I'm A Pet Care Specialist At Petsmart. Ama

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by realsheeps, Jul 20, 2017.

  1. realsheeps

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    I've worked at Petsmart for about a year now, and after introducing myself on this site, a few people have recommended a Q&A session for those curious about anything. So, here I am! Obviously I can't reveal sensitive information, but I can answer questions about the care of fish (and other animals), general store procedure to do with dealing with fish, etc.

    Ask away.
  2. SomethingsFishy1

    SomethingsFishy1Valued MemberMember

    How is it like to work at a pet store? Im thinking of working at a fish store part time eventually and are there anything I should know?
  3. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    Most of your time is spent cleaning, lol. And you won't get far in terms of success in the business if you're not willing to put in some elbow grease. It gets hard. Depending on where it is you work, and the individual ecosystem in the actual building, your relationships with coworkers and managers, etc., your experience will differ from mine. Do a loooot of research in the fish the business sells, especialy if it's a fish-oriented store. Know everything there is to know about everything. Knowledge is your friend, and confidence makes customers trust you in that knowledge.

  4. yukondog

    yukondogWell Known MemberMember

    I worked at one about 40 or so yrs. ago, I enjoyed it, we had animals from all over the world, we had a lion once and of course we called it Leo, we would play with it after closing and a 60 lb. kitten running and leaping on you, I can honestly say I've been bitten by a lion, he was playing. If you get the chance go for it.
  5. Caitlin86

    Caitlin86Well Known MemberMember

    I know my petsmart tanks run on one filtration system....i assume yours does too. If so..wut medications does petsmart use to rid fish of infection/psrasite?
  6. JesseMoreira06

    JesseMoreira06Well Known MemberMember

    No disrespect towards you , but you said you should do alot of research on fish , but why do most but not all employees from petco , petsmart and other large chain pet stores and LFS either don't know much or don't know anything? Does the management just tell you to sell and forget about what's important like the well being of the fish ? or do they just hire anybody whether you know about fish or not?
  7. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    We use Betta Fix for most betta problems. We don't really run into anything that can't be fixed by this medication. For others, we use Parasite Guard, Stress Coat, and a couple others I forget the name of.
  8. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    We're hired as bodies to move product. That's it. The fact that some of us know anything beyond "fish live in water" is considered extra and unnecessary knowledge. I suggest doing your research to improve the credibility of both yourself as well as the company you represent. Also, passing on useful information is of course important.

    Management will never tell us to forget about the wellbeing of the animal, but it depends on the personality and morals of the individual manager whether customers or the animal's wellfare matters most in each situation. As a general rule, in my experience, the animal comes first. We do not sell to people that appear to not care about the animal, or to people who we can accurately surmise will be bad pet parents. We each do our part as best we can to educate and assist, but again, it depends entirely on individual initiative as well as the manager-employee relationship dynamic whether the environment will foster a helpful, knowledgeable employee, or a useless, possibly harmful one.
  9. JesseMoreira06

    JesseMoreira06Well Known MemberMember

    Great thanks for the info. It would be great if large chain pet stores would have interviews and ask questions regarding the surten animal you'll be working with, to make sure the employee that they hire does have some good background knowlegde with that specific animal because most costumers go in with having done 0 research.

    I have another question pretty simple one , those tiny jars the Bettas are kept in, do the employees do daily water changes in all of them?
  10. Floundering_Around

    Floundering_AroundWell Known MemberMember

    I see that you're saying that you won't sell to someone who doesn't look like a good per parent, but if the employees don't know the details of that particular fish/animal, how can they be sure that the person looking to buy is going to be able to properly care for the fish?!
  11. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    That would be nice, lol.

    At my store specifically, we have a specific care regime for those bettas to ensure they don't get stressed out or sick. Every two days, the water is changed and medicated with Stress Coat. Every three days, the cups are either washed out or changed completely. They often come to us with some degree of fin rot, and we isolate those fish in the back and medicate them with a small amount of Betta Fix daily, with water changes every two days. I've only seen bettas die if they came in sick. I've never pulled a dead betta off the actual sales floor.
  12. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    That's the catch of it, it seems. Petsmart is usually pretty good about getting at least a couple animal lovers on their team who try to teach the rest of the team about the animals. But if an employee doesn't know anything about the animal, unfortunately they do get sold to an unworthy customer. That's the plight of retail.
  13. JesseMoreira06

    JesseMoreira06Well Known MemberMember


    It seems like you worked for a well maintained PetCo store because most large pet chain stores I've walked in to would have atleast 50% of Bettas dead or in the process of dying which is so heart breaking.
  14. Fashooga

    FashoogaFishlore VIPMember

    So how much does Petsmart make on each fish? $0.25 $0.50? The drive for a store is likely product and not fish. Is it safe to assume that the fish are there as more of an impulse buy vs. a need to buy?
  15. bopsalot

    bopsalotWell Known MemberMember

    Hi realsheeps! Thanks for posting! One thing I'm curious about Petsmart. I have heard a couple cases here on the forum where Petsmart has sold someone fish that ended up being sick. I understand these fish come in from the farm quite stressed and some possibly ill, so it's not that I'm blaming Petsmart for this. But the Petsmart employees tell them to bring the sick fish back in and they'll "treat them" in the back. Do you actually have hospital tanks set up back there, and the knowledge and skill to rehabilitate sick fish, or would such a fish be euthanized? If euthanized, how does Petsmart tell you to do this? Can a previously sick fish who had clear signs of parasites or infectious disease really go back into a sales tank? I hope you are at liberty to answer these questions. Thank you!
  16. OP

    realsheepsNew MemberMember

    We inspect each fish order thoroughly to make sure nobody's sick before we put them on the sales floor. And we do indeed have a sick and quarantine tank in the back! We treat sick animals (yes, even fish) very seriously, because we know they're important to the humans that accompany them. We usually see things like simple fin rot and ich, but if ever we find something more "rare," we'll research it before trying any type of therapy that might end up harming the fish.

    Any type of parasitic or infectious fish is quarantined upon identification and absolutely cleared before the fish can return to the sales floor. We can't be responsible for the condition in which our suppliers bring our fish, but what we can do (and do do) is make sure that any disease is contained and treated before harm comes to the fish or the disease spreads to the rest of our stock.

    As for euthanasia, I've never been in a situation where it's needed for a fish, however we have had to do it for a couple hamsters, and one or two bearded dragons. My manager specific to overseeing pet care operations (as opposed to general store operations) made the call to do it, and she was in tears the whole time. She doesn't take the decision lightly. It's policy to inform the customer of our decision, if we're able. However, if it's two in the morning and the animal is in such bad condition that there is no possible way it'll last until morning, we will make the decision to euthanize before we let it suffer. Usually this is discussed with a customer that brings in a very sick animal, and terms are agreed upon before they forfeit the animal to our care. The vast majority of cases either resolve within the week with the animal returning to full health, or the animal ends up coming into the store in such bad condition that there's just nothing we can do for them in the first place, despite our best efforts. Even in an uneducated store, it's the company's policy to take the health of our animals very seriously.

    I really don't know the answer to your first question.

    Fish/aquatics and related accessories are actually a huge selling area, at least for my particular store. However the impulse buy point is hugely accurate.

    I work at Petsmart, not Petco. We're far cooler. :) And I agree, it is upsetting.

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