NAPPS Professional Pet Sitter Magazine - Winter 2018 Edition

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Winter 2018

Meet NAPPS 2019 Business of the Year: Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services

Volume 26 · Number 4

Pros and Cons of Texting Clients Inside Scoop on Google Local Guides Catering to TechMinded Millennials Saluting an Army Hero Turned Dog Trainer Spotlight on Your 2019 Board of Directors



NAPPS will be unveiling very soon the lineup of stellar experts for a 4-day webinar for NAPPS members.

is Coming... September 16-19, 2019, join us online for two speakers a day for four days. More details to come.

September 2019 S M T W T F S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


Keep Your Eyes Peeled...

INSIDE WINTER 2018 PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER COVER: Meet NAPPS Business of the Year: Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services Cover photo credit: Justin Casterline Media Mewsings............................................... 4 President’s Message......................................... 5

INDUSTRY NEWS OF INTEREST To Text or Not to Text........................................ 6


TIPS OF THE TRADE How to Deal with Vampire Clients...................... 8 411 on Google Local Guides........................... 10 BUSINESS Why You Need Workers Compensation........... 12 Catering to Tech-Minded Millennials............... 14




The mission of the Professional Pet Sitter is to provide tools for members to enhance their business, help them expand their knowledge of professional pet sitting, and communicate


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT Business of the Year: Kelly Kolodkin............... 16


FEATURES Beware of Animal Zombies............................. 18 Saluting Dog Trainer David Shade................... 20

association news and events. Copyright 2018. The Professional Pet Sitter is published four times a year in March, June, September and December by NAPPS Headquarters: 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. Periodical mailing privilege pending at Mt. Laurel, NJ and additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send change of address to the Professional Pet Sitter c/o NAPPS Headquarters, 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054. The Professional Pet Sitter is free to National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. members. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200, Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054

CONNECT WITH NAPPS About Your Association................................... 22 NAPPS Chat Message Board.......................... 23 Member Benefit............................................. 24 NAPPS in the News........................................ 25 New NAPPS Members................................. IBC Winter Safety Graphic.................................... BC



ONLINE ALL THE TIME Like us National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Inc. 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200 Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: (856) 439-0324 • Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: •


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Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


By Arden Moore

Arden Moore, Executive Editor

Welcome to the Wonderful, Making the Doggone Right Choices Wacky World of Pets


ohnoggy, madeyou’ve a badcome decision. 16-year-old a longThe way. So, have boy bought marijuana from an animals undercover you, some kitty. And all companion for cop.that As amatter. result,InJohn living the Illinois the is world of at business, savvy Youth Center (IYC) Chicago, aare juvenile detention entrepreneurs and inventors recognizing the facility forthey the can next tap six months. John iscreativity not a goldmine by unleashing hardened criminal. Andatmaybe and innovation aimed pets. if he hadn’t been caught thisisearly in the game, hepet might still beand on Here a closer look at five products the streets, perhaps now pet-adoring stealing to buying trends that many of your clientslarger may quantities marijuana—maybe even cocaine or be yappingofabout as we usher in 2019: crack.Meal replacement bars for pets. People on 1. But go landing in IYClooking is perhaps bestand thing the are always for athe quick that could have happened John andpack the other healthy food that theytocan grab, and 12-17-year-olds like have him. aThey’re receiving eat. And if you dog who loves tothe join discipline, counseling, and you ontraining, day hikes, overnighteducation camping trips programs they’ll reinvent hotel themselves or even roadneed tripstoinvolving stays atonce they’ve completed their stay, there via a isprogram called pet-welcoming places, now a lineup Lifetime Bonds. of meal replacement bars made for canines. BestGreat Friends Safe Humane, Created by The Outdogs company,this the program youth haveflavors: been involved barstargets come in threewho meaty turkey, in illegal lambactivities. and herring. EachFortified week, awith group added of dog handlers vitamins and their and dogs minerals visitand the free teens. of grains, The teams soy, sugar or teach artificial the young preservatives, men the proper these way todoggy approach bars aaredog, designed a few commands to offer a portable and a chance meal to socialize solution with for dogs. the dog. LearnBymore receiving at the immediate gratification of a happy wagging tail, friendly 2. Audiobooks lick on thefor hand, dogs. or We the know roll-over thatrequest dogs for a belly possess rub,keen thesehearing. youngsters In fact, begin dogs to realize— can sometimes detectfor sounds the first in atime greater in their frequency lives—that range kindness thanbegets people.kindness. And, we know And that dogssets make thegreat stage for profound listeners. behavioral Perhaps change. those two factors inspired Best Friends audiobook purveyor Safe Humane National to partner Director Cynthia with Bathurst Dog Whisperer believesstar Lifetime CesarBonds Millanistoan integral create component a line ofofaudiobooks the program to in be that listened it to aims by to stop dogs.violence The claim in its is that tracks listening before itto has these a chance audiobooks to grow can further. make “Safe yourHumane” dog calmer gives and thesehappier. young men Learn knowledge more at and skills they can use positive advantage for the dogs they and their friends 3. Beer forordogs. familyNaturally, membersthese encounter brewsin the streets, created especially by Bowser dogs viewed Beer areasalcohol-free ‘fighting dogs,’” so she says. there is no danger of your dog becoming a booze hound. Canine beer is made in the Changing Is The First Stepmeat, UnitedBeliefs States from human-grade The young hardly wait for the barley and men somecould added glucosamine for bell joint to ring, signaling timewhat? for the Lifetime health. And, it’s guess It turns outBonds that program, as they “Dog-Play someor,cats also call loveit,Bowser Beer.Time.” The beer The group breaks smallerby groups andand is also testedinto andfive approved the Food beginsDrug eachAdministration session by learning to approach with a how two-year shelf a friendly dog.the Onepreferred by one, the boys take turns life. And delivery method is to holding outitthe of their thebeer dogs pour overbacks the kibble or hands freeze for it into to sniff, then gently petting the dogs on the side. popsicles. Learn more at Then the boys hold treats in their hand while asking the dogs to sit and lie down, then give the treats—and give and receive more love. After 20 Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


minutes, the groups switch to new handlers and dogs. All the participants are anxious to spend time with Rou, the pit bull. One boy commented on how Rou resembled his American Staffordshire terrier. It was surprising to hear him refer to his dog with the official breed title. “That’s because we’ve seen all these different guys fight and we know who the best ones are,” he says. And this offers the perfect segue to talk about dogfighting. “Do you think the dogs like fighting?” asks Triptow. Most of the boys nod. “Do you think the dogs like being stroked?” All the

...ifAnimal youexercise don’tmachines. like getting 4. Talk about a real ‘tread’ in the pet world. Some people hurtturnand the dog doesn’t like to treadmills for aerobic exercise when the weather outside nasty orreally they simply getting hurt, doisyou prefer to sweat in privacy at home and not at a crowded gym. Far too many dogs are think the into a situation overweight and some are even obese. So, introduce you to the Fitthey Fur Lifemost treadmill likelet’sfighting where that claims to be suited for all breeds and certainly will getof hurt? ideal for dogs in need exercise, physical rehabilitation and training. Treadmills offer a complete muscle enhancement and toning boys nod. for people “Do you andlike forthe dogs. feeling Thisofone being is built hurtfor when the someone dog’s safety hits you?” withAll sides, the boys a safety shake harness their head.and “Doayou speed thinkcontrol. dogs like Learn themore feeling at of being hurt, like when another dog bites them?” Tentative 5. shakes Architecture all around. for “SoDogs. think about Architect it—if Kenya youHara don’t like getting is the idea hurt man and the behind dog the doesn’t Architecture like getting for hurt, Dogs do youproject really that thinkoffers the dogs household like going objects into a situation on alike dog’s fighting scale. where There they are easy-to-assemble most certainly will get kitshurt?” as well Definite as a detailed head shakes catalog allshowcasing around. various The teens ideas haveand onlyinterviews participated withinleading the Lifetime architects. Bonds program Learn more for two at months, but already, changes in thought, attitude and n behavior are evident. Nikki Robinson, Assistant Superintendent/Programs IYC Chicago, observes the boys not only look forward to the sessions because they’re enjoyable, but that they really “get” why the program is important.

How You Can Help Best Friends Safe Humane relies on donations and in-kind services from local businesses and individuals. If you’d like to make a donation to the Safe Humane Lifetime Bonds program, send a check payable to: Safe Humane P.O. Box 7342 Chicago, IL 60680-7342. If you’d like to learn more about volunteer opportunities


Cathe Delaney, Managing Editor Please send all letters to the editor: Letters should include your name, address, and daytime telephone Letters may edited with Safe Humane, call number. 312-409-4790. Forebemore for length or clarity. Submissions may be mailed information on Best Friends, visit their Web site at or emailed as a word document. n

Professional Pet Sitter is published quarterly by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS), a nonprofit organization, and is available through membership subscription. No portion of the magazine may be reprinted without the written consent of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. The letters and advertisements contained in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the association. NAPPS is not liable for validity or correctness of any claim, express or implied, made in advertisements or writings of this magazine.

MEMBERSHIP SERVICES NAPPS Headquarters 1120 Rt. 73, Suite 200 Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 Phone: (856) 439-0324 Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: Cathe Delaney Administrative Director Matt Reid Administrative Assistant Kattie Krewer Media Contact Business Insurers of the Carolinas PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2536 Phone: (800) 962-4611 ext. 224 For Dishonesty Bond and/or General Liability Insurance The National Group Insurance Exchange 3210 Doolittle Dr., Northbrook, IL 60062 Phone: (800) 955-0418 Fax: (847) 559-9499 Email: Contact: Alan Leafman For Dental and Health Insurance For pet sitting questions contact:


By Jessica Abernathy, President

Network Nationally and Locally It seems like a lifetime ago that I was in charge of scheduling for more than 350 employees at United Airlines. I transitioned into the beauty industry and loved every minute of the 12 years I owned a hair salon. But after the events of 9/11, I was motivated to pursue what I was most passionate about and that was caring for pets. Today, I operate Professional Pet Sitter and Chicagoland Cat Sitters and am your humble NAPPS president. We are in exciting and challenging times as professional pet sitters. Now more than ever, it is important to have a sound business plan, dependable employees or ICs, loyal clients and a solid network of pet professionals. And, yes, that includes your direct competition. You may be surprised to learn that I have on occasion invited owners of so-called rival companies out for coffee. Why? Because there are millions of people who love their pets and want to hire professionals to walk their dogs, scoop their cat’s litter boxes and recognize any early signs of health concerns. I can’t clone myself, but I can gain respect by networking with others who share my high standards in providing pet care.

“I can’t clone myself, but I can gain respect by networking with others who share my high standards in providing pet care.” – Jessica Abernathy, NAPPS Volunteer and President

But I also network with clients and veterinarians and groomers. Each group has relationships with clients who just may need my services. And, in turn, I can recommend them to my clients looking for a reputable veterinarian, groomer or other professional. Yes, there are search engines that rate service that you can find by swiping your phone. But nothing beats word-ofmouth endorsements. With solid referrals, you can weather any economic climate. We are an all-volunteer organization filled with talented people ready to help one another. So, don’t be shy. Reach out to other NAPPS members, our board of directors and our committee members. Ask them for advice. Bounce off ideas. And be willing to step up and share your time and talent with all of us. And remember to expand your network locally. An invitation for a cup of coffee is a great start. I thank all of you for everything you do and I wish you an enjoyable and prosperous 2019! Jessica Abernathy Dedicated NAPPS Volunteer and President


Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


By Arden Moore

To Text or Not to Text Pros and cons of calls versus texting clients.


wenty years ago, people would pick up the phone and engage in a two-way conversation with friends, family and clients. It was the go-to form of communication. But these days, the preferred way to “chat” is to text a message on a smart phone. Easy, right? Quick? For sure. But confusing? Definitely. Especially in customer-service industries like professional pet sitting, text messages are easily misinterpreted or incomplete. So, should you text your client about your visit to feed, potty and play with his dog? Or should you email or phone? And, when you line up new clients, what’s the right method of communication? The text message debate has sparked lots of comments on the NAPPS Chat messaging board. Please see Page 22 in this issue to read a sampling from members. NAPPS President Jessica Abernathy calls texting to clients a “necessary evil.” She explains: “It is the worse way to communicate for services, but in these days, no one will pick up the phone. The danger is that the tone of the text can be read one way by the sender and an entirely different way by the receiver.”

“You need to arrange for automatic feeders for cats and you need to have weather-planning conversations with your clients.” Her message to NAPPS members: “Be careful how and when you text a client. You don’t know the mood of the client or what is going on in their lives. You may be trying to be cutesy, but it can backfire and be misinterpreted.” Immediate past present Yvette Gonzales also has concerns about texting clients instead of emailing or calling them. “You can’t convey tone properly in writing a text,” says Gonzales. “If you are just verifying a date, text is fine. But if you need to communicate with the client about an issue, you need to pick up the phone. The phone remains your best form of communication to convey your feelings.” Kristen Fowler, of Tate’s Creek Pet Sitting in Lexington, KY, operates a small business that does use texts. But she shares these tips to ensure there are no hiccups in her scheduling: 1. If a client calls, I write down the dates they give me immediately. 2. If they text or email, I put these dates into my iPhone calendar immediately. 3. In my Policy and Rate Agreement that everyone signs, the very top thing says “IMPORTANT! All clients must confirm the dates and times of their needed service within 48 hours of start of service.” This way,

Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

if they don’t contact me to confirm, and there is a scheduling problem, I have some leeway about whose fault it is. I check my schedule constantly, and confirm with people before their trip, or if it’s a daily dog walk, we confirm the schedule on the Sunday evening previous to the week. This is usually done by text, and therefore, I have a written record. The day before they are to return, I also confirm the return time with them. I stay in constant communications with my clients while they are gone and so there is never an issue. The one time we did have a scheduling issue, it was because the client had given me the wrong date. I had it in a text and sent her a screen shot, and she realized her mistake. Luckily, she had been contacting me to cancel, so the visit was never missed. So far this has worked for me. n


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7 Signs of ‘Vampire’ Clients — And What to Do About Them [Editor’s Note: In this excerpt from her new book, 30 Days to Start and Grow Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business, nationally renowned pet expert Kristin Morrison offers advice on why and how to let difficult clients go.]


hen I first started my pet sitting and dog walking business, I worked diligently to get enough clients to keep me busy enough to reach my earning goal. It became obvious early on that while most of my clients were a joy to work with, others were not. When I started to pay close attention to the types of clients I was serving in my own business, I began to recognize that about 5 percent of my clients were incredibly difficult. In business circles, clients who suck the enthusiasm out of what you do and drain your time and energy are often called “vampire clients.” Even though these difficult clients only made up about 5 percent of my client base, I was spending the largest percentage of my time and energy dealing with their needs and complaints. First of all, this was not fair to my many other clients who were no longer getting their fair share of my energy and effort. Secondly, I realized that these vampire clients were so emotionally draining that I was spending more money dealing with the stress they caused me than the amount their business brought in. I found myself spending more money and time on self-care than I would otherwise. I paid for extra massages, for example, just to handle the stress they were adding to my mind, body, and spirit. Does any of this sound familiar? If so, you may be dealing with some vampire clients of your own.

7 Tell-Tale Signs of a Vampire Client No two pet sitter-client relationships are exactly the same, but there are some recurring signs that indicate you have a vampire client who is draining your energy, time and profit:

1. The client expects more than is fair. There is often one client who regularly asks you for more than any other client would consider fair. This can be expecting special exceptions to your business policies or simply demanding more services for the same price. For example, you might Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

find yourself spending time and money to buy pet food because they didn’t plan ahead or expect you to clean up messes they left behind before a visit.

2. You feel put down or irritated each time you interact with them. Examining how client interactions make you feel is a great way to identify difficult clients. If you notice a pattern of negativity and you consistently feel drained after your interactions with them, you’ll know you’re dealing with a vampire client.

3. The relationship is causing you to lose sleep or focus. Do you find yourself fretting about the client or worrying about them when you should be sleeping, relaxing, or spending time with family and friends? If so, the relationship is draining more of your focus than it’s worth.

4. They take up more time than any other client. Vampire clients take up more of your time than is reasonable. You may find yourself calling and emailing them to much more frequently than other clients or spend a lot of your personal time working to meet their expectations.

5. You spend money and time to “get over” recent interactions. Earlier, I wrote about my experience paying for extra massages and self-care to deal with my own vampire clients, and I’m not alone. I’ve had coaching clients who have been in therapy to try and deal with the stress vampire clients brought into their lives. As soon as they let their vampire clients go, they found they no longer needed therapy!

6. They do not treat you with respect. Just because you are a service professional does not mean you are a doormat. Vampire clients disregard personal and professional boundaries or fail to treat pet sitters and dog walkers with basic respect. For example, they might regularly schedule or cancel appointments at the last minute without paying your associated fees. Even when they do pay a cancellation fee, it is often after arguing or complaining at length, rather than respecting your business policies.


7. You feel anxious or agitated when you know you need to talk to or deal with them. Do you dread dealing with a particular client? Pay attention to that feeling. Any client that takes more of your energy and enthusiasm than they should (especially before you’ve even interacted with them) is sucking you and your business dry.

How to Handle Vampire Clients Once I realized how expensive these clients were to the health of my business—not to mention my emotional and mental health—I began to intentionally take back my time and energy one client at a time. Here’s how you can do the same:

1. Evaluate your part of the relationship. Some difficult clients can become ideal clients. I have seen the change take place, so I know it can happen. Sometimes all you need to do is overcome whatever misunderstanding or disconnect there is between what your client is expecting and the service they receive. Start by asking yourself how you would like to be served if you were the client. How does your own pet business measure up to that expectation? Is it possible that you and the client are not on the same page? Many times, I have been able to improve my relationship with a client by improving communication and clarifying expectations. By doing so, I have essentially created an ideal client.

2. Set professional boundaries. We teach others how to treat us by how we respond. It is easy to establish an unhealthy pattern

By Kristin Morrison


4. 5.

early on when you are going above and beyond to convince a client to pick your business, whether that means offering discounts or extra services. Without clear boundaries, you may run into trouble down the road. If you initially put up with a client request that doesn’t sit well with you (for example, going to the grocery store to get extra dog food upon the client’s request and not charging them for your time), you are teaching your client that it’s okay to ask you to do extra tasks for free. Although it might not seem like a big deal at the time, you will probably soon begin to resent that client and their over-the-top requests. Establish—and stick to—clear, professional boundaries so both you and your client know what to expect from the relationship.

3. Use dog training tricks to train your human clients. Remember that your human clients are a lot like dogs—your “no” needs to be said, honored, and respected. On the other hand, positive behaviors can also be taught. Using the example above, your client will probably keep asking you to run to the store for extra dog food without offering to pay you for your time if you set the precedent that you will allow that kind of request without pay. Once you’ve done something and not enforced payment for extra services, they will expect it again. Stick to your “no” to reinforce the boundary. And just like dog training, reward your human clients for good behavior by giving them a treat (flowers upon their return home, a sweet card letting them know why you love working with them, etc.) when they treat you well. Everyone likes to be appreciated. When you show your clients that you appreciate their actions, they are more likely to repeat the behavior. Just like dogs!

4. Know when to let clients go. Ultimately, some clients will never be a good fit no matter how much you try and “train” them. You will have to reach this realization yourself with certain clients after closely monitoring the relationship. I used to be hesitant to let difficult clients go because I was afraid they would give me a bad review or I wouldn’t be able to find a new client quickly enough to replace the lost income. I had to be willing to step through my fear and let go of what wasn’t working. In the end, letting go of my vampire clients was only ever a positive. I had more energy and time for my work, and I quickly found that my renewed enthusiasm helped me attract even more quality clients.

How to “Fire” a Difficult Client Yes, you can let a difficult client go in a painless and drama-free way. Here’s how: 1. Notify the client of your decision over the phone. There are too many opportunities for misunderstandings otherwise because tone is so difficult to understand and convey in email and text messages. Always speak on the phone or in person when a difficult conversation needs to be made (this goes for your personal life, too). 2. Be compassionate, but firm. Remember that this may feel like a rejection if not handled gently, so do not blame your client or allow yourself to get upset. On the other hand, you don’t want to end the conversation with your client thinking you will still work with them. Wishy-washy language can be confusing, so be clear and specific with what you say.


Keep the conversation upbeat and brief. Resist the urge to be snarky, sullen, or angry. A short, professional conversation will be best for both you and the client because there will not be an opportunity for the conversation to get ugly. Make it positive for them as well. Frame the letting go from a place of it being a service to them as well...because it is. You are freeing them up to find a pet sitter or dog walker who can better meet their demands.

One way that I did this was by finding a local pet sitter who was eager for more work (a newbie pet sitter just building a client base). I then contacted them about the possibility of their taking on my difficult client, being very honest about why I was letting this client go. If they agreed to take on the client, I let the client know that while we weren’t the right fit for them, I felt like this service provider would be a better fit. Letting the client go became a win-win for all three of us: me (because I no longer had to deal with a difficult client), the new pet sitter (who was happy to have more work), and the difficult client (who now had a pet sitter eager to meet their needs). Using these suggestions will help you successfully “break up” with difficult clients in a gentle way, allowing you to maintain your professional reputation and end the working relationship on good terms. In the end, it’s up you to protect your time and emotional energy. By dropping your vampire clients, you will free up time and energy to find and serve clients that leave you energetic and remembering why you started pet sitting in the first place. Kristin Morrison is a nationally recognized pet business conference speaker and the founder of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy™. She hosts the annual Prosperous Pet Business Online Conference and the Prosperous Pet Business podcast. Kristin’s previous books include SixFigure Pet Sitting, Six-Figure Pet Business, and the Prosperous Pet Business: I1nterviews with the Experts series. n

Learn More from Kristin! For more on starting and growing a successful pet sitting and dog walking business, including more in-depth naming advice, 30 Days to Start and Grow Your Pet Sitting and Dog Walking Business is available in print and e-book form on Amazon and on Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


Google Local Guides: A Blessing and a Curse

Google Local Guides (GLGs) can be a blessing to your pet sitting business. Their reviews can help your website gain visibility, and their photos can show off your best services and locations. But they can also be a curse, posting negative reviews and changing your basic info (name, address, phone, existence). Let’s talk about how to keep an eye on GLGs so they don’t negatively affect your listing (and your business!). Note: I am a Google Local Guide Level 8 (450+ reviews) What are Google Local Guides? The Google Local Guide program is Google’s platform for crowdsourced local business insight. At last count, there were 50 million GLGs worldwide. The program asks to review restaurants, businesses, historical places, parks, and other places that appear in Google Maps. GLGs are also asked tons of basic questions, like storefront visibility, handicap access, whether stores sell certain products, and whether they provide certain services. These smaller messages come after reviews are left. GLGs earn points that allow them to “level up” and earn badges. There are occasionally incentives, like movie tickets, or newspaper subscriptions, but the incentives are not much to speak of. And leveling up takes a lot of work, so you have to really enjoy it to grab higher levels (there Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

are 10 all together). Take a look at my current summary:

looks like (things many of us want to see before we arrive at a location). They can also let the world know that businesses have moved, or have closed, or were never there. For example, I recently sent notice that two businesses that were on my local map didn’t exist. And I once sent the same notice to a listing in Brooklyn that said it was the Educational Testing Service (which is located in Princeton NJ). It was sooooooo NOT the ETS. I actually went to a highly-rated restaurant the other night that had—I kid you not—over 900 Google reviews, and guess what? They were all good. As was the one I left! But seeing those 900 was what convinced my husband and me to give it a try. Who doesn’t love positive reviews these days?

How are they a curse?

How are they a blessing? GLGs can provide nice insight through their reviews and photos. For example, they can show the inside of a restaurant, or what a park looks like, or even show a video of what a salon


GLGs can be a curse because they can provide incorrect information that will lead your listing to appear worse than it is, or just plain bad. GLGs are asked about hours, and location, and phone numbers, and business names, and the very existence of a business. Check out a listing I recently found for a client. It appears someone edited their hours: I also know someone whose pet sitting business listing had photos of ducts uploaded to it. You read that right, metal ducts. Why are they

by Amy Toman, Pet Sitter SEO,

there? Who knows, probably a mistake. But not something that properly represents a pet sitter, wouldn’t you say? The words “suggest an edit” should worry you. Pretty much everything in a Google My Business listing is open for editing.

address is accurate, and your photos are representative of your business. And especially, make sure that the address listed is your actual office. If you have different locations, make sure they are legitimate and not in a field, or at a mall, or at a UPS store. Both of those will cause others to question their legitimacy and flag you. Once your info is legitimate, keep an eye on your Google My Business listing, plain and simple. Check on it weekly or monthly. Make sure all the info is correct. Look at the photos. Answer all the reviews. And flag info if it’s not correct or an accurate reflection of your business. Don’t let others change your online presence; keep control of it. And always remember to note the Gmail account you used to open the Google My Business account; I’ve had a few people who misplaced this info, and that caused more problems.

you can: A) Try to get more positive reviews so the negative one won’t stand out; B) Flag it again or C) Ask an SEO to pursue it for you.

Bottom Line Google Local Guides are reviewers whose edits and reviews can help your business (their blessing) or hurt it (their curse). Google does not always alert listing owners to suggested changes, so if you don’t look at your listing frequently, changes can be made without your knowledge. The best way to keep control of your listing is to check on it frequently and correct changes as needed. If you have any questions about your Google My Business listing, or would like to optimize it, please write me at, or call or text on 732 820-0103. n

What should I do if I receive a bad review? I don’t want to be a negative Nelly here, but this is even an option with all listings:

Are businesses notified about proposed edits? Sometimes. Some folks say they’ve been notified when their existence or address has been questioned, but I’ve also worked with clients whose Google My Business had been changed and they never knew it until I showed them. I am not sure that Google notifies listing owners, but they change things quite often, so keep an eye out. This is another reason to be keep an eye on the email address that is linked to your listing. Don’t use a “throwaway” account that you never log into because important messages can be missed.

What should I do to protect my business? Make sure all the info in your listing is correct. Keep your hours up to date, your website

This could be an entire article on its own, but in short, look at it and write a friendly, appropriate response owning the problem and offering to make things right. I recommend this

Google does not always alert listing owners to suggested changes, so if you don’t look at your listing frequently, changes can be made without your knowledge. even if the review is spammy, or not for your business. Then look at Google’s guidelines and confirm if any rules were broken. If so, flag the review asap (but only after you make the nice response). Flagging should get Google’s attention and they may remove the review. If they do not,


I offer a service that provides monthly checks on your Google My Business listing and on your site on desktop and mobile. I notify you of any changes that have been made so you can adjust them asap. This service is moderately priced and has found several problems on pet sitter sites. More info on this may be found at If you would like help analyzing your website results or for other website editing or an SEO review, contact Amy Toman at amy@petsitterseo. com, or text or call her on 732 820-0103. To learn more, visit www.petsitterseo. com.

Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


Why You Need Workers Compensation Most professional pet sitters and dog walkers today have taken out a general liability policy to cover them for the unforeseen accident, such as a pet getting injured in your care or a dog biting a person during a walk. Many pet professionals also carry a bond to protect their clients against theft and to promote an honest business. But what happens when you, your employees or independent contractors (ICs) get injured while on the job? The answer and the only remedy is workers compensation insurance.


orkers compensation insurance is designed to cover on-the-job injuries or occupational disease suffered in connection with, or arising out of, the course of employment, in which there is an employee/ employer relationship. To put it more simply, if someone working on your behalf gets injured on the job, workers compensation insurance will pay for their medical bills and lost wages while they are out of work. That is, after a brief waiting period, depending on your state statute. Typically, that waiting period is about seven days. It is the exclusive remedy for work place injuries, meaning the employee relinquishes the right to sue you (the employer) in exchange for a guaranteed set of benefits. These benefits include medical payments, disability (loss of income), rehabilitation, and death. Unlike general liability insurance and bonding. which are optional coverages, workers compensation coverage is compulsory in all states with the exception of Texas (if you have employees). State laws differ depending on the number of people you employ. Some states mandate if you have even one employee, while others may say a minimum of three or five employees. But even if you have less than the number required, you still may be liable for their injuries, as well as suits from the injured employees’ family members. Over the years, I have come across many pet sitters who believe if they pay people via a 1099 tax form and call them independent contractors in lieu of employees, they do not need workers compensation insurance. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is a 1099 tax form has absolutely nothing to do with state workers compensation law and is simply Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

an IRS tax form, which falls under federal law. Workers compensation is subject to your individual state law, and each state typically defines what an employee/employer relationship is. Often the employer/employee definition includes what many pet sitters think to be independent contractors. States will typically look at the following when determining whether an employee/employer relationship exists: 1. The right to control the work/set work schedule. 2. The right to hire and fire. 3. Can the IC make a profit as well as a loss? 4. Freedom to select and hire helpers. 5. Furnishing of tools or equipment for the job (carrying general liability insurance and/or other coverages are considered tools for the job). 6. Freedom to offer services to, or work for others in lieu of exclusively working for your business. 7. Is the independent contractor performing the same work as your business? Some state workers compensation laws even go so far as to set forth that if you (the pet sitting business) subcontract work to an uninsured IC, and that IC then hires a helper or employee, and does not maintain a worker’s compensation policy for them, then you as the primary contractor are then legally required to cover that IC’s employee/ subcontractor’s injuries. To best remedy the situation if you utilize IC’s, have them present you with a certificate of insurance showing they are covered for workers compensation, as well as liability insurance. This will protect your business if you are not carrying your own workers compensation policy. This will also help to show that the independent contractor is truly


independent. They would need to carry their own liability and workers comp policies. In most states, workers compensation insurance will also cover injuries to you, the employer, so long as you elect coverage. Please be aware that many health insurance companies today now exclude on-the-job injuries, so this is something to take into consideration if you are performing the work yourself and not utilizing independent contractors or employees. Especially if this is your sole source of income, as if you are unable to perform your daily visits for an extended period of time due to your injuries, you will not only have medical bills to pay, but no income to pay with. Now let’s look at the benefits provided if you choose to carry workers compensation coverage. In workers compensation, there exist two types of benefits: medical and indemnity. Medical covers all medical costs related to the injury including doctor visits, medications, hospital stays, surgeries, etc. Indemnity is a little more complex,

Over the years, I have come across many pet sitters who believe if they pay people via a 1099 tax form and call them independent contractors in lieu of employees, they do not need workers compensation insurance. but consists of lost wages and settlements paid by the insurance companies in an effort to restore the injured worker to the same condition they were in prior to the injury. For example, let’s look at this scenario: A pet sitter is injured while slipping on stairs at a local park. The sitter is unable to work for several weeks and as a result, cannot pay his bills due to the loss of income. In addition, his back will never be 100 percent healthy again due to nature of the injury. In order to indemnify the sitter, the insurance company must pay lost wages for the time he was unable to work. The insurer must also compensate the injured sitter for the permanent damage to his back through what is known as an

By David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA

impairment rating or disability rating. The statutes of each state establish how much the injured person will be compensated (for loss of use of arms, hands, fingers, feet, toes, backs, etc.). For those of you who do already carry workers compensation insurance for your business, I often get the question about how claims will affect your workers compensation insurance premium. Please note that all insurance companies look at your individual claims experience versus the premium you pay, as well as the industry claims experience in your state when determining premiums/ setting rates. The best way to assist in keeping your workers compensation premium from skyrocketing is to implement these recommended best practices: 1. Safety is the most effective way to avoid injuries from ever happening, so educate your team and implement safety practices to avoid the most common types of claims. 2. Hire the best people for the job, not just the first person who answers a craigslist ad. Do employment interviews and background checks, as often workers comp claims will occur in a person’s first few months on the job. 3. Educate your team about workers comp and the fact that you carry it to protect them, but the goal is to never have to use it. Be sure they know how to file a claim and importance of letting you know immediately if they have been injured. Let them know you will support them if they are injured while on the job and they will not be in trouble for doing so. 4. Unless your employee’s injuries are life threatening, find a local health clinic to build a relationship with and send your employees to in lieu of the ER. Often these clinics can meet your small medical injury needs and treat your injured employee faster and much more cost effective than your local hospital emergency room. Meet with the clinic and make sure they fully understand the type of work your employees do and that you5. Offer a return to work / light duty program. Even if it is calling your existing clients to see if they returned safely from their trip and

Recently Paid Claims Here are some examples of general liability claims paid: • A dog in an insured’s care was jumped on by a Great Dane while at the park. The dog suffered injury and lost mobility. Total paid: $3,144. • Two dogs in the pet sitter’s care got into a fight and injuries occurred. Both dogs were taken to the veterinary clinic for treatment. Total paid: $1,464. • A dog walker lost her client’s keys and the client’s home needed to be rekeyed. Total paid: $325. • A pet sitter placed a client’s dog on top of the washing machine to give him his daily medicine. The insured walked away to the sink to turn off the faucet and the dog fell off the washing machine. The dog suffered a seizure and required emergency veterinary care. Total paid: $2,735. • During a hike, a client’s dog was bitten by a snake. Total paid: $1,256. • A pet sitter gave a diabetic cat too much insulin and the cat suffered a seizure as a result. Total paid: $3,952. • During a walk with a client’s dog, the dog walked through thorns and thickets and injured a hind leg. Total paid: $403. • A pet sitter left water running in a third-floor apartment, causing damage to the client’s apartments and the apartments below. Total paid: $14,209. everything is okay with their pets. History shows that sooner employees come back to work, even in limited capacity, the better. This helps keep the claim cost down, which ultimately helps keep your premium down. 6. Always try to keep claims to medical payments only. Small medical claims (barring a claim frequency problem) do not weigh as heavily as


Workers Compensation Claims: • An employee was bitten by a cat on her hand. Total paid: $501. • While playing with a client’s dog in a park, the dog ran into employee’s leg causing it to bend backwards. Total paid: $424. • An employee tripped over a curb while on dog walk and suffered a sprained ankle. Total paid: $1,648. indemnity claims on your claims experience. By getting your employees back to work in a timely fashion you avoid having the insurance company pay lost wages or settlements, which will keep your costs down. Insurers want medical injuries to be treated efficiently, they don’t want the injured employee to ride the system, hire attorneys and seek settlements. 7. Effective communication is the key to the best outcomes. Open communication between the injured employee, the employer, and the insurance company adjuster will lead to quicker/smoother claims process and better results. n David Pearsall, CIC, CWCA, is vice-president/co-owner of Business Insurers of the Carolinas, a multi-line commercial insurance agency specializing in insurance for pet service professionals since 1995. He is a licensed insurance agent in all 50 states and has held the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation and the Certified Workers Compensation Advisor (CWA) designation since 2002. David can be reached at 1-800-962-4611, ext. #214, or via email at

Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


Technology and the Millennial Generation Are Changing Our Industry: Pay Attention or Get Left Behind First quarter of 2018, almost every pet sitting and dog walking company owner I spoke to told me their business was down. And not down just by a little, some owners saw a dip in business of almost one-third compared to the previous year’s same time period. Some of this I attributed to the very harsh winter much of the country had experienced. But I also attributed part of it to the large “Uber” lookalikes: Wag! and Rover (and others like them), that have infiltrated the pet sitting and dog walking industry over the last few years.


t was inevitable that these “tech” startups would chip away at local pet sitting and dog walking companies’ core businesses. With the hundreds of millions of dollars in financing many of these companies have, and the blitz marketing they are doing in most major markets, it was only a matter of time before they would start to take market share away from “the little guy.” While we could devote this entire publication to the impact these companies are having, I want to speak specifically to how they are driving change on the technology side of the industry.

Tech company invasion Tech companies like Wag! and Rover devote a lot of their marketing monies to highlighting their technological capabilities, and how these capabilities give you useful information and make doing business with them easy and convenient. “Look—your dog went to the bathroom on Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

his walk! Wow, you can find and book a pet provider. That may be true for the moment, but I sitter without ever speaking to anyone!” These strongly believe that you are going to need rethink companies automate absolutely everything they that stance. Why? can, and give you information electronically When companies with hundreds of millions about: the time your sitter came and went, details of dollars in marketing funds talk about dog about your pet’s walking and pet sitting bathroom duties, info in tech terms, and they You may think that your about what tasks market all of the cool were performed at techie features and current clients do not care the pet visit, how information you will get about this sort of thing, that when you hire them, they to book online, and even book onunfortunately change they prefer the personal touch the average consumer’s demand services. Having all of this expectation of what they you can provide as a local “convenience” and think they “need” from a information available provider. That may be true for dog walker or pet sitter. immediately at your If I am a new pet owner, the moment, but I strongly fingertips was not and have seen such ads, even an option a I AM AFFECTED BY THEM, believe that you are going to whether I realized it or decade ago. It is now becoming standard not. There is a very high need rethink that stance. and, dare I say it, likelihood I am going expected. to expect that whoever You may think that your current clients do I hire as my next pet sitter or dog walker will not care about this sort of thing, that they prefer have technology with those types of features. No, the personal touch you can provide as a local not every potential client is going to think they


By Erin Fenstermaker, of EF Consulting

need them, but those comfortable with technology certainly will be interested in having them. Do you think it’s a good long-term strategy to be the company in your market that ISN’T utilizing technology to give clients the information they want? Might it be preferable to—at the very least—offer as many convenient, technical features available from the scheduling software you are currently choosing to use?

Move Over, Baby Boomers You may not be aware of this if you don’t scour the pet industry trade publications like I do, but the Millennial generation (also called Generation Y) is now the #1 pet-owning generation in America. They account for 35 percent of all pet owners today, supplanting Baby Boomers who are now 32 percent of all pet owners. Why should this matter to you? If I polled most of my clients today—who all happen to own locally-based pet sitting and dog walking companies---and asked them to describe their typical customer, most would say it was someone aged 40 years and up. I doubt even one would say their “average” customer is a Millennial. This fact has me concerned, because Millennials are clearly the future of the industry based on their sheer pet-owning numbers. They may not have the same buying power today as their Baby Boomer counterparts, but they will soon. And once they do, they will clearly dictate what they want out of their pet products and services. And surprise, technology is innate to the millennial generation. They have grown up with always having a cellular phone in one hand, and most are magicians about being able to do run their lives from their smart phone. Technology does not scare them, and they expect to interact with a business via technology. Are you prepared for Millennials to be your primary customers? The convergence of these two factors—the entrance of tech companies Wag! and Rover into our industry and Millennials having recently established themselves as the largest pet owning generation—mean our industry is going to be disrupted. What does it mean for a locally-based pet sitting and dog walking company like yours? It means if you aren’t comfortable with technology, you better figure out how to get comfortable. And if you aren’t using as much technology as you can NOW to make doing business with you simple

and convenient, and aren’t providing online scheduling or scheduling apps for your clients, you better start. FAST.

Don’t Fall Behind the Tech Curve You cannot afford to get too far behind the technology “curve” in this industry simply because you aren’t comfortable with technology or don’t like the idea of clients having access to information that you previously could control. Don’t get caught up in your personal belief that technology doesn’t really matter as a pet sitter or dog walker, it’s all about the personal touch you bring to things. Remember, this is not about you. It is 100 percent about what consumers want and expect. And consumer wants and needs are changing quickly because of factors you cannot control. If your primary customers today are Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t require slick technology when interacting with you. True, some of them will not, but more and more of them are seeing the benefits technology provides because they are experiencing it in so many other aspects of their lives. And the millennials absolutely expect you to provide the conveniences technology provides. If you do not have the technical bells and whistles that make doing business with you easy, and you don’t choose to give consumers access to the information they want about your comings and goings and visit activities, there are plenty of competitors lining up that will. If your business


Don’t get caught up in your personal belief that technology doesn’t really matter as a pet sitter or dog walker, it’s all about the personal touch you bring to things. revenues have slipped in the last year, have you considered that your lack of technology utilization and the increase in Millennial buying power might have something to do with it? It is time to rethink the pet sitting and dog walking industry of old. Yes, it is still a service industry, and those of you that have embraced that fundamental fact will continue to have a place in it. But it is also turning into a tech industry, which means most locally-based companies will need to learn to ride this wave of change, or potentially get swept away by it. n Erin Fenstermaker is a small business consultant specializing in the pet industry. A certified dog trainer, Erin was also a part-time pet sitter for seven years while working full-time as a small business chief operating officer. Learn more at www.

Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

NAPPS Business of the Year Perks The NAPPS Business of the Year Award is presented to a member who has demonstrated outstanding business practices and vision in maintaining and growing their business. The honor includes: • Complimentary participation in the 2020 Education and Networking Forum at a site to be announced (inclusive of registration, lodging and transportation) • Professionally prepared customized public relations press release to local media by the national NAPPS office • The Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services company logo displayed on the NAPPS website for one year • Recognition of Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services in the company in the Professional Pet Sitter Magazine (Winter 2018 issue) • Recognition of Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services company during the 2020 Education and Networking Forum • Indefinite use of the “NAPPS Pet Sitting Business of the Year 2019” logo

Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services Unleashes Quality Care This Indiana Company Earns NAPPS 2019 Business of the Year Honors By Arden Moore | Photos by Justin Casterline


etermined, multi-talented and always striving to grow professionally. Those traits aptly describe Kelly Kolodkin, who achieved success in veterinary and human-based pharmaceutical sales and marketing, who survived thyroid cancer, who was a dedicated stay-at-home mom for her two young children and who utilized her diverse skills to launch a successful professional pet sitting business. In 2003 at the height of her sales and marketing success, the family relocated from Long Island, New York to Carmel, Indiana for two important reasons: to provide care for their son, Trevor, who had a respiratory condition, and because her husband, Michael earned a job promotion that required the move to Indiana. “My son’s health and my husband getting the promotion were the onus of us moving here,” says Kolodkin. “I did odd jobs while my kids were young. And five years ago, I found myself floundering a bit.” Kolodkin decided to assess her career options. She realized she could make a difference in bettering the lives of pets. So, in 2014, she launched Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services and lives her motto every day: To keep pets happy and well cared for while their parents are away. “I also always knew that dealing with animals is what makes me happy,” she says. “Thus, the birth of Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services!” Her steady achievements in dog training and pet sitting have earned her a new title: NAPPS Business of the Year for 2019. Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

“This puts the biggest smile on my face,” says Kolodkin. “I’m very happy that NAPPS looks at quality, not size, in selecting the Business of the Year. “We are small, but we get a lot done for our clients. I’m so blessed to have wonderful support from my family.” When she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2011, she was stunned by the news. She was a mother of two young children. But the treatment was a success. And so is her pet care business today. “I have a nice group of loyal clients who appreciate how complete I am,” she says.

Kolodkin Is A Fan of Learning She believes in continuing her education. She is a certified member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, trained in pet first aid/CPR with Pet Tech, earned “What Color Is Your Dog” dog training certification from renowned trainer Joel Silverman and continues to attend dog training and behavior seminars as time allows. She is in the process of completing her NAPPS Certification. Kolodkin also relies on these key NAPPS resources in her business: Pet Sitter Tool Kit, monthly webinars, NAPPS University, NAPPS Chat message board and ongoing information on ICs and insurance. She is also candid. In her application for Business of the Year, Kolodkin shared her biggest challenge she overcame: “I hired my first IC in February 2017 and she seemed like a perfect fit for my business model. After training


What People Are Saying About Kelly Valerie Andres, of Carmel, has trusted Kolodkin to pet sit her miniature Pinscher named Zeke for the past three years. “I trust Kelly with my pet even more than I do some members of my family. Zeke is 13 and has diabetes and therefore, he can’t be at home all day without going out. This is where Kelly came to our rescue. She writes a detailed account in Zeke’s notebook and often sends pictures of him doing cute things. Zeke absolutely adores Kelly!” Julie Osborne reached out to Kolodkin for her savvy dog training skills for her newly rescued Yorkie-Chihuahua mix named Toto. Toto came with several behavior issues, including barking nonstop and urinating inside the house. Osborne shares the positive impact Kolodkin made in Toto in her blog post entitled, “Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks.” An excerpt: “From the moment of his adoption, I knew we had a long way to go. Toto’s trainer, Kelly Kolodkin, has been supporting and teaching Toto (and me) every step of the way. Today, Toto is a changed dog. Much calmer and well-behaved, he can now sit on command, wait, leave things and even barks a lot less.” Shannon Safar, of Carmel, has relied on Kelly’s Kanine Pet Services for more than two years for her dog, Violet, a young Cavalier King Charles spaniel. “With Kelly, there’s peace of mind. Kelly provides a detailed daily journal of our dog’s behaviors, health and mood. Kelly doesn’t leave my home until our dog has eaten her lunch and supplements, along with fresh water, treats and belly rubs. Kelly has a caring nature and genuine love for animals. Violet’s response to seeing Kelly is hilarious. Violet wiggles, talks and sings, ‘ahh rooo uuu!’ They have a special bond.”

her and having her walk some regular client dogs, I felt she was ready for a pet-sit client. She was supposed to text me after each visit. She did not. She got annoyed with me. She would be sporadic in letting me know her availability and missed a call with a new client. That was it for me. I had lost trust in her and this is a business built on trust, reliability and relationships.” Kolodkin admits it took time to shake off that experience and to hire another IC—a valuable addition to her business named Bobbi Flexman. “I feel very lucky to have her because of her experience and dedication to clients and myself,” says Kolodkin.

Facts About Kelly’s Kanines Pet Services Location: Zionsville, IN Established: Fall 2014 Services Provided: Pet sitting, puppy housebreaking training, pet taxi, basic obedience training and daily dog walks. Staff: Assisted by husband, Michael and their older children, Kaila and Trevor plus IC Bobbi Flexman. Owner: Kelly Kolodkin Mission statement: “Our mission is to keep pets happy and well-cared for while their parents are away. Happy dog=happy owner=forever friend.” Member of NAPPS: Since Fall 2014 Website: www.kellyskaninepetservices. com Facebook: kellyskaninepetservices/

And she relies on the help from her husband and their mature-beyond-their years children, Kaila and Trevor. Armed with the continual stream of mentoring from NAPPS’ various resources, Kolodkin feels better equipped to hire the right person to add to her team. She requires face-toface interviews with potential ICs and performs background checks. Kolodkin is not content with status quo. Among her future goals are to create an entrepreneur/mentor program for people looking to open their own businesses in the pet industry and to develop a speaker program targeted for veterinary technicians.

“I also want to create neighborhood ‘valueadded talks’ on various pet topics and to increase the number of ICs as I have a wait list currently for daily dog walks,” she adds. And she believes in giving back to her community. That’s why her company participates in various local fundraisers for animal group organizations, including the Humane Society for Boone County, the Humane Society of Indianapolis, and the Village of West Clay’s Howl-O-Ween pet parade. Her parting message: “I believe you should treat people as you like to be treated. Take responsibility if you make a mistake and make it right for your clients and their pets.” n

Fun facts about Kelly: • She grew up in Long Island, NY and would bring home wounded rabbits, birds, and other furry animals to care for and to the veterinary clinic when needed. • She enjoys live theater and attending her kids’ sporting events. • She met her future husband, Michael at their 10-year high school reunion at General Douglas MacArthur High School in Levittown, NY. • The family’s newest dog is a husky mix named Willow, who wandered into her son Trevor’s Eagle Scout outing in April. Willow joins Scootsy, a 10-year-old miniature Schnauzer, and their 25-year-old parrot named Buster.


Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

Beware of Animal Zombies! Strange facts about ladybugs, misunderstood vampire bats, ghost frogs and more creatures.


by Arden Moore

s professional pet sitters, the majority of your pet care centers around dogs and cats. But what do you really know about so-called animal zombies as well as creepy creatures on land and in the sea? For instance, did you know that vampire bats are more helpful than harmful? Or that jellyfish lack eyes? Or as many as 100 different species of creepy critters like dust mites and silverfish exist in a single, wellmaintained home? Ewww, right? These and much more strangebut-true facts are headlined in a new book by best-selling author Chana Stiefel entitled, Animal Zombies: And Other Bloodsucking Beats, Creepy Creatures and Real-Life Monsters just released by National Geographic Kids. Selecting Stiefel as the author was an easy decision. After all, she grew up in South Florida and delighted in her family’s regular ‘swamp tromps” in the Everglades and overnight camping trips in deep dark woods. She once trekked eight miles in total darkness to witness Hawaii’s Mount Kilauea erupt and went on a mission to find the elusive quetzal in Costa Rica’s Monteverde Cloud Forest. She is the former editor at Scholastic’s Science World and has authored more than 20 nonfiction books for kids. But even Stiefel admits researching all things gory, gross and creepy Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

for the Animal Zombies book makes the popular television show, The Walking Dead, seem like a walk in the park. “I’ve always been curious and have always loved science and writing,” says Stiefel, now a mother of four and living in New Jersey. “This was a fascinating writing project.” In her introduction, Stiefel cautions “brave readers” by stating: “Scientists still do not understand the unique role that many species play in the great web of life. So, tread lightly as you explore nature’s haunted house. In the end, you might go from ‘yikes’ to ‘likes’ for the crafty, spine-tingling wonders that surround you.” So, let’s dive in and discover some fascinating facts about the animal kingdom from the pages of this 96-paged book filled with up-close vivid photographs of creepy creatures. The Brainwashed Ladybug: When a wasp is ready to lay

an egg, she flies over to an unassuming ladybug, stings it in the belly and injects an egg. The wasp’s life cycle actually begins inside the body of the ladybug! On the outside, the ladybug appears perfectly normal, but in about three weeks, the wasp larva chews a hole in its exoskeleton and wriggles out. It spins a silk cocoon around itself and the ladybug causing this “zombified” ladybug to act as a bodyguard for the cocoon. Eventually, the unlucky ladybug dies or recovers and is at risk once again for a wasp attack.


The itch mite burrows in between fingers and on wrists, ankles and elbows and cause nasty rashes that require prescription medication to correct. The follicle mite can only be seen under a microscope, but its needle-sharp mouthparts pierce skin and feed on oil from a person’s sweat glands. Spiders to the Rescue:

Misunderstood Vampire Bats:

These are the only mammals that feed entirely on blood. Yes, they are nocturnal and do use sharp fangs to piece animal skin. However, a vampire bat bite is not fatal. As Stiefel writes, “Although vampire bats have a bad rap as scary bloodsuckers, they are actually gentle creatures that are more helpful than harmful. They live in colonies and will vomit their bloody meal and share it with another bat in the colony that needs food. The chemical in vampire bat saliva that prevents blood from clotting has been developed into a medicine to help prevent strokes in humans.” Fiendish Fleas: These tiny, wingless insects have reputations for being able to leap long distances. They do not have fangs, but their tube-like mouthparts work like sharp drinking straws that pierce a victim’s skin. It can survive for long stretches of time eating next to nothing. Fleas also sport body armor. Hard plates called sclerites protect fleas from getting squashed. Perilous Portuguese Man-of-War:

This puffy, balloon-like species is not a single animal like a jellyfish, but a colony of organisms working together as one. The dozens of tentacles can extend up to 165 feet long and are covered with venom-packed cells called nematocysts. Even dead man-of-wars washed up on the beach can still pack a painful sting for weeks after their demise. One of the only species able to feast on man-of-war without any reactions to the stings are loggerhead sea turtles that sport thick skins. Glassy Ghost Frog: You can actually see the internal organs at work in this translucent amphibian—including the heart beating! These eerie frogs come out at night and live in the rain forests of Central and South

According to bug scientists, if you weighed all the spiders on Earth, they would weigh 25 million tons! Spiders eat bugs, which means fewer pests in homes and gardens. Without spiders, scientists say that the insect Even dead man- populations would explode and food of-wars washed crops would be decimated. Finally, Stiefel shares fascinating up on the beach facts from scientists at the North can still pack a Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. America. They don’t In a study of just 50 American homes to painful sting for float, but hop and out what bugs moved it, the team weeks after their find females lay a clutch collected 10,000 specimens—both demise. of eggs on the living and dead—and discovered as underside of leaves many as 100 different species of creepy in the rainforest. Males will squeak and wrestle critters in a single house. to keep predators like wasps from reaching the As Stiefel shares, “Bugs often hide out in eggs. dark basements, drainpipes, crevices, behind Quivering Quills: The crested the walls and under the fridge. These include porcupine hunts at night for skeletons and digs stinkbugs, moth flies, earwigs, dust mites, up their bones. Then it brings the skeleton back silverfish and carpet beetle larvae. to an underground den where it gnaws on the “Barely visible at 0.2 inch in length, carpet bones to file down its long, sharp teeth that keep beetle larvae squirm from room to room in on growing throughout the life of this rodent. search of a meal, devouring dead insects, spilled When threatened, the porcupine’s short quills pet food, fabrics, oats, flour and even our nail are the sharpest. It also sports hollow quills by clippings!” says Stiefel. the tail that rattle when they vibrate to make a To learn more about Stiefel and her back-off hissing sound. upcoming books, please visit her website: www. Wailing Wolves: A wolf is capable of And to listen to her guest spot taking down a large moose or elk and can eat on Arden Moore’s Oh Behave Show on Pet Life up to 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. That is Radio, please tune in at the equivalent of a person eating 80 burgers at behave.html. n once! Most wolf packs number about 10 and the howl sound is unique to each one. Wolves also communicate effectively with body language. For instance, when one wolf submits to a stronger wolf, he will crouch, whimper, tuck in his tail, roll over or lick the other wolf’s mouth. Wolves also dance and bow for play. Body Invaders: As Stiefel writes, “While you go about your day, tiny bugs are laying eggs, feeding on your dead skin cells, multiplying and crawling all over your body—inside and out! Some of these hitchhikers are mikes, tiny arachnids with short, stumpy legs and claws that hold on to your skin for dear life. They hide out in your eyelashes, hair follicles or cracks and crevices all over your body.”


Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

Attention! David Shade Ranks High in Dog Training “I practice sciencebased, fear-free, force-free and painfree methodology,” he says. “Yes, I come from a male-dominated machoism background from the military, but I am a gentle, science-based trainer.”

By Arden Moore


avid Shade earned a Purple Heart for combat injuries suffered while being a Calvary scout for the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne during deployment to Afghanistan. He also earned an award for valor when he leaped on the truck to fire its gun at the Taliban during an ambush attack of his platoon. “I left a boy and came home three years later as a man,” he says. When he left the Army with an honorable discharge a decade ago, he studied biology in college, but felt a bit lost. He credits a young boxer named Lulu for helping readjust to civilian life and to inspire him to learn everything and anything on dogs. “When I came back from Afghanistan, I had physical and mental wounds,” he says, “But the unconditional love and power of healing dogs can bring to us is powerful. My life was saved by a dog named Lulu. Now, I can do right by giving back and saving the lives of as many dogs as I can. The less dogs we have in shelters and the more dogs we have in happy homes, the better off everyone is.” Today, Shade ranks high in the pet industry for his dog expertise. He operates At Attention Dog Training based in King of Prussia, PA. His savvy knowledge of dog behavior, health and training grabbed the attention of the NAPPS webinar committee. Mark your calendars. On April 16, 2019, be sure to join the NAPPS webinar featuring Shade and his training strategy that motivates dogs. “For pet sitters, it is super important to know how to read Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

dogs,” says Shade, who is a certified dog trainer and mentor for the Catch Canine Academy, Victoria Stilwell’s dog training program as well as being Fear-Free Certified and an active member of the Pet Professional Guild. “You may not be a dog trainer, but the dog under your care is always learning from you.” He also likes to debunk the notion that just because he is a military veteran that he uses force to get dogs to learn. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just check out his mini-videos posted on his website. “I practice science-based, fear-free, force-free and pain-free methodology,” he says. “Yes, I come from a maledominated machoism background from the military, but I am a gentle, science-based trainer. I understand operant and classical conditioning and that the relationship you have with that dog will have an affect on that dog’s behavior.” With his growing team, Shade offers a wide array of training and services, including training for puppies, potty training, manners, loose-leash walking plus basic and advanced obedience. He also provides the tools for pet sitters and pet parents to address fear, anxiety, aggression, mouthing, biting, barking and other unwanted canine behaviors. At home, with his wife, Lesley, Shade enjoys a canine trio consisting of Lulu plus Sammy, a boxer-Labrador-border collie mix and Otis, a boxer. Lulu is very serious; Sam is very chill and Otis is a goof ball,” says Shade. “I love them all.” n


Debunking Food Myths in Dog Training In a recent blog post on his website, David Shade shares his expertise on the use of food in training dogs. He says it is critical to identify what motivates each dog. Yes, treats can be highly repeatable and inexpensive, but he identifies five food myths: Myth #1: Food is a bribe. This could not be further from the truth. This would be the equivalent of saying your biweekly paycheck is a bribe. Forms of payment are reinforcement. Dogs need a paycheck and in some cases, that comes in the form of a yummy treat. Myth #2: Using food causes dogs to overeat and become fat. The reality is when training animals you should keep sessions short. They should be no more than 30 minutes. I am a big fan of multiple short 5-to-10 minute sessions per day. Not only will the dog perform better in short sessions, but it will be nearly impossible to overfeed him. Myth #3. My dog isn’t motivated by food. Nonsense! Dogs are biological creatures who are omnivores. This means that the dog needs food to survive just like they need oxygen and water. Saying

a dog isn’t motivated by food to me is like saying, “My dog isn’t motivated to breathe air.” It makes no sense! Most likely, you are probably doing something wrong in your training if your dog isn’t motivated by food. Consider if your dog has just eaten his meal, is too stressed to eat, is sick or does not like bargain-priced treats. Myth #4: My dog should listen because I am the boss! We already know that there is no dominance hierarchy between dogs and humans. If we are asking our dog to do work for us, we need to reward them for it—just like you get rewarded for your work. Myth #5: My dog will only work for me with food present. It is a myth because it is not inherent. It is a learned behavior. When training properly, it is important to use a method known as fading in which you essentially try to take the food out of the equation for dogs. You may still reward them with food, but they don’t know when it is coming. When you pair this with secondary motivators, such as praise, affection and markers, then you can easily get them off a requirement of food to learn.


Learn More

To learn more about David Shade and his fastgrowing At Attention Dog Training business, please visit

Test Your Knowledge and Earn CEUs! Take the NAPPS Professional Pet Sitter Test to earn renewal CEUS. Answers can be found in this issue. Be sure to email your answers to and include the subject line: Winter18 Issue Quiz. 1. What is the term Kristen Morrison uses to identify clients to are too emotionally draining? A. Bloodsuckers B. Time Hogs C. Worrywarts D. Vampires 2. Who is the author of the Google Local Guides article? A. Arden Moore B. Cathe Delaney C. Amy Toman D. Jessica Abernathy 3. In Erin Fenstermaker’s article on changing technology in the pet sitting industry, what generation accounts for 35 percent of all pet owners today? A. Baby Boomers B. Generation Y (also called Millennials) C. Generation X 4. In the Business of the Year feature, what is the name of Kelly Kolodkin’s miniature Schnauzer? A. Buster B. Scootsy C. Willow D. Casey Email your answers to Cathe Delaney at cdelaney@ Good luck! Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

AB O U T YOU R A S S OCI AT I ON MEET THE NAPPS 2019 BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Jessica Abernathy Professional Pet Sitter, Inc. Riverwoods, IL

Director Megan Harris Must Love Fur, LLC Broomfield, CO

Past President Yvette Gonzales As You Wish, LLC Highlands Ranch, CO asyouwishpetsitters@yahoo. com

Director Lennox Armstrong Canine Care, LLC Glencoe, IL

Director Heather Branch Best Friends Forever Pet Services, LLC Encino, CA

Director Antonio Garcia GBA Pet Service, LLC Goodrich, TX

Director Ingrid Braulini The Happy Pet Caregivers, LLC Grantham, NH thehappypet@

Director Becky O’Neil Becky’s Pet Care, Inc. Springfield, VA

Remember, NAPPS is the only National non-profit pet sitting association for members, by members.



The only national, non-profit, professional pet sitting association dedicated to raising and abiding by industry standards. We support members with education, certification and the resources to operate successful businesses.

The most respected authority in professional pet sitting.

Our community welcomes pet sitters and pet parents. Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


NAPPS CHAT SCHEDULING VIA TEXT MESSAGES QUESTION: Probably 90 percent of my customers communicate through texting. It drives me crazy and leaves plenty of opportunities for miscommunication. Case in point: I missed one let out today because I had scheduled from the customer text for next week Yikes! I did not verify the dates which I am consistent doing, but not this time. So, I am requesting suggestions. Easiest solution is to actually talk to the pet owner. In this day and age, however, this is not popular. I have been dreading just this situation might happen and it has. It is easy on the initial visit, but for repeaters, again, what to do?

I ask people to only request visits via email and then I always send a confirmation at least a week before with the cost and visit details. They are welcome to ask about my availability via text, then I ask them to email if they want to book the visits. I make an email folder for each client so it’s pretty straightforward moving emails there and looking up what I need to. However, with some regular clients I now use text only, but only if it is a request for one or two visits and then I text to confirm the cost and visit info. Text is definitely trickier for me, it’s not as reliable a record and takes more time to scroll through past messages. Luckily, only a few clients really prefer text only -- and everyone is used to me asking them to email me after they send the initial text inquiry.

Carol Carol’s Pet Sitting Service __________________________________

Adriene Happy Cats Happy Dogs



I actually copy text messages and send them to my business e-mail. That way, and hopefully, I won’t miss any visits that way. So far so good. With the amount of texts we all get these days it is easy to miss one.

I love the written word, as it’s far better to have a paper trail, but I do not take reservations by text. I use email only. Or phone voice mails, but I prefer they not call.

Michelle Nanny Dolittle, LLC __________________________________ I do the same thing as Michelle. I copy and paste the text and email it to myself. If I am super busy, I tell the client I am not in my office and if they could please email the visit dates/times. I let them know I will confirm once I get back to my office. I always confirm back to the client with an email the visit dates/times. It is time consuming, but leaves little room for error. I also use a service that gives the client the ability to schedule services online. The majority of my clients take advantage of this service, but I have a few that still prefer to text or email me.

There are only two ways to make a reservation with me. The more ways you have, the easier to miss something. Over 95 percent of the time, its email and I know right where to find them all. I then confirm back by email. So, if I get the dates wrong, the client should see it. IF they read it. They are told to make sure they receive a confirmation. They have some of the responsibility to see that I have confirmed correctly. Do you have software? I use a program that is not commercially available, but I load the dates and then send a confirmation, and the system cannot send dates that are not on the calendar. I highly recommend you use a program, regardless of being solo or staffed. I can’t imagine not having one.

I love the written word, as it’s far better to have a paper trail, but I do not take reservations by text. I use email only. Or phone voice mails, but I prefer they not call. There are only two ways to make a reservation with me. The more ways you have, the easier to miss something. This was such a headache to keep up with our first few years in business. After we transitioned to an actual office and business phone line, we were able to simplify and solidify our communication with clients. NO MORE TEXTING. It just wasn’t reliable enough, and the messages we received outside of office hours was ridiculous to attempt to keep up with. For scheduling, clients can either call or email the schedules they need to us. Then, we email a confirmation schedule for them to review, so they know the exact schedule we have. Once they review and reply to confirm, we then charge their card on file for the full amount of their schedule. Once their card is charged, their reservation is confirmed. It’s a simplified, yet concrete method for both us and our clients. People have the freedom to call or email any time of the day or night, however, we only respond during our firm office hours. We’ve been operating this way for about eight years now, and it just works perfectly for us. Tim Absolute Pet Care, LLC

Good luck! Melissa Longo Pet Concierge

Kimberly Apronstrings Pet Sitting, Inc.


Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


Presents 4 Pets Day 2019 Thursday, March 7th The NAPPS Presents for Pets (P4P) program was launched in 2006. This national program is designed to benefit pets in shelters and provide items desperately needed to help keep shelters operational, and animals comfortable and safe. As part of this program, NAPPS members across the country are reaching out to their clients and encouraging them to collect and donate product for this worthy cause. Items such as toys, treats, blankets, towels, rugs, beds, bleach, leashes, collars, coupons, and newspapers are all being solicited. Here is all this fun-and-easy program will require: • Ask your clients, friends and neighbors to support and donate on behalf of shelter pets. • Gather their donations. • Provide acknowledgement of gifts. • Provide all items to your local shelter or rescue group. • Thank your donors and participants for their help. • Use #presents4pets on social media ~ share your videos and photos. The P4P program is only limited by your level of commitment. Keep an eye out for much more information regarding Presents 4 Pets Day 2019 and the various ways you can participate in this national program.

Build Your Community Presence While Helping Animals

Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018


NA P P S IN THE NE WS NAPPS PR EFFORTS Your association has an active public relations and marketing campaign that raises the visibility of NAPPS and its programs, and establishes NAPPS as the authority in professional pet sitting. Each month, the NAPPS PR team provides regular story ideas to national media outlets designed to increase awareness of the organization and the entire profession. PR efforts have surpassed many milestones! • NAPPS has a total number of Facebook “likes” of over 6,000. • NAPPS has increased the number of Twitter followers to 5,800 as of December 13, 2018. • NAPPS is helping to increase awareness of pet safety and caring for animals during extreme weather conditions through shareable content like digital media and infographics. October is Adopt-a-Dog month! Spread the word to help a dog find it’s ‘furever’ home! Check out other ways you can support man’s best friend here: 1,380 people reached October 13, 2018

Who wants to go for a walk? Today marks the start of National Walk Your Dog Week, so take your pooch out for a few extra walks--they will love it. 1,535 people reached October 2, 2018

World Animal Day’s mission is to raise the status of animals in order to improve welfare standards around the globe. Share this post to help spread the word! Learn more: https://bit. ly/2OyL1yy 966 people reached October 4, 2018

Does your dog need to lose weight or release some extra energy? Hiring a mid-day dog walker might be just what you need to care for your pet during the work week. Learn more here: https://bit. ly/2g4AM2e 1,420 people reached October 12, 2018

Pit Bulls are beloved in their families, they serve communities as police dogs and therapy dogs, yet people still change sides of the street to avoid them. This October marks the 11th National Pit Bull Awareness Month and tomorrow is National Pit Bull Awareness Day. Learn more about these amazing dogs on the NAPPS blog: 1,491 people reached October 26, 2018

Animal shelters and other rescues are miracle workers! They work year round to make sure that animals in their care get the loving homes they deserve. National Animal Shelter and Rescue Appreciation Week aims to bring more awareness to the work of animal shelters, while also encouraging communities to become familiar with their local shelters. Learn how you can support your local shelter here: 813 people reached November 6, 2018


Professional Pet Sitter · Winter 2018

Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Look no further — give the GIFT of NAPPS Membership Since 1989, NAPPS has been providing education and resources to professional pet sitters. We are the ONLY non-profit national organization for professional pet sitters and the ONLY non-profit national organization for pet parents. NAPPS Members are able to “gift” memberships to clients for only $10 per year. To purchase a “gift” membership, visit the Give a Gift Membership link in the Member Area Features Section. You are able to “gift” as many memberships as you would like — one for each of your clients.

Why not give your clients the “gift” of educational opportunities and resources which will benefit them throughout the year? Exclusive benefits offered to NAPPS Pet Parent Members:

▶ A “welcome kit” which includes [1] tote bag with NAPPS logo, [1] car magnet, [1] chip clip and [1] pet first aid kit

▶ Virtual library of informative articles ▶ FREE quarterly Pet Parent teleconference with

special guest speakers to discuss Pet-Related Topics

▶ Emergency Preparedness Documents ▶ Pet Parent Message Board ▶ Quarterly e-Newsletter ▶ Coupons and Discounts ▶ And much more!

Welcome Our New Members NAPPS welcomes new members who joined between August 31, 2018 to October 10, 2018. Here they are in alphabetical order by state:


JoAnna and Thomas Hagen, Hagen Family Petsitters, San Tan Valley


Nora Coats, UpDog Petsitting, Ramona Michelle Dunham, Four Furry Steps, Mission Viejo Balbina Gamble, Walk, Run, Sit Dog Care Services, Sacramento Kathyrn Gardner, Kat’s Dogs & More, Newport Beach Carol Trevethan, Carol Trevethan, Santa Barbara Taylor Long, Pet Comforts, Oceanside Isabel Quasha, A Place for Rover, Menlo Park


Hayley Griffen, Kindred Canine, LLC, Lakewood Kathryn Lythgoe, The Den: House and Pet Sitting, Colorado Springs Nelson Rith, Denver Pro Pet Sitting, Parker


Scott Benton, More Wag! Fairfield Washington, D.C. Elizabeth Akers, 2nd Quadrant District Pet-Care, Washington, D.C.



Brittney Pheobus, Bubbles Squeaks Barks and Beaks, Cheverly


Marena Duren, Marena’s Pet Services, Mashpee Ruth Hegarty, Creature Good Pet Care, Cambridge


Summer Simpson, Hooves to Woofs, Howell


Sarah Kurz, Precision Pet Care, Kearney

New Jersey

Samantha Mendillo, Samantha Jean’s Pet Services, LLC, Middletown Lisa Poletto, Brits and Barks Pet Services, Hackettstown Barbara Rosenbaum, Hiking Hounds, Neptune City

New York

Jennifer Colonna, Paws Place, Armonk Diane Roach, Friends of Jake &LeeLoo Pet Sitting Services, Ronkonkoma

Doreen Horky, Gladstone Companion Animal Services, Port Charlotte Kim Pauline, Fetch! Pet Care of Bradenton, Sarasota Cody Hightower, St. Petersburg Lynn Hugo, Must Love Pets, Wellington Laura Kelly, Kelly Pet Sit, Venice Karen Kramer, Live Bark Walk, Seminole Megan Molter, Southern Paws Pet and Home Sitters, Odessa Steve Steiert, Sitting by Steve, Harmony



Kyla Smith, Kyla’s Pet Sitting, Woonsocket Maureen Dunn, Happy Tailz4u, Smithfield

Robert Robinson, Metro Pet Care, LLC, Sandy Springs


Jennifer Baker, JLB Pet Sitting, Des Moines


Deborah Storer, Pet Sitting Pixies, LLC, Baton Rouge Keith Tullier, Tullier’s Professional Pet Sitting, Baton Rouge


Dawn Morehouse, The Carefree Canine, Driftwood Sara Young, Belly Rub Collective, Austin Misty Bauer, Petsitting with Misty, Dallas Ashlee Horton, Ashlee’s Ark, Argyle Jake Long, Privileged Paws, Dallas


Angie Fitzsimmons, Pawsitive Care Pet Sitting, Virginia Beach Leslie Franklin, Wags and Walks, Ashburn Mary Ellen Sprouse, Charlottesville Jarrod Watson, City Pups Pet Care, LLC, Arlington Tracy Burkhammer, We Let the Dogs Out 4 You, LLC, Bristow Cynthia Schall, Arlington Career Center, Arlington


Jeanette Hale, Fur Star Pet Care, LLC, Columbus

Nikole Moore, Paddy Paws Pet Sitting & Training, Bothell



Melinda Durham, Abundance of Love Pet Services, Molalla


Jeanette Fedei, Jenny’s Pet Pals, Erie

Rhode Island

South Carolina

Elizabeth Fenlon, Betty Fenlon, Hilton Head


Samantha Burnham, Operation: Paws In Motion, Clarksville

Jessica Ginster, Dogwaukee, LLC, Glendale

Hong Kong

Carmen Chan, Dog Dog Bnb, Hong Kong

PET WINTER SAFETY GUIDE GUIDE ‘Tis the Season for Pet Safety ‘Tis the Season for Pet Safety Be Prepared Prepared Be Members can download this infographic in the Members Only area on our website.


Weather emergencies Weather can leaveemergencies your family can leaveatyour family isolated home. Among isolated at home. Among other items, be sure other items, be sure there is enough food, there is enough food, bottled water, and at bottled water, at least one week’sand worth least week’s worth of anyone medication your petany may need. of medication your pet may need.

KEEP THEM CLOSE KEEP THEM CLOSE Keep your pets on a leash when outside; Keepcan your onscent a leash when outside; they losepets their in the snow. they theirinformation scent in theissnow. Be surecan all lose contact up sureonallyour contact is up toBedate furryinformation friend’s collar to date on yourInclude furry friend’s collar and microchip. your name, and microchip. Include your name, phone number and veterinarian’s phone number and veterinarian’s information. information.


KNOW BEFORE KNOW YOU GOBEFORE Program YOU GOlocal weather and radio stations into

inside - away from Create a cozy spot cold drafts - for your inside - away from to relax coldpet drafts - for your

Program local weather cellradio phones before into leaving and stations the house. Winter weather is often cell phones before leaving unpredictable so it is important to the house. Winter weather is often regularly check to see if there may unpredictable so it is important to be a sudden drop in temperature. regularly check to see if there may be a sudden drop in temperature.

pet to relax

Keep Them Them Warm Keep Warm

LONG HAIR, DON’THAIR, CARE LONG Avoid shaving your pet during DON’T CARE the winter months; longer coats

Avoid shaving your pet warmth. during will provide additional the winter months; longer coats will provide additional warmth.


Reduce the amount of snow that collects between Fido’s toes by clipping Reduce the amount of snow thatto the fur between toe pads. Be sure collects between Fido’s toes by clipping rinse your pet’s paws with warm water the fur between pads. sureyour to (before wiping themtoe dry) eachBetime rinse your withindoors. warm water furry pet’s friendpaws returns (before wiping them dry) each time your furry friend returns indoors.

If your pet or doesn’t naturally have put a coat sweater on them a warm winter be sure to before goingcoat outside. put a coat or sweater on them before going outside.

NEVER leave your pet alone in a during theregardless winter, trapping the cold vehicle, of the temperature temperature and causing outside. A car can act ashypothermia. a refrigerator during the winter, trapping the cold temperature and causing hypothermia.

Cats (and other small animals) love the warmth of a car. Be sure to make noise or bang on the hood before starting your car.

Protect Against Protect HazardsAgainst Hazards DECK THE HALLS Keep small decorations out of your pet's reach. They can be a choking hazard and Keep small decorations out of decorations like tinsel can your pet's reach. They can cause intestinal be a choking hazard and obstruction. decorations like tinsel can cause intestinal obstruction.



SWEATER WEATHER If your pet doesn’t naturally have SWEATER WEATHER a warm winter coat be sure to

DON’T LEAVE YOUR PET IN THE CARYOUR DON’T LEAVE NEVER leave your pet alone in a vehicle, regardless of the temperature PET IN THE CAR outside. A car can act as a refrigerator

CHECK UNDER THE HOOD CHECK Cats (and other small animals) love the warmth of a car. Be sure toHOOD make noise or UNDER THE bang on the hood before starting your car.

Many common holiday plants such as holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias can cause irritation, Many common holiday vomiting, diarrhea, andplants heart such as holly, mistletoe, and arrhythmia. Call your vet right poinsettias cause away if youcan think yourirritation, pet may vomiting, diarrhea, and heart have ingested a toxic plant. arrhythmia. Call your vet right away if you think your pet may have ingested a toxic plant.

Keep your cats inside, even if they like to frequent cats inside, theKeep greatyour outdoors from even iftime theytolike to frequent time. the great outdoors from time to time.









BE AWARE OF CHEMICALS BE AWARE Keep all winter products, OF such as antifreeze and ice-melting substances, CHEMICALS out of your pet’s reach. These items

Keep all winter products, such contain chemicals that can be as antifreeze andtoice-melting substances, dangerous animals, causing out of your and pet’sburns. reach.Clean Theseupitems irritation contain chemicals can be product spills as soon that as possible. dangerous to animals, causing irritation and burns. Clean up product spills as soon as possible.

CHESTNUTS ROASTING ON ANCHESTNUTS OPEN FIRE Make sure you are aware of what ROASTING ON foods may be toxic to your pet. AN OPEN FIRE Macadamia nuts, walnuts, garlic, and Make areofaware of what onions aresure justyou a few the popular holiday foods that to canyour cause foods may be toxic pet. yourwalnuts, pet to become Macadamia nuts, garlic,ill. and onions are just a few of the popular holiday foods that can cause your pet to become ill.



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