Hi Joe here, I’m with Jeff co owner of Four Muddy Paws and we’re at their location in Lafayette Square on Park Avenue. How did it all start?

It all started with a dog on a camping trip…

His name is Salem, so that’s who we found on a camping trip. He was a little puppy at the time. When we got him, we wanted to take him to a place where we could find the right food, right nutrition and then find a place to wash him as well. The goal was to find a facility where we could do all of that at the same place. So, we realized that nothing existed at the time, so we were like, “Why don’t we create something,” and so we did. Salem literally helped us understand what we needed, and he was really the guiding force behind creating Four Muddy Paws.

How long did it take from when you found Salem to get this all open? Probably a couple years by the time we actually did all the research and figured out really what we wanted to do and how we wanted to set it up.  Because we are a healthy pet market, we look at the emotional and physical well-being of our pets, taking the holistic approach. We’ve found that nutrition is the foundation of everything. We are what we eat, so we want to make sure we have an all-natural, high-quality diet to begin with. We have all sorts of supplements and things to help support them. We have dogs & cats with special needs. We carry products that are combinations of different things that can help them, so nutrition is really the core of what we do. We also want to keep our dogs clean and healthy because that’s part of staying healthy as well.  We have our self-service wash, where we supply everything but the dog, so you can just come in, we have separate drying stations, and separate washing stations so you can get your dog washed and cleaned. It’s easy, you can keep the mess here, you don’t have to worry about it at home, it’s much more comfortable for your dogs. It’s also safe, we can accommodate dogs from two pounds to 180 pounds or more.

We also have professional grooming. We have a professional grooming team, and so we offer that seven days a week as well. Then we’ve got all the right toys for all different kinds of play styles.  We think mental stimulation is really important as well. Having the right toys, having that right physical exercise and mental exercise that help with behavior issues just give your dogs that healthy balance in that part of their life as well.

Our second location…

We opened our Edwardsville store 2009, and that is another great store for us, a great community where we do all the same things as we do in our Lafayette Square store, so we’re just all about getting our dogs and cats healthy, and keeping them healthy for a really long time, and really helping them thrive as opposed to just survive. It just enhances our life with our animals, which are so important to us.

All natural food

We’re really big into our raw diets. The goal is always to go as less processed as you can in your diet, so all of our raw diets are a combination of muscle meats and organ meat and bone, and then some combination of fruits and vegetables, depending on the brand, and so we believe in feeding that raw diet makes a difference, even if you can just get a little bit in every day, or every week, it doesn’t have to be 100%, but just a little bit, because even an ounce a day is going to help keep teeth clean, it helps lower the carbohydrates, gives them high-quality protein, it gives them the energy, it’s awesome at weight control as well, so many benefits to being on a raw diet and it’s easier than you think.

Matt and I changed our diet pattern and our eating pattern based on what the dogs were doing, because we were like, “Wait a minute, here’s all the things we’re learning about nutrition for our pets, let’s learn about nutrition for ourselves,” and realized we made that change a number of years ago and have never gone back. So really, Salem made a big impact on our life, both personally, professionally, and for all the animals that we’ve been able to help over the years as well.

We just made an upgrade to our washing stations. They get a lot of wear and tear, we do a lot of baths and things, so we added some subway tile and made it a little more updated easier for us to keep clean. Really, we’re trying to make it as ergonomic as possible for everyone involved so it makes it as easy as possible, fun and enjoyable for the animals, most important.

Sense of community

It provides a great sense of community to come in, talk about your dogs, and you can get in and out in under an hour and you leave the mess here, you go home, you’ve got a clean dog, so it’s great.

We also carry all sorts of dry foods for dogs and cats, a lot of canned foods as well. We have a set of standards that everything we carry in the store has to meet our quality standards. Nothing from China, really no corn, wheat, or soy in any of our products at a minimum, and then we even take it up from there. No raw hides or anything with raw hides in it in our store just because of the health issues there. So everything has to meet our quality standards, and once they do, then we bring them in, and then we have a lot of training with our store teams as well as customer training and things like that just to let people know what’s happening and what little changes they can make in their pet’s life, they can make a significant difference for the long-term health of their animals.

Contact:  Four Muddy Paws