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Celebrating Small and Independent Pet Businesses Across Virginia

man hugging dog

One of the most rewarding things you can do as a pet parent is finding a local pet business that knows your pet and their needs and treats them with love and respect. At Hello Ralphie, we support these local, independent businesses and have chosen to highlight a few of our favorites in the state of Virginia!

Pets at Play Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia - Pets at Play logo
319 N. 25th Street
Richmond, VA

Pets at Play is a one-stop-shop for a wide variety of dog-specific care services. Whether you require doggie daycare, overnight boarding, dog walking, or even in-home visits while you’re away, their compassionate staff will treat your canine companion with the same love and respect they would offer their dogs.

At Pets at Play, your dog will always be under the careful supervision of a qualified member of staff, and every dog under their care will receive plenty of companionship and attention. Their climate-controlled indoor play area even features filtered air, which ensures your dog can enjoy playtime in a healthy and safe environment.

All dogs under their care get plenty of exercise and cuddles from a team of qualified animal handlers and trainers. They screen new pets for temperament, compatibility and check for an up-to-date vaccination record to ensure every dog’s safety. They also take detailed notes for any behavioral or health changes of the animals in their care.

Pets at Play offers full grooming and bathing services, so your pup can look their absolute best by the time you pick them up! Overall, this place is a great business founded by dog lovers who have created a safe and fun place with attentive staff and interactive play.

Dogma Arlington, Virginia

Arlington, Virginia - Dogma logo
2772 S. Arlington Mill Drive
Arlington, VA

Locally, Dogma has set the bar in pet food nutrition by being one of the very first stores to carry locally made raw foods and work with veterinary nutritionists to select the healthiest pet products. They source only the highest quality pet foods, and they also sell dog treats made fresh right from their bakery.  Pet parents visit Dogma to pick up special occasion treats and can also custom order cakes for birthdays, gotcha-days, and other celebrations.

Dogma stores also carry pet treats, toys, and gift items for cat and dog families. They offer cage-free grooming services with groomers specially trained to handle older and more sensitive pet clients.

There are many one-of-a-kind pet products and services at Dogma, but that’s not all they do for the community. They also support many local rescues and their local shelter by holding animal adoption and fundraising events on a regular basis.

Dogtown Norfolk, Virginia  

Dogtown logo
1309 Raleigh Avenue
Norfolk, VA

Dogtown is unique in that its owner takes a creative approach to training and play. He became popular in the area after starting “daily exposure sessions” in which he builds up his visitor’s confidence by gently introducing them to new things. Dogtown’s kennel-free, open environment makes it so dogs can be dogs and release energy while gaining social confidence in a group setting.

Like most doggie daycare facilities, Dogtown requires a temperament evaluation and an up-to-date vaccination record, so you can be sure your pup will only socialize with other safe and well-behaved dogs.

Dogtown offers complete grooming services specifically designed so that dogs remain calm and happy during their sessions. In addition to all of their services, they have also built an indoor dog park, or “Dog Perk”, where owners can bring their dogs for meet-ups and socialization outside of the daycare setting.

Pet Motel and Salon Charlottesville, Virginia  

Charlottesville, Virginia – Pet Motel and Salon logo
1187 5th Street SW
Charlottesville, VA

Pet Motel and Salon is a non-corporate, locally-based boarding and grooming business equipped to accommodate both dogs and cats. Whether you are just looking for grooming services from a staff of trained professionals, or you require overnight boarding for your cat or dog, this family-owned business can handle the task.

To ensure your dog or cat has a safe and comfortable stay, the dog kennel and cattery are cleaned and sanitized daily. An outdoor exercise area gives dogs space to socialize and play, while the cattery includes an area to climb and explore a spacious and tiered townhouse, with a soft cat-tree tower and plenty of enclosed hiding spaces.

Because they are a relatively small pet boarding business, each dog and cat under their care receives more individual attention than they would at a larger facility. As you’d expect, an up-to-date vaccination record is required for all pets that stay at Pet Motel and Salon.

Compassionate staff, fair prices, and a safe environment for cats and dogs make Charlottesville’s Pet Motel and Salon a small pet business worthy of our praise.

Care-a-Lot Pet Supply Virginia Beach, Virginia 

Virginia Beach, Virginia – Care-a-Lot Pet  logo
1924 Diamond Springs Road
Virginia Beach, VA

Care-A-Lot Pet Supply is a family-owned pet supply business dedicated to offering high-quality pet food and pet care products. Given that their motto is “Your pets are our babies too”, and they’ve been providing this personal care to patrons for more than 30 years.

The business was started by a dog-show family that competed with their beloved Airedale Terrier and Labrador Retriever. After finding it difficult to find high-quality, specialty pet items, they decided to use their passion and expertise to start their own pet supply business. What began as a warehouse-based training and grooming supply business has grown into four full-sized brick-and-mortar pet supply stores!

Care-a-lot also offers dog training services, pet daycare, and pet grooming. In addition to being a one-stop shop for pets, they also run a non-profit, Care-A-Lot Charitable Foundation to host pet adoption events and raise money to support local animal rescues and help find homes for local shelter animals. 

At Hello Ralphie, we believe it’s important to celebrate local pet businesses because these places offer a level of personalization and care that only mom and pop shops can. They get to know their customers and give back to their community. And they are in the pet business because servicing animals and their families is what they’re truly passionate about.

We hope you get a chance to stop by one of these Virginia-based pet care businesses and see for yourself. And as always, our veterinarians are online to answer any pet-related questions you may have.

If you enjoyed this list, check out our favorite dog-friendly adventures across Virginia!

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