By Emma Castleberry
Natural pet products have always been central to Mary Hourihan’s business philosophy with her pet products store, Asheville Pet Supply. “Since we started in 1991, we’ve always wanted to do the more natural products,” she says. “At that time, it was either Science Diet or Iams. We had to search far and wide to get holistic stuff. It’s been an uphill battle, but now it seems that everyone else has jumped on our bandwagon.”
The emphasis on pet products that are naturally made requires Hourihan to expand her search beyond local limits. “We do like things as local as possible, but we shop nationwide trying to find products,” she says.
Fifteen years ago, Hourihan was very excited to find a product that was all natural, high-quality and locally made. King Bio, a line of homeopathic remedies for animals, is manufactured in West Asheville. Hourihan learned about the product when she met Dr. Frank King, founder and president of King Bio and a bit of a celebrity.
“He’s a nationally-recognized homeopath and author,” she says. “We started carrying his products right after I met him. They’re fantastic.”
Hourihan appreciates that the remedies have no alcohol or sugar in them, so customers can add the liquid dosage to their pets’ water bowls. The remedies can be used to treat allergies, anxiety, muscle and joint pain, urinary tract infections and a variety of other conditions in cats and dogs.
“I cannot tell you about how homeopathics work, but I do know that they work with animals,” Hourihan says. “Animals can’t be fooled with the placebo effect.”
Hourihan fell in love with another local product, Warhorse Solutions Pet Shampoo and Conditioner, when a sales representative for the company visited her store last year. Warhorse is manufactured nearby in Columbus, North Carolina. “With no synthetics or pesticides or sulfates or thickeners, it’s great for dogs that have bad skin,” she says.
MaryLynne Roman, who owns the grooming business Dog Gone Gorgeous in Asheville, started using the Warhorse products last year at Hourihan’s suggestion. Roman says the shampoo’s lemon verbena lavender scent can overcome even the worst-smelling animal odors. She also appreciates the product’s simple ingredient list, predominately a combination of oils such as coconut, castor, avocado, almond and sunflower.
“It doesn’t have any nasty, harsh chemicals in there,” she says. “The ingredients are totally earth-friendly.”
While Hourihan will always prioritize an inventory of all-natural and high-quality products at Asheville Pet Supply, she also appreciates the opportunity to partner with local companies in Western North Carolina.
“They just care a little more,” she says. “There’s a little more TLC put into their products.”
Asheville Pet Supply is located at 1451 Merrimon Avenue in North Asheville. For more information about products, call the store at 828.252.2054 or visit ashevillepetsupply.com.