When Elias Btesh was 8 years old, his mom, Regina, would let him poke around the Pet Nutrition Center store at Piazza Carmel while she shopped at Vons. The owners would let him and his brother, Joel, play with the lizards and snakes.
Now 26, Elias Btesh is the general manager of the new Dirty Dogs location, which took over the Pet Nutrition space last month.
“It’s come full circle. For us to have been here back then and now opening the store that we’re really excited about,” said Btesh, who lives in Solana Beach.
Dirty Dogs, owned by Elias’ father, Salomon, started in Torrey Hills Shopping Center in 2008, and the Piazza Carmel store is now their fifth location.
It was Joel who encouraged his parents to start a do-it-yourself natural pet food store after there was no place offering those kinds of services in Carmel Valley. Btesh said the family atmosphere of Dirty Dogs and their customer service is what really sets them apart.
“Everyone that works for us really cares about the people and animals who come through the door,” Btesh said.
All the other Dirty Dogs locations — in Cardiff, Torrey Hills, Carmel Mountain Ranch and Carlsbad — offer professional grooming as well as supplies and do-it-yourself pet washes. Btesh said they are waiting to gauge what the community interest is as far as offering professional grooming and do-it-yourself washes at the new location.
“We want to be a one-stop shop for all your pet’s needs,” Btesh said.
Right now the store carries treats, toys and accessories as well as their large variety of healthy, grain-free pet foods.
“Everything we carry is like what a wolf would naturally eat in the wild,” said Btesh, who notes that in the wild, it’s unlikely wolves would be eating wheat, soy or corn.
They have frozen raw food, in brands such as Stella and Chewy, Primal, My Perfect Pet and Small Batch. The raw foods are all-balanced diets or can be used as supplemental foods or food mixers. They are the least processed foods because they don’t have to be in cookie or kibble form, Btesh said.
Dirty Dogs also carries an alternative to raw food: freeze-dried and dehydrated foods, which have the same high quality as raw foods but are more convenient. Their selection of kibble foods are all grain-free, without preservatives or fillers.
As the new Dirty Dogs just opened on Dec. 1, there is still lots of work to be done, including the new signage which should be up soon. The Bteshes hope to celebrate their grand opening on the Jan. 24-25 weekend with deep discounts on products and giveaways.