Pet Care Pro Quarterly - Q2 2017

Page 1

Q2 2017


Getting down to business

Fifth Annual



CONTENTS Q2 2017 5



A PAL FOR LIFE How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future


FLYBALL! The rock and roll of dog sports


GREEN PAWS Take a walk on the more natural side








EVERY DAY SAFETY Heat stress protection






PPC VS. SEO Why your business needs the right balance of both for a knock-out web marketing strategy


FAST 5 BUSINESS TIPS Credit card processing


ALL IN FOR CAT HEALTH With Winn Feline Foundation


40 indoor runs 4 outdoor dog exercise yards and room to expand

25 outdoor runs Cat room with 11 enclosures Established in 1993

Located in beautiful Murphys, California Business opportunity $160,000 Rent kennel space $1,200 per month Cottage rental for owner or manager $1,200 per month Please call or email if interested 209-736-6989 or


NOTES from Carmen Happy Spring, Pet Care Professionals, and welcome to our new magazine, Pet Care Pro Quarterly! After six years of newsletters, IBPSA has finally made the leap to online magazine. We could not have done it without the support of our membership, both IBPSA Provider Members and IBPSA Vendor Members. A special thank you to Beverly Cambron, our marketing expert, who made this magazine possible. We hope that as you peruse the pages of our first issue you will enjoy the articles, find helpful information, and become a better-informed pet care services provider.

that we just had to add a second round of training in April. Our next P4P will be in October in Jacksonville, Florida, immediately preceding our Fifth Annual IBPSA Pet Care Services Educational Conference & Trade Show. Don’t miss out on this educational experience to prepare for financial growth in 2018. Register for this course at

As we promised in the first quarter, IBPSA has continued to bring FREE monthly webinars for our membership. We are so booked for those webinars that our COO and mistress of all things education, Charlotte Biggs, has started the webinar schedule for 2018! Remember that you can join us live or watch later at your convenience through the library in your IBPSA Member dashboard. If there is a subject matter you would like us to provide training on, please let us know at

And speaking of the conference, we are so excited about the combination of speakers and sessions we have put together this year for this milestone event – our fifth annual! New faces and seasoned pros will bring fresh ideas and smart insight to educate and inspire the owners, managers, and key employees of pet boarding and daycare facilities, pet sitters, veterinarians, groomers, trainers, and more working in the pet care services industry. You can check out all of the details and get registered at Earliest bird registration ends April 30, 2017, so take advantage!

As I write this, the tireless Charlotte is also helping out at our latest Pricing For Profit (P4P) in Chicago. There were so many people on the wait list from February

We love spring because it’s always a time for new beginnings, but if you’re a pet care services provider, it’s also become a season to look back because it’s time for


NOTES FROM CARMEN our annual Pet Care Services Industry Survey which analyzes last year’s financials. Your survey participation helps us make this one of the most valuable for the industry. The survey results, based on 2016 financials, will reveal key benchmarks and financial insights not only for the industry as a whole, but will help you wisely spend and budget for your business. The information you provide remains confidential. Results will only be reviewed in total or by demographic groups. Will you help us make this one of the most valuable industry surveys to date? Survey participants will receive a FREE Executive Summary and 50% off the price of the full, detailed report. To participate, visit

CPR as a pre-conference workshop in October. Visit to register today as seating is limited. This year, Pet Tech is offering a special promotion to all IBPSA Members to help with the mission of “Preventing One Million Pet ER Visits”. They are calling it the IBPSA100. Pet Tech is offering an extreme discount of $400 off their Pet Tech Instructor Training. And for every registrant that completes the 3-day Instructor Training they will donate $100 to IBPSA. Pet Tech’s goal is to raise $10,000 for IBPSA!

We also have some very exciting firsts happening right now. As you may have heard, we recently released the first ever National Pet Owners Preferences Study brought to you by Merck Animal Health and IBPSA! Get inside the minds of pet owners and see why they choose certain pet care services providers and what makes them stay or leave. We have more on the study and why it matters to your business in this issue of Pet Care Pro Quarterly – don’t miss it! Also in this issue, learn more about how Merck Animal Health and IBPSA are working together with our Champions for Care Infectious Disease Certification Program.

As always, we recognize that none of this could happen without the support of our IBPSA Volunteers and IBPSA Members. Thank you for your support!

How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future

And, finally, IBPSA is thrilled to have joined efforts with Pet Tech again this year to provide Pet First Aid &

To get full details on this IBPSA Members-only offer go to:


Carmen Rustenbeck Executive Director International Boarding & Pet Services Association

PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY ONLINE Find Pet Care Pro Quarterly information, issues, articles, and more at WANT TO ADVERTISE IN AN UPCOMING ISSUE? Please contact WANT TO CONTRIBUTE TO AN UPCOMING ISSUE? Submission guidelines are online at HAVE EXCITING INDUSTRY NEWS? Submit press releases to GET SOCIAL! Follow IBPSA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @petcareservices


Congratulations! IBPSA is proud to recognize the following IBPSA Members and staff who have achieved Certified Professional Animal Care Provider (CPACP) status. Arthur Arimese Rimbold II, CPACP All American Pet Resort Michigan Jessica Liana-Marie Okon, CPACP Tabatha Ashley Lichniak, CPACP Applause Your Paws Florida

Dan E. Poirier, CPACP Mallory Kate Poirier, CPACP Fetch n' Catch LLC New York Anna Torres-Radle, CPACP Fieldstone Animal Inn Maryland

Laina Schonefeld, CPACP Barkaritaville Pet Resort Texas

Elizabeth Turner Jones, CPACP Hill Country Pet Ranch Texas

Honor S. Blume, CPACP Patricia Lynn Thorpe, CPACP Shayna M. Spencer, CPACP BowMeow Regency Massachusetts

Karen Collins Litt, CPACP Kritter Keepers Pet Services Georgia

Julie Ruth Chamness, CPACP Kelsey Lynn Anolick, CPACP Sophia Alexandra Ritsema, CPACP BreedAbove Michigan Angie Pickren, CPACP Canine Cabana, LLC Florida Dr. Nee Kang, CPACP Cheerful Dogs Singapore Aubrey Elizabeth Randick, CPACP Katherine Lee Hess, CPACP Dairydell Canine California Denise A. Meinhardt, CPACP Denise's Animal House, LLC Ohio Kari Parris Campbell, CPACP Craig Adam Miley, CPACP Phyllis Gallatin-Banks, CPACP Dog Tired Doggie Daycare Alaska

Stephanie Shipley, CPACP Paw & Order New Brunswick Jessica Zellmer, CPACP Paws in Motion Virginia Sonya Wilson, CPACP Timothy Patrick Smith, CPACP Southpaws Playschool Texas James Charles Lamoureux, CPACP Sunland Acres Pet Boarding Camp Florida Laura Michelle Schorrak, CPACP The Dog Den Wisconsin Joy A. Jones, CPACP David Earl Jones, CPACP Your Pet Space New Mexico


How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future by Carmen Rustenbeck

PAL’S INN Entrance to the Fountain Hills, Arizona, facility.


had the privilege of visiting with one of our member facilities, Pal’s Inn Pet Resort, LLC, in Fountain Hills, Arizona. As a point of interest, Fountain Hills lays claim to one of the tallest fountains in the world. While a plume of water rising 560 feet into the sky is undeniably impressive, it was the impressive work being done by Pal’s Inn that lured us to this beautiful community just outside of Phoenix. Earlier this year, IBPSA presented an educational webinar for our members on “Estate Planning for People and Their Pets” which prompted one of the Pal’s Inn owners, Rose Sampieri, to reach out to IBPSA to share what they are doing to help pet owners make plans for their pets’ long-term care. Because we love the opportunity to visit with our members and see up close and personal what they’re accomplishing, we soon hit the road for Fountain Hills.

As we approached Pal’s Inn we knew we were in for something special. With smart, area-appropriate landscaping and a rich rose-hued exterior evocative of a classic Southwest style, you could immediately see the care that Rose, her husband Bob, and their business partner Don Leitzen have committed to the facility. As Rose and Bob treated us to a grand tour of the 12,000-square-feet facility, we had the opportunity to see their team in action, including Tracy Rothstein, their Director of Operations, who is also a certified “pet chaplain”. Over the past dozen years, the resort has become an integral part of the Fountain Hills community, allowing local students to fulfill their community services before graduation, and successfully incorporating a pet rescue and adoption center. The thoughtfulness that defines Pal’s Inn was taken to the next level last year when their programs to help pet owners make plans for the long-term care of their pets made their public debut.



PAL’S INN Inside the pet resort in Fountain Hills, Arizona. The full-service facility offers boarding, day care, grooming, training, massage therapy, and teeth cleaning. All photos courtesy Pal’s Inn Pet Resort.


A PAL FOR LIFE The Pal’s Inn “legacy”

Are you ready to establish your “legacy”?

Envisioning a time when we won’t be around is not something many of us want to think about. But most of us in the pet care services industry are all too familiar with pet rescue pleas for a now homeless animal whose owner has passed away. The responsible thing to do for pets is to plan for the inevitable, whenever that may be. Pal’s Inn and their “Celebrity Legacy Pet Care” programs make the planning easy on the owner with two options.

The potential for offering your clients this type of long-term care for their pets is enticing, isn’t it? But, be aware that the program is not for every facility. Rose and Bob believe that this program functions best in a resort-type facility, and they suggest the following assessments be considered before attempting to add a similar program to your business:

For the long-term care program, Celebrity Legacy Pet Care I, Pal’s Inn assumes care and lifetime expenses until the animal passes. In a nutshell, the fee for this program is based on pet breed, age, and any medical issues. The shorter and typically less expensive program, Celebrity Legacy Pet Care II, provides care for as long as it takes to find a “forever” home that exactly fulfills the wishes of the owner. Wishes for an ideal new home might be, for example, a family with (or without) children, an older person, a large home, or, perhaps, a ranch. No matter which program the owner selects, the resort promises that all “legacy” pets will be socialized, groomed, medically supported, given one-on-one playtime, daily walks, and “will be cherished by the staff at Pal’s Inn.”

Does your facility have the capacity to house pets for long periods of time? Maybe even years?

How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future

No matter which program the owner selects, the resort promises that all “legacy” pets will be socialized, groomed, medically supported, given one-on-one playtime, daily walks, and “will be cherished by the staff at Pal’s Inn.” Costs for the pet owner to participate in either of the programs are determined by information provided in a worksheet about the pet (or pets). Based on that information, an estimated cost analysis and agreement is presented. If the pet owner signs the agreement, a non-refundable payment is required. This agreement becomes part of the will and estate process and, should the pet owner become incapable of caring for their pet, they can release the pet at any time to Pal’s Inn under the agreement.

Is your facility in an economically stable area?

Has your facility been in business long enough to show consistency in the financials? Do you have all of your policies and procedures in place? Is your staff following them? Preparing for the evolving definition of pet “owner” IBPSA is committed to helping our members help their clients and, as virtually every pet care industry report confirms, pet owners increasingly see themselves as “pet parents” – not just owners. As such, they are increasingly committed to the responsibility of treating their pets as members of the family who must be considered and cared for long-term. Thank you to Pal’s Inn for seeing a need and providing a valuable service in a smart and professional manner. Pal’s Inn offers their Celebrity Legacy Pet Care programs to any pet owner whether they live in Fountain Hills or anywhere else in the nation. To learn more about Pal’s Inn and their Celebrity Legacy Pet Care, look for the “Legacy Program” tab at Please note that IBPSA also plans to touch on this long-term care topic again for a future free monthly member webinar. If you missed the “Estate Planning for People and Their Pets” webinar earlier this year, IBPSA Members can access it now through their IBPSA Member dashboard. Click the “Video Library” tab and look under “Customer Service.” Are you an IBPSA Member providing a unique service in your area? IBPSA would love to hear from you! Contact us at





OCTOBER 1-2, 2017 JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA Take advantage of the opportunity if you can get into the next Pricing For Profit workshop, you’ll get back 10-fold on your investment – it’s amazing. Al Bowman Cinder Hills Kennels

INTENSIVE 2-DAY FINANCIAL WORKSHOP FOR PET CARE INDUSTRY OWNERS AND MANAGERS I really felt this was a superior return on investment – time and money! Sharon Sutton The Cat House Hotel


FLYBALL! The rock and roll of dog sports by Steve Corona

AT FIRST GLANCE, Flyball is quite the contrast to the more traditional obedience based events. Loud with barking dogs and their handlers getting them amped up, it’s like attending a rock concert versus a symphony. But don’t let the apparent chaos fool you, these dogs are amazing athletes and spend many hours in training and practice. The first United States Flyball tournament was held in 1983 and participation has since soared with more than 16,000 registered dogs and clubs located throughout North America, Europe, Australia, and many other countries. While there are several governing organizations, the largest is the North American Flyball Association (NAFA®). Flyball matches two teams of four dogs each, racing in side-by-side lanes over a 51-foot long course. Each dog runs in relay fashion over a set of jumps, leaps onto and triggers a spring-loaded Flyball box, which releases a tennis ball. The dog retrieves the ball, and returns back over the jumps. The next dog is released to run the course but cannot cross the start/finish line until the previous dog returns with the ball. The first team to have all 4 dogs finish the course without error wins the heat.

Tournaments are comprised of different classes of racing such as Regular (all dogs from the same club), Open (dogs can be from a combination of clubs), Multi-breed (all 4 dogs must be of a different breed), and Veterans (all dogs must be 7 years of age or older). The Flyball year culminates in an international tournament held every October at the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis,Cayenne Indiana - Fire the “CanAm Dancer Classic”. This competition brings together dogs and handlers of every ability in a massive 7-ring tournament with over 400 teams in attendance. CanAm ends with the championship races – a thrilling exhibition of the fastest elite teams. The 3-day event is livestreamed, has been on local and national news, and in 2010 was awarded a Guinness World Record as the largest Flyball tournament with 810 dogs entered. In June 2016, the NAFA World Record in the Regular Division was set by a team from Ontario, Canada called Border Patrol. The record time was 14.433 seconds – an average of an amazing 3.6 seconds per each of the 4 dogs to run the 102-foot course! Flyball is open to every breed, speed, and size of dog. From Border Collies to Chihuahuas, blind dogs, and


Sierra Mini Me

FLYBALL! Previous page: Cayenne Fire Dancer. From top this page: CanAm2016; Crystal, Tenley, and Minion (photo credit Dana Nichols); Sierra Mini Me (left); Reese and Kalypso (right). 13 | PET CARE PRO QUARTERLY | Q2 2017 | IBPSA.COM/PETCAREPRO

FLYBALL! even a few tripods – the dogs have a great time! For their safety, a dog must be at least one year old to play, but there are many drills that can be worked on during puppyhood such as tug drive, recalls, and socialization skills. As the dog matures, training develops into learning the pattern; working on catching the ball out of the box and the box turn; passing another dog near the start/finish line; and increasing speed. Many handlers and their dogs have been together for years and spend a lot of time together traveling to tournaments, in hotel rooms or RVs, and form an inseparable bond. For the humans, bragging rights is the prize, but the dogs can earn titles based on the recorded time of each heat. For races 24 seconds and under, each dog in that heat earns 25 points; under 28 seconds earns 5 points; and under 32 seconds earns 1 point. Earned at just 20 points, the first title, Flyball Dog (FD) is often the sweetest to many handlers. It is the reward of all the effort that has gone into getting a dog ready to race. At the other end of the scale is the Hobbes Award. This title, named after the first dog to earn the recognition, is given to a dog that accumulates 100,000 points over its racing career. NAFA® also recognizes those dogs

and their handlers that have earned points in 10 consecutive years of racing with the Iron Dog Award. Flyball encourages everyone to participate and teams are made up of all ages – little ones and seniors included. NAFA® includes a Junior Handler program that encourages young children, under adult supervision, to participate in racing and judging. These youth learn skills such as participating in a team sport, respect for their canine companions, and the importance of physical activity for both humans and dogs. With time spent racing and hanging out with dogs and friends, Flyball teams tend to become like an extended family. To find out more about the exciting sport of Flyball and to locate a club or tournament near you, please visit Steve Corona is currently Chairman of the Board and a Supervising Judge for the North American Flyball Association (NAFA®). He is also the owner of Doggy Day Out Kennel & Daycare in P7lugerville, TX. Steve competes with his Border Collie Cayenne and is in training with his Whippet named Zambonee.




A tennis ball is loaded into a spring-loaded flyball box at the end of the lane. The dog steps on the front of the box which launches the ball. The dog catches the ball and carries it back over the jumps. The dog pushes off of the flyball box to turn around quickly. Some dogs may do a swimmer’s turn.

Flyball is a relay race for dogs. Four dogs take turns running 51 feet over a set of four hurdles, retrieving a tennis ball from a spring-loaded box and returning to the start/finish line. Their object is to do it faster than the opposing team on an adjacent racing lane. Races are broken down to heats. The first team that wins three of five heats wins the race. Here are some key components of flyball racing: ❚ What kind of dogs play flyball? Any dog can learn to play flyball. Some breeds, such as Border collies, Australian shepherds, shelties and Jack Russell terriers, do better than others. Many mixed breeds are great competitors.


A tennis ball is loaded in a hole in front of the box

Dog steps on the box to release the ball and turns



Dogs jump four hurdles that are spaced 10 feet apart. The jump height is 5 inches below the shoulder height of the shortest dog on each team. The minimum height is 7 inches; maximum is 14 inches.

Jump height is changed by adding or removing slats


Electronic timing sensors at the start/finish line


Timing lights — similar to the ones used in drag racing — help the handler to release the dog and break the sensor beam at the start/finish line at the right time. If a dog starts too early, it is a false start and it must begin the heat again.



As each dog returns, it passes the next dog running from the team at the start/finish line. The dogs are clocked separately by the timing system and the team total is tallied automatically.

Start/finish line

Start/finish line

TIMING LIGHTS Lights flash down from red to yellow to green for handlers to time their release of the dog.


Two teams square off at a competition. \An electronic judging system is used to time starts, passes, finishes, and individual dogs' times to the thousandth of a second.

Jump 1

❚ How fast are they? Team speeds vary, so they are divided into divisions based on their speed. The fastest teams, in Division 1, can run the course in about 14 seconds (that’s less than 4 seconds per dog). Average speed teams run the course in under 20 seconds.

6 feet

LANE 1 Dog handlers

Start/finish line

51 feet

Line judge


Jump 2 10 feet

Timing lights

Box line judge

Jump 3 10 feet

Jump 4 10 feet

15 feet Flyball boxes

Ball loaders

LANE 2 Line judge SOURCES: North American Flyball Association,

Box line judge



GREEN PAWS Take a walk on the more natural side Every member of the IBPSA Team is a devoted pet owner. When we find a product we like, we tend to share it with the others. We have noticed a common “natural” thread in many of the products we use in our own homes and offices. These are just some of our favorite products that lean “green”.

BOW WOW BLENDS A power fruit dog treat smoothie created to help pups with tummy troubles and provide extra nutrition. The Bow Bow Blends smoothie is made with no preservatives and packaged in a BPA-free bottle and lid. More information available online at

WONDERCIDE FLEA & TICK Wondercide carries a variety of products we use, but with summer on the way, their natural flea, tick, and mosquito control for pets and home, made with organic, therapeutic-grade cedar oil is top of the list. For more information visit

KINN KLEANBOWL A no-wash pet food bowl which is uniquely designed to reduce the health risk of germs and contamination, save time, and be eco-friendly. The stainless steel holder secures a replacement bowl made from 100% biodegradable, compostable and recyclable sugar cane fiber that is 100% tree and plastic free. For more on the health and money-saving benefits, visit

WOOF WILD Dog shampoo bar enriched with organic aloe and oats to soothe the skin, essential oils to freshen the coat and help repel insects, and calcium bentonite clay for deep down cleansing. Great for dogs with sensitive skin and no plastic bottle waste. Made by A Wild Soap Bar who does not use synthetic fragrance oils or other harmful chemicals in any of their products. Learn more at


SURVEY SAYS? IBPSA and Crystal Canine have once again joined forces to create an in-depth pet care services industry survey. The survey results, based on your 2016 financials, will reveal key benchmarks and financial insights not only for the industry as a whole, but will help you wisely spend and budget for your business. The information you provide remains confidential. Results will only be reviewed in total or by demographic groups. Will you help us make this one of the most valuable industry surveys to date? Survey participants will receive a FREE Executive Summary and 50% off the price of the full, detailed Survey Results Report! And, more good news, we won’t be standing at your door with a clipboard. The survey is conveniently online at: Survey ends on May 21, 2017.

WHAT PET RESORTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REPUTATION MANAGEMENT by Phillip Barnhart IN 101 DALMATIONS, dogs spread news and gossip using the “twilight bark”. If dogs and cats really could provide reviews today, reputation management would be easy. But with humans involved, you can't count on Danny the Great Dane at Hampstead to get the word out. The reality is human reviews on review and social media sites influence new customers and have a growing impact on the bottom line of virtually every business – pet resorts included. Indeed, online reviews now influence most consumer purchasing behavior. And this is especially true with pet owners. What is your online reputation? Many factors shape your online reputation, but the ones influencing potential customers are: The sites appearing on Google's first page search results Your “knowledge panel” (that box of information that appears about your business to the right of a Google search result) Social media comments

Online review sites and review applications News and blog websites Potential clients discover more than just your website when searching online. They find reviews about your pet resort on Yelp, Google, and other directory sites. They read local news coverage and online comments about your business. They read their neighbor's opinions on social networks like Facebook, Nextdoor, and Instagram. Did you know that Facebook recently launched a tool allowing their users to ask for recommendations from friends? People often read your reviews before they spend much time on your own website. The importance of reinforcing reputation Committed pet owners spend a lot of time researching pet services. They want to know if you are going to love and care for their pet as much as they do and, today,

WHAT PET RESORTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REPUTATION MANAGEMENT that means reading reviews. And not just your reviews. Social media and review sites simplify comparing pet resorts, franchises, and at-home boarding services.

You can also use business tools at these sites. For example, you can communicate privately and directly with a reviewer, respond to reviews publicly, and flag reviews for removal that violate the review site's terms and conditions.

How one review petsurvey care is helping A 2016 consumer by facility BrightLocal revealed reviews are a major influencer in purchaser pet owners plan for the future behavior: Create a reputation plan 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation 90% of consumers read less than 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important As a pet resort, you set very high expectations with your clients. Customers expect a certain level of care and concern for their pet, and certain kinds of reviews can have a direct, immediate impact on a pet resort. Positive reviews praising employee care, affection, and professionalism can increase new client inquiries. Negative reviews alleging neglect obviously have the opposite effect. Even billing disputes and simple misunderstandings can negatively impact your reputation. How a pet resort owner handles reviews can often turn a failure into a success. So, what steps can you take to care for your online reputation? Claim your profiles Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other sites allow you to claim your profiles and interact with reviewers. Your first step is to verify your address, phone, hours, and other information. Use an email address that you check often. Take advantage of free tools like Yelp's "Check-In Offers" to connect with customers using social media apps.

You need to have a plan in place that includes both yourself and your team. Decide who is going to respond to a review, and determine to what types of reviews to respond. Be proactive (avoid hurt feelings through communication) As you work on your plan, check with your employees on possible business areas that need improving. A large number of poor reviews come from simple misunderstandings. Be proactive by being crystal clear to avoid confusion and misunderstandings on topics such as: Breed restrictions. Clearly communicate any breed restrictions on your website. Reinforce them over the phone early in the booking process with new clients. Evaluation requirements. New clients should know beforehand if an evaluation is required prior to group play. Billing and special offers. Don't turn a happy customer into an unhappy customer. Confusion over rates or discounts generates a large percentage of undeserved bad reviews. Your reputation plan should include a simple process to evaluate and resolve any problems during pet pickup and final billing. Poor reviews can come from customers who feel you aren't taking their concerns seriously. Even when a customer is completely in the wrong, the disputed amount is often a fraction of the eventual cost of a poor review posted to multiple sites. Make sure someone “owns it” Your online reputation is too important to ignore – someone needs to own the task of reputation management. Assign a team member to monitor email and messages and to respond as needed. They should learn to use tools like to monitor your business name on social media. Keep an eye on news and blogs by going to Create an alert for your business that your designated team member receives.


WHAT PET RESORTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT REPUTATION MANAGEMENT Respond to negative reviews appropriately First, remember that a single poor review will not destroy your business. Customers know you aren't perfect and will often give you the benefit of the doubt. You can even turn a poor review into a positive. Respond simply and courteously, and do not get personal. If the reviewer has a legitimate issue, acknowledge it and offer to remedy the problem. If the reviewer is being hateful or unreasonable, respond factually and keep it short and sweet. Remember, you are writing to everyone who reads both the review and your response. Most of your customers understand we don't live in a five-star world.

Invest in your reputation Your great reputation pays off in many ways – with loyal customers, new clients, and staff retention. Because transparency, honesty, and commitment aren’t always enough, taking control of your reputation will help you build and protect one of your most important assets.

How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future

Promote the good Respond and promote positive reviews. If someone leaves a glowing Facebook comment about how much fun their pup had at daycare, share it on your website. Share positive reviews from Google on Facebook and Twitter. Consider inviting happy customers to write a review or testimonial for your own site. Use links to positive press reviews in your paid search and social media campaigns.

Phillip Barnhart is the Director of Client Marketing Services for Nehmedia, an Austin-based digital marketing firm founded in 2002.Working with pet resort clients across North America, the firm has developed a unique expertise in pet services website development, marketing, and analysis. Nehmedia specializes in applying advanced analytics and research tools for site content development, search engine optimization, and paid search, display, and social media marketing. Nehmedia is a Google Premier AdWords Partner, Google Analytics Partner, Bing Partner, and a business member of IBPSA. Learn more at


Congratulations! IBPSA is proud to recognize the following IBPSA Members and staff who have achieved the following IBPSA species-specifc certifications. CANINE ADVANCED


Julie Dejnowski Bayside Pet Resort Florida

Mariah Helm Bayside Pet Resort Florida

Andrea Fahringer Mugus Pet Resort Georgia

Peg Banks, CPACP Dog Tired Doggie Daycare Alaska

Megan Purtell Beagle Bed & Breakfast Maryland

Anissa Snelling Broken Arrow Pet Resort & Spa Oklahoma

Melinda Robbins Paw Commons Pet Resort Texas

Summer Brown Woodland West Pet Resort Oklahoma

Anne Dysinger Eric Dysinger Paws in Paradise Luxury Resort and Spa, LLC Georgia

Susan Ditch Chesapeake Pet Resort Maryland

Bailey Taylor Pine Creek Kennels Pet Resort Pennsylvania

Peg Banks, CPACP Dog Tired Doggie Daycare Alaska

Susan Ditch Chesapeake Pet Resort Maryland


Peg Banks, CPACP Dog Tired Doggie Daycare Alaska

Charlotte Rich Ashley Vehling Abby McVey Madeline Corley BrownDog Lodge Tennessee

Angel Rowe J And A Pet Services Alberta

Susan Ditch Chesapeake Pet Resort Maryland

Melinda Robbins Paw Commons Pet Resort Arizona

Lynda Knezovich City Dogs Boarding & Playcare Virginia

Paulo Praznik Brittany Carson Pooch Playhouse & Boarding LLC Tennessee

Jennifer Boucher Dogwood Cottage Massachusetts

Raina Hallmark Rover Resort Texas

Christopher Andrews Eastern States Pet Express Florida

Crystal Betters Snootz Pet Services Massachusetts

Angelica Lopez Happy Tails and Trails Illinois

Taylor Gordon Soos Creek Kennels Washington

Angel Rowe J And A Pet Services Alberta

Emalinn McCallum Southpaws Playschool Texas

Anne Dysinger Eric Dysinger Paws in Paradise Luxury Resort and Spa, LLC Georgia Raina Hallmark Elizabeth Randall Rover Resort Texas Derek Olson Summer Tetreault The Barkwood Inn Massachusetts Summer Brown Woodland West Pet Resort Oklahoma

Janie Jessen Stacy Jessen Meow, Bark and Board South Carolina


Susan Ditch Chesapeake Pet Resort Maryland Anissa Snelling Broken Arrow Pet Resort & Spa Oklahoma Anne Dysinger Eric Dysinger Paws in Paradise Luxury Resort and Spa, LLC Georgia

INSIDE A PET PARENT’S HEAD Independent survey of more than 650 pet owners asks the why versus the how much they invest in certain pet boarding, pet sitting services and apps, and veterinary services by Charlotte Biggs

do pet owners make certain pet care decisions? The recently released National Pet Owner Preferences Study reveals why “pet parents” spend their money on pet boarding, pet sitting services and apps, and veterinary services. IBPSA teamed with Merck Animal Health to commission the study of 652 pet owners to go beyond the usual how much did pet owners spend to get to the why they make certain spending decisions. The study revealed that reputation, recommendation, and certification all play key roles in pet care decisions. Before joining IBPSA as COO, I owned a successful pet care facility near Austin, Texas, where I spent hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to operate it, from payroll to maintenance, supplies, equipment, marketing and advertising, and all of the things that go into operating a successful business. As pet care services providers, we create marketing and advertising programs based on what we think the pet owner wants. We promote ourselves the way we think they want to see us. Sometimes we hit the mark - or get close - and we’re successful at our businesses. However, there are too many times when we are forced to simply use our best judgement and hope for the best. The benefit of a survey like this is our decision-making can be based on what the pet owner thinks.

whom they choose to care for their pets. This insight should have a significant effect on your marketing message. How well are you known in the community? Are you a member, for example, of your local chamber of commerce? Are you monitoring and smartly responding to online reviews? Don’t underestimate the importance of reputation. Should your staff be getting industry certifications? Fully half of pet owners have checked out whether a facility is certified and staff is trained before deciding on caretakers for their pets. Is your staff getting certified? Are you letting your clients - and potential clients - know about your certifications? You should. Even as finding pet care becomes easier thanks to technology and growing competition, this study reinforces the importance to “pet parents” of providing high-quality, professional pet care. For detailed data and decision-making insight, the National Pet Owner Preferences Study is now available for purchase via

The over 100-page study, based on independent research conducted by Researchscape International, includes detailed analysis of the survey results that sheds light on how and where you should be spending your money. Here are just three decision-making insights from the National Pet Owner Preferences Study: Where to spend your operating dollars? When deciding where to invest in growing your business, should you spend on better fencing and automatic-door closures that pet owners might never see? Or, should you spend on high-quality desks and décor for the reception area that “show off” your brand? The research shows that pet owners put a premium on safety and security. So, the more strategic investment is to spend on the fencing and door closures. How much effort should be put into managing your reputation? “Overall reputation” is a pet owner’s second highest consideration in deciding on



In a non-sales world by Jan Spence

you ask any pet care services professional why they got into the business of animals, the answer will most certainly highlight their love of animals, their love of medicine, their love of science. Very few, if any, will answer that they pursued a career as a pet boarding facility owner, veterinarian, or groomer due to a love of sales. In fact, selling is often the furthest thing from the minds of these professionals and their staff. However, every business is a sales business. The pet care services industry has undergone a variety of changes over the past 50 years. In order to stay ahead of the pack, business owners have to dare to be different by fostering a culture of sales in their organization from the top down. Understandably, many pet care professionals and their teams are resistant to anything having to do with the term “sales”, as it often conjures up exaggerated images of the sleazy, slimy, dishonest snake oil salesman. However, not considering this important factor of business growth and success will lead to missed opportunities for capturing additional income, increasing customer loyalty, and growing the business. Here are three important steps that can be used to start developing a sales culture: Look in the mirror! Those in leadership, management, and ownership roles must be real and honest about their own attitude and perspective regarding being a “sales organization”. If there is “head trash” regarding a stigma about “salespeople”, then the leader will always hold themselves and the team back from getting to that next level of growth. One veterinarian had such a disdain for salespeople that he had a written policy on how to abruptly brush off any solicitor contacting the business. You can imagine the challenge he had in attempting to flip the switch of the mindsets of his staff to genuinely offer products and services that would be valuable to the

clients they served. An open examination of these types of beliefs is the first (and often times most critical) step in moving toward a sales culture. Look around! Identify opportunities for additional service offerings, up-sells or bundled packages. Utilize two angles regarding this step: A) Use the staff to get creative. When it is their idea, they are more likely to buy in to “offering” (code word for “selling!”) additional services and products to existing customers. Ask questions such as, “When Mrs. Jones sets an appointment for Fluffy’s annual check-up, what are other valuable treatments/services/products that we offer that would be beneficial to Mrs. Jones and her pet?” As personnel begins to view these offerings as a solution to a problem or potential problem, the stigma regarding salespeople begins to melt away. B) Find out where the profit is. What products and services are most profitable for your business? One must evaluate the time, materials, labor, and resources to obtain, stock, or administer these items to determine what is most profitable. Choose three to five targeted products or services and then educate the staff on when and for whom these are the best fit. Starting small and giving the team specific tools to use will help them all dip a “paw” into the water regarding upselling to existing clients. Create a system! Setting up written procedures is critical in order to change the culture of an organization. Having employees understand and practice a process, along with realistic incentives, will begin to turn the tide of a “non-sales” culture. Three beginning steps are:


DEVELOPING A SALES CULTURE A) Questions – Teach the staff HOW to offer additional services and products to clients. What written questions can you teach them to ask and when should they ask them? B) Procedures – Put a “policies and procedures” document in place that holds staff accountable and teaches them how they will be measured on this aspect of their job. Remember the old method of show them how to do something, explain why it is important, have them try it, give feedback and have them try it again until they are comfortable with this new method of operating. C) Incentives - Just as our pets respond to rewards, so do humans. As part of staff’s compensation package, include “selling” as part of their role. This includes measurement in three areas: 1) Behavior – Are they offering upsells consistently as part of their process of setting up appointments, intake, evaluation, check-out, etc.? 2) Results – Are they consistently seeing an increase in added services and products as an indication that they are effectively offering what is best for clients and their pets? 3) Exceeding expectations – Is there a financial bonus associated with those who go above and beyond to

make sure that every pet and their owner that enters the business has all that they need to live a safe and healthy “pet family” life? Regardless of industry or company size, promoting change in an organization can be uncomfortable, difficult, and met with resistance. However, as the old saying goes, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” It’s important for pet care services professionals to be intentional about the growth of their business. After all, no company continues to grow by accident. Not taking the continued progress of their organization seriously means competitors who are focused on growth will end up with their market share, their customers and loyalty, their profit, and ultimately their brand. Dare to be different, embrace a sales culture, and your practice will be around for the long haul! Jan Spence, CEO, Jan Spence & Associates, is an international speaker, consultant, trainer and business coach. With contagious charisma and a zest for life which make her an excellent motivator and leader, she has used her vast knowledge in sales, marketing, communications, finances, and business operations to help numerous clients including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay. For more information, visit

LOOKING FOR NEW TEAM MEMBERS? Don’t hide your job openings! Advertise them in Pet Care Pro Quarterly. Contact for details.


EVERY DAY SAFETY Heat Stress Protection by Ben Day the joy of summer! Your clients are planning vacations and your profit margins will be going up. But, oh, the other “joy” of summer. As mild days give way to soaring temperatures and thick, oppressive humidity, the season also calls for extra precautions. Along with this joyous time lurks the danger of having one of your valued clients or workers get sick due to heat exposure. There are precautions you, as an employer, should take to lower this risk. Consider just some of the risk factors: • High temperature and humidity, direct sun exposure, no breeze or wind • Low liquid intake • Heavy physical labor Know the symptoms to look for when exposure is unavoidable: • Headache, dizziness, or fainting • Weakness and wet skin • Irritability or confusion (if your employee exhibits this normally, disregard…just kidding) • Thirst, nausea, or vomiting Prepare ahead to protect clients and workers. For our four legged friends, we know to keep the water bowl full and avoid prolonged sun exposure. For our employees, it is very similar with a few extra variations: • Drink plenty of fluids OFTEN and BEFORE you get thirsty • Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing • Avoid beverages containing alcohol or caffeine If an employee gets over heated, don’t mess around! • Get them to a cool, shaded area • Fan and mist them with water • Apply ice bags or towels • Provide cool drinking water • Don’t panic first to avoid the worst!

If the employee does not respond immediately, call 911. You don’t want to take a chance with their health. It is a good idea to do training on this topic with not only your new employees, but your old-timers as well. Take advantage of available resources to prepare for all of the joys of summer. IBPSA, for example, has ready-to-go heat safety training materials. Ben Day, owner of Ben Day Business Consultants, has worked in the safety profession for over thirty years. His company enables business owners to cost-effectively outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll, and workers compensation. Contact Ben at

MERCK ANIMAL HEALTH AND IBPSA INFECTIOUS DISEASE CERTIFICATION PROGRAM New certification program dedicated to infectious disease control and prevention launches for pet care services providers In the National Pet Owner Preferences Study, 80% of the 652 pet owners surveyed said it was “very or extremely important to them that a boarding facility requires all visiting pets to be vaccinated against infectious disease.” It’s an undeniable fact that pets that are social or visit pet businesses, such as doggie day cares and boarding facilities, are at risk for infectious disease. And, at least based on this study, their owners are overwhelmingly concerned about it. Fortunately, better understanding of infectious disease and preventative care, including strategic vaccination and cleaning protocols, can help keep pets healthy. The Merck Animal Health and IBPSA Infectious Disease Certification Program was launched to provide industry standard knowledge to not only increase awareness for disease protocols within pet care facilities, but also to share valuable information with, and

provide peace of mind to, pet owners as they choose who will provide care for their pets. The first live presentation of this new certification program will be on October 2, 2017, in Jacksonville, Florida, immediately preceding the Fifth Annual IBPSA Pet Care Services Educational Conference & Trade Show. To become certified, the course must be completed and the certification examination must be passed. While the presentation is free for veterinary and pet care professionals, registration is required. Registration and additional details may be found on Those who successfully pass the certification exam will receive a certificate to print and display. A clear and reputation-enhancing way to show 100% of pet owners that you care about the health of their pets.

PET TECH PET FIRST AID AWARENESS MONTH “Bark Up! Be YOUR Pet’s Advocate!” by Thom Somes, "The Pet Safety Guy™" Did you know that April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month? This year’s theme is “Bark Up! Be YOUR Pet’s Advocate!” Why would we have such a month? According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), one out of four more pets could be saved if just one basic pet first aid skill or technique was applied prior to receiving veterinary care.

Animal Behavior College statistics show that preventable accidents are a leading cause of death among our pets, and 9 out of 10 dogs and cats can expect to have an emergency during their lifetime. It is estimated that less than 5% of all pet care professionals are trained in Pet First Aid & CPR. As pet parents and pet care professionals, we owe it to the pets in our lives and in our businesses to be trained and current in these potentially life-saving skills and techniques. Being trained and staying current truly raises the bar of pet care professionalism. So, where do we start? Stay informed, continue learning and sharing to improve the quality of pet lives This means finding an area of pet care specific or personal to you to stay up-to-date and share with pet lovers. It is best to “think global but act local”. Begin or join your neighborhood watch, become a volunteer with your local animal rescue groups, include your neighbors in your plan so you can cover each other when one of you is not at home or can’t get home. If it was you who needed help, wouldn’t you want the first person to pass by be willing to help you? Pet care is not always black and white. There are usually several equally good ways to approach creating a healthy lifestyle for the pets in your care. Trust your common sense and do your homework so, when necessary, you can make an informed decision. Make quality industry connections. Look for industry leaders that are using “best practices” as pet care services providers. Know what the industry standards are and how to find them. Join an educational association such as IBPSA, APDT, or PSI as these groups are dedicated to ensuring that you receive the best education and information.

PET TECH PET FIRST AID AWARENESS MONTH Take advantage of the many industry programs and events offered throughout the year that provide opportunities for education and growth. Some events such as IBPSA’s monthly webinars make it easy to learn in a one hour session with little to no expense.

Share your life changing experiences with others to help educate


way you are truly being an educator. This is part of being a pet care professional - educating yourself and then passing that information on to employees and the customers you serve.

It is the times in our lives that test our determination,

How one pet care facility is helping stamina, and dedication that truly allow us the opportunity to grow and awaken to new personal heights. pet owners plan for the future Learn with hands-on training and top quality Share your personal experiences with others as in this It is vital that you stay current in both human and pet emergency care. Pet First Aid & CPR is the immediate care given to a pet that has been injured or suddenly taken ill. This includes home care and, when necessary, veterinary help. Knowing the proper skills and techniques can mean the difference between life and death, temporary and permanent disability, and expensive veterinarian bills and reasonable home care. These skills are perishable and you always pick something up that you may have missed the first or second time. Don’t stop there; continue by taking community classes on emergency preparedness, health and wellness for you and your pets.

Make it a professional and, more importantly, a personal goal for the love of all pets to “Bark Up! Be YOUR Pet’s Advocate!” Take advantage of educational opportunities and keep your Pet First Aid & CPR certification – as well as human – current. You will then be more prepared to react in the event of a medical emergency involving your pets. After all, pets give us their best and, at the very least, deserve the best in return!



Why your pet care business needs the right balance of both for a knock-out web marketing strategy

by Alain Parcain ONE OF THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS my web marketing team and I get while speaking at industry tradeshows or providing educational webinars is, “Which strategy is right for me?” Businesses are constantly focused on finding the right marketing plan when it comes to generating more business from the web, and it usually comes down to two main choices: Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC) or Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Now, imagine you call a remodeler after a big storm damages your house. What would he tell you if you asked, “I don’t have much money, what should I fix – the hole in my kid’s ceiling or the damaged roof over the master bedroom?” Since we are talking about web marketing, I get to give you a slightly better answer than “you need to do both”. The Bottom Line: Both PPC and SEO programs drive more traffic to your website, which works to increase your sales in different ways. Here are the differences. Get immediate, guaranteed results from paid search… Paid search – also known as PPC – refers to online advertising that can guarantee “page one” placement on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. It is a fast and measur-

able way to generate inbound leads from web-savvy consumers. Don’t underestimate the “measurable” part either. Google makes it possible to track specific paid search spend so you know what type of return you’re getting, even down to specific keyword performance. Modern day paid search has moved more toward a strategy known as “retargeting”, which is a separate topic for another day. But, in a nutshell, you know how ads for a website follow you around after you’ve visited that website? That’s retargeting. OR get results that last long-term with lower costs from SEO… SEO refers to the process of managing your website’s content and organization, both onsite and offsite, to improve its ranking in the “organic” search results. Done right, SEO can provide pet care professionals long-term rewards on the same search engines as PPC, but at a lower overall price. “Ok, enough already… what should I do?” Individually, both PPC and SEO will improve your business exposure in your market area, therefore increasing the amount of leads it generates. But if your budget is tight, I do have a suggestion about which to do first: a locally targeted SEO campaign.


PPC vs. SEO While PPC advertising can provide quicker results, SEO delivers a better long-term return-on-investment. It is a smart and rational web marketing move, especially when targeting a smaller area. Doing so provides a greater likelihood of success, and leaves open the future option of expanding the target area or setting aside funds for a paid search campaign.

in some cases. If you are really watching your budget and need to generate business with the most effective marketing spend possible, SEO will get you there.

How one pet care facility is helping However, if you are in a position to be more strategic and want your marketing to be healthier in the long pet owners plan for the future term, SEO and PPC (with a splash of retargeting) Keep in mind: When you stop a PPC campaign, your ads will completely disappear. When you stop an SEO campaign, you can maintain top results until your competitors invest more to rank above your listings. Now, most web marketing pros will tell you the most effective web marketing plan utilizes not just SEO or PPC, but a combination of these two strategies, with a touch of social media management and a responsive website. In other words, the pros recommend you use a well-balanced strategy that targets audiences in different areas. But I am willing to disagree with that advice

work well together. Tracking for SEO is different from PPC, but the long-term results can be far more valuable. That said, you do lower your cost-per-lead over time if you do both. Talk to an expert who can provide a well-balanced strategy based on your budget and local service area. Alain Parcain, Director of Marketing for Market Hardware, Inc., brings nearly 10 years of experience in educating businesses so they can market themselves more effectively. Market Hardware helps small businesses compete on the web and offers special discounts for professional association members. You can reach Alain’s team at 888-381-6925.





CREDIT CARD PROCESSING If your business accepts credit cards, the following tips may help you save money and improve your bottom line

Credit card processing fees are tax deductible. Using your local bank does not necessarily save you money on credit card processing. Local banks may outsource credit card processing services to third party sales teams who work for larger processors. By using your local bank you could be paying for a “middle man” and, ultimately, more than if you went directly to the processor. There is only one part of your credit card processing cost that is negotiable - the processor's markup over interchange and assessments. Simply put, interchange is the wholesale rates that processors pay before being marked up and passed along to your business. Flat fee structures may be a money-saving alternative. Not using AVS (address verification service) can cost you money. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover require the customer's billing address be entered for all card-not-present transactions. If you don't provide it, it can result in a downgraded transaction (resulting in higher fees). Tiered merchant account pricing may cost you more. You know you have a tiered pricing structure when your processor quotes three different rates: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Be aware that while the “qualified” rate may be low, many of your transactions could actually fall into the mid- and non-qualified categories with higher rates. Again, flat fee structures may be a money-saving alternative.

The upshot of these “Fast 5”? When it comes to credit card processing, track your fees, ask questions, get answers, and consider alternatives. These Fast 5 Business Tips provided by IBPSA Vendor Member, Novera Payment Solutions.


WELCOME New IBPSA Provider Members! Snootz Pet Service North Adams, MA Camp Kitty Decatur, GA Retreat Doggie Daycare Bardon, Queensland, Australia Wagon Tails Turlock, CA Paws ‘n Claws PlayCare and Styling S’paw LLC Erie, PA Downtown Dog Denver, CO Broken Arrow Pet Resort & Spa Coweta, OK Paws & Play Pet Resort Midland, TX Luxury Unleashed Havre, MT Zionsville Country Kennel Whitestown, IN Doggie District Pet Resort & Training Center Las Vegas, NV Reedy Rover Pet Resort Greenville, SC

Hairy Babies Spa & Resort Tuttle, OK

Pet Pawsitive’s Luxury Pet Resort Inc Madoc, Ontario, Canada

Redman & Company Dog Day Care, LLC New Buffalo, MI

Paws on Pingree Crystal Lake, IL

Wagging Tails Southington, CT

Pets & Company LLC Chesterfield, MO

Alden’s Kennels Inc Ringwood, IL

Jet Pet Resort Richmond, British Columbia

Country Pets Bed & Breakfast Vinita, OK

Paws in Paradise Luxury Resort and Spa, LLC Martinez, GA

Canine To Five Detroit, MI

Red Bridge Pet Resort Kansas City, MO

MeowLux Cat Hotel Fort Lauderdale, FL

PetSafe Village Knoxville, TN

Smart Dogs Training & Lodging Downers Grove, IL

Almost Home Pet Resort and Spa Box Elder, SD

Traveling Tails Inn Inc. Edwardsville, IL Camp K-9 Pet Resort Country Club Hills, IL Posh Pets Nederland, TX Happy Tails and Trails Chicago, IL Pooch At Play, LLC West Lafayette, IN Liberty Hill Pet Resort Bealeton, VA Dirty Paws Pet Grooming Inc. Davison, MI Around Town Hound Pet Care Service Asheville, NC

BARK! Doggie Daycare + Hotel + Spa Denver, CO

Pampered Paws, LLC. Wasilla, AK

The DOG Club Ravenna, Ontario, Canada

Dogaholics Chicago, IL

Dog Rock Resort New City, NY

Elite Pet Sitting Services San Angelo, TX

Marta’s Vineyard Canine Resort Brookfield, CT

J And A Pet Services Leduc, Alberta, Canada

Passion Four Paws Lewis Center, OH

Wag’n Tails Mineola, TX

Paw Commons Pet Resort Surprise, AZ On Paws Pet Services San Marcos, TX Sylvania Vet Sylvania, OH Hope Springs Veterinary Chesapeake, VA Oakview Pet Resort Waudconda, IL Lefty’s Playground Pasco, WA Bark Avenue Pet Grooming Salon & Boarding Villa Rica, GA Central Bark Doggy Day Care Brookfield, WI

Brunell Pet Services Blaine MN Just Happy Hounds, LLC Birmingham, AL The Howl-A-Day Inn Resort Maiden, NC Tail Lights Dogs Greenville, SC Gracieland Hound Dog Hotel Collinsville, OK Cottage Kennels and Cattery Plenty, Victoria, Canada Pampered Paws Pet Salon LLC Moncks Corner, SC BrownDog Lodge Memphis, TN

Pampered Pets Inn Mooresville, NC

Coventry Pet Resort Redlands, CA

Wild Angels Grooming Salon & Boarding Tioga, PA

Pet N Play Luxury Pet Resort Newburg, NY

Flagler Pets Palm Coast, FL

Coming Soon! Glenside, PA

New IBPSA Vendor Members! ARE YOU AN IBPSA MEMBER? Join our growing community at!

ALL IN FOR CAT HEALTH with the Winn Feline Foundation by Vicki L. Thayer DVM, DABVP (Feline) Executive Director, Winn Feline Foundation with Steve Dale, CABC IN LAS VEGAS on March 10, 2017, fifteen dedicated Winn Feline Foundation volunteers, all experts in their fields, came together for a day of intensive review of nearly 40 research grant proposals. The final result was an excellent slate of ten grant awards totaling $216,017, Winn’s largest funding total ever in a single review thanks to generous donor gifts. And where will this money go? Because Winn was founded almost 50 years ago to support the best cat health studies and provide outstanding scientific, evidence-based feline medicine, what happened in Vegas, won’t stay there. Steve Dale, a member of the Winn Feline Foundation Board of Directors, and founder of the Ricky Fund, shares just one example of why and how Winn’s mission is so important to the future of cat health: Here’s a trivia question: What’s the number one cause of death in (indoor only) cats from around the age of two years to eight to ten years? No one really Cayenne knows because there is no CDC for pets, butFire it’s Dancer likely a kind of heart disease called feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). For sure, we do know that HCM is the number one cause of sudden death in cats. And we know HCM is the most common heart disease in cats, and there is no treatment. I had a cat who changed my life, named Ricky. He succumbed to HCM in 2002. Back in the day, Ricky was a sort of TV star, appearing on shows including National Geographic Explorer, CNBC; Pets: Part of the Family, PBS, on a Canadian TV show called The Pet Project, and many other national programs including about every local TV station in Chicago, where I live, as well as appearances on WGN Radio.

ALL IN FOR CAT HEALTH That’s because Ricky played the piano. You read that right, a little kid’s piano. And he loved, just loved to appear in public. He could also jump through hoops; jump over dogs on a down/stay, one by one by one; jump over little kids the same way; offer a “high four,” sit when asked to and come when called.

Or cats with HCM suddenly die. And that is what happened to Ricky. For several weeks his health seemed to be waning, but then one day he just dropped. And that was it. I screamed at the top of my lungs while driving as fast as I could to the veterinarian, but nothing could be done.

Today, YouTube videos are filled with cats doing tricks, and Samantha Martin is touring the country with her performing Acrocats. But back then a cat going out into the world and doing “tricks” was considered an oddity.

I know from reading the email and, at that time, “snail mail” that Ricky touched thousands of human hearts, changing their image of the potential of what cats can be. But to me, he was simply my best buddy ever. No dog will likely ever fill the place in my heart that Ricky lived in.

How one pet care facility is helping pet owners plan for the future

Perhaps, as a result of us working together, Ricky and I had an extraordinary bond. He slept under my armpit every night, greeted me at the door and frequently spoke to me. He also seemed to read my mind.

I thought then, “This has to stop; we need to do something about HCM.” So, I launched the Ricky Fund with the non-profit funder of cat health studies, the Winn Feline Foundation. We’ve raised During one routine veterinary almost $145,000 in support exam, the veterinarian heard of the Ricky Fund while fundON PIANO The talented Ricky a murmur, and it turned out ing research grant awards to not to be routine after all. A researchers of HCM and heart veterinary cardiologist confirmed on an echocardiogram disease of almost $118,000. that Ricky had an enlarged thickened heart muscle, a condition known as HCM. As a result of the Ricky Fund, there is good news. A genetic test (inexpensive simple cheek swab) for Ragdolls and Cats with HCM often do live out normal lifespans, even Maine Coons (with more breeds potentially to follow), asymptomatic, and ultimately die at a ripe old age of an may detect a gene defect that causes the disease, so breeders unrelated problem, like of kidney disease or a cancer. can take this information into consideration before breeding. However, many cats with HCM may develop an aortic thromboembolism, or "saddle thrombus". This is a serious While any advance is good, far too many cats continue to condition. In the affected cats, a thrombus (blood clot) die. Once diagnosed there is really no treatment – we need affects the blood flow to the hind legs of the cat, and the to stop this. Please help by supporting the Ricky Fund – effects are literally paralyzing. It’s painful, but can be especially if you’ve had a cat or know someone who’s had a treated as an emergency. Cats do regain movement of their cat with HCM. Even a small donation can make a big legs again. The problem is that, typically, once this occurs difference. it will happen repeatedly. Not only does this cause the cat great pain, but repeated emergency visits get costly. Some- Steve Dale, CABC, times the events worsen with each occurrence, and along the way cat caretakers often choose to euthanize. To learn more about the Winn Feline Foundation, its history, dedication to the future of cat health, and all of Some cats with HCM go into heart failure, a condition its available resources and programs, be sure to visit that requires supportive care and drugs. Cats can live with heart failure for a time but, ultimately, their quality of life diminishes, and they are typically euthanized.


ARE YOU “PRETTY MUCH ANYBODY”? Some say that “pretty much anybody” can provide pet care services. Or are you a professional pet care services provider who holds yourself to a higher standard? If so, IBPSA is for you. If access to ongoing education, business workshops and webinars, an annual conference to get you refreshed and recharged, and a powerful, collaborative industry community are for you, then join us as an IBPSA Member. IBPSA is the industry’s professional trade association that works for the professional pet care services providers who set themselves apart. Not just “pretty much anybody”. | 877-318-8172 |

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