Last updated 11/9/2022

Sometimes, it can be tricky to buy for the pets on your holiday shopping list. You may wonder — Do cats really like catnip? Is rawhide bad for dogs? Is this yak cheese chew organic??

Rather than trusting the wisdom of online strangers, the best thing to do is stop by your local independent pet store! Your local pet store is a fantastic resource, as the owner and staff are trained on the products they offer and genuinely care about helping you do what’s best for your pet.

They’ll be a one-stop shop for every pet on your list — everything you need under one woof!

Why Shop Local and Support Your Local Pet Store

Boost the local economy

One of the biggest reasons to Shop Local is to keep more of your money in the place where you live — where it can do the most good!

Statistically speaking, for every $100 spent at a national chain, only $43 is put back into the community. On the other hand, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 recirculates into the local economy.

Some of that money is spent at other stores and businesses in the area, while some of it is paid as local taxes that go towards improving the roads and other public amenities of your hometown. So, by shopping at one local store, you’re indirectly helping other local businesses thrive as well by boosting the economy of the whole area!

Support local charities

The good effects of Shopping Local don’t stop at one store; they’re paid forward into the charitable organizations doing important work in the area.

Local businesses are invested in and care about the community, and are much more generous than large chains. It’s estimated that small businesses donate 250% more per sales dollar to local nonprofits and community causes than larger businesses do.

Better service for you

The owners of your local pet-centric businesses are fellow pet parents who take great pride in their stores — and you can feel it in the service you receive!

The owners of independent pet stores make it a priority to hire staff who share their same passion for pets. They’re knowledgeable, genuinely concerned about your pet’s wellbeing, and often willing to go the extra mile to get you the right information or product you need to take care of your fur-baby. That’s a service that’s truly priceless!

While big chains may carry more generic brands, local retailers often have a better selection of higher quality pet food and toys or locally made products.

It’s easier for you

We know how important convenience is in your busy day-to-day life. In addition to all the other great benefits your community receives when you Shop Local, the fact is that it’s often the simplest option for you, too. 

It’s just easier to swing by your local store and grab a refill of your pet’s food now than it is to order it and wait several days for shipping — and you get all those good effects of shopping local, such as supporting a local pet-loving family!

It’s more fun!

When you shop local, it’s not just about the products themselves. It’s about the overall experience — especially if you bring your pet with you. There’s nothing quite like the joy of letting your pet pick out their own present!

More Ways to Support Your Local Pet Store

Leave them a good review online

If you’ve ever searched for a store or business on Google, you’ll immediately notice the store’s Google Reviews on the right-hand side of the page. Those reviews — and others on Yelp and similar websites — can make or break a business, often determining whether the searcher will actually step into the store or not.

Studies show that 97% of consumers search online for a local business, and 73% of searchers trust a local business more because of positive reviews. And it’s not like we mind leaving reviews — the same study found 68% of customers were happy to leave a local business review, when asked. 

Help your local pet store out by not waiting to be asked! If you had a good experience, leaving a positive and honest Google Review can make a huge difference for your store and only takes a couple of minutes of your time.

Engage with them on social media

Another easy way to support your local pet retailer is to engage with them on social media! Tag your retailer in a picture of the goodies you just bought, retweet them or comment on their posts. 

It may feel like a small thing, but visitors to your store’s social media pages will see your interaction and gain a good impression of your local pet retailer as a result. When you interact with your local pet store online, it shows that this store makes their customers happy enough to want to talk about their experiences on social media, and also that the store themselves are open and approachable

Perhaps the person reading your post or tweet has questions about your local pet store’s products; they may feel emboldened to contact the store directly after seeing their friendly exchange with you on social media. 

In short, a quick social media shout-out can go a long way towards helping your local independent pet store thrive! (Hint: Tag us at Vital Essentials, too! We love hearing about how you love your retailers!).

Attend special events

Many local independent pet retailers will host special events, such as Adopt-a-thons with local rescues or speakers and presentations. Attend these events if you can to show your support. Who knows? You might learn something interesting, or even meet a new furry friend!

Tell your friends!

And finally, despite all of the recent advances in technology, sometimes you just can’t beat good ol’ fashioned word-of-mouth. If you had a great experience at your local independent pet store, tell your friends, family and fellow pet-lovers about it!

It’s shown that hearing a recommendation from someone you know and trust carries much more weight than hearing it from a stranger. Even if you only talk to a few people, odds are at least one of them will go check it out.


By supporting your local pet store, you’re doing good things for your community and for your fur-babies. Now that’s a true win-win!

Support your local independent pet store in person and online. Find your store today.