Saanich Peninsula has gone to the dogs, and cats

PERFECT BALANCE: New pet food and syle shop in Sidney

It’s no secret. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there an the Saanich Peninsula seems to be the place where pets come to relax.

There are so many people who love their animals that Vincent Denis and Christine Leman decided that they needed to offer the pet owner community something a little different. So, they opened Four Paws Pet Grocery and Boutique in Sidney.

Denis says Four Paws is place where people can find something just a little out of the ordinary, where they can treat their furry loved ones.

“Everywhere you walk, there’s dogs, dogs, dogs,” he says. “There’s high pet ownership on the Peninsula.”

That fact, as well as their own love of pets, led them to open Four Paws in the Mariner Mall, facing Sidney’s Beacon Avenue. It opened in mid-August and Denis says they have seen steady growth each month since they started.

“We focus on something different,” he says. “We didn’t want to be like the pack.”

Denis says they source more unique items for pets — from higher-end leather collars for a dog’s night out and unique harnesses and leashes, to Ruff Wear, a line of toys and other outdoor supplies.

Often, customers come into the store looking for very specific items. But in general, they seek something unique and interesting, Denis says.

Food, too, has taken on new dimensions.

Denis says the raw food movement for pets has been gaining momentum and is something they offer to pet owners as well.

“Raw is the fastest-growing market in pet food right now,” he explains. “While a lot of the research is still in its infancy, the benefits are it appears to be the ideal diet for animals.”

Denis said he deal with many people whose pets have a variety of food allergies — grains, corn and chicken meal being the most common. Raw food, and alternative products, can help.

“We’re seeing allergies to grains all the time. I always suggest that people look at the labels (of their pet food) to see if meat is the first ingredient.”

There’s even food formulas for vegan pets.

Denis says people love their pets and they become part of the family. And Four Paws, he says, is there to provide the necessities — and the extras — for pet enjoyment.

Four Paws Pet Grocery and Boutique is open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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