Your Petís Natural ChoiceMy involvement in the pet food industry began over 30 years ago.
Since then, I have worked for some of the world’s largest pet food companies, set up my own award-winning pet store with in-house veterinary practice, run dog training schools, owned grooming parlours, kept most different pet animals and become an industry expert in quality pet foods and accessories.
At the heart of all this, has been Scampers. And at the heart of Scampers has been my lifelong love of animals.
Seeing a difference
A few years ago we began to notice deterioration in the condition of our own two dogs (Fish, the French Bulldog and Norman, the Beauceron). We were still feeding them the same ‘super premium’ food we had been feeding them since puppyhood but something had definitely changed.
At the same time, we realised that many of our customers were experiencing similar problems with their dogs and cats.
The type of symptoms we were seeing included: dull and flaky coats, regular vomiting after eating, weight gain, bad breath, very large and/or loose toilet, an increase in body odour, plaque build up on their teeth, allergic reactions requiring veterinary care, itching and scratching, loss of appetite, lethargy, premature aging, and flatulence. Veterinary surgeons are increasingly seeing these and many other problems on a daily basis.
We knew it had to be something to do with the animals’ diets. We wanted to understand what was going on and help our customers who were equally concerned.
Making a change
Two years ago our journey looking for answers led us to the natural feeding concept and BARF (Biologically Appropriate Real Food / Bones and Raw Food). Things immediately began to fall into place.
Natural feeding is based on the premise that the closer we can feed our dogs and cats to the way nature intended, the healthier they will become.
We changed our own dogs onto natural foods and the difference in their health has been nothing short of remarkable.
Taking a stance
As retailers, we also decided to change our relationships with some of the largest manufacturers. We searched out smaller natural pet food suppliers who we feel still have our best friends’ health at the heart of their business – rather than just profit. These are companies whose reputation has been built up by word of mouth from happy owners rather than multi million pound TV and marketing campaigns.
We all know dogs and cats are carnivores. They need the highest levels of quality proteins and fats to sustain optimal health. What they DO NOT need are high levels of carbohydrates, cereal fillers, preservatives, derivatives of meat or vegetable origin, cheap animal by-products or other unnecessary ingredients - all things you find in many of the ‘premium’ products available in discount pet shops, pet superstore chains and supermarkets.
Taking this principle into the heart of our business has taken us on a completely new and natural direction.
Looking behind the label
The next part of our investigation led us to look again at the ingredients of all the dog and cat foods and treats on our shelves.
This was no easy matter. Without a magnifying glass, a degree in label analysis, a copy of European Pet Food Legislation and Wikipedia it was difficult to work them all out! We now show ALL the ingredients of every pet food and treat on the shelf – to make choosing what you give your pet a more transparent experience.
We’re delighted that other pet stores around the country are following our lead and always welcome like-minded pet care retailers to Scampers so we can share our approach.
Where’s the meat?
When we began our ingredients investigation we discovered that all pet foods are really NOT the same. We already knew that grocery pet foods were inadequate but why was there so much less real meat in so many specialist ‘premium’ pet foods? Was the recession and the higher costs of raw materials encouraging some manufacturers to cheapen their pet foods to increase their profits?
We have all noticed our Easter eggs getting smaller. There’s less coffee in our cappuccino, fewer raisins in our cereals, smaller packs of washing powder… but it’s all still at the old price. Is this what has happened to our pets’ food too? Was this the real reason so many of our dogs and cats were exhibiting signs of poor health?
These questions led to the launch of our 'Wheres the meat?' campaign.
The apparent reduction in quality of some major pet food brands could simply be accepted as a natural result of the huge commercialisation of the pet food industry that has taken place over the last decade. But we feel that any decision to feed cheaper ingredients to pets is one that only owners can make for themselves. It is not right for manufacturers to economise yet leave us believing the product is the same.
When we asked one major manufacturer why they could not put more meat back into their pet food, they answered: “You know we can’t afford to!”
Leading the way
As part of our ‘Where’s the meat’ campaign, we are now stocking many more natural, BARF, high meat content and organic healthy alternatives. And we have many different feeding ideas and pet foods for optimal pet healthcare that need not break the bank.
For more than 25 years, our reputation has been built on offering this region's pet owners the best quality pet care information, foods, accessories and super friendly service available in the UK. We are passionately independent, have no outside shareholders telling us what to do and are entirely driven by quality not profit.
If you would like to know more about improving your pet’s health, you can talk to any of our seven highly trained pet care advisors or myself. We’ll give you fantastic free dietary advice as well as explain the costs and benefits of all the natural foods now available at Scampers… Your Pet’s Natural Choice.