5 Common Questions Pet Parents Ask at their Local Pet Store

by Samantha Grant, Pet Specialty Expert & Retail Associate

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Pet specialty stores, especially high-quality independent pet stores, are growing increasingly more popular. Pet parents know that businesses that specialize in pet products are the most likely places to find the best foods, toys, and supplies for their animals. As a veteran of the independent pet retail industry, I’ve just about seen it all – and that said, here are the five most commonly asked questions people ask:

1. What’s the best pet food? This seems like an easy question, but it’s actually one of the hardest to answer honestly. Most pet store salespeople have their favorite foods to recommend; best-sellers or foods that have the highest ratings on sites like Amazon, Chewy.com, or DogFoodAdvisor.com. But the truth is that there’s no one “best” food. Some dogs do great on a kibble with quality ingredients, others thrive on a combination of canned and dry foods, while others require a diet reliant on whole or raw foods. A good pet store employee will take the time to ask you questions about your animal, their health history, your preferences and budget in order to help you determine what food is best for your pet.

2. Which food did I get last time? Many small pet specialty stores offer customer loyalty programs, and these can include helping you keep track of the foods you buy. If you have a hard time remembering what food your pet eats but don’t want to risk upset tummies due to a sudden switch, selecting a pet retailer who can help you keep track of your purchases is a great choice. Dogs and cats often benefit from rotating flavors (for example: beef one month, fish the next), but generally only when you’re sticking within the same brand for consistent quality, and comparable protein, fat, and carbohydrate levels.

3. Can you recommend a good…? Veterinarian? Groomer? Pet Hotel? Trainer? Dog Walker? Pet specialty stores are a perfect place to ask about related pet professionals and services. Most independent stores will keep the business cards of people or services they recommend, or else employees may have had experiences with the kinds of businesses you’re interested in.

4. What treats or toys do you recommend? Whether your dog is a power chewer, or your feline is fussy, there are a plethora of fantastic toys and treats in today’s pet specialty stores. Be sure to read labels and select chew toys or treats according to your pet’s size, life stage, and chewing or play preferences. Pet store employees usually have their own animals and can tell you what their pets have enjoyed and which treats or toys may not be appropriate for your fur-children.

5. What’s the best product for…? Flea control? De-shedding? Deodorizing? The answer to the last one is easy (hint: It’s Skout’s Honor!). Just as with food, treats, and toys, pet specialty retailers hear all about what is (and isn’t) working for their customers. Best-selling items are usually best-sellers for a good reason; even if a product is cheaper than the competition, people tend not to repeatedly purchase items that don’t meet their expectations. Finding out what the store’s employees use, and what their customers rave about is the easiest way to determine if a product is likely to meet your needs.

Five Things to Look for When Choosing a Veterinarian

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Even if your animal is healthy, it’s important to develop a good relationship with a veterinarian that you trust. Emergencies happen when you least expect them, and even generally low-maintenance animals can develop an illness or be injured. You may have a vet you’ve used for years, but if you’re a new pet parent or you’ve recently moved, you may be on the hunt for a new vet.


Here are some tips for finding the right doctor for the animals in your life:

-Be a detective! The first thing to do when looking for a veterinarian is to ask for recommendations. Start by asking friends and neighbors, and be sure to talk to the employees at your local pet store; find out where they take their own pets and which vets their customers speak highly of (and potentially, who to avoid). Once you have a few names, do a little online research. Google the veterinarians you’re interested in, and read any Yelp! reviews for the business. Even though people are more likely to write a negative review than a positive one, what you find online can add to a well-rounded view of the business you’re investigating.

Make a visit. Once you’ve picked out a few likely candidates, make some calls. Ask about the office’s on-staff veterinarians, their procedures, office hours, and prices. If you own an exotic animal (even certain common pets, such as rabbits or birds are often classified as “exotic”) or a specialized breed (for example, a Sphynx cat), be sure to ask if they treat the kind of animal you own and if there are additional charges that apply to specialty animals. Chances are you’ll be able to pare down your options pretty easily. Once you do, schedule a time to go visit the office and add your pet to the office’s patient files and fill out any new-client paperwork.

Check out the facilities. An office doesn’t have to be ultra-modern, or feature a plethora of high-end diagnostic equipment; although if you have a pet with a chronic condition or illness, those things may be important to you. However, any vet’s office should be clean, uncluttered, and well organized. Ask for a tour of the facility if possible (not all offices will allow this for various good reasons, but if you’re concerned, it never hurts to make the request).

Meet the Staff. Both the veterinarians and the office staff should be friendly, confident, and communicate in a clear and professional manner. You want to feel comfortable with the people you’ll be entrusting your pet’s health to. A veterinarian can have a long list of qualifications, but ultimately, you want to feel that he or she, and the staff as a whole, truly cares about the animals in their care.

Wellness Check. Now that you’ve chosen the veterinarian you want to use, be sure to make an appointment for a wellness check. A wellness check is similar to a human’s routine physical. A veterinarian will observe your pet’s vital signs, as well as discuss their health history, diet, and exercise with you. In some cases, a veterinarian may encourage you to do a few routine tests, such as a fecal exam or a blood panel. These tests can offer valuable insight into your pet’s health, and can provide a “healthy baseline” a veterinarian can use later on in diagnosing whether a future test result is typical or abnormal for a particular animal.

Do you have any more tips you’d like to share? Want to sing the praises of your favorite veterinarian? We welcome your comments!


About the Author
Samantha Grant is a life-long animal lover. She has been a horse trainer, PATH, INT. certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, animal nutritionist, and writer. Samantha, or “Sam” to her friends enjoys spending her free time playing with her animals, working around the ranch, and reading.

Skout’s Honor Cat Urine & Odor Destroyer: A Great NY Resolution Product!

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“Play more, travel, get fit, eat healthier, live cleaner – let’s tackle those New Year Resolutions!” -moderncat.com


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This month, moderncat.com, a lifestyle magazine for modern cats and their companions, is featuring a great list of products that will “help enrich you and your cat’s life and meet your resolutions too.” We are proud to say that Skout’s Honor’s Cat Urine & Odor Destroyer made the list!

Skout’s Honor Urine & Odor Destroyer quickly removes cat urine, vomit, hairball, feces, marking scent, spray stains & odors! Whether your resolutions are to be cleaner, be greener, or even give back more, Skout’s Honor is here to make them easier to attain!

Click HERE to see the full list of products, and thanks again to Modern Cat for the feature!

Barking in the New Year

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In the spirit of hope for a positive and prosperous New Year, it’s not uncommon for humans to make resolutions for themselves; in fact, according to www.statisticbrain.com 45% of people make New Year’s resolutions on a regular basis. But have you ever considered making resolutions for your pets?


More than half of all New Year’s resolutions are aimed at improving a person’s health and fitness, and it may be the same for your pet. According to Banfield Pet Hospitals, obesity is the #2 most common diagnosis for companion animals and obesity has a significant link to the rapid rise of Type 2 diabetes in the pet population. Helping your pet stay fit can greatly improve their quality of life.

For best results, be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on your pet’s food and use a measuring cup or scale to ensure accuracy.
Be conscientious of how many treats you offer, and investigate lower-calorie options if necessary. Many pet stores now offer a variety of specialty diets and treats to help you achieve this goal.
Take longer or more frequent walks with your dog or play fetch as often as you can. If your dog is significantly arthritic or otherwise has trouble walking, explore opportunities to swim your dog or enroll in a pet physical therapy program that utilizes underwater treadmills for low-impact exercise.
Encourage your felines to jump, climb, and chase by providing them with different play structures and cat trees, and tempting them with exciting toys. Even little changes can have a big impact on your pet’s health over time.

If you have any questions on helping your pet lose weight or concerns about improving their fitness, be sure to talk to your veterinarian.

Another popular resolution is to spend more time with the people (and pets!) who matter to you. We all get busy and bogged-down with day-to-day routines, but spontaneity is the spice of life! Find creative ways to include your furry friends in your activities.

Invite friends with compatible animals over for play dates, or meet up at animal-friendly venues such as a dog parks or restaurants that offer a menu for the pups.
At home, take little breaks from your routine to initiate play or even just relax with your pet. Petting an animal has been proven to lower your blood pressure and slow breathing, which is just as good for you as it is for them.

Whatever your resolutions for you and your pet may be, www.statisticsbrain.com says that, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” Don’t be afraid to write your resolutions down, even if that just means scheduling a block of time once a week to do something positive with your animal.

“It is amazing how much love and laughter [our pets] bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” ― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

Happy New Year, friends!


About the Author
Samantha Grant is a life-long animal lover. She has been a horse trainer, PATH, INT. certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, animal nutritionist, and writer. Samantha, or “Sam” to her friends enjoys spending her free time playing with her animals, working around the ranch, and reading.

Skout’s Honor COO Pete Stirling Recognized in Pet Age Magazine’s “Forty Under 40” Awards

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We are proud to announce that our Chief Operating Officer (COO) Pete Stirling has been recognized by Pet Age Magazine in their 2016 “Forty Under 40” Awards.

The intent of the Forty Under 40 awards is to honor today’s up-and coming pet industry leaders. These are individuals who have shown their devotion to the success of the pet industry and a commitment to professional excellence. To be nominated, an individual had to meet criteria that included being 39 years old or younger at the time of the nomination and possessing significant authority for decision making within a pet-related company or organization.

“We’re excited that Pet Age is honoring Pete for his leadership, community service and dedication to the pet industry – we are proud to have him as a critical member of our team,” said Macon Brock, CEO and founder of Skout’s Honor. “His passion for building Skout’s Honor as a disruptive pet specialty brand and his rock-solid integrity are characteristics that continue to drive success for the company and also motivates our team on a daily basis. Congrats, Pete!”

Pete started his career in retail marketing and developed an aptitude for customer development and excellent service has always been a natural talent and key driver for the success he has accomplished in a variety of roles. In 2007, he co-founded and launched Waterman’s Sunscreen, where he organized the sales and operations platforms and helped the company grow into a national brand in less than a year. Further, his consulting expertise was also instrumental in the unprecedented growth of the Stand Up paddleboard industry across the USA.

Pete has always had a passion for animal rights and has been a pet parent for most of his life. His ability to quickly engage and motivate his colleagues, as well as educate and inspire industry partners (distributors, retailers, customers) is an undeniable quality that has greatly contributed to the fast growth and success of Skout’s Honor as an international brand in the pet specialty marketplace.

The Forty Under 40 award recipients will be recognized and profiled in the December 2016 issue of Pet Age magazine and the full list of winners can be found here.

Read the digital version here.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting (A Puppy)!

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Getting a new puppy from a breeder, shelter, rescue, or other source is a wonderful way to expand your furry family. Puppies are adorable with their round bellies and floppy feet. Their exuberance for life is infectious. No matter what breed or mix you decide on, every dog is a unique individual, but some aspects of puppy care are universal:


1. Puppies need great nutrition.
Do a little research on the types or brands of food recommended for the type of dog you have. Talk to your vet and knowledgeable staff at independent pet stores, read online reviews, and call the manufacturer if you still have questions. Avoid foods with corn, wheat, soy, by-products or artificial dyes and preservatives. Choose foods with quality ingredients – real meat should be the first item listed. Look for foods with quality fiber, as good fibers (prebiotics) help support good bacteria (probiotics) that help puppies digest their food. Examples of good fibers are brown rice and oatmeal, or grain-free options such as sweet potato and pumpkin. Look for foods with a protein listed between 22-28% and a balanced calcium to phosphorous ratio (the latter is especially important for larger dog breeds).

2. Puppies need to chew…a lot. Dogs who are given a variety of chew toys and encouraged to use them, not only learn appropriate chewing habits, but also have stronger, healthier teeth and gums in later life. Puppies have a biological need to chew, but they also have short attention spans, so providing them with different textures and shapes and rotating toys can stop most boredom chewing before it starts. Even so, set clear boundaries for chewing and be sure to keep dangerous or fragile things out of their reach.

3. Puppies need training. If you’re an experienced dog owner, you may have trained a few dogs already and feel pretty confident with the methods that work for you. However, if this is your first puppy, or a puppy of a breed or type you don’t have experience with, you may want to consider brushing up on your training skills. Many pet stores, dog groomers, or even city governments offer training classes taught by certified dog trainers and aimed specifically at puppies. Most of those classes are in a group format and inexpensively priced. You can also ask friends, Yelp!, or visit a local pet store to enquire about which private trainers are most highly recommended in your area.

4. Puppies will have accidents and setbacks. Little setbacks are part of any animal’s learning curve and are not something to be feared or punished. Learning what NOT to do is just as important as learning what TO do, and the best way to move past a mistake or a period of backsliding behavior is to focus on the positive rather than the negative. If you can keep on the lookout for good behavior and praise each effort to do the right thing, you can teach your puppy how great it feels to please you, which encourages them to keep trying, rather than getting frustrated and giving up. And when those accidents happen, Skout’s Honor is there to help you clean up the mess! Shop Skout’s Honor here!

5. Puppies need lots of love. A dog will change your life, so be mindful of the dog you want your puppy to become. Teach her or him early on to be the companion you can’t wait to come home to, or better yet, the companion you take on every new adventure. Give your puppy all the love and attention they need, so that when the road of life gets tough, the nose that nudges your hand will make the going a little smoother!

6. Puppies are a wonderful (and adorable!) addition to your life. Just like children, they grow up fast, so make sure to take time to enjoy every snuggly cuddle, playful moment and of course, that unforgettable puppy breath!

About the Author

Samantha Grant is a life-long animal lover. She has been a horse trainer, PATH, INT. certified therapeutic horseback riding instructor, animal nutritionist, and writer. Samantha, or “Sam” to her friends enjoys spending her free time playing with her animals, working around the ranch, and reading.

Skout’s Honor Cat Products Featured in Modern Cat Magazine!

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We are thrilled to have both Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer and Urine & Odor Destroyer featured in the Fall-Winter 2016/17 issue of Modern Cat Magazine!


Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer was the chosen deodorizer in the article, 6 Ways to Make Your Litter Box Better. They “love it, not just because it works – goodbye litter box smell! – but because it’s non-toxic, biodegradable, eco-friendly, and free of harsh chemicals, meaning you can make that litter last a little longer and freshen everything safely and responsibly!” Get Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer HERE.

Skout’s Honor Cat Urine & Odor Destroyer was chosen as a “purrfect present” in the cat lover gift guide. “This must-have product is the most powerful cleaner on the market and is safe to use around pets, family, and home!” Get Skout’s Honor Cat Urine & Odor Destroyer HERE.

Modern Cat Magazine provides more fun and insight through award-winning stories, cool new products, training and behavioural tips, travel, smart toys, photo contests, health and wellness, fantastic giveaways, and much more. From fun toys that keep your cat entertained to DIY projects, fab finds for the feline-inclusive household, and expert advice, Modern Cat has you covered.

Safety Tips for Pets this Holiday Season

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The holidays can be equal parts exciting and exhausting, especially if you’re doing any hosting. If you have pets in your home, your animals probably feel the same way. With a lot of people coming and going, many of them unfamiliar to your pets, the introduction of a Christmas tree or other decorations, and changes in daily routines, even the most laid-back pooch may get a little stressed.


We’ve come up with a few ideas for ways your family can reduce your pet’s anxiety and help them to have a fun, safe holiday season:

-Make sure any potentially dangerous decorations are safely out of reach. Things like candles, glass ornaments, and scent diffusers are especially popular household items this time of year. Keeping anything toxic or hot well out of an animal’s easy reach can help you avoid a tragedy, whether it’s a vet visit or a fire.

-Let visitors know ahead of time that you have pets and coordinate with them to call when they arrive. This can reduce the number of door knocks that may over-excite some dogs, as well as avoid accidental escapes.

-Watch food carefully. “Counter surfing” pets are drawn to the tasty aromas of holiday cooking, but they might eat things left out unattended that can make them sick (and not everyone considers cat hair a condiment!)

-If young children will be visiting your home, be sure to supervise any interactions with your pets. Not all kids know how to treat animals respectfully, and even gentle, patient animals may bite or scratch if they feel cornered or harassed. If your pets show any sign that they’re overwhelmed, be sure to remove them from the situation immediately.

-Have a safe place your pets can retreat to. While small animals and birds will probably be fine in their cages, dogs and cats are sometimes locked in bedrooms or bathrooms out of necessity. Make sure to have plenty of toys, nice blankets that smell like their favorite human, chew toys, beds, crates, or cat trees to help them feel secure.

-If needed, try a calming treat or supplement. Many animals react well to a gentle herbal calming supplement. Compression garments, such as a Thunder Shirt (www.thudershirt.com), or special pheromone diffusers like Feliway (feliway.com) are also useful. Don’t be afraid to experiment to find what works best for your pet.

-Be prepared. When animals are excited or their routines change, there may be an unavoidable “accident” in the house. Keep Skout’s Honor Stain & Odor Remover and Urine Destroyer handy to help clean up – just in case. Skout’s Honor also works on other holiday messes, such as food and wine stains and muddy footprints!

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It’s not always easy to balance holiday social gatherings, travel, and our roles as pet parents, but the love our pets show us throughout the year makes it all worthwhile. We at Skout’s Honor wish you a season of cheer and good friends, two-legged, four-legged, winged and scaled!

Modern Cat Features Skout’s Honor as Editor’s Pick & in Holiday Gift Guide

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Each week, Modern Cat delivers a FREE eNewsletter to subscribers that includes cat articles, products, contests, and anything else cat-related. In the November 3rd eNewsletter, Skout’s Honor Litter Box Deodorizer was featured as “Editor’s Pick.”

modern_cat_dec-01In the December 1st eNewsletter, Modern Cat showcases “The Best Gifts for Cat Lovers” in the “Modern Cat’s Gift Guide for 2016” where Skout’s Honor Urine & Odor Destroyer is featured! Click HERE to see the gift guide!

The Modern Cat Newsletter is your weekly dose of cat-infused happiness delivered FREE straight to your inbox! Click HERE to sign up!

Holiday Gift Ideas for Pet Parents

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With the official start of the holiday shopping season upon us, everyone is making their lists and checking them twice. If you’re an animal lover, chances are whether your pet has been naughty or nice, you’re including your fur-children in the festivities. What you may not realize is that a gift for a friend or family member’s beloved pet may be the best, most appreciated gift you could give that person.

Here are a few ideas for unique ways to spoil the pet-people in your life:

  1. Treats: Treats are the easiest way to please. Store-bought or homemade, animals love a goodie. Try making a gift of treats more personal by displaying them in a cute pet dish or bowl, or even an animal themed cookie jar.
  2. Toys: Finding just the right toy can be as simple as taking a trip to your local pet store. Most will have adorable Christmas themed toys to get pets into the holiday spirit, but don’t be afraid of going with a staple, such as tennis balls or plush mice. Animals can be hard on the toys they love and most pet-parents will be excited to have a few “backups” around the house.
  3. Gift Certificates: Some great ideas for gift certificates include pet stores, groomers, doggy daycares, or pet bakeries. There are more and more pet-specific businesses out there offering a variety of products and services, and a gift certificate or card creates an opportunity for your friend to try something new for their pet they wouldn’t necessarily have tried, or even known about.
  4. A custom pet portrait: For many people, the animals in their lives are worth immortalizing. While we almost all have cameras on our phones that allow us to share our animal’s antics in real-time, there’s something special about a sitting with a professional photographer or painter.
  5. Make a donation: From small local rescue groups to national, and even international organizations, making a donation to a charity in a friend’s name is a fantastic way to show a loved one that you care about their interests, or as a way to honor an animal that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Most animal lovers have charities that they support, and we here at Skout’s Honor are no different. With our Skout’s Paw Pledge, every time you purchase one of our products, we donate a day’s worth of food to a shelter animal via our charity partner, Rescue Bank (rescuebank.org).

Have an idea for a gift we didn’t mention? Share it in the comments below, we’d love to hear from you!