Kudos to EVERY company, large or small, that HELPS us during this extremely stressful time!
I switched to a raw diet for my dogs about 20 years ago, and shopped for the ingredients,(meat, poultry, meaty bones etc.) myself, but now that it’s harder to get the meat etc. because of the Covid-19 and me being 81 years old, I order my dogs raw food on line. I have ordered from Chewy, but now with the Virus, it’s difficult and the last time I ordered from them, it was half the order and thawed out by the time I got it, but when I contacted Chewy they were very prompt at making things right. However, until the epidemic is over, I am ordering from another place.
I use Chewy to send dog food to my elderly mom. She lives over 80 miles to the closest pet food store. Her food arrives to her door step every 3 months. She is not in the best health and can’t be safely out and about right now due to Covid so this is the best option for her. I buy my own dogs’ food/supplies from a local independent pet store. Thank goodness for Chewy. Otherwise, my mom would have to feed her dogs awful grocery store dog food instead of the high quality food I can have sent to her.
I like to get the food locally most of the time so I can check the expiration date, make sure there are no holes in the packaging and that everything looks ok. But I do order online about 20% of the time. As you say, it’s too darned convenient. ANd now that I’m trying to rotate the kids through different brands of food, many items on my list can only be obtained by ordering online.
Has anyone used Farmer’s Dog? If so what do you think?