Couple Opens Pet Food Store in Antigo, Their Goal is Healthy Animals

Dan and Shirlee Gallagher want a community filled with healthy pets and happy owners.

The Gallaghers, who live in Lac du Flambeau, are the owners of Pawz n’ Clawz, an all-natural pet food store that has just opened its doors at 803 Superior St.

“We do this because we enjoy it and we want to provide quality products for people and pets,” Gallagher said. “None of our food has any corn, wheat or soy that are so prevalent these days in the big box stores or grocery stores.”

Pawz n’ Clawz caters to all-things canine and feline, with a complete line of natural treats, none of which are manufactured in China, supplements, grooming materials and supplies such as toys and beds. But the heart of the store is its wide-ranging and affordable line of dog and cat foods.

“Just because it’s high-quality food doesn’t mean it’s expensive,” Gallagher stressed. “We have foods available in a variety of price ranges, with some under $1 a pound.”

The store carries about two dozen different brands, including the Wisconsin-made Fromm, Blue Buffalo, Canidae, Zignature and Natural Balance.

And although they are for pets, the mixes are designed with the owners in mind, carrying names such as Salmon Tunalini, Lamb & Lentil, Surf & Turf, Pork & Peas and Whitefish & Potatoes.

There are also varieties for dogs and cats suffering from allergies along with obesity and diabetes, growing health concerns.

“We specialize in dogs and cats and we don’t compromise with lesser-quality foods,” he said. “Those are not the kind of products we want in our store.”

Knowing that dogs, and especially cats, can be finicky, Pawz n’ Clawz offers plenty of samples and small-sized bags.

“I don’t like to sell anyone a large bag of food before they try it,” Gallagher said.

The store works to educate pet owners as well, with staff well-versed in the nutritional make-up of each type of food.

“We ask lots of questions,” Gallagher said, explaining that there are also transitional foods available to move a dog or cat from a low-quality, corn or grain-based diet toward more nutritionally-complete foods. 

“When a dog or cat is eating a better quality of food, they don’t need to eat as much of it to meet their needs,” Gallagher said, adding that leads to lower feed bills and less kennel or litter pan cleanup. “What you put in your pet is going to affect the outcome.”

The Gallaghers entered the pet food market almost by accident, after one of their four dogs developed joint problems and had to lose weight before surgery.

From Lac du Flambeau, the couple had to travel south to Wausau to find the correct, healthy food to meet their pet’s needs. And that got them to thinking about the need for a similar source in the northwoods.

“We started doing research,” Gallagher said. “It was a learning process and we used our own dogs as the experiment to see how it worked.”

The results, he said, were phenomenal and something the couple wanted to share.

They opened their first store in Rhinelander in August, 2013, and within weeks noticed a positive response from people concerned about what their animals were eating.

“We want people to shop here and we want to provide a variety of choices,” Gallagher said. “But all the choices they have when they come in this door are healthy ones.”

Starting this week, Paws n’ Clawz is also offering complete professional grooming, a vital service, Gallagher said, to assure a pet is healthy “inside and out.” Appointments may be made by calling 715 623-5533.

Plans are underway for a pet costume contest on Saturday and a Nov. 1 grand opening celebration. Gallagher said Pawz n’ Clawz is also collaborating with Anytime Fitness on a 5K Pet Run/Walk on Nov. 15 and hopes to work closely with the Antigo Veterinary Clinic and the Langlade County Humane Society on other projects as well.

“We want to be a part of the community,” he stressed.

Store hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We love animals and we want them to be taken care of,” Gallagher said. “If people love their pets, this is the kind of food they should be feeding them.”

Dan Gallagher has opened the new Pawz n’ Clawz natural pet food store downtown.

Dan Gallagher has opened the new Pawz n’ Clawz natural pet food store downtown.

Source: Antigo Daily Journal