Article and Photos By: Scott S. Smith, Sandra Wells & Christian N. Smith

Los Angeles County alone has 5.3 million privately-held dogs and 5.7 million cats alone, outnumbering the humans: In a prior story we highlighted some of the amenities available to us and our companion animals, including terrific dog parks and one beach, specialty stores, restaurants where we can dine together, fun day care places, and the best horse feed sources. Here are some more great places for pets and their people.

Tailwaggers Pet Food & Supplies in Hollywood at Bronson and Franklin St., West Hollywood on Fairfax, and in Larchmont Village (as well as a new Palm Springs location ) specialize in products that support a holistic and natural approach to feeding, healing, entertaining, and pampering our companion animals. Nothing that is known to be unhealthy for them or toxic to the environment is on the shelves. They also provide daycare and both professional grooming and a self-wash option. The stores are named after the international Tail-waggers Clubs dedicated to animal welfare, whose SoCal president was Betty Davis, and Tailwaggers sees itself as inheriting its role as a positive community force on behalf of our best friends. Among its many unusual products are doggy chews made of free range venison, dog food consisting of quinoa, duck, and pumpkin (another is meatless and healthy), a stew of wild salmon, trackless kitty litter, dried blood for flavoring, homeopathic remedies, an organic mushroom powder supplement for skin and coat allergies, and Doggijuana (a refillable cloth squirrel that provides calm).

Lotus Aquarium on Hawthorne Blvd. in Lawndale is a family-owned one that gets 4.5 Yelp stars for the variety and quality of its fish and invertebrate stock, supplies, and service (including Spanish-speaking help). The prices are lower than others because their overhead is low. “They give you as much help as needed and answer as many questions as you have,” wrote one fan. Another said, “I never had seen many of the supplies before and the different kinds of fish, etc., was incredible, like being in a magical cove” (see photo). Staff can also customize and install whatever you imagine.

D Pet Hotels have been more than 15 years in the business of providing a home for any dog that needs 5-star treatment when its family is out of town. The luxury chain’s flagship is on Highland Ave. in Los Angele (there is also a location in Encino) and features rooms with large beds and flat screen TVs to make Fido feel at home (cats were recently made welcome guests as well). There is total of 5,000 Sq. ft. in three dog parks to enable those that are large, medium, and tiny to find new friends. Sophisticated training is available and its Frequently Asked Questions addresses issues such as kennel cough and canine influenza. Other luxury amenities range from sirloin steaks and massages before bedtime to Youtube entertainment and a chauffeur service to pick up or deliver your best friend if you are too busy or away.

Village Pet Supply is located in Valley Village at Laurel Canyon Blvd. and Magnolia and though small, it is crammed with lots of unusual products. These include small birthday cakes for dogs, wire cages for carrying your companion animal when you travel, frozen venison, honey-covered mango jerky, dog sunscreen, CBD for pain relief, and Barking Buddha’s collagen chews to improve skin and coat and help digestion and joint health. It has a big variety of catnip-infused products, such as Karma Cat’s lanolin-rich wool one that is handmade in Nepal. There is also a wide selection of goat’s milk products, including flavored kefir, and lots of toys, such as MyDogToy’s octopus that is washable and floats (see photo). It is the rare retailer of any kind that gets almost unanimous 5-star Yelp reviews, such as this one from L.S. in Los Angeles: “They are a family store and they sell really great products that are made by ethically responsible and transparent companies. They know which ones are organic and locally made and will call the supplier if they are not sure. My fur babies are spoiled when they go to VPS because the staff knows their personalities and allergies and everyone is so helpful and warm-hearted.”

Wild Birds Unlimited on Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica advertises itself not as a place for those who want to buy birds to keep their homes, but a “nature shop” for those who are fascinated by those in the wild, from hummingbirds to bluebirds, and committed to helping them thrive. That’s a big group, since bird-watching is reportedly the second most popular hobby next to gardening (including many who, for a variety of reasons, can’t have pets). There are locations not only all over SoCal from Thousand Oaks to Carlsbad, but North America and Canada, offering a wide range of feeders for birds that “cling” (woodpeckers) or “perch” (chickadees), with each accommodating a variety of species and their eating preferences. “They are easy to fill and capable of housing our small 2 lbs or large 4.5 lbs seed cylinders,” they say. It also provides how-to videos and instructions, rehab resources for rescued birds, ideas for preventing squirrels and rodents from eating bird food, and ways to prevent birds from smashing into windows. The store also offers guided bird walks and hosts a podcast.