Pet health matters to local business

Pet health matters to local business
The manager of TailsSpin, Joey Betancourt, sells a bag of all-natural dog food to a self-described local, happy dog owner, Janice Penn. TailsSpin is located at 570 Mulberry St. Conner Wood / Managing Editor
The manager of TailsSpin, Joey Betancourt, sells a bag of all-natural dog food to a self-described local, happy dog owner, Janice Penn. TailsSpin is located at 570 Mulberry St.
Conner Wood / Managing Editor

Everyone has heard the old adage—you are what you eat. It turns out the same saying goes for your pet.

TailsSpin, a pet food and accessories store, knows all too well the importance of feeding dogs healthy, all-natural ingredients.

Feeding dogs certain foods, like those containing corn, wheat and soy, could cause allergies, skin problems or worse, said Britt Hallmark, an employee at TailsSpin and a dog owner.

“A lot of the food you find on the market is not actually catered to a dog’s digestive system,” said Joey Betancourt, the manager of the store at 570 Mulberry St.

Natural foods help with digestion. TailsSpin carries only foods that are good for dogs, cats and even fish and turtles, Betancourt said proudly.

They also advocate for a feeding method called rotation.

“Rotation means changing the dog’s diet pretty consistently. Don’t feed them the same thing for a long period of time,” Hallmark said.

The key is trying to recreate an indoor migration, like their ancestral relatives, the wolf, Betancourt said. At certain times of the year, migrating wolves eat large mammals. At other times, they may eat poultry, fish or small mammals.

Betancourt explains to every new shopper that consistently changing a dog’s food helps keep a balanced diet and prevents against nutrient deficiencies.

“The healthier a dog is on the inside, it shows on the outside. The healthier the dog is, the longer he gets to live,” Betancourt said.

Customers generally hear about the store through word of mouth, but Betancourt said that people are wising up to the benefits of natural dog food.

He has worked at the store for a little over two years and just recently has seen business pick up, but he doesn’t call it a revolution.

“It’s been there the whole time,” Betancourt said. “It’s us as humans who are just now beginning to realize.”

But what about the price? A pet shouldn’t be eating a nicer, more expensive meal than his owner, should he?

Betancourt warns never to look at the up-front cost. A $50 bag of dog food might last two months while Pedigree and other corn-, wheat- or soy-filled products may last only a month.

Essentially, the price evens out, but the store does sell food for a dollar a pound to cater to the hungrier “gluttonous” dogs.

Besides caring for the health of the pet, TailsSpin cares about the pet owners as well. All pet food brands that announce recalls are removed from the shelves—permanently.

“We want people to have the peace of mind that there has been a thoughtfulness behind placing it (each item) in the store,” said Hallmark.

TailsSpin was recognized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Blue Ribbon Small Business Award in February 2014.

Once a month, TailsSpin offers up its three self-service dog washing bays for charitable organizations to raise money for their cause, dog-related or otherwise.

The business also says thank you to people who rescue pets from shelters by giving them an adoption package, which includes a free bag of dog food, a name tag and 10 percent off anything in the store.

“I don’t expect everybody to come back here. It might be TailsSpin’s thing, but it’s not my thing,” Betancourt said. “I just want everybody’s pets to be happy and healthy.”

TailsSpin has two other locations in Savannah.

If you want to stop by TailsSpin to wander through the aisles of natural pet food, they are open 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and until 5 p.m. on Saturday.