Visit Preservation Hall and Listen to Jazz Music
Take an Airboat Swamp Tour to See Alligators
Sign Up for the Haunted Ghost, Voodoo and Vampire Tour
Tour the National WWII Museum
Treat Yourself to a Hurricane Cocktail
Visit Preservation Hall and Listen to Jazz Music
Take an Airboat Swamp Tour to See Alligators
Sign Up for the Haunted Ghost, Voodoo and Vampire Tour
Tour the National WWII Museum
Treat Yourself to a Hurricane Cocktail
John made a bad decision. The 16-year-old boy bought some marijuana from an undercover cop. As a result, John is living at the Illinois Youth Center (IYC) Chicago, a juvenile detention facility for the next six months. John is not a hardened criminal. And maybe if he hadn’t been caught this early in the game, he might still be on the streets, perhaps now stealing to buying larger quantities of marijuana—maybe even cocaine or crack.
Fear Free Pets officials unleashed major news recently in their ongoing campaign to help alleviate fear, anxiety and stress in pets. More than 100,000 veterinary and pet professionals have earned the designation of Fear Free Certified Professional and pledged to prioritize pet emotional wellness.
But landing in IYC is perhaps the best thing that could have happened to John and the other 12-17-year-olds like him. They’re receiving the discipline, training, counseling, education and programs they’ll need to reinvent themselves once they’ve completed their stay, via a program called Lifetime Bonds.
treats—and give and receive more love. After 20 minutes, the groups switch to new handlers and dogs.
Please send all letters to the editor: NAPPS@petsitters.org
like to learn more about volunteer opportunities with Safe Humane, call 312-409-4790. Fore more information on Best Friends, visit their Web site at www.bestfriends.org n
Letters should include your name, address, and daytime telephone number. Letters may be edited for length or clarity. Submissions may be mailed or emailed as a word document.
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.
Created by Best Friends Safe Humane, this program targets youth who have been involved in illegal activities. Each week, a group of dog handlers and their dogs visit the teens.
Quite an achievement considering that Dr. Marty Becker founded this game-changing organization in 2016. Known as America’s Family Veterinarian, Dr. Becker saw the need to help pets feel safe in veterinary clinics, in vehicles, in their homes and other locations. Ongoing online courses are developed by leading veterinarians, animal behaviorists as well as pet experts in shelter medicine, dog and cat training, grooming and boarding. At the heart of the program is helping alleviate F.A.S – that stands for fear, anxiety and stress – in pets in all types of settings, from being cared at home by pet sitters to being examined by veterinarians in an exam room.
P.O. Box 362 Huron, OH 44839
And, it is fitting that Dr. Becker will be the keynote speaker for the upcoming NAPPS conference set for March 3-5, 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana. And, his daughter, Mikkel Becker, lead animal trainer at Fear Free, is a member of the NAPPS advisory board.
“NAPPS and Fear Free have a great relationship,” says Cathe Delaney, NAPPS administrator. “Fear Free has offered our members discounts, offered webinars and we offer CEUs credits to our NAPPS members who complete various Fear Free courses. We align with them in many ways.”
The teams teach the young men the proper way to approach a dog, a few commands and a chance to socialize with the dog. By receiving the immediate gratification of a happy wagging tail, friendly lick on the hand, or the roll-over request for a belly rub, these youngsters begin to realize— sometimes for the first time in their lives—that kindness begets kindness. And that sets the stage for profound behavioral change.
Yvette Gonzales, NAPPS past president, adds, “I think the more we partner with people on the forefront of the industry, like Dr. Becker and his Fear Free team, the better it positions NAPPS to help more in the pet industry. It is definitely a win-win relationship.”
Phone: (856) 439-0324 Fax: (856) 439-0525 Email: NAPPS@petsitters.org www.petsitters.org
Cathe Delaney Administrative Director email@example.com
The NAPPS-Fear Free relationship includes a Fear Free Pet Sitter Certification Program available to NAPPS members. The program covers reading animal body language, safely walking a dog, training basics, administer medication and much more. Once completing the course, a NAPPS member can download handouts and worksheets, have access to the Fear Free educational library and toolbox with downloadable marketing tools plus tune into regular episodes of the Fear Free podcast series.
you think the dogs like being stroked?” All the boys nod. “Do you like the feeling of being hurt when someone hits you?” All the boys shake their head. “Do you think dogs like the feeling of being hurt, like when another dog bites them?” Tentative shakes all around. “So think about it—if you don’t like getting hurt and the dog doesn’t like getting hurt, do you really think the dogs like going into a situation like fighting where they most certainly will get hurt?” Definite head shakes all around.
Fear Free offers NAPPS members 20 percent off this certification program. Just use the promo code, NAPPS20, at checkout at www.fearfreepets.com
Best Friends Safe Humane National Director Cynthia Bathurst believes Lifetime Bonds is an integral component of the program in that it aims to stop violence in its tracks before it has a chance to grow further. “Safe Humane” gives these young men knowledge and skills they can use to positive advantage for the dogs they and their friends or family members encounter in the streets, especially dogs viewed as ‘fighting dogs,’” she says.
“As we continue to build out the ecosystem of Fear Free Certified Professionals, more and more pets and pet owners will be able to benefit from better access to Fear Free care,” says Ruth Garcia, CEO of Fear Free. “Hitting this amazing milestone is a testament to how widely Fear Free education and certification has been embraced by those in the animal care industry.”
Social Media Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Insurers of the Carolinas PO Box 2536, Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2536
Phone: (800) 962-4611 ext. 224 www.petsitterinsurance.com For Dishonesty Bond and/or General Liability Insurance
In addition to pet sitters, Fear Free currently has certification programs for veterinary professionals, animal trainers, groomers, pet boarding and daycare providers. To earn the designation Fear Free Certified Professional, individuals must complete their desired certification program and sign the Fear Free Pledge, a commitment to uphold a humane, emotionally protective code of conduct and ethical standard for pet care and professionalism.
The National Group Insurance Exchange 3210 Doolittle Dr., Northbrook, IL 60062
The teens have only participated in the Lifetime Bonds program for two months, but already, changes in thought, attitude and 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.
“Putting pets’ emotional wellbeing at the forefront was the founding principle of Fear Free,” says Dr. Marty Becker. “I congratulate each and every one of these extraordinary professionals for their dedication to protecting animal health and happiness and making this milestone possible.”
Professionals can learn more about Fear Free’s certification programs at fearfreepets.com. Pet owners looking for a Fear Free Certified Professional for their pets can visit fearfreepets.com/directory
The young men could hardly wait for the bell to ring, signaling it’s time for the Lifetime Bonds program, or, as they call it, “Dog-Play Time.” The group breaks into five smaller groups and begins each session by learning how to approach a friendly dog. One by one, the boys take turns holding out the backs of their hands for the dogs to sniff, then gently petting the dogs on the side. Then the boys hold treats in their hand while asking the dogs to sit and lie down, then give the
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
Phone: (800) 955-0418 Fax: (847) 559-9499 Email: email@example.com www.wwins.com
Contact: Alan Leafman
For Dental and Health Insurance
For pet sitting questions contact: www.petsitters.org
hurt and the dog doesn’t like getting hurt, do you really think the into a situation like fighting where they most certainly will get hurt?
Happy 2023 everyone! I am excited to begin my duties as your NAPPS president. We face many challenges in the ever-changing world of professional pet sitting, but together, we can and will succeed.
Let me take this opportunity to share a bit about myself. Like many of you, I always have had a lifelong love of pets, but didn’t immediately enter the pet industry. I worked for about 25 years in the medical, legal and insurance industries in Florida and Louisiana.
Then I knew it was time to focus on working with and caring for animals, so I opened Furkid Sitting and Services in 2014 to serve clients in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area. I knew I needed help on how to operate a top-quality pet sitting business and was grateful to find and join NAPPS in December 2014. I was immediately welcomed and felt safe to ask advice from seasoned pet sitters.
Those who know me recognize that I believe in the power of volunteerism and in the value of giving back. I served on the NAPPS Membership Committee and the Pet Parents Committee, became a NAPPS board member and then took on the positions of secretary-treasurer, incoming president and now president.
And, since 2007, I have volunteered at the Cat Haven of Greater Baton Rouge to aid homeless cats in need.
Continual education is also one of my priorities. Living in Louisiana with its hurricanes, tornados, floods and other natural disasters, I spent nearly a decade as a volunteer firefighter and completed disaster preparedness and emergency response training. Those skills continue to help me today in helping my clients’ pets and their property during nasty weather. And, I believe in the motto of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.
NAPPS provides all of us with invaluable opportunities for continual learning with the wide variety of webinars that cover pet care, business management and more. I attend every webinar and sometimes go back to review the recordings and pick up additional tips.
In taking over the reins of president from Jessica Abernathy, my focus is on all of you. NAPPS is all about its members. This is not a ‘me’ but a ‘we’ type of organization. We are the largest volunteer professional pet sitting organization in this country. We need one another to bring out the best in all of us.
My goal as your NAPPS president is to motivate more of you to get involved and to emphasize our mission of learning and giving back.
Finally, I am excited to see you at our in-person NAPPS conference in New Orleans on March 3-5 where our theme is “refresh, rethink, revive.” We have a great lineup of speakers plus we finally can safely meet in person with the pandemic finally in the rearview mirror. At the conference and beyond, let’s get together, brainstorm together and be there for one another.
In appreciation,Amy Sparrow NAPPS President
The commonality across generations is the genuine love most people have for pets. A recent report by the American Pet Products Association unleashes some interesting trends and facts.
Millennials, for example, are the biggest group of pet owners today. They represent 32 percent of pet-owning households in the United States. Baby Boomers follow in second with 27 percent followed by Gen Xers at 24 percent.
So, what does that mean for professional pet sitters? Pet industry experts point out that just like different pets prefer different types of toys and treats, different generations of pet owners display different preferences when it comes to buying pet products and seeking pet services.
What is consistent is that consumers of all ages are increasingly turning to online channels to purchase pet care products. On the groups, Millennials shop online for their pet the most at 62 percent. In an article in Pet Business, it reported that two-thirds of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers shopped in person for pet products before COVID-19 and now, as we climb out of this stubborn pandemic, these two generations are more evenly split between continuing to shop in person and shopping online for home delivery.
The current survey indicates that the Internet has replaced in-store browsing as the top way pet owners learn about new pet products. Millennials display the greatest change in behavior, with 74 percent using the Internet and only 37 percent browsing in a store. On the other hand, Baby Boomers report equal percentages for store browsing and using the internet.
When it comes to where consumers are looking online, 47 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Z pet owners report they learn about new pet products via social media. Specifically, more Millennials name Facebook and YouTube as their top online sources, while Gen Z show a strong preference for YouTube. Gen X pet owners also turn to Facebook to learn about new pet products, while more Boomers go to pet product company websites.
And finally, when it comes to purchasing online, Gen Z per owners prefer to purchase pet care items online and pick them up inside a store. Baby Boomers favor picking up pet treats, toys, litter/ bedding in stores while having pet food, vitamins/supplements and other supplies delivered directly to their homes. Among Millennials, 30 to 40 percent purchase pet products online for home delivery. Industry experts predict that many of these pet purchasing trends are here to stay. To get more details about this survey, please visit www.americanpetproducts.or/pubs_survey.asp n
Pet industry experts point out that just like different pets prefer different types of toys and treats, different generations of pet owners display different preferences when it comes to buying pet products and seeking pet services.
In a recent webinar presented to NAPPS members, Sandra Grossman, Ph.D., co-founder of PetLoss Partners, identified practical and compassionate ways professional pet sitters can help their clients navigate through end-of-loss time period with their pets and through the loss to help them heal. And, to help pet sitters who often form close connections with these clients’ pets to also learn the skills to help them cope with these losses.
From the pages of the End-of-Life Care/ Pet Loss Study she co-authored with her PetLoss Partners co-founder Ellie Freedman, Sandra shared this surprising statistic: 83 percent of pet parents received no type of support after the loss of their pets, yet 87 percent rated receiving some type of support as being very important in their healing process.
“The end-of-life stage for pets is an extremely impactful time for pet parents,” says Sandra. “The experience they go through with their beloved pets is one that stays with them.”
End of Life Stage can occur at any age. It may be short or it may last for a long time.
In her webinar to NAPPS members, Sandra identified these grief fundamentals:
• Grief has no timeline. “I have been doing this work for 12 years. I will have clients say to me, how many groups do I have to go through?” says Sandra. “How long will it take until I start feeling good?” It is different for each person going through it as well as each loss. Journey toward healing without expectations.
• Everyone grieves differently. This is true even among people who have lost the same pet. Everybody had a different relationship with the pet who passed.
• There is no one way to grieve properly. What is most critical is that you take the time to work through your feelings. There is no right or wrong way to go through.
• Allow yourself to grieve. Grief and mourning are part of healing. When you are grieving for a person or a pet, you really have to work through the grief. The more you get support and talking through the grief.
“If a client or a friend just lost a pet, don’t ask. Just do,” she adds. “Be there for that person. Maybe, they are in a grief fog and mentioned that they have no energy to get groceries or walk their dog. They
are trying to get back to some sense of normal, so perhaps you can consider dropping by with a bag of food and offering to take Fluffy for a walk.”
Word choice does matter when talking with someone whose pet has died or whose pet is terminally ill.
“Be a good listener,” she says. “The more
they share, the more it can alleviate some of their stress. Listen more than talk. Never say, ‘I know how you feel’ because although you may have had a similar loss, you can’t possibly know how they exactly feel. And, a lot of people get offended when you say that phrase. Remember, this time is about them and not about you.”
Sandra Grossman, Ph.D., of PetLoss Partners, encourages NAPPS members to review her healing strategies she created using the acronym, breathe. And, she encourages members share this with their clients coping with pet loss.
• Breathe. Remember this saying: There’s only two things I must do today. Breathe in and breathe out. When it all becomes overwhelming, remember to breathe.
• Rest. Grief is exhausting. Be sure and take the time to rest your heart, your body, your mind, and your soul.
• Eat. As well as taking emotional care of ourselves, it’s also important to take physical care. Remember to eat at least once a day. Try and get some light exercise in such as yoga, walks, and meditation. Do whatever feels right for you.
• Ask. Ask for and accept help. Do not think you have to go through this alone. You don’t! We have groups, individual sessions, and a hotline (both in-person and virtual) to help you begin to heal.
• Time. Take the time you need. Grief has no timeline. Everyone goes through this in their own time and in their own way. What is important is taking baby steps towards healing.
• Honor. Honor your heart, your mind, your body, and your relationship with your pet. Do what feels right (healthy and positive things.)
• Everlasting. Remember, the love you share with your pet is everlasting. Death does not end a relationship; it just changes it. Never forget that!
Pet sitters also need to deal with the loss of clients’ pets.
“Self-care isn’t selfish,” says Sandra. “We need to take care of ourselves so we can take care of our clients and continue to build up our businesses.”
Finally, she says it is important to memorialize the departed pet in a way that feels right for you. Options for memorials can range from something as elaborate as hosting a celebration of life with balloons and rainbow bridge cupcakes to creating a memorial book or video to posting memories on Facebook to something as simple as planting a tree or painting a rock in honor of the pet.
“Some also donate in the pet’s name to a favorite charity,” says Sandra. “There are so many ways to memorialize and it comes down to picking the way that works best for you to get through the grieving process and to celebrate the pet.” n
Sandra’s connection with animals comes from growing up surrounded by pets and getting to learn the lessons they shared with her. She has a doctorate degree in Organizational Psychology and spent 20 years working in the business sector. It was the loss of her Siamese cat “Mazel Tov” to lymphoma and her own need to heal that caused her to change career directions and enter the field of Pet Loss Support.
Sandra is certified as a Pet Loss Specialist and Compassion Fatigue Educator. Her passion is supporting pet parents who are anticipating/have gone through the loss of a beloved pet. Sandra offers pet loss support groups as well as individual sessions in person plus and telephone/Zoom sessions for clients throughout the country.
She also offers workshops on areas including but not limited to: Pet Loss in the Veterinary Practice, Compassion Fatigue/Self-Care, Communicating with Grieving Pet Parents, Communication Within the Practice, Teamwork and Conflict Resolution. Workshops can be tailored to the needs of your hospital/practice/organization.
Based on a new report by the American Pet Products Association, which generation represents the largest group of pet owners today?
Gen X C. Millennials D. Gen Z
5. In the Business of the Year cover story, what is the favorite food for Charlotte Marquardt? A. Pizza B. Sushi C. Thai D. Mexican
As we climb out of the financial, emotional and health mess caused by COVID-19, demand for professional pet sitting services is at a record high. As national surveys indicated, pet adoption has risen since 2020, more people are returning to their offices and more people finally feel safe enough to take vacations.
Also take these factors into consideration: you need enough welltrained staff to meet growing demands for your service and to provide them with acceptable wages so that they don’t quit to take a job at a coffee shop or retail shop that may pay more. You may face new state or federal employment laws impacting small businesses. You may feel like you don’t have the time to properly learn ways to save time on your bookkeeping and other business duties.
All of this may make you ask yourself, “Should I add a business partner?” Here are a couple scenarios involving NAPPS members.
Officials from the United States Chamber of Commerce recognize that shouldering the sole responsibility of running a company is a daunting task. A business partner can relieve some of the day-to-day burns and help guarantee the health and growth of your business.
However, failing to follow proper procedures can result in chaos and financial loss. Remember, once you give up some equity in your company, it is hard to get it back, so choosing the right business partner is crucial.
As a member of NAPPS, you play a part in the exciting growth of the in-home professional pet care industry, and you have a voice in the association’s affairs and governance. You can help shape your association by becoming more involved in the programs and activities that NAPPS offers. Your time commitment is up to you. By serving on a Committee, you learn new skills and network with your peers. Get involved today!
Consider the following when choosing a business partner:
• Trustworthiness. Do you have confidence in this person?
• Attributes. What expertise and traits do they bring to your business?
• Financial viability. Is the person fiscally sound and able to contribute?
• Strengths and weaknesses. Can this person’s skills counter your shortcomings?
There are a lot of advantages to forming a business partnership, but Chamber officials recommend that your first consider:
1. Make sure you share similar values with the potential business partner. You don’t have to agree on everything, but too many disagreements can hurt your business over the long term.
2. Set clear expectations from the start. There is a lot of work that goes into running a small business, so you need to clearly outline the roles
The mission of the NAPPS membership Committee is to service NAPPS by developing strategies to increase membership, retain existing membership and provide resources for existing members.
Thank you to the active NAPPS members below who participate on the Membership Committee. Let us know if you are interested in joining our team.
Lennox Armstrong, Canine Care - Chair
Celeste Reed, Celestial Cargo - Co-Chair
Kevin Johnson, Planet Paws Pet Care, LLC
George Lockwood, Legends Pet Care Services, LLC
Kelley Parsons Nancy Shaw, My Dog Walker & Pet Sitting, LLC
and responsibilities of both partners from the start. It can be helpful to outline a job description for both partners.
3. Outline how you will manage business finances. The goal of any business is to generate a profit, so it is important to outline how you plan to manage business finances.
4. Decide what type of legal partnership you will choose. There are three types of partnerships: a general partnership, a limited partnership and a limited liability partnership.
Chamber officials urge you to work with an attorney to prepare a detailed partnership agreement. Executing a formal agreement offers you and your business partner legal protection, dissolves ongoing disputes and helps guide you when making crucial business decisions. After all, it is always better to come to terms with difficult issues before they happen than to strain to resolve them in the future.
Be aware that the business structure you choose for your partnership will determine the amount of liability each party takes on, and the tax benefits you will receive.
Since 2014, Michelle Cox has been the owner of Less Stress Services based in Anaheim, California. Her professional pet sitting company offers a variety of services, including daily visits, overnight stays, litter box cleanings, medication administration, caring for special needs pets and much more. She has been a NAPPS Professionally Certified Pet Sitter since 2015.
On the business side, she has seen the need to digitally keep tract of clients and their pets and partnered with Time to Pet.
“I knew we had to switch from a paper-filing system to a digital system,” says Michelle.
She also knew she needed trusted help for her growing business.
“In the past two years with the pandemic,
I wanted to make changes and not be so overworked,” she says. “I spoke with my business attorney and CPA and realized that bringing on a co-owner made more sense for my business instead of hiring employees.”
Her selection? Her husband, Travis Cox.
“Travis is like my complete opposite!” says Michelle. “He’s able to get through to me and let me know if I’m overthinking situations or taking on too many clients than I can handle.”
Michelle candidly says it is a hard process to bring on a business partner because you are “giving up a piece of your company.” Her advice:
• Make sure the person is someone you trust completely.
• Make sure the partner adds something
You may also need to acquire licenses and permits based on your local and state laws. Most business partnerships must register with federal, state and local agencies and obtain a tax and employer ID number.
You may need other types of licenses and permits, including a business license, DBA license, sales tax permit or industry-specific license. Check with your state and locality to confirm permit and licensing requirements. n
to the success of your business.
• Know your options. The partner can provide business advice or be an investor.
• Weigh the pros and cons and definitely seeking advice from your attorney and CPA as to how this business partnership will impact our taxes and your income.
“For me, bringing on a partner was a no brainer,” she says. “It has been such a huge help for me and I know Travis is just as vested in the business as I am.”
Since 1998, Joni Sullivan been at the helm of Joan of Ark Pet Sitting in the Weymouth, Massachusetts. Her company serves pet clients in Abington, Hingham, Hanover, Norwell and Rockland and offers overnight pet care, medication administration, dog walks and serve for all types of pets, including birds, fish and reptiles.
Joni Sullivan knew the demands of her growing business required finding a trusted business partner. So, in 2020, she asked her long-time employee Crys Jordan to become her business partner.
“Crys has been pet sitting since 2010 when she left her corporate job to jump into pet sitting full time and has never looked back,” says Joni. “Crys has experience with just about everything, from fish to farm animals, and as a reptile owner herself, has a knack for ‘nontraditional’ pets as
well as cats and dogs.”
Crys, like Joni, has also taken the time to become certified in pet first aid, Fear Free Pets and NAPPS.
Now with a trusted partner in Crys, Joni feels the time is right to expand service offerings.
“We would like to start decompression walks for dogs as well as final escort for pet owners who can’t take their pets for their last visit,” says Joni.
“The pet needs someone around they know loves them and they deserve that. We don’t blame the owners as it is never an easy thing to do. And, we also want to add an aging cats’ home check. We plan to help owners make the lives of aging cats better.”
Joni offers these tips to those considering adding a business partner:
• First do a candid assessment of yourself and your business style. “Are
you the type of person who likes a team environment, or do you need to call the shots?” says Joni. “Know how you work best as a person.”
• Hire a partner who shares your business vision. “You both have to have the same vision for your business and the same work ethics,” she says. “The right business partner can be amazing. The wrong one can be frustrating.”
Over the last few years, we have had many incidents where members did not carry enough care, custody or control coverage on their policies to cover their claims, and other members who still did not realize what this coverage was for. So, for this month’s column, let’s focus on Care, Custody or Control (CCC) and what it covers.
I have written on this topic many times, but we still continue to have members who do not carry adequate or are not grasping all the various parts to this extremely important coverage. Whether your business has been around for 20plus years or is just starting out, please continue reading and make certain you fully understand care, custody or control coverage.
Most insurance companies utilize the Commercial General Liability Coverage Form (CG 00 01) or a similar form in their general liability policies. The form contains a very important exclusion titled, “Damage to Property.” It excludes property you own, rent or occupy as this would be covered under a property form if you lease or own a facility, or a homeowners form if you work out of your home. It also excludes property you sell, give away or abandon, as well as property loaned to you. And right in the middle is the infamous pet sitter exclusion is exclusion “j.(4) Personal property in the care, custody or control of the insured.”
What this means is that all your clients’ pets and the contents of their homes while in your care, custody or control are excluded without adding coverage endorsement for CCC to pick up this exposure.
Obviously, you wouldn’t want insurance if it did not cover client’s pets and personal property, as this is the primary exposure of your business, and where 80 percent of claims we see fall under. So, in order to provide coverage for care, custody or control, insurance companies add additional endorsements (policy forms) to specifically cover pets and personal property and limit the amount they will pay.
Under the NAPPS liability policy, care, custody or control coverage is mandated via an endorsement titled “Property Damage Coverage Extension and Veterinary Expense Coverage.” This endorsement covers both the pets in your care, and the clients’ personal property in your
In order to provide coverage for care, custody or control, insurance companies add additional endorsements (policy forms) to specifically cover pets and personal property and limit the amount they will pay.
care, custody or control up to the limit you choose ($10,000 - $200,000) when you take out the policy. In addition, the endorsement also covers veterinary medical expenses regardless of fault up to the limit you choose.
Now let’s dive a little deeper with some claims examples to show what is covered, first in terms of injuries to pets, and then in terms of property damage to the client’s contents in your care:
1. While on a walk, a client’s dog under the care of a pet sitter came out of his leash and was hit by a car. The dog was treated, but died.
Total paid: $42,169.
2. A client’s dog suffered a torn ACL while playing with a pet sitter in a yard.
Total paid: $7,648.
3. A client’s dog ingests a foreign object while on a hike and becomes very sick. The dog walker takes the dog to a veterinary clinic. Multiple tests and surgeries were performed.
Total paid: $16,927.
4. A pet sitter put a client’s dog back in the house with mud on paws and left. The dog left mud stains on furnishings, including sofa and chairs. Total paid: $6,748.
5. A pet sitter left water running in upstairs bathroom of a client’s home. The water overflowed and caused damage to contents below. Total paid: $37,241.
6. A pet sitter’s employee invited friends over to hang out and party at a client’s home.
Damage was caused to furnishings and a friend stole some of the client’s personal property. Total paid: $25,000.
7. A client’s dog escapes from a pet sitter and is hit by a car. The dog requires multiple surgeries and veterinary rehab visits.
Here are recent examples that represent general liability scenarios:
1. While under a pet sitter’s care, a client’s dog lunged at the other dog, causing a fight. One of the dogs required medical attention. Total paid: $1,046.
2. A client’s dog was bitten by a bug while on hike that caused an allergic reaction. The dog was taken to a veterinary clinic for treatment. Total paid: $1,223.
3. While staying at a pet sitter’s home, a client’s dog suffered a cut on his body from the fence in the yard. Total paid: $1,490.
4. A pet sitter gave a tennis ball for a client’s dog to play with. The dog swallowed the ball and required surgery. Total paid: $4,724.
5. A young girl was bitten on the hand by a client’s dog being walked by a pet sitter. Total paid: $30,000.
6. While a client’s dogs were playing under the care of a pet sitter, one dog suffered a cranial ligament tear and required surgery. Total paid: $7,628.
7. A client’s dog was playing outside in the fenced-in yard at a pet sitter’s home. The dog noticed a dog in another yard, charged the gate, busted through and attacked the neighbor’s dog.
Total paid: $2,689.
8. When entering apartment building, a pet sitter shut a door on the tail of a client’s dog. Total paid: $987.
9. A client’s dog slipped out of his harness while on a walk with a pet sitter and was hit by a car. Dog suffered several injuries. Total paid: $10,000.
10. During a hike, a client’s dog suffered a cut to the rear paw pad. Total paid: $920.
Total paid: $42,706.
8. A client’s puppy was left with full access to the client’s home in lieu of the area that the client requested. The puppy chewed up pillows as well the client’s mattress. Total paid: $12,326.
9. While on a walk, the pet sitter noticed that the client’s dog’s feet were dragging. And took him to a veterinary clinic for medical treatment. Total paid: $14,787.
10. A client’s dog on a walk with a pet sitter got into a fight with another dog, and sustained an injury to his eye, as well as a punctured lung. Total paid: $46,903.
As you can see from these claims, often $10,000, and sometimes not even $25,000 is enough to adequately cover care, custody or control claims anymore, especially when it comes to veterinary care. What is disturbing is that the majority of all pet sitter/dog walker clients insured via the NAPPS liability policy still only choose the minimum $10,000 limit.
We have had many people call when they have a claim and they are under the impression that they have a $1,000,000 limit on their policy to cover clients’ pets and property in their care. In some cases, they have already authorized emergency veterinary care and the bills are in excess of $10,000 or even $25,000. When they learn, they are limited to the minimal care, custody or control limit they chose when they applied or renewed their policy, they are in disbelief.
However, the NAPPS liability policy still provides broader coverage than most all other companies offering insurance for pet sitters and dog walkers. Especially when you consider that regardless of fault claims are paid up to the same limit, as opposed to being limited or denied by all other companies. Most insurers will typically only offer a $25,000 limit of coverage for injuries to pets in your care, and only $100 to $2,500 for veterinary medical injuries (regardless of fault) which indicates that the vast majority of all pet sitters and dog walkers are grossly uninsured for covering the pets in in their care, as a common ACL injury can run anywhere from $3,000$15,000, depending on whether it’s an emergency veterinary hospital and the veterinary costs in your area of the country.
As for client’s personal property/contents of your client’s homes, always be sure to take into consideration how expensive your client’s furnishings and contents are. If they have expensive couches, chairs, coffee tables, mattresses, be sure to choose a high enough limit
Here are recent examples:
1. An employee fell on a sidewalk while walking a client’s dog and hit his jaw and became disoriented.
Total paid: $1,619.
2. An employee was playing with a dog in the yard and fell, causing injury to her ankle. Total paid: $11,282.
3. An employee was attempting to break up a fight between two dogs and was bitten on the both arms and hands. Total paid: $2,347.
to adequately cover. Can they be replaced if you or your employee or independent contractor were to leave a puppy crate open? Or your independent contractor has friends over for a party and causes damage? How about if your employee leaves a heat lamp on the rug and starts a fire or leaves water running and damage their contents?
Yes, it is more expensive to purchase a higher limit, but when it comes to being insured properly, the cheapest insurance products on the market are not what’s best for your business. Please note, it is not my intention to scare you into purchasing more coverage, but rather to educate you on the types of care, custody or control claims we are seeing, so that you can learn from your fellow pet sitters/dog walkers mistakes and make the best decision for your business. The fact is the cost of pet injury/veterinary medical claims are rising, just as medical costs are rising for people. Many of you also take care of clients’ pets in nice homes with nice contents. So, be sure to choose and adequate limit for your business so you have adequate coverage when the claim occurs. 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 DP@business-insurers.com
When Joni Sullivan joined NAPPS in 2018, she immediately became an active member.
She offered to volunteer to help the organization in many ways. And, there is a good chance that she probably chatted with you on the telephone. As a member of the Marketing Committee, she would make up to 45 calls each month to welcome new NAPPS members and to field any questions that they may have.
“My volunteer experience has been great,” says Joni. “I have met some wonderful people. During COVID, volunteers were asked to call every member of NAPPS to see how they were doing. It was a privilege to be able to listen and to give some support.”
Joni’s commitment to pets and to NAPPS earned her being selected as the NAPPS Member in Action in 2019. She was featured in the Fall 2019 issue of this Professional Pet Sitter Magazine
And in January, she will join the NAPPS Board of Directors.
“I ran for the board because as corny as it sounds, I love NAPPS,” says Joni. “I want to see every professional pet sitter succeed, whatever that means for them, small or large. NAPPS is such a great organization and I have learned a lot and if I can help anyone then I would be more than happy to help.”
Former NAPPS Board Member Heather Branch owns Best Friends Forever Pet Services in Mid-San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles. She says, “Joni has been a dedicated volunteer for the NAPPS association for years! She really puts her heart into volunteering already on many of the committees and has an incredibly cheerful attitude and helpful spirit!”
Cathe Delaney, NAPPS administrator, also looks forward to Joni being on the NAPPS Board of Directors.
“Joni has been on the Marketing and Conference committees, and very active in NAPPS,” says Cathe. “She is easy to work with, a great asset with lots of experience and brings a calm, matter-of-fact presence to the board.”
Joni identified these key issues facing professional pet sitters in 2023:
• Seeking ways to offer competitive salaries to hire quality employees. “Part of the problem is being able to compete with salaries with coffee shops advertising $20 per hour,” she says. “It is not easy to compete if you are a small business or starting out and growing fast.”
• Finding and keeping good clients. “It is either feast or famine out there,” she says. “We either have more clients than we can handle, but I have heard in other parts of the country, pet sitters can’t find clients. It is always a problem as to how to get clients, keep them and have the courage to get rid of the bad ones. n
Joni Sullivan’s mission when she founded Joan of Ark Pet Sitting in 1998 continues to be to provide quality in-yourhome pet care plus dog walks, cat care and other pet services.
Based in Weymouth, Massachusetts, she and her business partner, Crys Jordan, serves pet clients in Abington, Hingham, Hanover, Norwell and Rockland.
The company focuses primarily on providing overnight pet care, but they also administer medications, gives limited quantity dog walks and is able to care for all types of pets: big and small, furry and scaley, winged and gilled.
Joni is insured, bonded and trained in pet first aid plus and pet disaster planning. Learn more at www.joanofarkpetsitting.com
Are you ready to get your beads on? Ready to learn and network in person with NAPPS colleagues?
Don’t delay in registering for the NAPPS Conference set for March 3-5, 2023 at the Conference Centre on 11 where the theme is: Refresh. Rethink. Revive. Register today. https://petsitters.org/page/EventsTab
Here are some comments posted by NAPPS members who plan to attend:
Lennox Armstrong: “I’ll be there! Can’t wait to see everyone! It will be fun and informative as always!”
Nancy Shaw: “Can’t wait for the conference!”
April Henley: “Let’s go! Excited to meet everyone and reunite with friends.”
Joni Sullivan: “Going to the conference has contributed to doubling my business. I pick tips from the speakers and learn so much from fellow pet sitters.”
Yvette Gonzales: “Gettin’ your NOLA on. Can’t wait to see everyone there!”
Kevin Johnson: “I got two days before and one day after the conference set aside. Never been to New Orleans before and looking forward to it.”
Here are three big reasons to register now to attend:
1. You want your business to grow and a NAPPS conference can give you the tools.
Part of the NAPPS’ mission is to help sitters grow their businesses and the conference does exactly that. The conference provides top-notch speakers and resources to help you grow your business. The conference committee is made up of pet sitters like you and so we seek to find the speakers that target the needs of the professional pet sitter. https://petsitters.org/page/ EventsTab
2. The money you put into the conference will be an investment in your business Some people look at the combination cost of the conference, hotel, and travel expenses and take a step back. Like anything in today’s high-priced world, you have to look at what you are getting for your money.
NAPPS conferences are designed to fill your mind with valuable practical information, which you can use throughout the coming year. When you sit down and review the program you will see that in the end you are making an investment in your business and the tools you receive in New Orleans will benefit your business in many ways in the future.
3. Most conference costs are tax deductible for your business. Check with your accountant. Keep track of all your conference expenses — hotel, airfare, gas, shuttles, food, supplies purchased, etc. Much of what you spend can be tax deductible at the end of the year. www.petsitters.org
Another big reason is learning from the eight speakers, regarded as among the top experts in the pet industry. The speaker lineup includes: Keynote speaker Dr. Marty Becker, founder of Fear Free Pets, whose topic is: “Addressing fear, anxiety and stress in pets.”
Jackie Johnston, a certified separation
anxiety trainer and consultant, whose topic is: “Separation anxiety behavior in pets.”
Attorney Jennifer Anderson, whose topic is: “If it walks like a duck: employee versus IC.”
Joe Latona, founder of Walker Scout, whose topic is: “Building your dream pet sitting team.”
Angela Hazuda Meyers, of Meyers Marketing Strategy, whose topic is: “Strategic growth and marketing initiatives.”
Jamie Damato Migdal, founder of FetchFind, whose topic is: “Attract and retain talent with staff training and education.”
Arden Moore, founder of Pet First Aid 4U, whose topic is: “Unleashing Muttgyver health and safety tips for pet sitters.”
Remember that general registration ends Jan. 15, 2023 and the cost is $225 for NAPPS members and a discounted rate of $202.50 for NAPPS certified members. After Jan. 15, a late registration additional fee of $50 will be added. n
Call it destiny that Charlotte Marquardt is good at helping animals. She was born at home in West Hollywood, California, greeted by her mother, the family dog and two cats.
“Later, Dad was allowed into the room,” she says with a laugh.
Her mother, Maggie, got her involved in animal rescue, encouraging Charlotte to join her to help injured birds, cats, stray dogs and even a possum.
“My Aunt Barbara was a veterinary technician and my Uncle Chris was a veterinarian, and my Aunt Judy showed me the ropes as she also owns a pet
The Name Game: Although she prefers being called Charlotte, her full name is Naomi Charlotte Danielle Marquardt Penzato. Wow!
How she describes herself: “I call myself an old soul who is young at heart.”
Her furry Brady Bunch: She shares her home with Sadie Dog and cats, Cannoli Bean and Jerry Beary plus her boyfriend, Kaesy, and his dog, Tio and cats, LuLu and Chachi.
Hidden talent: She has an uncanny knack for being able to identify litter brands — and there are many on the market.
Celebrity moment: Her cat rescue efforts in the West Los Angeles area earned her an award from the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary that was presented to her by Oscar winner Hilary Swank.
Favorite food: She loves sushi, especially dining at Shunji in Santa Monica that features a master sushi chef.
Location: Serving clients in Culver City and Palms area in California.
Established: In 2004
Services Provided: K-9 Kats offers pet sits and doggie walks uniquely designed and tailored to meet the needs of all types of pets. Our biggest priority will always be that we exceed all client expectations each and every time we complete a pet sit.
Company Mission: K-9 Kats offer the flexibility of creating programs that are custom made for each fur, feathered and finned pets.
Member of NAPPS: Joined in 2004. Website: www.k9kats.com
sitting service. So, my drive to help animals must be genetic in a way,” she adds.
As a teenager, she helped 200 cats in a hoarder’s home by gently talking to the woman and letting her know that she could help her with the cats. Some succumbed to diseases, but some survived and were adopted.
“The process took a long time, but the woman got down to having four or five cats and let me do pet sitting to make sure everything stayed under control,” recalls Charlotte. “That event changed the course of my life. I became involved in animal rescue with nonprofit groups.”
Her commitment to animals keeps growing. Since 2004, Charlotte has successfully operated the K-9 Kats pet sitting business that serves clients in the Culver City and Palms communities near Los Angeles. Recently, she added a service called Kitty Shrink Cat Behavior Modification.
Then in October, she received an email from NAPPS announcing that K-9 Kats was selected as the 2023 NAPPS Business of the Year recipient.
“When the email came telling me the great news, I thought I was misreading it and asked my boyfriend, Kaesy, to read it to me,” says Charlotte. “I cried happy tears. It is an incredible honor for my team and for me.”
Former NAPPS Board Member Heather Branch says, “I am excited that a fellow pet care business owner from the Los Angeles area has been awarded the esteemed honor of being named Business of the Year by NAPPS! I’m very proud of Charlotte and how far she has come! Congratulations!”
Charlotte credits being a NAPPS member for helping her learn the professional way to care for pets.
“NAPPS has always been there when I needed resources and advice and has pushed me to excel and get creative, too,” she says.
In recent years, she faced two major challenges: COVID and new tough California laws requiring her to shift from Independent Contractors to hiring employees.
Charlotte stays current on NAPPS articles and
Client Michele Reibel: “I am incredibly impressed by Charlotte’s professionalism, level of care and commitment, and the way she explained how her team cares for our furry babies. K-9 Kats is far more than a pet sitting service. They have become part of my family and take excellent care of my cat, Luna, and me.”
Client Lisa Krueger: “I have used her company’s services for more than six years. Charlotte has an innate ability to read an animal’s body language and communicate as well as bond with them. She is clear about what her services include and delivers – often exceeding expectations. Her team members are very well trained. Charlotte and K-9 Kats level of service is in a class of its own.”
Client Andrew Schufman: “Charlotte is the consummate pet professional with a huge heart. My experience with her as ‘Aunty C’ over the past five years to our two cats, Fry and Bender, is proof of that. She is kind, thorough and thoughtful. She is generous with her time and incredibly trustworthy. I’m not surprised that she is receiving this honor. She absolutely, unequivocally deserves it!”
Client Chris Camacho: “I have relied on Charlotte to care for my pets for nearly 20 years. Years ago, she actually helped me to find my forever pet – a dog named Harley, who as scheduled to be euthanized (at a LA shelter) that weekend when Charlotte helped me to find and adopt her. Harley gave me love for 12 years and I still miss her. I think Charlotte is an amazing woman and I am forever grateful for her kindness.”
Client Jennifer H.: “Our family currently consists of three house rabbits and two community cats. I am extremely impressed by how thoroughly Charlotte listens and incorporates the information I give her. She quickly became educated on rabbit care. Charlotte is a model for what pet sitting should look like. I don’t know what I would do without K-9 Kats.”
the pet sitter database locator. She is also active in the Los Angeles Pet Sitter Network that includes Heather, owner of Best Friends Forever Pet Services. Says Heather, “Through our local networking group, we have been able to exchange information and help each other out with ideas about how to move forward since Los Angeles is truly a tough place to own a pet care business with employees.”
Another professional ally for Charlotte is Paige Hodges, owner of Feline Yogi, who says, “I worked for Charlotte for several years and she was a great co-worker, supervisor and friend. Charlotte knows so much about dogs and cats and I learned so much
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 and recognition of K-9 Kats at the 2023 NAPPS Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana March 3-5
Professionally prepared customized public relations press release to local media by the national NAPPS office
• The K-9 Kats company logo displayed on the NAPPS website for one year Recognition of K-9 Kats in the Professional Pet Sitter Magazine (this Winter 2023 issue)
Indefinite use of the “NAPPS Pet Sitting Business of the Year 2023” logo
from her. I am ecstatic that she has been selected for this honor.”
Chris Smith, retired administrator of the LA Pet Sitter Network, has known Charlotte since 2005. He says, “She has always been highly professional and customer-oriented, She and her crew deserve this honor.”
Mirian Hasani, owner of Mirian Hasani Feline Trainer & Behavioral Specialist and founder of Lily’s Haven Rescue, currently works with Charlotte at K-9 Kats.
“I absolutely love my job at K-9 Kats,” says Mirian. “You can always count on Charlotte. She is always there in the event of an unexpected situation, or if we just need to talk to somebody. She stands behind what she teaches.”
Charlotte conducts an extensive two-week training program for all new employees. Staff continually acquire skills, including being able to administer subcutaneous fluids and injections to clients’ pets.
What’s the next goal for Charlotte and K-9 Kats?
“I envision K-9 Kats growing a bit bigger with six or seven professional sitters,” she says. “We can expand our list of services. We currently have one cat behavior specialist and one in training. For us, every client is a VIP client. We cater to the doting pet parent.”” n
Here’s the skinny on skin health in cats and dogs. The skin owns bragging rights as the largest organ in these species with the liver coming in a distant second.
Let’s first take look at ways to keep coats healthy in cats and then share tips on caring for canine coats.
In cats, the skin can represent one-fifth of the total body weight. Cats rely on their skin and coat to perform many duties: regulating body temperature, shielding against foreign substances and releasing oil glands to mark their turfs. Oh yeah, the coat’s quality can also impact how much hair your cat unloads all over your furniture and clothing, especially during the spring and fall shedding seasons.
It doesn’t matter if your cat is fluffy, sleek-coated or even hairless, the quality of her skin — and other vital organs — is directly impacted by what you feed her.
“Nutrition plays an important role in the health of the skin and other organs,” says Joseph Bartges, DVM, PhD, professor of veterinary medicine and nutrition at the University of Georgia in Athens. “Often a sign of inadequate or improper nutrition is a change in the coat and skin — whether it is dry or flaky or oily or hair that comes out does not grow back.”
Kathryn Primm, DVM, is a general practice veterinarian who owns the Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
“The coat is a huge alert for me,” she says. “I see an unthrifty coat in many of the common diseases in cats. Hyperthyroidism, for example, makes a cat’s coat look dull.”
Kidney disease, diabetes, intestinal disease, food allergies and a poorquality diet can also harm your cat’s skin and coat.
Her advice: be proactive.
“Watch for changes in your cat’s appetite, appearance or weight and report them to your veterinarian,” says Dr. Primm, who also hosts the Nine Lives with Dr. Kat podcast show on Pet Life Radio. “Have your cat regularly screened with blood tests because many of these diseases have to be officially diagnosed with testing.”
Jean Hofve, DVM, a holistic veterinarian in Jamestown, Colorado offers tips, studies and information on feline holistic health, behavior and nutrition on her popular website — biglittlecats.com. When it comes to choosing food for your cat, she does not mince words.
“The food has everything to do with the skin and coat quality,” says Dr. Hofve. “If you feed crappy food to your cat, his skin gets bad. Cats need quality protein that comes from a real meat, not a meat by-product. They also need a diet with good quality fish or chicken oil and never vegetable oils, such as sunflower oil or safflower oil. Vegetable oils are pro inflammatory.”
Also weighing in is Susan Blake Davis, a certified clinical nutritionist and pet nutritionist is founder of the Ask Ariel website that offers a line of pet
supplements made with all human-grade products that are third-party tested for potency and purity.
“Some cats can develop allergies to common proteins, such as fish and poultry,” says Davis. “This can cause them to have skin and digestive problems.”
Food allergies rank as the third most common type of allergy in cats, behind fleas and inhaled substances. Cats with food allergies may show any or all of these signs:
• Persistent scratching
• Skin lumps or lesions
• Bald spots
• Dull coat
Davis adds, “Changing a cat’s diet to a high-protein, hypoallergenic, high-moisture diet with the use of a few immune supplements can suppress the overactive immune system and reduce the inflammation and swelling.”
Dr. Bartges encourages people to serve their cats diets that contain quality protein that he defines as containing one or two protein sources that “meets the essential amino acid requirements and has a high biological value in terms of digestion and absorption of the essential amino acids.”
He adds, “I’m a believer in feeding a variety of diets — not only different flavors, but foods made by different companies and a mix of dry and canned.”
Quality cat diets should include what sounds like alphabet soup: EPA and DHA: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Both are omega-3 fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties that are found in salmon, mackerel, sardines and other seafood.
In addition to meals, your cat can benefit by giving the right healthy treats and supplements. Dr. Hofve recommends supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish oil, green mussel oil or cod liver oil. She is a fan of decaffeinated green tea extract as a healthy skin booster.
“Antioxidants are good for the skin because they are antiinflammatory,” adds Dr. Hofve. “Collagen is a nice supplement and it is also anti-arthritic to help joints.”
Vitamin supplements also play essential roles in keeping your cat’s coat shiny and healthy. Vitamin A aids in repair and growth of skin. Vitamins C and E are antioxidant that maintain healthy skin cells.
All of our experts emphasize the need to keep your cat well hydrated to aid in a quality skin and coat.
Cats are not always the best water drinkers, so it is important to try to feed them a high-moisture diet,” says Davis. “Not getting enough water can lead to itchy, dry skin.”
Now, let’s address dogs. Sure, your loving dog may sport a huge heart in terms of sweetness, but his skin reigns supreme size-wise. In dogs, the skin represents up to one-fourth of his total body weight.
Show how much you love your dogs by paying attention to the what you put in his bowl and how much. And, when it is appropriate, educate your loyal clients on the importance of diet for healthy skin and coats in their pets.
Dogs need quality proteins that come from real meats, not meat byproducts, as well as antioxidants are also good for the skin because they are anti-inflammatory.
Yes, there are oodles of commercial dog diets available and selecting quality ones to feed your dog can be daunting. Just keep in mind that to satisfy nutritional recommendations set by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition, quality commercial dog good meets these five standards:
1. Complete: It contains all required nutrients.
2. Balanced: All the nutrients are in proper proportions
3. Palatable: It features a welcomed taste that your dog will keep in sufficient amounts to keep his body at a healthy condition.
4. Digestible: All the ingredients can be absorbed into your dog’s body for use.
5. Safe: The ingredients are free from nutrient deficiencies, excesses or imbalances; are free from toxins and are free from microbial contamination or spoilage.
“In general, a dog with naturally healthy skin can be expected to continue to do just fine on any nutritionally complete diet without any type of supplementation,” says Dr. Jo Myers, DVM, a veterinarian in Salida, Colorado, who consults on diet and nutrition for pets as a veterinary expert with JustAnswer.com. “A dog with a skin disease, however, may require supplements to optimize his skin health.”
Our experts offer these tips to help your dog sport a healthy coat:
• Learn the doggy alphabet diet. Bolster your dog’s skin and overall health by making sure his chow or supplements contain adequate amounts of a pair of omega-3 fatty acids chemically known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Nutritious sources of these omega-3 fatty acids include eggs, salmon, fish oils, flax seeds and chia seeds.
• Dish up omega-6 acids in your dog’s food. Dogs need omega-6 fatty acids to keep their skin hydrated and serve as a protective barrier, but they are not able to produce them on their own. Dogs lacking enough omega-6 fatty acids in their diet can be at risk for a variety of skin issues as well as a weakened immune system. Healthy sources of omega-6 fatty acids can be found in chicken as well as sunflower, soybean and canola oils.
• Don’t feed into hype on the Internet. Certain oils may score popularity points, but they are not healthy choices for your dog.
“I advise against the use of coconut oil as a supplement for your dog because although it is popular, there is no scientific evidence to back up any health benefit claims for dogs,” says Dr. Myers.
She cautions that feeding your dog excessive amounts of coconut oil can trigger diarrhea and pack on extra pounds.
• Top your dog’s dry food on occasion with skin-fortifying yummies. They include blueberries (loaded with antioxidants); carrots for a tasty vitamin A boost; sardines in water for a lipdrooling source of omega-3 fatty acids and green beans, packed with fiber, calcium and vitamins A, B, C and K.
By being proactive in watching for any changes in your dog’s weight, skin quality or appetite, you can play a vital role in his overall health and possibly, address conditions like diabetes, hypothyroidism or kidney disease in their early stages.
And, by selecting quality ingredients, you may help your dog avoid reactions to food allergies and its accompanying signs, such as persistent scratching, skin bumps, bald spots or a dull-looking coat as well as chronic vomiting or diarrhea. n
Editor’s Note: This information was written by Arden Moore and appeared originally in Catster and Dogster magazines.
In celebration of February being designated at National Pet Dental Health Month, get into the habit of regularly inspecting — and yes, — smelling inside the mouths of pets you care for.
Looking and sniffing inside a pet’s mouth and yes, regular teeth brushing rarely rank high on the list of favorite activities to perform on pets. But such preventive care along with regular professional dental cleanings performed in veterinary clinics can impact your dog’s quality of life.
‘There is a direct connection between oral health and overall health,” says Bonnie Shope, DVM, DAVDC, a veterinary dentist and owner of Veterinary Dental in Boxborough, Massachusetts. “Periodontal disease causes chronic inflammation and causes the body’s immune system to respond to plaque in the mouth.”
The American Veterinary Medical Association supports National Pet Dental Health Month and encourages pet parents and pet professionals to practice dental hygiene habits on cats and dogs year-round.
AVMA officials cite three vital reasons:
1. Most dental disease occurs below the gum line, where you can’t see it. Bacteria that you can’t see can damage the tissues connecting the teeth and jaw.
2. The single most important action you can take to maintain your pet’s dental health in between professional cleans is to brush their teeth. Daily is best, but strive to brush your pet’s teeth at least three times per week.
3. By age three, 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some form of periodontal disease.
Warning signs of dental issues:
• Bad breath
• Broken or loose teeth
• Teeth discolored or covered in tartar
• Abnormal chewing, drooling or dropping food from the mouth
• Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
• Pain in or around the mouth
• Bleeding from the mouth
• Swellings in the mouth
• Blood stains on a dog’s favorite chew toy
Causes of dental problems in cats and dogs:
• Broken teeth
• Periodontal disease
• Abscesses or infected teeth
• Cysts or tumors in the mouth
• Malocclusion, or misalignment of the teeth and bite
• Broken jaw
• Palate defects, such as a cleft palate
“More than 400 types of bacteria have been identified in the oral cavities of companion animals,” says Ben Colmery III, DVM, considered a pioneer in animal dentistry who is a veterinarian at the Dixboro Veterinary Dental and Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “The odor comes from two main places: something wrong inside the mouth (including dry mouth) or something wrong inside the gastrointestinal tract. The sooner we can treat the issue, often, the better chance we have of staving off a serious condition.”
Fortunately, there have been advances in safer drugs for sedation and pain management so that pets can be placed under local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia for dental cleanings and tooth extractions and experience less post-operative pain.
“In the past few years, the field of veterinary dentistry has been making unprecedented strides in terms of speed and efficiency of care due to the
arrival of better materials, tools and techniques,” says Dale Kressin, DVM, DAVDC, FAVD, a veterinary dentist who operates Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. “In the future, I see not only veterinary dentistry growing, but the arrival of sub-specialties in our specialty, like exotic dentistry to treat rabbits, rodents and other species.”
Here are a couple more tips to help conquer bad doggy breath in dogs and cats:
• Don’t let doggy slobber linger in the water bowl. Your dog — just like you — deserves fresh drinking water. So, clean her water
NAPPS offers monthly webinars year round, providing members with the opportunity to call in and hear a veteran pet sitter or guest host speaker. Visit the Calendar of Events on the NAPPS website for a preview of scheduled webinars. Here is a rundown of the webinar recordings in 2022:
Dr. Lacie Lee, Cat Care Center of Baton Rouge Recognizing Feline Pain
Jade Martinez, CVT Pet Nutrition: Truths Vs Myths
Maria Calderone, DVN & Lucy Cryan
The Basics of Equine Management and Safety for Pet Sitters
Amanda Brown, The Charlie Brown Bird Rescue Bird Care
Dr. Gregory Mertz, New England Wildlife Centers Better Understanding of How to Care for Exotic or Small Animals
Joann Rechtine, CSAT, CPDT-KA, FDM, FFCP, MS, MPH, RN
Separation Anxiety: The Basion the cs
Sandra Grossman, PetLoss Partners
Pet Loss: Navigating Through the Holidays ~ Coping Strategies for You and Your Clients
bowl and replenish it with fresh water every single day.
• Get into an at-home dental care regiment. If your dog is not a fan of having her teeth brushed, go with Plan B. Every single day, add a dental water additive into her water bowl capable of balancing the oral flora and removing plaque…and that yucky, doggy breath.
Dr. Sheldon Rubin, on behalf of the American Veterinary Medical Association, shows an easy, effective step-by-step way to teach a dog or cat to accept daily tooth brushings. Here is the link to the 5-minute video: https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB3GIAgrTPE n
Starting with this issue, we will be saluting the NAPPS members who successfully completed the NAPPS Certification Course each quarter. The selfpaced course covers topics of importance to pet sitting, including pet care, health, nutrition and behavior of various species plus business development and management, pet safety and a complete pet first aid course.
Once you purchase the course, you have six months to complete it and you must earn a score of 75 percent or better to successfully earn the NAPPS Certification. Join us in congratulating the following who became NAPPS Certification Members between July and September 2022:
Tatyana Eagle, of TCares Pet Sitting Services, LLC
• Chris Herman, of Lap Dogs Mobile Services, LLC
• Johanna Herman, of Lap Dogs Mobile Services, LLC Nikole Klinkhame, of Finest City Pet Sitting
• Martha Newport, of Lucky Mutt, LLC
• Craig Burnell, of Midcoast Dog Tails
• Jacob Kehler
• Jason Serrano, of My Pet Sitter
Morgan Atkinson, of The Microfarm
• Gwen Peake, of Golden Gate Pet Sitter
• Jennifer Henson, of Barking Meow Pet Solutions
Amy Sparrow, of Furkid Sitting and Services, LLC
• Tania Leeder, of Tania’s Pet Sitting
• Irene Garcia, of The Pet Nanny Atx, LLC
Nia Sanders, of Raise da Woof
• Susanna Lynn, of Sweet Sue Pet Sitter
• Kimberly Meyer, of The Pet Nanny
Your NAPPS 2023 Board of Directors
Furkid Sitting & Services, LLC Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Professional Pet Sitter, Inc. Riverwoods, Illinois
Get Gary Pet Care Madison, Connecticut
Lennox Armstrong Canine Care, LLC Glencoe, Illinois
Becky’s Pet Care, Inc. Springfield, Virginia
April Henley Dogs On The Run Carlsbad, California
Fire Hydrant Pet Sitting Co., LLC Pomona, California
Joan of Ark Pet Sitting Rockland, Massachusetts
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.
Our community welcomes pet sitters and pet parents.
The most respected authority in professional pet sitting.
Got an issue? Looking for answers to a situation? Turn to the private NAPPS Facebook page. This issue’s topic centers on how to best accept payments from clients.
I’m a solo sitter who is just starting out. What is everyone’s opinion on wearing a uniform or at least a t-shirt with your logo when pet sitting or dog walking?
that short window of time. The dog walker did not wear a shirt with a company logo nor had any signage.— Heather
I recommend it as advertising as well as people will know you’re not just some random person breaking into a home or stealing a dog. That’s also why I put magnet logos on my car, so I don’t freak out the neighbors. In small communities like I serve, it’s important.
logo on shirt or car, I might be observed and when I leave, the house might be broken into. It’s for the client protection.— Suanne
At first, when I started, I was so careful about when I used it and didn’t use it. After 11 years in business, I use it every time I work and so does our team.— Flavia
I think it’s a great idea for dog walkers as it is an easy way to advertise. I wouldn’t want it in a pet sitter because you are advertising that the home is empty. Maybe if you are doing a meet-and-greet, it would help you look more professional. I just go with clean and modest.— Dasha
Someone watched one of my walkers leave a home. She went back 45 minutes later to feed the cat on her way home and someone had broken in the client’s house in
As a cats’ only vacation care sitter, I’ve never worn logo clothing nor have I ever put anything on my car. I don’t want to advertise that my client isn’t home.— Nanette
The t-shirt is the way to go. Not only will you look professional, but you will be advertising all the time.
I don’t wear any clothing with my logo on it or advertising on my car. I want to protect my clients’ vacant homes. If someone sees me with a Cat Sitting
Logo shirts show you are professional. I wear them when working and going to do networking. It separates me from the kids next door and hobby sitters.— Amy
I think it’s a nice idea if you want to do it. If you have a small logo, I don’t think it’s a security risk. I elected not to because I would’ve had to wear logo shirts all day, every day, or, change clothes between visits, and I didn’t want to do that. Personally, I think the polo shirts with a small logo look the best.— Kristen
The NAPPS private Facebook group is another way to connect with our members. Having this page will allow NAPPS to directly communicate our various benefits and programs as well as share information regarding various committees and how you can participate.
All of this while allowing you to connect with your NAPPS colleagues across the country.
Search either National Association of Professional Pet Sitters PRIVATE group or contact NAPPS directly at napps@ petsitters.org. Submit a request to join (you will need to answer a few questions regarding your NAPPS membership). Once membership has been confirmed, you will have access to the group.
Please become familiar with the rules of the private Facebook group as they are in place to make this a pleasant, informative place to share and network. Moderators are available if you have any questions or concerns.
This is a NAPPS member benefit, so please be aware that if your membership falls into a lapsed status, your connection with this private group will be removed. ENJOY!
Once you are established your association provides you with the necessary tools and support to grow your business.
As a member, you have access to various discounts and incentives within the Toolkit Section of the NAPPS website. The categories include;
Audio Visual Therapy Background Screening Services Business Solutions and Staff Training Career Opportunities
Employer Services Gifts and Cards
Legal and Identity Theft Services Merchant Services
Mobile Apps Poop Bag Products/Services Pet Insurance Pet Sitting Software Website Development Services And More!
Take advantage of all the benefits offered to you as a NAPPS member.
Not familiar with the many benefits offered? NAPPS headquarters reviews the ins/outs of your membership — giving you the ability to take advantage of everything we work hard to offer.
Don’t wait — listen in today.
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 8,170 .
NAPPS has over 5,700 Twitter followers.
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.
The Early Bird Registration deadline is fast approaching!
Register today! PetSitters.org #nappsconference2023 #inperson #neworleans #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #catsitter 1,977 people reached September 7, 2022
Got a meeting? Can’t make it home? Work late guilt free!
Hire a professional dog walker. Find a pro near you. Just enter your zip code on our website to find a NAPPS pro near you! PetSitters.org #nationalwalkyourdogweek #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter #dogwalkerslife #prodogwalker
429 people reached October 4, 2022
429 people reached October 20, 2022
New Orleans in 2023!
November is National Adopt A Senior Dog Month!
A month dedicated to helping older pets find loving, forever homes. Shelters and rescues are full of dogs (after people went back to work after the pandemic).
If you are looking to adopt a new furry friend, consider adding a senior pet to the family this month. #AdoptASeniorPetMonth
#adoptdontshop #petsitter #professionalpetsitter
#petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter
429 people reached November 3, 2022
Food Aggression in Cats: All You Need to Know
Does your beloved fur baby suddenly turn into a monster at dinner time? You’re probably the victim of food aggression in your very own home. Read more on the NAPPS bloghttps://petsitters.org/.../
FoodAggressioninCatsAllYouNeed... #nappsblog #catfoodaggression #foodaggressioncats #petsitter #professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS #DogWalker #Catsitter
429 people reached October 14, 2022
If you’ve got a successful pet sitting or dog walking business, but were starting all over again, what tip would you give yourself?
#professionalpetsitter #petsitterassociation #NAPPS #NAPPScertified #FindAProNAPPS
#DogWalker #Catsitter #NAPPSquestion
1,648 people reached November 4, 2022
NAPPS welcomes new members who joined between September 1, 2022 and December 14, 2022. Here they are in alphabetical order by state and foreign countries:
Brianna Aspelund, Brianna Aspelund, Anchorage
Laura Mohn, Laura Pet Sits, LLC, Camp Verde
Kathleen Beazley, For the Love of Pets, Mesa
Michelle Knight, Evermore K9 Training & Care, LLC, Parker
Michael Conrad, Wagginggoodtime, LLC, Phoenix
Beck Browning, Cat Cuddles Petsitting, Phoenix
Gail Gentry, My Purrfect Companion, Inglewood
Susan Benham, Susan’s Pet and House Sitting, San Diego
Gwen Peake, Golden Gate Pet Sitter, San Anselmo
Courtney Clark, 12 Paws, Redondo Beach Brigid Wasson, Good Dogs Pet Sitting, Cloverdale
Marina Kofman, Marina’s Pet Care, Santa Rosa
Cynthia Pereira, Cynthia’s Cool Cat Care Club, Elk Grove
Kate Revill, Kate’s Pet Care, Sherman Oaks
Anne-Marie Kaden, Tiny Paws, LLC, Monument
Stacy Rossiter, Happy Howlz Pet Services, Parker
Kyle Compton, Kyle’s Critter Care, Collbran Sadie Martin, Denver Tails, LLC, Colorado Springs
Jan Luff, Playday Pet Sitting, Longmont
Terri Dawn Reed, Simply Pawsome, Wilmington D.C.
Michael Basillas, Michael Basillas, D.C.
Derrick Higgins, Beach Dawg Care, LLC, Surfside
Jensen Moors, Moors Pet Sitting, Delray Beach
Paula Jackson, Serendipity Pet Care, Port Charlotte
Cynthia Preziosi, Cocos Haven Pet Sitting, Davie
Yvonne Rosenberger, Marietta Heart Hounds Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, Marietta
Sophie Carter, Friendly Paws, Alpharetta
Kelly Lattin, Wags CdA, LLC, Coeur D’ Alene
Montserrat Alcantar, Real Pet Sitter, Oswego
Kimberly Meyer, The Pet Nanny 360, Bridgeport
Pamela Ethridge, APEX Paws Care & Holistic Nutrition, Chicago
Mia Seeley, Comforting Care, Chicago
Jason Serrano, My Pet Sitter, Houma Madelyn LeBlanc, No Meaux Worries Pet Services, LLC, Lafayette
Jill Weissenbach, Higgins and Friends Pet Sitting, LLC, Odenton
Ruth Larson, Larson Pet Sitting and Dog Walking, Bowie
Julie Graham, 2Chicks and a Farm Pet Care Services, Bangor
Jackie Kilgore, Paw City Pet Care, Grand Ledge
Anna Rickert, Pup Culture Dog Walking and Pet Sitting, Crystal
Karen Egger, Karen Eggers, Hopkins
Woof Roar, Woof Roar, Ewing
Siobhan Bliefernich, Take a Walk, Hamilton
Mary Neale, Pampered Pet Sitting Services, LLC, Cherry Hill
Melissa Rosa, Raise the Woof, Monroe
Joan Jotz, Joan’s Pet Services, Manchester
Steven Lauro, Woofie’s Mid Nassau, West Hempstead
Brandy Grozka, Brandy Gorzka, Campbell Hall
Lisa Willett, Critter Sitter, Holtsville
Robin Kozak, Stay At Home Pets, LLC, North Salem
Pet Vacays, Pet Vacays, Long Island City
Kelly Smith, Pawley’s Pet Paradise, Fayetteville
Amy Gibson, Forever By My Side, Wilmington
Desiree Frasca, Wags & Purrs, LLC, Charlotte
Anthony Venditti, Furrendly Petcare, Brooklyn
Anna Schlueter, Tail Wagging Training and Pet Care, Milford Center
Belinda Adornetto, Badornetto Pet Sitter, Sagamore Hills
Kristin Remington, Critter Concierge, LLC, Midwest City
Kathryn Van Horn, Kat Care, Oklahoma City
Marie Ackerman, Kite Hill Canines, Astoria
Christine Sakos, Furry Godmother Petcare, Upper Black Eddy
Jessie DeRita, Chasing Tails Pet Sitting, Dillsburg
Virginia Pace, Jeannie’s Pet Care, LLC,, Macungie
Shade Long, Complete Pet Care, Garnet Valley
Jenna Hilary, The Doody Queens, Doylestown
Carol Friedman, Pawsome Pet Sitting Services, Fort Mill
Christine Poncia, Watch Dog Pet Services & Property Management, Rock Hill Brianna Cannon, The Critter Sitter, Prosperity
Telani Lasoleille, The Cooperative Canine, LLC, Nashville
Laura Durbin, Prefurred Pets Nashville, Nashville
Annie Leos, We’ll Keep Their Tails Wagging, Bulverde
Lisa Reighley, House & Pet Sitting by Lisa and Dan, McKinney
Sandy Stutz, Pet Products Delivery, The Woodlands
Brandi Hendrix, Bayou City Pet Sitting, Houston
Ashley Carlson, Dashin Dawgs, Ogden
Lauren Phoenix, Koko & Sage, LLC –Shabby Chic Concierge Dog Boarding, Ashburn
Amber Reed, Darling Solutions, LLC, Monroe
Marci Boyd, Tender Loving Cat Care, Seattle
Lisa Sawoya, Angels with Tails, Burien
Kerri Landriault, Pet Pals Cornwall, Williamstown