I know first hand the challenges of being a pet parent to a furry family member with hypersensitivity to food ingredients. In my case, I have a pet with skin allergies that for many years seemed to flare up at random. However, I learned over time that the flare ups were not at all a random thing and instead a triggered response to their food ingredients among other thing. While I’d thought I was being prudent by buying the brand labeled “healthy’ at my local mass pet food chain, I eventually realized the legit value of specialty pet stores that take the wholesomeness of the brands they carry a step further.
Below is a curated list of District Metro area and virtual specialty pet stores that specialize in sustainable, natural, and holistic pet products and represent the best of the best!
Big Bad Woof
With locations in DC and Hyattsville, the Big Bad Woof is all about organic, premium pet products and they are known for stocking some of the most respected pet food brands on the market. Their business model is rooted in sustainable practices and they are an active community partner via partnerships with local farmers, rescue organizations and even select apartments, condominiums and co-ops for special discounts. They have an extensive selection of locally made pet treats and they also offer ‘Store-to-Door’ delivery service for select zip codes in DC, Montgomery & PG Counties in MD.
Photos: Yelp – Hannah H.
Chico’s Natural Pet Market
Located in Falls Church, VA Chico’s Natural Pet Market is a specialty pet store that specializes in higher end natural pet products. Although they stock food and supplies for dogs, cats, small animals, and reptiles, their selection of feline pet products is superior in many ways to similar area stores. According the website, Chico’s was established in memory of a flamboyant Cat from Brazil and they do quite a good job of honoring his legacy. They feature frequent pet adoption events and when you feel inclined to pamper your pooch, they have a pet spa and offer coupons off your first visit.
Photo: Yelp – Chico’s Natural Pet Market, Danielle A.
Howl to the Chief
Located in and serving the residents of Capitol Hill, Howl to the Chief offers premium pet food, accessories, grooming, training and they offer delivery services on select brands. They are known for carrying specialized food so, say your fur baby only drinks goat’s milk – they’ve got you covered! Their selection of treats is huge and they also partner with a local rescue and hold adoptions every Saturday.
Photo: Yelp – Sam O., Karen P.
Located in Tenleytown, Petmac is a wonderful specialty pet supply store that specializes in all-natural foods with no chemicals or animal by-products. They pride themselves on carrying brands that are free of corn, wheat, soy, or other shady ingredients and if your pet needs alternative food products such as freeze-dried or frozen raw, this is your place. They sell toys, treats and accessories and have the cutest pet clothing to keep your fur-baby styling! They host frequent adoptions and their website is chock full of excellent educational articles on things such as clean eating for your pet.
Crumbs and Whiskers
Located in Georgetown, Crumbs and Whiskers is not a pet food store, but what they offer is so special that they deserve a spot on this list. Dedicated to the felines, Crumbs and Whiskers offers a fabulously unique “cat cafe” experience where in 70 minutes you can chill out in a room full of adorable cats, drink a delish latte, and then adopt your new feline. They partner with local rescues to house cats at risk of homelessness and/or euthanasia in high kill shelters. They aim to boost cat adoption rates via providing increased exposure to potential adoptive parents, while giving cats a loving, safe, and nurturing temporary home. They often hold exclusive events and are also available for private events. Their L.A. location is a celeb favorite and the DC location is awesome as well.
Photo: Yelp – Michelle F., Christine Y.
With several area locations across the metro Washington, DC area Loyal Companion was born via a coming together of seven well-known independent pet retailers in the area that now exist under one umbrella brand; the previously independent specialty pet store retailers that now apart of this new pet supply force include Bark!, Especially For Pets, Kriser’s, Pet Life, Pet Source, Dogma – Life With Your Pet, and Whole Pet Central. The new Loyal Companion brand bridges their shared natural pet missions and serves as a new brand dedicated to modern and holistic pet care, which they describe as an approach as as unlike any pet experience in the world. Their comprehensive products and services can be accessed via brick and mortar locations or virtually. In addition to pet supplies, they also offer grooming, training and pet day care services.
Photo: Yelp – Loyal Companion
Nature’s Select – Online
Nature’s Select is an online only pet food company that features the Nature’s Select brand of pet food, which is a high-quality all natural line made here in the U.S. Their well-thought out website feature a wizard of sorts that helps you select your pet’s food based on their characteristics such as ‘underweight’ or ‘dry flaky coat’. They offer free delivery throughout MD, VA and DC and also have a mobile app for re-ordering. Another cool thing that makes them special is they offer complimentary consultations with knowledgeable Pet Care Advisors who are experts in pet nutrition.
Located in Alexandria, VA, Nature’s Nibbles is a specialty pet store that sells natural and organic alternatives to commercial pet foods. Their staff is extremely knowledgeable about pet food and various diets for pets with unique health conditions. They also carry many hard-to-find brands. They offer Saturday delivery and even a do-it-yourself Doggie Wash for just $10!
Photo: Yelp – Nature’s Nibbles
Chewy’s is one of my personal favorites. After an exhaustive search for the perfect food for my allergy-sensitive pooch, Chewy’s was one of the few places that carried the brand I was looking for. They have an impressive array of wholesome pet food brands and a really library of “Watch and Learn” videos on uber helpful pet care topics. I also must mention that their customer service is hands down the best I’ve experienced from an online company across any retail sector.
Did We Miss One?
If you have a favorite DC area specialty pet food store that you’d like for us to include, be sure to leave it in the comments below or contact us to tell us about it!
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