New independent pet shop to open at The Orchards in Haywards Heath: all-natural food and treats to help pets stay healthy

A new independent pet shop is set to open in The Orchards, Haywards Heath, next month, offering all-natural pet food.

Paws on Track, which will be at unit 13 from February 1, is the new venture from experienced dog trainer Jacqui Wingfield.

Jacqui, 50, told the Middy: “It’s an all-natural pet shop so I’m selling natural food and all-natural treats, and accessories like toys, collars, leads, harnesses and beds.”

She said that her pet food will not have artificial additives or colourings and will be full of the nutrients pets need to stay healthy.

Paws on Track owner Jacqui Wingfield in Haywards Heath. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2201171.

Jacqui said there are many advantages to feeding pets (especially dogs) an all natural diet, including improving their digestion and giving them better coats and skin.

“You’re keeping it to what they would eat themselves before we domesticated them,” she said, adding that this kind of high quality food also reduces allergies.

Paws on Track is the first pet shop Jacqui has owned but not the first time she has worked with animals.

She grew up in Crawley and moved to Staines in the late ’90s, where she became a dog trainer after working in customer services.

Paws on Track owner Jacqui Wingfield in Haywards Heath. Picture: Steve Robards, SR2201171.

“Originally I was not in the pet industry at all,” said Jacqui. “But I had my family and my children and we got dogs as pets.”

“We took them to dog training and I fell in love with it,” she said, adding that she eventually opened her own training school after working for someone else for years.

The school, initially called Paws in Harmony, became Paws on Track and had four locations in Staines, Ashford, Laleham and Byfleet.

Jacqui said the nutrition focus of the business grew organically as she discovered more about its importance while running the school

“People were coming to training and they were feeding their dogs really poor quality treats,” said Jacqui, who noticed that the dogs were not responding well.

“They were also coming with collars that didn’t fit properly, harnesses that didn’t fit properly, and that was all affecting the training,” she said.

“So I thought I would look into it and see what I could do,” said Jacqui, adding that she began selling dog food in April 2019 at market stalls and dog events.

She also took a course in animal nutrition before transforming Paws on Track into the Haywards Heath shop and developing her own range of food and training treats.

“Up until this point it has only been dogs,” said Jacqui, but she said Paws on Track will cater for cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters and other small mammals.

“Things with paws,” she said.

Jacqui is now ready to move back to Sussex, and will relocate to Haywards Heath in June with her husband and two sons.

She said she loves the area for being ‘a town surrounded by countryside’ and said the people are amazing.

“It’s a real community, particularly The Orchards,” said Jacqui, who has been doing the Haywards Heath market for a while now.

“It’s friendly and everybody looks after each other,” she said, adding that Paws on Track is a family business and that her eldest son studied animal management at Merrist Wood College.

The shop will also offer grooming from a qualified groomer with nine years of experience, said Jacqui.