Holistic for Pets Provides Quality of Life to Area Pets and Pet ParentsMar 29, 2015 01:19AM ● By Suzi Harkola
Combining a dedication to animals with a passion for natural living, Val Clows has built a successful business doing what she loves. Holistic for Pets, now in Bradenton as well as Sarasota, offers the region’s pet parents knowledge and products that enhance their pets’ lives.
The company’s mission is simple yet profound: provide the finest food and supplements – all natural – along with the education necessary to give pets a long and happy life based on their unique nutritional needs. Additionally, highly qualified staff is on hand to offer guidance on transporting pets safely, protecting them from fleas and ticks, and to offer holistic and homeopathic solutions for behavioral and health conditions.
“The biggest feedback we get is from customers who see great improvements with pets who had allergies, resulting in itching, hair loss and other symptoms, and who had been dealing with it for years,” she says.” After switching foods and adding goat’s milk and/or probiotics, the pet parents are amazed at the difference.”
She adds, “My greatest accomplishment in operating the store is being able to educate people one-on-one about pet food and the importance of ingredients. So many people have no idea what to feed and how to tell a good food from a poor quality one. Advertising and marketing can be so deceptive, it is easy to be fooled into feeding an over-priced, very poor quality food.”
The company was founded by Clows in 2002 with a store in Sarasota, and a Bradenton store was opened in 2008. Its successful growth is a testament to Clows’ personal motivation to feed and protect her own pets and her uncanny ability to hire knowledgeable and caring staff. She is proud to say that new customers get personal guidance in finding the right food and/or supplement for their pets, and returning customers get the same care and assistance as they explore the extensive selection of holistic pet foods. “My managers and staff also have a passion about good health for pets and they also are very well educated in food consulting. I’m not at the store every day, but my staff can readily help anyone who comes in.
“Being an independently-owned store, I can choose what brands we carry,” she explains. “We recommend any and all of the brands in our store. However, I do prefer the grain-free kibbles, and raw and freeze-dried are my favorites. We also recommend grain-free treats because they contain more meat, less carbs, and are less allergenic.”
Val first became interested in holistic pet care after taking a seminar in 1986. When one of Val’s dogs developed a major health challenge, some of what she learned in that seminar helped save her dog’s life. She continually updates her education and credentials, and is a Reiki Master, Certified Body Talk practitioner, and has taken classes in CranioSacral, Homeopathy, and Kinesiology. She is absolutely passionate about holistic health for pets (and herself!).
When asked which breed of dog and/or cat she especially favors, Val struggled for an answer. “That’s a hard one,” she admitted, “because I love so many breeds. I particularly love watching dogs do what they were bred for. It’s so impressive when a dog uses his or her instincts. On a personal note, I have had [Great] Danes for over 40 years and my last four have been rescues. I’m on the board of Southwest Great Dane Rescue, which I co-founded. I love the working breeds, but also terriers. I’ve had several Fox Terriers and just love their outgoing personality. I love black cats, white cats, grey cats... Well, I guess all cats. I have had some amazing cats over the years.”
Of course, we can’t forget toys, a staple requirement by most pets. She recommends the USA-made brands West Paw Design and Planet Dog for playtime, as they are the stores’ most popular.
Different specials are offered monthly, usually at 20 percent off, and are featured on the company’s website. For April, the full line of Precise products is featured at a discount, as well as Weruva canned dog and cat food.
Clow credits the success of the business to her staff and customers. The staff is loyal, highly educated in holistic pet management, friendly and helpful, she says, and she readily acknowledges the customers. “We appreciate their loyalty for our success. I have customers who have been shopping with us since we opened 13 years ago, and we will continue to provide quality products and services to continue to grow.”
Holistic for Pets is located at 5411 Fruitville Road in Sarasota, 941-378-4367. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and at 5770 Ranch Lake Blvd., just off 75 on 70 E ( River Club Plaza) in Bradenton, 941-753-7297.) Open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Suzi Harkola is managing editor and writer for Natural Awakenings.