Burn the land and boil the sea...you can't take the sky from me. Thrilled to have given birth to my new little boy at home. If you're looking to cloth bum, I'm slowly working my way through all the different brands and types in our stash.
Members who trust:200
Can we look at all the animals.....please mummy
Everything for your pet under one roof
Can be expensive if you don't buy in bulk .
Value for money
Layout & presentation
Selection & range
Waiting / queues
City / Branch addressPitsea
Frequency of visitSeveral times a week
AvailabilityGoods are always in stock
In store customer serviceGood
Freshness of goodsGood
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While I do not own any larger pets, such as dogs or cats, I do have a reasonably large number of smaller pets, who I love dearly and need to provide food and bedding for. My guinea pigs are hungry little whatsits and along with the hamster they go through an incredible amount of wood shavings in a week. Then I have the budgies to provide for, they really enjoy their seed, and hopefully, very soon there'll be a new addition to the family in the form of a cockatiel. What with all these supplies to get, and preparing for the new arrival, I've been spending quite a lot of time in Pets at Home. Some aspects of the shop have impressed me, while others have upset me a little, perhaps I should go into a little more detail….
---The Shop Itself---
Pets At Home is a supermarket for pets, with (almost) everything you need to keep your pets housed, well-fed and entertained. Along with pet supplies they sell a number small animals, birds and fish. The store prides itself on being pet-friendly and pooches are welcome in-store (as long as they are on a leash), being terrified of dogs I'm not sure if I'm actually keen on this idea.
The store I visit is very large, spacious and clean, with wide aisles, electronic doors and very little in the way of clutter. The different departments are logically set out and well labelled, it's very easy to find what I'm looking for. One thing Pets At Home does seem to lack is the "pet shop smell", I love the smell of the smaller independent pet shop and the aroma in Pets at Home just doesn't match up.
There seem to be just about the right number of staff working in the store and I can't say I've ever had any difficulty finding some to help me make my decisions. The staff are also friendly and seem to have a reasonable amount of knowledge about the goods they sell. In fact one member of staff was so helpful that she even offered to give us a lift home with our jumbo sized bale of wood shavings when she realised we didn't have a car. And talking about cars, due to the location of the store I visit (in Pitsea) there is a very large carpark that rarely gets full.
All major forms of credit card appear to be accepted along with cheques and, of course, cash. Receipts are well organised, and it's easy to check if you've been charged correctly. All animals carry a guarantee, as do the own brand goods, in fact I say some return some goods on my latest visit, and they were dealt with quickly with no questions asked. In all honestly I cannot fault the shop's actual layout or staff, they really do make shopping there a pleasant experience.
Pets At Home sells a limited range of small animals, birds and fish. Included in the range of small animals are rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters and chipmunks. All of the tanks, cages and enclosures appear to be clean with plenty of food and water. I was, however, disappointed to see that guinea pigs and rabbits are housed together. Being totally devoted to my pair of piggies, I've spent quite a lot of time researching their care, and have discovered it's really not advisable to house them with rabbits for various reasons. I did note that there were a decent number of places for the piggies to hide, and the enclosure was not overcrowded, but I still would have preferred that the had their own living space. The prices of the animals is also slightly on the high side, and certainly more than the nearest independent pet shop.
The various birds are housed in large aviaries, but there are quite a few birds per section. At the moment there are no parrots for sale (at the moment), but there are budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds and various finches. The prices of the birds are actually very reasonable but I'm still not sure if I'll buy from here.
The fish department has been undergoing redevelopment for the last few times I have visited, so the Pitsea branch is not selling any fish. They have previously sold both cold-water and tropical fish, at reasonable prices. I've never actually bought any from here, so I can't comment on the health of the fish. (I prefer to buy fish from a specialist aquatic centre).
Pets at Home does have a policy of not selling livestock to children unless accompanied by an adult and also display notices saying that all their birds and animals have been checked by a vet. I'm still not keen of buying my pets from here though as I much prefer my local independent, as I know the staff very well and know that they are as passionate about caring for their stock as I am for my pets.
As I said I do not own any cats or dogs, but I do know that Pets at Home stock virtually anything you could need for your pooches and moggies. From cat litter to kennels and scratching posts to comfy beds if you can think of it they probably stock it. Of course they also stock many, many varieties of food, including huge sacks of dried dog food. While the prices are reasonable, I would imagine that unless you buy in bulk they could probably be beaten by your supermarket or Wilkinsons.
Now I have far more experience of their bird supplies, as I've been spending a lot of time in this section researching prices ready for my new arrival. They sell a vast variety of cages, from some that are rather small, cheap and cramped up to huge (and very expensive) aviaries. They are not as cheap as say, Wilkinsons, but they do look better and there is a far better selection. We actually bought a very large cage in here for a penny under £60, which is very impressive with lots of room for our budgies to explore. At the moment we are also looking at a cage on a stand, but I'm not sure if we will be buying that. All cages come with a starter pack worth up to £12.99 (depending on whether you choose budgie, canary, finch or cockatiel) which contains everything you need (apart from toys) to set the cage up for the first time. As well as the cages they sell a wide range of different bird food, treats and toys (including some to encourage wild birds into your garden). They even sell nesting boxes if you plan to breed your birds.
Their small animal section is as equally impressive, with a huge range of cages ranging (again) from the very small to palatial. I can't say I've ever bought any cages from here though, but again I have my eye on a huge indoor cage that would be suitable for guinea pigs and is only £29. There are also a wide range of hutches and outdoor runs at prices that are fairly reasonable, but for some strange reason they do not sell indoor enclosures which is what I was really looking for. Once more all hutches and cages (over £24) come with a starter pack for the animal you will be housing. Although they sell different varieties of food for almost any small animal, including mice, hamsters, rats, chinchillas, and so on, the prices are rather high unless you buy in bulk. I've just bought their own brand in guinea pig food, and the quality does seem to be reasonable and because I bought a large pack the price was very competitive. Where they do excel (for small animals) is in their packs of the various bedding. Although the smaller packs are once more rather pricey, if you have room the largest sizes of wood shavings and hay are exceptional value. Of course there is also a large range of treats and toys for your animals, some are better priced than others, but I bought my piggies a pigloo (sort of an enclosed bed) and a vegetable based play tube for a very reasonable £5 for the two.
The fish section is not really one that I've really explored, but again they sell a wide range of tanks, ranging from the very cheap to the extortionately expensive. Once more starter packs are available, as is food, tank decorations and chemicals, but I really prefer using a specialist shop for this kind of thing.
As well as the birds, animals, fish and all the supplies needed for you pets, Pets At Home sells a variety of books that aim to teach you how to care for your pets. These range from free information leaflets that cover the bare basics to in-depth tomes that cost a fair few pounds. To be honest I've never bought any books from here, and can't really comment on the value for money, as I find the internet is a far more extensive source of information. There are also a few pet based gifts, such as mugs and cards, but again I've never really bothered with them. One final product that I've noticed is a machine which makes tags for cat and dog collars, not owning either of these I've never bothered with the machine so I don't know how much they cost, but it does seem to be quite a good idea.
I do enjoy spending the odd hour or two in this shop, even when I don't need any supplies. My children also enjoy watching the birds and animals and I can honestly say that we've never been made to feel as if we have to buy something. The trouble is with such a wide variety of goods, I can't help but find myself buying a treat for one or other of my collection. While I don't always find their prices to be the best value for money, I do find myself buying from here in bulk, which can work out considerably cheaper than using other sources. As far as the live animals and birds go, I'm not really sure that they are the best place to buy them. For one thing there are lots of animals in shelters that are in desperate need for new homes, and secondly I do prefer to buy them from my local independent pet shop, which is not only cheaper, but can tell me more about the conditions the animals came from. So while I'm recommending Pets At Home for cages and bulk buying all your pet consumables, I am not recommending it for smaller purchases or live animals.
Read your review from top to bottom and feel we generally have the same views about Pets at Home. I love to look around the store and see what they have to offer, but it is quite reasonably priced, however I have to say I have bought EVERYTHING for my Pomeranian dog from this store! Great place with good customer service too. Well reviewed :)
purplelynne 26.01.2006 20:59
We don't have one where we live, or anything similar. I see an opportunity here...Lx
pippilli 24.01.2006 17:58
good review! i do however, consider it my mission in life to encourage people not to buy birds as pets!....Cheers, Pippa x