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VOL 9 • ED 3

MAY / JUNE 2019

and daycare magazine Profile of Success

CLUB CAT HOTEL & RESORT

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FOR FELINES

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WORKING WITH

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FOR FUN & PROFIT WWW.PETBOARDINGANDDAYCARE.COM

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IT’S NOT JUST A LICK It could make your customers disappear

MERCK

Do you protect your business by requiring Bordetella vaccination? What about Dog Flu? Both diseases are highly contagious and could harm your facility’s reputation.

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Copyright © 2019 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co. Inc. All rights reserved. US/NCI/0219/0009


STAFF PUBLISHER Barkleigh Productions, Inc.

and daycare magazine

EXECUTIVE EDITOR Rebecca Shipman

M AY / J U N E 2 0 1 9

CONTENTS

ART DIRECTOR Laura Pennington SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jenn Barraclough JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Jenny Thomas WEB MASTER Luke Dumberth PRESIDENT Todd Shelly VICE PRESIDENT Gwen Shelly

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CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER Adam Lohr

CLUB CAT

HOTEL & RESORT FOR FELINES

BUSINESS

DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & CLIENT RELATIONS James Severs

TI FY H O W TO ID EN T PE Y TH AL A HE

ADMIN / MARKETING ASSISTANT Karin Grottola MARKETING COORDINATOR Alyx Robertson

I Animal Behavior

CONTACT

n 2019, the pet care industry is more competitive than ever. In every region, fierce rivals with deep pockets are trying to lure away your potential customers and profits. This makes it more difficult and expensive to draw in pet parents (and retain your existing customers). The ever–changing, competitive landscape means a winning (but dated) marketing strategy from even a few years ago is unlikely to help you stand out today. Most business owners hope or assume they’re doing well in marketing—but do you know for sure? Here are some tips on how to make sure your marketing is as strong as possible.

General: (717) 691-3388 info@barkleigh.com Editorial: rebecca@barkleigh.com (717) 691-3388 (ext. 225) Advertising: james@barkleigh.com (717) 691-3388 (ext. 224)

6 12

Start Out with Clear Goals The first step is to clarify what successful marketing looks like for your business. Having well–defined, quantifiable goals allows you to visualize your path to success, making it easier for you to climb above the fierce competition. Realistic, attainable goals help generate ambition for your team. Think of goals as your company’s charting device— they let you know where you’re going and how you’re doing along the way. The power of realizing and obtaining your goals is in direct proportion with your visualization of your goals. So if they’re not well–defined, they won’t lead you to success. There’s a big

difference between “wouldn’t it be great if…” and a real goal. To be a true goal, it needs to be:

you may find you need to adjust course

to ascertain a deviation from the norm. 42 Pet Care Professional Safety: Who’s Taking Care of You?

now and then. That’s why having a clear, visual image of your efforts is he best way to be able to crucial to developing the best marketing

T

approach. If your path to success spot a ispotential problem is marked by realistic goal points, you’ll to know what constitutes soon establish the momentum to propel

vulge a wealth of information that can be revealed with a healthy pet check. The best way to evaluate an ani-

52 54

mal is by performing a head–to–tail assessment, and by knowing what is normal for pets in your care.

Facebook Groups for Fun & Profit 7 Tips for Working with Challenging Customers 46

Head–To–Tail Assessment

on a Dog or Cat I believe that thoroughly assessing an animal is as important to their

Industry News

a healthy animal. By establishing a baseline, it is then possible to tell if a pet’s health is off kilter. Though animals can’t talk, their bodies can di-

yourself ahead of the rest.

Business

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Facility

that we, as animal owners, care givers, groomers, etc., must be able

• Realistic • A challenge As you work towards your goals,

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

26 32

Animals can’t talk. They can’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well...I might

need medical attention.’ So it is up to us to figure it out. That means

• Written down • Quantified (have a measured amount and time)

Group Play Policies To Keep Your Daycare Safe Board & Train Programs: Challenges & Solutions

18

Copyright May 2019. Pet Boarding & Daycare is published bimonthly by Barkleigh Productions, Inc, 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. Postmaster: Send change of address to Pet Boarding & Daycare c/o Barkleigh Productions, Inc., 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. (717) 691–3388 FAX (717) 691–3381 Email: info@barkleigh.com

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SOCIAL MEDIA / PR COORDINATOR Evan Gummo

wellbeing as proper nutrition, exercise and love. The head–to–tail assessment can be given like a massage, but with a little more attention to various parts of the body. Learn to identify the

For pet professionals, this will only make you a better caretaker by adding an assessment into your daily routine. When you’re doing an assessment, look for areas that are hot, cold, swollen or painful, or for any distinct changes to the animal’s PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

body which could be a sign of infection or illness.

How You Can Knock Out Your Single Greatest Competition New Products normal signs of the body, because animals are stoic and want to please, you may not realize what’s going on with them until it’s too late.

• Eyes

I like to begin by giving the animal a little massage, then check the eyes and work my way down to

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

5


ANIMAL BEHAVIOR

GROUP PLAY POLICIES

PROFE S SIONAL

PET BOARDING CERTIFICATION

TO KEEP YOUR DAYCARE SAFE CERTIFIED

by The

A

ny time you have multiple dogs in a single space, you are taking a risk. But dogs are social animals and enjoy the company of their own species, and dog owners like to see their pets in a happy state (not to mention, a tired state, when they themselves have had a long day). It is imperative that daycare policies are established and followed through by your staff in order to keep your 4–legged clients on their best behavior to ensure their safety, as well as that of your staff. The following are some suggested policies to implement in your daycare business.

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C E R T I F I C A T I ON Dog Evaluation Policy The first important policy to set your groups up for success is to establish your evaluation process and clearly define the dogs that will be accepted for play. Your dog acceptance policy should clearly outline the behavior, size, age and health requirements for dogs that are candidates for group play. Your dog evaluation process should be designed to screen for inappropriate and/or aggressive behavior to exclude these dogs from your groups. It is helpful to obtain background information about the dog from the owner prior to

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Council

evaluating them for group play. The information received should confirm that the dog has had positive prior experiences in social dog environments and enjoys the interactions. It is important to outline a formal evaluation process that is consistently performed prior to adding any dog to a playgroup. The evaluation should start with an assessment of the dog’s response to new people. During group play, it is very important for dogs to listen to leader cues and direction. Staff will need to be able to safely leash, walk and handle all dogs that participate in play.


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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PLAY Schedule

POLICIES For good health and emotional well–being of all dogs, it is highly recommended that formal rest periods are included for all dogs during the day.

The most important part of the evaluation process is the observation of a dog’s greeting and social skills. Safety is your primary focus, but your policy should also address: • Evaluation of new dogs, one at a time, with other prescreened dogs already accepted to assess compatibility • Identification of appropriate behavior for acceptance, such as friendly responses to people and other dogs without excessive stress • Description of dog–to–dog introduction procedure step (Be sure to include if dogs are off–leash, on long line or on loose leashes.) • Requirement of a dog profile from owner prior to evaluation, which should include sections on dog personality, social and obedience training, and any behavioral problems or medical conditions. Any dog combined with non–family dogs for group play should be formally

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evaluated. This includes dogs that are lodging and participating in short dog play activity groups. The only way to keep all dogs safe is to take time to perform a screening assessment on their social skills and tolerance of the dog play environment. Play Schedule Policy1 A policy on play schedules is also recommended. The physical play areas available and your acceptance policy will both be factors to your final schedule. For good health and emotional well–being of all dogs, it is highly recommended that formal rest periods are included for all dogs during the day. Options for providing formal rest periods for dog play include: • Rotation of matched dog groups between play times and rest periods (an advantage to this method is sharing play area space between multiple dog groups) • A one–to–two–hour formal rest period mid–day for all dogs • AM and PM formal rest periods for all dogs on a rotation basis. Some clients may be concerned if their dog is not participating in play during a full play–day visit. As a pet professional, you can help educate dog owners that it is not natural or healthy for dogs to play non–stop for a full day. You can point out that well–managed play is focused on quality of the play sessions, not quantity of time spent in group. Quality play sessions include physical activity, mental stimulation and work for all the dogs participating. The result from centers that operate quality play sessions is a tired, healthy dog versus an exhausted dog from over–stimulation or stress. Scheduling morning play sessions to start after lodging, feeding and cleaning is completed is a great way to cross–utilize staff members. Play sessions can also be scheduled to end prior to the start of evening meals and potty walks for lodging dogs. Fitting play sessions around lodging dog care allows for sharing space and staff between services.


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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Collar

POLICY Dogs play with their mouths and there have been tragic accidents and deaths of dogs as a result of getting collars caught in the mouth of another dog.

Collar Policy Establishing a policy on whether dogs wear collars in play or not is an important safety decision. Dogs play with their mouths and there have been tragic accidents and deaths of dogs as a result of getting collars caught in the mouth of another dog. Each operator must decide the risk of dogs playing naked versus wearing collars for identification. Acceptable dog group collar policy choices include: • No collars or only breakaway/ paper collars allowed (used to identify dogs). If the “no collars” during play is being considered, be sure your facility is set up to greatly minimize the risk of dog escapes and ensures effective dog identification procedures. • Dogs wear their own collars (must meet facility collar guidelines; exclude leather, chain and any collar not easily cut off). • Dogs wear collar supplied by facility. In the case of collars being worn, a procedure that addresses equipment and actions to free dogs entangled on another dog’s collar or facility equipment should be in place.

Food Policy It is recommended that no food or treats be allowed in dog groups. This includes human food for staff, dog food or dog treats. Dogs that get along socially can resource guard or become aggressive when food is present. To ensure safety, no food should be allowed during group dog play sessions. Dog Grouping Policy Another important safety policy to establish is how dogs will be divided and assigned to playgroups. To achieve high safety levels and have dogs enjoy participating in dog play, consider separating: • Large dogs • Small dogs • Tiny dogs (e.g., less than 15 pounds) • Senior dogs • Puppies younger than 5 months. Mixing dogs of varying sizes increases risk of accidents and injury. You will also want to match dogs for similar play styles together. The typical play styles observed include: • Chasing: Dogs that like to chase and be chased • Neck biting: Dogs lie down and mouth each other’s face and neck • Cat–like: Bat one another with front paws; often observed in small dogs • Body–slamming: Wrestling play of the larger, sporting breeds. Sizes of groups can vary from very small groups of 5–8 dogs to very large groups of 30 plus dogs. Be sure you provide adequate physical space and staff leadership to keep play safe for all dogs participating. In larger groups, it is more challenging to keep arousal levels low and keep play safe and enjoyable for all dogs. Dog Management Tools2 Staff leaders will require guidance on the tools they should use to manage the dogs during group play. Dogs respond best to good leadership and a positive approach and early intervention. Encourage staff to be proactive and set dogs up for success. Physical

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


handling and manipulation should not be required if you have good dog evaluation policies and staff training protocols. Recommended dog management tools to use for group management include: • Obedience cues • Splitting or redirecting • Timeouts and rest periods • Leash walking Additionally, procedures are required for dealing with dog–to–dog fights. At a minimum, procedures should address the following: • Prevention: Staff training to prevent fights by observing and recognizing behaviors that can result in dog aggression. • Termination: Identify tools and techniques to aid in stopping fights and keep other dogs away from the scene. • Isolation & Evaluation: Identify playgroup re–introduction time–line for dogs involved in fight (if applicable) and describe criteria to allow involved dogs to continue in group play.

Policy for Managing High–Risk Events3 An important aspect to safe group play is keeping dog arousal levels low. Arousal and aggression are closely linked, so events that increase the excitement and arousal of dogs need to be identified and properly managed. These events frequently trigger over excitement and arousal levels of dogs, which can be considered high–risk: • Dogs arriving to playgroup • Dogs departing playgroup • Staff shift changes • Wildlife in or near dog play areas • Toys or games.

Policies on moving dogs that focus on staff leadership and dog self–control are recommended, such as: • Physical greeting entry areas and dogs only enter when they are calm, plus dogs in the group are also calm • Dogs are moved on leash and/or required to sit and wait at gates and doors • Dogs are released from rest enclosures only when calm (i.e., increase

self–control by requiring a sit to open enclosure door) • Staff use body blocking as a barrier between strangers passing by and dogs in group • Use obedience cues to redirect dogs when you spot wildlife or other distractions near play areas • Staff leaders start and end all games. • Leaders control access to toys (e.g., dogs do not always have access to play with toys). To be effective, the above suggested policies need to be consistently followed by all staff that lead playgroups. This will ensure all measures are being taken to keep your daycare dogs and staff as safe as possible. References 1,3 “Off–Leash Dog Play: A Complete Guide to Safety & Fun” by Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs. 2 “Knowing Dogs 201” by Robin Bennett and Susan Briggs.

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&

PROGRAMS CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS By Steven Applebaum, President of Animal Behavior College Inc. As most everyone who works in a boarding kennel or at a doggie daycare knows, dogs behave differently there than they do at home. If you’re considering offering board and train programs at your facility, it’s important to understand the limitations of what can be accomplished, as well as how to manage client expectations.

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


B

oard and train means that, while a dog is boarded, a professional dog trainer

trains the dog. Programs can be as short as a week or as long as several months. Cost varies by location and length of program but it is not

Programs like this can be a great profit center for boarding kennels which is why many facilities offer them.

uncommon for board and train programs to be priced at $1000–$2500+. Programs like this can be a great profit center for boarding kennels which is why many facilities offer them. Typically, the dog is trained to respond to obedience cues (sometimes called commands). Additionally, some problem behaviors might be addressed. It is here that challenges with client perceptions must be taken into consideration in order to avoid potential problems. Dog owners looking to train their dogs usually have a list of items they want to accomplish. These include problem solutions to issues like housetraining, stopping the dog

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from chewing inappropriate objects, digging holes in the backyard, running out of doors and gates, stealing food from counters, jumping on people, walking comfortably on a leash, and learning to listen to obedience cues like, sit, stay come and down. While all of the abovementioned items are perfectly reasonable requests, obedience training and problem solving are two different things. Obedience Training Obedience cues can be taught to a dog by a professional trainer and, provided the owner is taught handling techniques and follows them, their dog should listen to them as well. As part of any training

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Owners must be taught how to

learned behaviors and avoid encouraging improper ones.

to take a specific number of handling lessons and promise to practice reinforcing the obedience cues their dogs were taught in kennel once they take their dog home. Commitments like this on the part of owners help establish reasonable owner expectations and create a much more realistic training plan. Problem Behavior Many problem behaviors that occur in the owner’s home environment are almost impossible to address in kennel. For example, teaching a dog not to dig in the yard or to cease eliminating in the house really need to be treated where these behaviors take place. That means in the owner’s home. While this might seem obvious, it

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

isn’t always clear to clients. Dog owners shelling out several thousand dollars for training might expect that, for that much money, problem behaviors will be solved. What’s more, owners don’t always differentiate between obedience and problem solving. In their minds both are included as part of “training”. This isn’t to suggest that problem issues can’t be addressed in kennel. Some socialization challenges including fearfulness with people, overly rambunctious behavior like jumping, excessively rough play and some types of aggression can be effectively dealt with. However, even behaviors that can be modified in a controlled boarding environment won’t necessarily remain changed once the dog is returned home. That’s because owners must be taught how to properly reinforce learned behaviors and avoid encouraging improper ones. Problem behaviors that can only be addressed at home must be the owner’s responsibility to address. Your training program can include advice, but short of moving in to a client’s home or taking the dog to live with them, there is little a dog trainer can physically do to housetrain a client’s dog. Some board and train programs include an in–home component in which the trainer will go to a client’s home, assess the dog’s behavior issues and offer suggestions to the owner on how to solve them. These lessons are usually offered after the dog has completed the board and train portion of the program. Problem behaviors that can be addressed at the kennel should be clearly spelled out. Additionally, owners must agree to continue reinforcement and training once their dog comes home.


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Training In Daycare Doggie day care facilities can also offer training programs. While many offer group classes at their locations, some may wish to offer a variation of board and train in which a trainer works with the dog once a day. The same basic challenges can crop up here if owner expectations aren’t managed. What’s more, consistency issues can become problematic almost immediately when this type of training program is offered in doggie day care. Stop and think about it for a second; let’s say a client pays to have a trainer work with their dog twice a week while the pet is at doggie day care. During these training sessions the trainer properly reinforces the “sit” cue 40x a session, or 80x per week. By the end of the first week, the dog is sitting consistently on cue for the trainer

regardless of distractions. Sounds great, right? Sure, but during this same week the owner also gives the “sit” cue 10x every day and doesn’t properly reinforce it. This means that 70x a week the owner is teaching their dog not to listen to them. After a week or three of this, the owner starts complaining that they don’t see any real improvement on the part of their dog. This is why any training program must include instructions for owners so that they don’t unwittingly sabotage themselves. Board and train programs can be tremendously helpful for pets and the people who love them while being highly profitable for the facilities that offer them. However, to avoid headaches and real problems, client expectations must be carefully managed through clear communication. It is also

vital to select a qualified trainer, a topic I will address in an upcoming article. Steven Appelbaum is a professional dog trainer and founder of Animal Behavior College (ABC), a vocational school specializing in animal career training programs. ABC offers pet grooming, dog training, cat training and veterinary assistance programs and will be launching an aquatics management and zookeeper assistant program in 2019. The school also offers a variety of continuing education programs on subjects including; pet nutrition, pet massage, dog walking, pet sitting and training shelter dogs. Aside from managing ABC, Appelbaum works as a freelance author, lecturer and pet business consultant. For more information about Animal Behavior College, please visit the website at www.animalbehaviorcollege.com

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BUSINESS

By Laura Laaman

I

n 2019, the pet care industry is more competitive than ever. In every region, fierce rivals with deep pockets are trying to lure away your potential customers and profits. This makes it more difficult and expensive to draw in pet parents (and retain your existing customers). The ever–changing, competitive landscape means a winning (but dated) marketing strategy from even a few years ago is unlikely to help you stand out today. Most business owners hope or assume they’re doing well in marketing—but do you know for sure? Here are some tips on how to make sure your marketing is as strong as possible.

18

Start Out with Clear Goals The first step is to clarify what successful marketing looks like for your business. Having well–defined, quantifiable goals allows you to visualize your path to success, making it easier for you to climb above the fierce competition. Realistic, attainable goals help generate ambition for your team. Think of goals as your company’s charting device— they let you know where you’re going and how you’re doing along the way. The power of realizing and obtaining your goals is in direct proportion with your visualization of your goals. So if they’re not well–defined, they won’t lead you to success. There’s a big

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

difference between “wouldn’t it be great if…” and a real goal. To be a true goal, it needs to be: • Written down • Quantified (have a measured amount and time) • Realistic • A challenge As you work towards your goals, you may find you need to adjust course now and then. That’s why having a clear, visual image of your efforts is crucial to developing the best marketing approach. If your path to success is marked by realistic goal points, you’ll soon establish the momentum to propel yourself ahead of the rest.


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Track Everything! Good documentation is your friend—the numbers don’t lie. Keeping good, consistent records is a crucial practice for any successful business, and it’s equally important to your marketing. How many new pet parents are you reaching? What services are your customers using most? Where are prospective customers first finding you? The most successful businesses check their numbers at regular intervals, allowing them to compare to previous periods and examine any trends. You can learn a lot about the effectiveness of your marketing efforts by looking at the quantified details. Wise business owners take the time to determine the most important values for their business. While this might not look the same for any two companies, here are a few of the most important items for a pet care business to stay on top of: • Amount of incoming leads. How many new pet parents contact you each week, month or year? As you may recall from one of our previous articles, even the strongest pet care facility loses about 30% of their existing clients every year due to reasons outside their control (families move, pets age out or pass away, etc.). A steady stream of new clients is critical to the health of your business—so it’s important to pay close attention to your incoming leads. • Lead conversion. If you have a healthy flow of pet parent prospects, the critical question is, how many are actually booking your services? What services are they purchasing? Are you selling activities or add-ons? What percentage of new client bookings include grooming or bathing in their reservations? These numbers paint a clear picture of which elements of your business are working and which ones aren’t. With this knowledge you can attack your weak points head-on and with confidence.


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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Are they being referred? Maybe they saw your marketing materials at the vet’s office, or did they find your website on a search engine (and which one)?

• Sources of leads. Where are pet parent prospects hearing about you? Are they being referred? Maybe they saw your marketing materials at the vet’s office, or did they find your website on a search engine (and which one)? Collecting this information highlights the strongest areas of your

before clicking away? According to a

Do you want to track your site’s search

2018 study published by Time Magazine,

traffic? Page speed? Bounce rate? Your

most stay less than 15 seconds. This

website host might provide some of these

means your website needs to be sophisti-

metrics in–house. Others you can down-

cated and compelling enough to grab the

load for free or purchase. No matter the

pet parent’s interest upon first glance.

tools you use, this information can help

Your website can and should be a powerful generator of prospective cli-

make your website as effective as possible. Before you start measuring though,

ents—if calibrated correctly. How many

it’s important to have a strong website

unique web visitors are you getting?

in place. Your website is the digital link

Which pages are they clicking? How

between you and oodles of pet parent

tools business owners use.

long do they stay on your site? What

prospects. Here are few tips for making

search terms are your visitors using?

your website perform at its best:

Website Performance

Thousands of web apps and programs

marketing as well as opportunities for improvement. Email surveys, outbound calls and call tracking are some of the

Do you know how much time the average visitor spends on your web page

• Make sure it’s clean and pro-

exist for the sole purpose of tracking

fessional. If your website is messy and

your website’s performance.

incoherent, so is the image of your company. Simple yet compelling messaging goes a long way in convincing pet parents

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to trust their pet to your care. Most pet parents are looking for the same level of professionalism and quality they expect from a human daycare. • Show high–resolution, dynamic photos. The visual platform of a website is the perfect way to showcase the experience at your facility. Display high-quality photos of dogs having fun together, enjoying your playground or swimming pool, and bonding with staff. Don’t forget to show off your beautiful facility with all its fun features. • Remind web visitors you provide an enriching experience. Many pet

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parents prefer knowing their pet will be exercised, mentally stimulated and having fun while in your care. The naturally interactive


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and social environment at your facility is something customers can’t get with the popular pet sitting apps, and you can leverage this to your advantage. • Include compelling calls to action. Eye–catching, carefully selected calls to action are instrumental in an effective website strategy. Simply providing your company’s contact information isn’t enough. Special offers can be used to catch a prospective customer’s attention and give you a jump on your competition. • Be sure it’s a mobile–friendly design. According to a 2018 report by Quartz, over 70% of web traffic comes from mobile device users. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, it’s likely clumsy and difficult for a massive portion of your visitors to navigate. Adaptability is a Strength As the numbers come in, they help paint a detailed picture of your marketing trajectory. Your company’s inherent strengths become highlighted and potential weak points are exposed—critical information for developing the best possible marketing. Knowledge is power, after all. Being able to change course on the fly gives you an edge over less prepared rivals—and every advantage matters in this competitive environment. Laura Laaman is president of Outstanding Pet Care. Outstanding Pet Care guarantees to substantially increase the revenues of clients with its proven services. If you’re interested in growing your revenues, schedule an individual consultation with Laura Laaman or one of her team members. Call Outstanding Pet Care at 1-888-735-5667 or go to www. OutstandingPetCare.com. 

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


What’s your vision for the future of your business?

3 NO.

Questions to ask as you enter discussions with potential partners.

01

– Nicole Demoro, City Bark. NVA partner since 2017.

NO.

02

NO.

03

Is it the right culture fit for your team?

Are there flexible deal structures?

How comprehensive are the support services?

As you begin considering your options for selling your pet resort business, it’s important to find a partner aligned with your values, respectful of the individuality of what you’ve built, and equipped to grow your business, while your team and culture remain intact.

Because selling your pet resort is such a personal decision, you’ll want to understand what types of options are available, and to what level they can tailor the terms to meet your needs.

As you contemplate transitioning your business, you’ll want to know every aspect is covered. Seek out a partner with a dedicated team seasoned in marketing (including digital advertising and social media strategy), web development and hosting, client satisfaction surveys, IT, HR, accounting, taxes, legal, call centers and more.

Ask around to find out which buyers have the best reputation for caring for pets and the people who love them.

ASK IF THE BUYER CAN: • Make 100% cash offers with no finance contingency • Offer Joint Venture partnerships for growth and flexibility • Buy the real estate outright or lease from you

NVA partners with over 600 flourishing Pet Resorts and Veterinary Hospitals in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Our passionate, visionary local pet resort and hospital leaders embody NVA’s unique entrepreneurial spirit. We’d be more than happy to talk through your questions and concerns. You can reach us at 888.767.7755 or info@nva.com. PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

25


FACEBOOK

GROUPS FOR FUN AND PROFIT By Jen Phillips April

C

hances are, you use Facebook for marketing your pet care facility already. You probably post cute dog videos, pictures and socialization tips on a regular basis on your business page to attract attention and bring in clients. However, you may not have realized the power of Facebook Groups. Simply put, groups are a way for brands to connect with their target audience and build a powerful brand by building loyalty and connection. What’s the difference between a Facebook Group and a Facebook Business Page? I’m glad you asked! Groups are more interactive than a Business Page and encourage discussion which can be super useful. It’s also a way to segment your customers and even find professional development and network with colleagues. Which means, your customers may initially find you via your Business Page, but a well–run group builds community and loyalty. Plus, as of the time of this article was written, you can boost posts and run advertising only on Business Pages. Let’s take a closer look at the types of groups.

26

THE 3 TYPES OF FACEBOOK GROUPS AND HOW THEY WORK As of 2019, Facebook offers three different types of

groups for you to choose from. Which you’ll choose is based on your goals and how you intend to use it.

1. Public Groups: These are easily found by people searching by keyword terms. Anyone can see the members (even if they themselves aren’t members) and the group content can show up in anyone’s newsfeed. In this way, it’s similar to a Business Page except groups lend themselves to more interaction than is usually found on Pages.

2. Closed Groups: This is one of the most popular types of Facebook Groups, mainly because you have more control over the membership and who sees the posts. To become a member of a closed group, one has to request it or be added by an existing member. Also, only existing members will see the group content and/or see the content in their newsfeed.

3. Secrets Groups: These are essentially invisible and are available by invite only. Only current members will see the existing content.

Now that you know there are three types of Facebook Groups, you may be wondering which is right for your business.

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

27


You can choose to start your Facebook Group with any security you choose and change it later. That makes it easy if you’re undecided. Though I’d choose a closed group first because it offers a level of privacy while still being found. Which Facebook Group Setting Do You Choose for Your Pet Care Business? As you can see, the biggest difference in Facebook Groups is the privacy settings. Here’s why you’d want to choose one over the other: Both public and closed Facebook Groups serve to build a community. You can use it to start conversations, to address concerns, to make emergency announcements or interact with your clientele. Most businesses choose to create a closed group. That way, their conversations are kept within the group confines and people have to ask to be admitted.

Another cool feature of having a closed group is that you can ask questions before you let someone in, including asking for their email address. That way it does double duty to build your list too. You might choose to use a secret group for an extra level of privacy. For example, if you offer a VIP level membership to your pet boarding facility, then you may choose to offer a secret group option just for them. You can then use it to make special announcements, offer them insider information and other perks. Can you choose one now and change it later? Yes. You can choose to

start your Facebook Group with any security you choose and change it later. That makes it easy if you’re undecided. Though I’d choose a closed group first because it offers a level of privacy while still being found. Facebook Groups Are Also Good for Networking and Professional Development As a professional freelance writer, Facebook Groups are a wealth of networking opportunities and professional development. The good ones offer inspiration on tough days, marketing ideas, and even nuts and bolts business

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practices, like how to handle contracts. These useful groups aren’t limited to the writing community, they also exist for all kinds of industries. In fact, you may be a part of one yourself. If you’re not, here’s a great opportunity to start one. You can start a closed group of other pet boarding professionals and discuss what’s working and where you want to improve. Or go with a secret group for a select few people you hand–select. Successful Group Best Practices If you’re wondering what to include in your client–facing group, think of what would interest your pet parents. For example, maybe you showcase one of your regular clients every week (the furry ones, not the human ones). You could do short Facebook Lives that introduce your staff or anything new happening at your facility. Are you now offering dog grooming? Then show the dog grooming area and introduce us to the dog groomer. Another time, you can have the groomer demonstrate the proper way to cut nails or when to trim tangled fur vs. brushing it out. You could share information about how to socialize your dog and all the things you want your clients to know. You could do a regular Q&A. The cool thing is, an active group builds community because people get to know one another. As you can see, hosting a Facebook Group gives you another way to connect with your clientele and/or network with your colleagues. Do you already have a Facebook Group for business? If not, start one today!


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TIPS

for

with

Customers By Melissa Viera

32

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


W

orking with customers in the professional pet care industry is a rollercoaster. On some days, a customer tells you how important you have been in their pet’s life, or surprises you with a card just to say thank you and you get tears in your eyes remembering that what you do is important. On other days, you want to go home and hide after having customers show up late, argue with you about their matted pets, or rush you through a check–in. If you dream of having customers that are always polite and understanding, then you are going to leave work disappointed very often. The difference between an offensive comment or a complaint from a customer and one from someone you know and love is that, if you do not know the customer well, you cannot tell if they are just having a bad day, and you do not know all of the wonderful things about them that would make you look past this one harsh moment. When we know and care about someone, it is easy to look past it when they are having a bad day and they say something offensive. You know that they don’t mean it because you have come to appreciate every part of their unique personality.  Providing the perfect customer experience is easier said than done, especially when you are so passionate about what you do. At the end of the day, a pet caretaker has an unwritten agreement with the animal that they are going to do what is in the animal’s best interest, even if it creates an inconvenience to your customer. Your human customers may not always be understanding.   If you want to provide your customers with exceptional experiences and remain calm and not bothered when working with challenging customers, here are a few things you can do:

1

Even when it seems impossible, do your best to be kind. Being kind does not mean you must be weak or dishonest. It means that you will show that you respect and care for others. then it is no fault of your customer’s for asking the same questions repeatedly or asking you to go the extra mile. Decide what your boundaries are and stick to them. You can have boundaries and your customers will understand. Take away the worry for nervous customers. Have you ever been worried about something and you tell a friend, thinking that sharing it will make you feel better, but it only makes it worse? That is because worrying alone is sometimes no different or worse than worrying with a friend. If instead of getting stressed out

2

with you, your friend confidently tells you that they are going to take care of it for you, you are going to feel so much better! If your customers have concerns, hear them out and take away their worry. Your customer has to see that you fully understand their concern and that you are going to take extra precautions and, in a way, worry about it for them, in order for them to be worry–free. Be kind and honest. Even when it seems impossible, do your best to be kind. Being kind does not mean you must be weak or dishonest. It means that you

3

Be up front about your boundaries and stick to them. If you do not make it clear that you have boundaries, PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

33


will show that you respect and care for others. You should always be honest, even if it is not what your customer wants to

grateful. When a customer gets

and honesty? You can be kind and still difficult to be kind to someone that is not

have bad days and imperfections.

the good things you wish for that person and their pets. Wish them the best. This exercise can be very transformative.

you upset or angry, instead of feeding into

self–confident. If you are finding it

like you, they are only human and they

after the worst of days, you can find a way to reflect and be

hear. Who doesn't appreciate kindness

being kind to you, try to remember that,

Wish them the best. Even

5

those emotions, try doing the opposite. Sit down and write everything down that you like about that person. You might find more things about them that are admirable than you think. Then write all

Be grateful for your best customers. If you want to

avoid burnout, then you must constantly remind yourself of

the things that make you feel good, even when you are having a tough day or a tough week. Think about the customers that have been with you for years and

Pet Care Facility

the ones that proudly tell all their friends about you. Remember how grateful you are for the customers that support you.

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Let go and move on. Things happen. Good things happen and bad things happen. Sometimes we need to

spend less time mentally categorizing things into groups of good and bad and just let go and move on.

• Designed over 70 facilities, including veterinary hospitals • Built 17 pet care facilities • 27-year owner/operator of a Pet Resort!

7

Learn to say “no”. You owe it to yourself to stand up for what you believe in and do what is right for you.

If you must say “no” to a customer because it is the right thing, then do it.

DESIGN

• Architectural – Engineering

Plumbing Electrical Mechanical

Even if you risk a bad review or losing a customer. Always be honest with yourself and the animals. Do what is right.

CONSULTING

• Site Selection • Business Plan • Feasibility Study • Demographics • Operations

Don’t let a bad day or a difficult customer make you feel defeated. Everyone has bad days. If you can handle difficult customers and move on when you are feeling upset, you are going to leave work with less weighing

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a challenge—and you might just find

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35


IT ’S THE CAT ’S

By Kathy Hosler

Photos by Mily Cooper Photography

“I admit it,” says Shana Martin with an infectious grin,

“I am a lifelong cataholic and I’m proud of it. Cats have enriched my life since I was a baby.”

36

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE


S

hana is the founder and owner of Club Cat, a boutique luxury feline– only hotel and resort. They opened their doors in early 2019. Cats have always been an integral part of Shana's life. When she had to go away on business or wanted to take a vacation, she stressed about who would care for her cats. "I had a great neighbor, but she was not always available when I needed her," says Shana. "Unfortunately, I didn't have family nearby to help me out. "Hiring a pet sitter wasn't an option either because I never felt comfortable giving a complete

stranger access to my home and personal belongings. And, I didn't want to put my babies in a facility where they would just be kept in a small cage, and possibly be exposed to the constant noise of strange, barking dogs." Studies have overwhelmingly revealed that cats crave human interaction. Being gone for a week and leaving your cat alone with food, water and three litter boxes just doesn't cut it. Shana knew that, and dreamed of opening a cat–only luxury hotel someday. When she went on business trips, she would visit cat hotels and boarding facilities in those areas. That

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

gave her ideas of all the things she wanted to include in her cat resort. Soon, Shana began to design the facility of her dreams—Club Cat. "I did not want the cats to be in cages," Shana shares emphatically. "I wanted them to be in very large suites, with walls—not bars. I did not want to go cage–free either. That presents too many chances for disease transmission or a cat fight. And, I personally would never want my cats to be with cats that they didn't know. "It was a lengthy process to find the right location," says Shana. "It needed to be easily accessible, convenient and centrally located. We found a great spot in Irvine, California.

37


Club Cat Suites Each suite is eight feet tall which allows the cats to pursue their natural desire to explore vertically. And each has an enclosed sky–box balcony.

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

It’s two miles from the John Wayne Airport, near many freeways, and right next to the Southern California Specialty Veterinary Hospital." Club Cat's unique suites have been designed just for cats. Each suite is eight feet tall which allows the cats to pursue their natural desire to explore vertically. And each has an enclosed sky–box balcony. The fifteen large suites are 8' x 3 ½' x 3½', and the five deluxe suites are 8' x 5½' x 3½'. They each have a private bed and bath (litter box) and several shelves and ledges for climbing and exploring. Shana, who is a freelance writer, wanted Club Cat to have a literary theme.


PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

39


Live Web Cams An owner can be enjoying themselves on a beach somewhere, and not have to worry about their cat. They can check in on him/her anytime on the webcam.

WEB CAM SOLUTIONS FOR PET CARE PROVIDERS

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PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

"Cats and books just really go together," she says. "Curling up by the fire with a good book and a cat on your lap, what could be better than that?" Shana decided to combine her passion for cats and literature by using cat-themed puns to name the suites. Romeow and Juliet, A Tail of Two Kitties, Catterpurry Tails and The Great Catsby are a few of the suites available. Technology enables the feline guests to enjoy their vacation, and their owners to have peace of mind and stay connected with their precious kitty. Feline guests are treated to CatFlix, cat friendly programming that is streamed on flat-screen TV's. And each suite has CatCast, a live webcam so that the cat parents can view their kitty 24/7. An owner can be enjoying themselves on a beach somewhere, and not have to worry about their cat. They can check in on him/her anytime on the webcam. If just watching their fur kid is not enough, owners can schedule a CatChat by phone


"I don't care what industry you are in, customer service is number one!"

Shana Martin

Owner & Founder

or mobile device using Face Time. Guests even get to enjoy Happy (Club Cat) Hour during their stay. Club Cat has a large salon play area, complete with toys and climbing structures that can be enjoyed by one cat family at a time. It is sanitized between each play date. The resort features amenities such as Pawi–cures, Derrière trims and calming therapy, as well as a nightly purr–down service. And, all throughout the day the staff members share lots of cuddles and play time with their guests. An easy to navigate website and social media presence are crucial to a business's success. Club Cat's website, www.clubcatusa.com, allows visitors to tour their amazing facility and view their suites. All of their services and amenities are listed on the website and owners can select them when they book their pet's reservation online. "I've worked in corporate and non– profit marketing for many years," says Shana. "So I realize how important it is. Today, social media, and online and digital marketing pretty much dominate our industry, particularly retail. While social media is a great tool, small businesses still need to be strategic with their media promotions. For us, there is nothing better than word–of–mouth advertising from a satisfied client."

When Shana visited other facilities, she paid close attention to their staff and how they treated her. Did they make eye contact? Was she greeted as soon as she entered the lobby? "I don't care what industry you are in, customer service is number one! We are taking care of beloved members of the family," says Shana. "It's important to me to hire people who are customer service savvy. When a client comes through our doors, I want them to feel that their needs and wants, and certainly those of their

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

cats, are of the utmost importance to us." Club Cat was founded to fill a niche that cats and their owners have needed for a long time—a place that they can turn to that gives them comfort and where they really know they don't have to worry about their cat. "Cats are very important parts of our lives and give us such happiness," says Shana. "They deserve as much from us." Thanks to Shana Martin, everyone at Club Cat is a specialist in The Art of Purr!

41


FACILITY

D A

NN

DO

PET CARE PROFESSIONAL SAFETY:

WHO’S TAKING

CARE OF

YOU? By Khris Berry

42

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

onna works as a groomer in a busy boarding kennel in a busy burg. She works with several other employees; groomers, trainers, daycare attendants and kennel attendants, and they all enjoy a vibrant workplace with happy clientele returning regularly. Her workplace is like most—it has tubs, tables, gates, cages, dryers, grooming equipment and pets. There are electrical cords, plumbing fixtures, doors opening and closing, phones ringing, and clients coming and going. Her days are filled with barking dogs and bustling business concerns; such is the life of a pet care employee in a thriving pet service business. Donna’s co–worker brought her new puppy to work recently—everyone enjoyed meeting and spending time with Peanut. Watching the little ball of fur playing around their workspaces filled the tedium of long hours. Peanut became comfortable following people around the kennel and found a cozy sleeping space at the foot of Donna’s grooming table. Days turned into a few weeks and everyone became accustomed to Peanut’s antics; greeting customers, jumping into piles of hair, puppy–napping in the afternoon at someone’s feet. Peanut became a staple at the boarding kennel. One afternoon, Peanut awoke early from his nap and stepped into the path of Donna as she returned to her table. She saw him and swerved too late. Donna stepped on Peanut and, caught off balance, she fell to the floor as well. The aftermath was not pleasant. Peanut suffered a broken pelvis and so did Donna. While Peanut will survive—and so will the groomer—the collateral damage from the accident was felt by many. There were medical bills, both canine and human. The unfortunate employee experienced loss of income, pain, and her co–workers experienced loss of much needed help to service customers. Her


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AVOIDABLE

INJURIES The easiest group of risks to assess and eliminate include:

bites, cuts, scratches

product related issues

pets jumping from tables, cages or tubs

stepping on or tripping over loose pets

unfamiliar dogs greeting one another

employer experienced an increase in workers’ compensation rates and the loss of income for her time off. Peanut meant no harm, and everyone enjoyed his presence, but if someone had assessed the risk he posed playing free in their workspace, the story could have had a much better outcome. Pet professionals often become unaware of their surroundings over time. Likewise, they become less mindful of the hazards to themselves and pets that can occur in their everyday environment. Unfortunate but common injuries to both employees and pets can happen to even the most compassionate pet service professionals. Staying aware of your surroundings and learning to assess risks to yourself, your co-workers and the pets in your care is critical to preventing injuries. We all know that accidents happen— particularly when dealing with animals. Learning to eliminate some of these

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accidents from your workplace will allow not only you, but your customers to enjoy a greater peace of mind when you are caring for their pets. The easiest group of risks to assess and eliminate are avoidable injuries. Avoidable injuries include bites, cuts, scratches, shampoo or product related issues, drying mishaps, pets jumping from elevations such as tables, cages or tubs, stepping on or tripping over loose pets, or even an unaware attendant allowing unfamiliar dogs to greet one another, just to name a few. These injuries are generally avoidable because you can predict that they may happen based upon experience, animal knowledge and practicing basic safe handling policies. Many pet professionals become good at practicing safety for their furry clients before they think of doing so for themselves. Workplace safety doesn’t just stop at minimizing bite risk—it’s much more comprehensive.


Pet service employees need to learn to see danger, and not just in the snapping canines of a voracious terrier, but also in their everyday interactions with their equipment and workplace. Pet service employees need to learn to see danger, and not just in the snapping canines of a voracious terrier, but also in their everyday interactions with their equipment and workplace. All pet service employees need to learn appropriate animal handling for anxious, temperamental or aggressive pets, how to properly move pets in and out of holding areas such as cages, kennels and exercise yards, and even how to properly walk pets on a leash to minimize falls and trauma. Many employees have access to protection and prevention at their disposal, i.e. ear and eye protection, masks, muzzles, and many other aids to prevent

 



injury or illness. What’s stopping you from using them? In a culture where you are judged by the care you provide for pets, often times, the care provided for employees is overlooked. Creating awareness to common health risks of your chosen career will help educate not only yourself, but future co-workers as well. Basic employee health dialog begins with taking care of you, so you can take care of your clients. You can create a culture of self-care in your working environment by utilizing the tools you have available to protect yourself. A career in pet services is chock full of inherent hazards—from your

environment to your unpredictable clientele. As you learn to assess the risks around you and then employ good judgement, you will begin to practice better health and safety standards for yourself and your furry clients. As animal caretakers, it’s natural to want to provide a safe and protective environment for our canine and feline guests. However, looking after your own safety is just as critical. Safeguarding against common industry health issues will allow you to serve the clients you love in an industry you are passionate about for many years to come.

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ANIMAL HEALTH

TIFY HOW TO IDEN T A HEALTHY PE

By Genete M. Bowen

Animals can’t talk. They can’t say, ‘Hey, I’m not feeling well...I might need medical attention.’ So it is up to us to figure it out. That means that we, as animal owners, care givers, groomers, etc., must be able to ascertain a deviation from the norm.

T

he best way to be able to spot a potential problem is to know what constitutes a healthy animal. By establishing a baseline, it is then possible to tell if a pet’s health is off kilter. Though animals can’t talk, their bodies can divulge a wealth of information that can be revealed with a healthy pet check. The best way to evaluate an animal is by performing a head–to–tail assessment, and by knowing what is normal for pets in your care.

46

Head–To–Tail Assessment on a Dog or Cat I believe that thoroughly assessing an animal is as important to their wellbeing as proper nutrition, exercise and love. The head–to–tail assessment can be given like a massage, but with a little more attention to various parts of the body. Learn to identify the normal signs of the body, because animals are stoic and want to please, you may not realize what’s going on with them until it’s too late.

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

For pet professionals, this will only make you a better caretaker by adding an assessment into your daily routine. When you’re doing an assessment, look for areas that are hot, cold, swollen or painful, or for any distinct changes to the animal’s body which could be a sign of infection or illness. • Eyes

I like to begin by giving the animal a little massage, then check the eyes and work my way down to


the feet. A healthy eye should be bright, should have no tearing, no redness around the white of the eye, and the third eyelid should not be protruding outward. There should not be any glazing or discoloration over the eye, except in the case of a cataract on an aging pet. Check the mucus membrane of the eyes to see if the animal is getting enough oxygen to the organs, like the heart and brain, by gently pulling down the eyelid. The mucus membrane on a healthy animal’s eye should appear pink in color. • Ears

Lift the ears and check to see that there is no odor. A healthy pet’s ear should have a pinkish hue and should not have any discharge or yeast buildup, sensitivity or heat radiation. I recommend regularly checking and periodically cleaning an animal’s ears to prevent infection. Some pets are more prone to yeast

buildup and ear infections than others. • Nose

A nose on a healthy pet should be slightly moist to the touch and be free of cracks or missing skin. We all know wrinkles come with age; so older animals may have some slight cracking. • Gums and Teeth

The gums should be moist and have no swelling or bleeding. Healthy gums should have minimal plaque buildup around the teeth. The gums are windows directly to the body’s organs, so neglecting to take care of an animal’s teeth can result in a shorter lifespan. The teeth should not be abscessed, loose or broken, like slab fractures where a piece of the tooth has been sheared off and can expose a nerve. There should also be no strong smell to the pet’s breath. A sweet acetone smell to the breath can signify there might be

Ears

LOOK FOR • Pinkish Hue

• No Buildup

• No Odor

• No Sensitivity

• No Infections • No Heat Radiation an issue with the kidneys. Animals’ gums should look pink in color. Examine the mucus membrane of the mouth by checking the capillary refill time (CRT) to see if the pet is getting ample oxygen supply to the brain, heart and body’s vital organs. Press a finger on the gum line and then quickly release. A healthy pet’s gums will turn white with the direct pressure and should bounce

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Spine

& TAIL

Pay special attention to dogs with long backs and short limbs, such as Dachshunds, Bassett Hounds and Corgis, which can be more prone to back injuries.

right back to their pink color within one to two seconds. However, the CRT test is ineffective on animals that have purple or dark-colored gums, so look to the mucus membranes of the eyes in this case. • Spine & Tail

The spine begins at the occipital ridge, which is the boney protuberance at the top of the head. Assessment of the spine starts at the occipital ridge and continues down the vertebrae to the tail. I recommend using your thumbs on opposite sides of the spine to get evenly distributed pressure from the top of the head toward the tail with small, circular massage movements, working down the spinal column. A healthy animal’s spine should be straight with no lumps or divots. There should be no pain or variation in temperature to the touch, which might indicate a ruptured disc. As you lift the pet’s tail, there should be no pain to the area and no scaling or sloughing off of skin and hair. Pay special attention to dogs

with long backs and short limbs, such as Dachshunds, Bassett Hounds and Corgis, which can be more prone to back injuries. Spread your hands around the ribcage with your thumbs on the spine and feel that the ribs are smooth with no swelling in between each rib. This can also be performed on the head and along the connecting joints of the spine, checking the shoulder girdle and the hip region. • Skin & Coat

The skin and coat are the identifiers of a healthy animal and will sometimes show signs of disease sooner than any other part of the body. Unhealthy skin and coat could be evidence of improper nutrition or illness. A pet’s coat should be clean and shiny, not produce a foul odor, and be free of hot spots, bald patches or abscesses. However, as animals age they can develop saggy skin or age spots and discoloration. According to holistic medicine, if there are a lot of skin issues on the left side of the body, such as hot spots, it

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could mean that there is something amiss with that animal’s colon. For the right side of the pet, it might mean that there is a problem with the small intestines. Do an overall view of the skin and coat and assess the hydration through the skin’s elasticity. By gently lifting and pulling on the skin, you can see if it bounces right back. The skin of a healthy animal shouldn’t stay tented up, because that can mean they are having internal problems. The main place to check is at the nape of the neck, but you can do this test all over the coat of the pet by performing a light massage. • Lymph Glands

Cancer is the number one killer in pets, so it’s important to be able to identify the lymph glands so that you can be alerted to any changes and possibly catch an early onset of this deadly disease. In dogs and cats, there are six different lymph glands throughout the body. You should be able to softly palpate the glands, and on a healthy animal, they shouldn’t be enlarged or painful. Lightly check all the glands as you are doing your head-to-tail assessment, most of them are superficial and easy to feel. • Belly

Lightly palpate the stomach without applying strong pressure. If the animal

is overweight though, you will have to apply a firmer touch. A healthy pet’s belly should feel soft and firm, but not swollen nor hard which could indicate a blockage. • Backside

The anal area should be free of debris or swelling, and shouldn’t produce a prominent odor. The anal glands are located at ten and two o’clock on the anus and have to be expressed periodically as they become filled. An impacted anal gland can cause infection or tumors. Some animal’s anal glands fill up faster than others. The anus should also never be open, which can signify an injury to the lower half of the spine. • Legs & Feet

Massage all the joints on the legs and feet and make sure there are no areas of pain, heat, cold or that something feels out of place. The foot pads of a healthy animal should not be cracked or torn and free of scaling. Nails, which should be trimmed to a healthy length, should be checked for wear patterns. If the middle toes are wearing more than the outer toes, it can signify that there could be a problem with the spinal vertebrae. • Temperature, Breathing & Pulse

Knowing what the normal range of vital signs for a healthy animal is and how to take them is important to include in

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your assessment. A healthy temperature for a dog or cat ranges from 100 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. But you should know what a pet’s normal temperature is so that if it fluctuates, you know that something is changing in their body. You can take a pet’s temperature yourself either with a pet ear thermometer or by using a rectal thermometer coated with lubricant, and by restraining the animal with a hug. Use one hand to support the animal and the other to apply the thermometer. Always keep a hand on the thermometer because it could be lost inside the anus or break. To check the breathing, lay your hand across the widest part of the ribcage and listen to the chest rise and fall and count the number of breaths. A healthy dog’s breathing rate should fall between 10 to 30 breaths per minute. For a cat, a normal rate would be 20 to 30 breaths per minute. Again, knowing what is normal for a pet will help to differentiate when things change. Check the pulse of a pet at the femoral artery, which is the most prominent pulse on the body, and is located where the hind legs meet the body wall in the groin region. Use two or three fingers, but not the thumb, which can register your own pulse. Place them lightly against the femoral artery to take the animal’s pulse rate. A healthy pulse for a cat is 160 to 220 beats per minute, whereas for dogs, it differs by the age and weight of the animal. A normal pulse for a puppy, less than a year of any breed, should be between 120 to 160 beats per minute. Dogs under 30 lbs. should have a pulse ranging between 100 to 140 peats per minute, while dogs over 30 lbs. should range at 60 to 100 beats per minute.

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By performing a head–to–tail assessment as a part of your regular care routine, you will be alerted to changes in a pet’s health, and by catching things early before they become serious, you can help to lengthen the life of an animal—which will earn you major credit as a pet care professional and as a business.


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INDUSTRY NEWS

How You Can

Knock Out

Your Single Greatest

Competition

By Danny Engelberg

The single most dangerous threat to the pet boarding industry is the growing trend of house sitting.

M

ore and more people

easy to fall into the personalization

will destroy the boarding kennels

are buying into the

illusion sold by home sitters because the

business. How can a boarding kennel

illusion of personalized

illusion is based on the number of pets

that contains hundreds of dogs

care that, in most cases, is promoted

that are taken care of simultaneously,

actually provide 24/7 personalized care

by amateur home sitters looking for

and not on the professionalism or

without going bankrupt? How can a

an easy buck.

experience of the pet sitter, or on the

dog owner be truly convinced that his

facility structure and layout and its

beloved pet is taken care of as if he

adaption for pet care.

was the only one that existed? Seems

Pet ownership statistics (American Humane Association)

Together with the humanization

to be impossible to do so, and unless

their pet a member of the family.

of dogs and the growing demand for

boarding kennels have the tools and

They give their pets holiday presents,

personalized care, the use of internet–

means to provide a significantly higher

have their pet's picture at their

enabled unprofessional people who

standard of personalized care, they are

place of work or carry their pet's

promote their amateur business is

doomed to failure.

picture in their wallet or purse.

growing. The blooming of home sitters

Dog owners endow their dog with

even created a business model for

natural course and development of

human qualities, influencing two

websites that operate like brokerage

the internet itself is the key for the

main emotions when leaving them in

between home sitters and pets.

boarding kennel industry to over-

show that most dog owners consider

boarding kennels: yearning and guilt. In the eyes of a pet owner, it is very

52

It sounds like our industry is in great threat and that home sitters

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

Well, almost as poetic justice, the

come the so–called advantage that home sitters promote; “personalized


This newly available technology is the only answer to the home sitters’ threat to boarding kennels. Implementation and use of technology in kennels will allow kennel managers to have 24/7, full and live–situation status and analysis. care”. These days, we are witnessing the

Danny Engelberg is second generation in

beginning of a new technology area

boarding kennel management, owning

called the Internet of Things (IOT).

Uncle Moshe’s Farm, the largest boarding

IOT is the network of physical objects,

kennel in Israel that was established in

devices, vehicles, buildings and other

1978 by Danny’s father, Mervyn (Moshe)

items which are embedded with elec-

Engelberg and for the last 10 years they

tronics, software, sensors and network

have run the business together.

and daycare magazine

PETBOARDINGDAYCARE @BARKLEIGHINC

connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data. The Internet of Things allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across the existing network infrastructure, creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer–based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit. Recently, we have seen many new inventions that deal with the pet industry and they are all based on the “Internet of Things”: Smart collars, cameras, and other devices that collect and exchange data. This newly available technology is the only answer to the home sitters’ threat to boarding kennels. Implementation and use of technology in kennels will allow kennel managers to have 24/7, full and live–situation status and analysis. Only by the use of technology we will be able to provide the highest standard of genuine, professional care to each and every one of the pets that we host.

PET BOARDING & DAYCARE

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Profile for Barkleigh Productions

Pet Boarding and Daycare May June 2019  

Pet Boarding and Daycare May June 2019  

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