As our core belief is Pets Before Profit, nothing is more important to us than keeping pets happy, healthy and safe.

To ensure our policies and practices provide the best possible welfare standards for the pets in our stores we maintain an expert pet team, headed by an experienced vet who is supported by three qualified veterinary nurses, and specialists in freshwater and marine biology, and in pet and reptile welfare. We also have a dedicated field team responsible for ensuring we implement the best possible standards consistently across all our stores and breeders. A confidential hotline is in place for colleagues to raise any concerns they may have directly with our Head of Pets.

During the year we implemented a number of changes to improve welfare standards further.

In our aquatics section we have removed the gravel from the tank floor and reduced the ornamentation.

This not only makes the fish more visible so our trained aquatics colleagues can identify potential problems more easily, it also makes it easier to maintain the water quality which is less stressful for the fish. We have also reduced the number of fish species stocked, focusing on the most popular varieties. This has allowed us to concentrate our efforts to improve the sourcing and transport of our fish. We have also introduced ‘fish points’, a simple way to help customers understand the correlation between the volume of a particular tank and the number of fish it can safely support.

With small mammals it is essential that they have access to clean, fresh water throughout the day. Cleansing traditional water bottles can be difficult and risks spreading disease if it is not done thoroughly so we investigated ways that this risk could be minimised. Working with suppliers we now have bottled mineral water delivered to stores so our pets have access to fresh spring water every day. The used bottles are collected to be recycled, further minimising the risk of contamination.