How To Rock Your Pet Sitting Business

Do you love all things furry and four legged? Then pet sitting may be the step you need to take. Pet sitting allows you to spend time with furry friends all while making money. What’s the best part? If you start your own pet sitting business you have flexible hours, too. The pet industry continues to boom every year. Why not put your foot out there? It’s time for you to become part of the pet industry, too!

About 8 years ago I took on my first pet sitting gig. I was working at a local veterinarian clinic that offered boarding. We had an older couple that were regular clients. They had the sweetest, senior Chihuahua mix. The couple was aware we offered boarding. But, due to the numerous health problems their dog had, they wanted another option. They asked the veterinarian at the clinic about other options. In response, she began to spread the word around the office. Then she asked me, directly, if I would be interested.

Prior to that invitation, I had never pet sat. What was pet sitting anyways?! But, apparently I was the perfect candidate. I only had one other dog at the time. Another senior Chihuahua. After talking it over with my roommate, I agreed to do it. I contacted the owners, they dropped the dog off, I watched him a few days, and they picked him up and paid me. Easy peasy, right? Well, it depends.

When I took on my first “pet sitting client” 8 years ago, I didn’t know about the legal side of it. I thought I was just doing a favor. The couple never made me sign a contract or threaten me with legal action. Plus, at the end of it all they paid me in cash. This may still be the scenario in some cases, too. But, there is a lot more behind running a successful pet sitting business.

Shortly after my first pet sitting gig, I wanted to turn it into a business. My #1 information avenue was searching the internet. 

pet sitting

There are so many amazing pet sitting resources out there. People really have a passion for the pet industry. Plus, numbers don’t lie when it comes to statistics. The pet industry is a billion dollar industry. It’s a billion dollar industry that blooms every year. People love their pets, that’s for sure.

I highly recommend checking out “Pet Sitting for Profit” by Patti J. Moran. It’s packed with easy to understand knowledge. Plus, it lists almost every resource a pet sitting business needs! 

So, let’s start with the basics. There are a few things that should be prepared before you go in full force. I hate to be blunt. But, we live in a sue happy society. You just have to be prepared.

Pet Sitting Business Basics

  • In 2016, it was noted that 65% of households own at least one pet.
  • Pet owners spent $5.73 billion on their pets. That’s compared to the $5.41 billion spent in 2015.
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 11% increase in pet industry job growth between 2014 and 2024. Which is considered above average.

 

The proof is there. The pet industry isn’t going anywhere. It’s a billion dollar industry! So, pet sitting experts are in top demand.

There is a harsh reality to face when considering pet sitting. Well, a few harsh realities. Pet sitting isn’t always playing with cute puppies. Sometimes it can even lead to heartache. But, none the less, it’s a rewarding job that allows you many opportunities. Pet sitting gives you the chance to connect with your community. You can set your own hours (for the most part). Also, there is the opportunity to play with adorable puppies.

Harsh Realities of Pet Sitting

  • You’re going to get dirty. There will be poop and urine to clean up. You may even deal with some vomiting. A lot of dogs like to get dirty, too.
  • People like to sue people. Why? Because it can equal up to some major dollars. That’s why protecting your pet sitting business is important. But, we’ll touch on that in a little bit.
  • There’s a chance you may have to administer medications. That’s why it’s important to be up front with pet owners. If you’re not comfortable, or don’t know how to give insulin – be up front! Proper medicating of pets is very important.
  • You’ll experience heartache. Some of your favorite clients will pass.
  • Some pet owners are very particular. You may be making homemade dog food. You may even be on a strict schedule.
  • Emergencies happen. Make sure you’re 100% honest with what you’re capable of doing.
  • Be prepared to have some house cleaning to do. Pets can be messy. Inside and outside.
  • Sometimes you may be out in less than desirable conditions. Ya know, like snow, rain, all that good stuff.
  • You may be recorded in someones home. If you’re interested in the laws on recording someone you can check out my post: Is Recording Someone Legal? Well, It Depends.

Don’t let the harsh realities of the pet sitting businesses scare you away. There are a lot of positive aspects, too. I hope the reality of pet sitting hasn’t scared you off. Because, now it’s time to learn how to ROCK your pet sitting business!

How to Rock Your Pet Sitting Business

At my other blog, TheThriftyBark.com, you can find a neat little infographic I put together. I’ve posted it below for ya’ll.

pet sitting

Pack the Ultimate Pet Sitting Tote

  • Extra Leashes – Accidents happen. Better safe than sorry to keep a few extra on you.
  • Treats – A great reward system. Plus, a great way to get the attention of a pet who isn’t quite interested in you. 😉
  • Pet First Aid Kit – Once again, accidents happen. Better safe than sorry.
  • Cleaning Supplies – I don’t think I have to repeat the “accidents happen” again. Always keep paper towels, disinfectant, extra bags, etc. in case of the occasional “uh oh.”
  • Extra Collars – To go with the extra leashes, of course!
  • Pet Waste Bags – This kind of falls into the “cleaning supplies” list.
  • Extra Pet Toys – I know a few dogs who can’t resist the sound of a squeaky toy.
  • Bottled Water – Those walks can get hot. Make sure you and your furry friend stay hydrated.
  • Pet Sitting Contracts – These are important to keep. They ensure you’re doing the job the way the pet owner wanted it done.
  • Notepad + Pen – This will allow you to jot down any notes about your pet sitting visit.
  • Business Cards – You never know who you’ll meet on your walk. Have business cards available in case anyone inquires about your services.
  • Camera/Smartphone – One of the things pet owners ask for are pictures. They love seeing their pets while they’re away. Capture your pet sitting stay.

Remember earlier when I talked about people being “sue happy?” This is where the “legal” aspect of pet sitting comes in.

The best way to obtain insurance for your pet sitting business is to look into a pet sitting agency.

National Association of Professional Pet Sitters

Right now, as of 11/21/2016, NAPPS is offering a 10-day sneak preview of what you can get as a member. This is absolutely free. Thanks to NAPPS, though, you can receive many discounts on your pet sitting insurance.

Pet Sitters International

I was a member of Pet Sitters International during my pet sitting career. The best part is they have memberships for the United States, Canada, and International. You can also get discounts on pet sitting insurance through them as well.

Branding your Pet Sitting Business

If you want to go the professional route, make sure you make a name for your business. Create a logo. Have your logo on your business cards and your contracts. Make sure your clients remember you.

Canva & PicMonkey are great and simple ways for you to brand your pet sitting business. CreativeMarket.Com is another great way to find products to help you.

But, I have to say without a doubt, that Patti J. Moran’s book “Pet Sitting for Profit” has been my #1 resource. You can check it out on Amazon here.

Are you into pet sitting? What are your tips on starting and succeeding in the pet industry? Drop a comment below. You never know who you might help!

 

 

DIY Pet Stains & Odor Removal Cleaning Agents

This is a guest post thanks to Demi over at Clean Start Cleaning Services.

Ah, pets! The kids that we have not given birth to! As much as we love our furry little friends and take care of them, accidents do happen and instead of getting angry or disappointed in your pet, you should just make sure that you are prepared to act fast and deal with the issue. Below you will find help and instructions on how to make yourself DIY pet stains and odor removal cleaning detergents that are efficient and all-natural.

And it does not matter how many pets you have, whether they are cats or dogs, or both, the following recipes for home-made pet stains cleaning products should be efficient for either case.

DIY Pet Stains & Odor Removal

For the new urine smells you need to make sure to remove as much of the urine as possible, use paper towels for the purpose. Then you can put the soaked towels at your pet’s bathroom place so that it is reminded of where their bathroom is.

Then act fast and use a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to prevent the stain from setting into your carpet. Mix a ½ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide in a bowl and add a teaspoon of a liquid dish soap. Then sprinkle the entire stain with baking soda and add the liquid. Start scrubbing gently the mixture with a cloth or a brush, but gently, and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Then simply vacuum off the baking soda. If the stain is still there you can repeat this action as many times as it is necessary.

The baking soda acts as a deodorizer in this case and the hydrogen peroxide removes the stain.

Another cleaning product that you can DIY to help you in the fight against pet urine smell and stains is to use both vinegar and baking soda. You will need 2 cups of warm water and 2 cups white (distilled) vinegar, a spray bottle (not necessary) and about 4 -5 teaspoons of baking soda.

Again, the first thing to do is remove the excess urine from your carpet using paper towels. Mix the water and the vinegar in the bottle or in a bowl and add the baking soda. When it stops fizzing it is ready to use. Spray the area or apply the solution with a sponge and let it soak for about 5 minutes. When the time has passed gently scrub and blot the area.

diy pet stains and odor removal

There is another interesting way to eliminate pet odors from your home provided by Canary Wharf CleanStart. Not just the urine smell but the dog or respectively, cat smell that they have. You can use the following recipe on any upholstery in your home – carpet, sofa, pillows, mattress, etc.

In a spray bottle mix two parts water and one part mouthwash – shake the bottle well and spray your couch or carpet with it. Put newspaper on the sprayed area and let it sit for a while. The newspaper will absorb the bad smell and the mouthwash will leave it fresh-scented for a while. The mouthwash smell will wear off and the pet odor will be gone as well. You can use this even on your pet’s bed.

If you do not have carpets to deal with, but have a hard floor you can make a floor cleaner specifically to take care of the smells and stains left by your pet – mix a teaspoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of Dawn dish soap, ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide and a ½ cup of white vinegar in a bowl or a spray bottle. Either spray on your floor and wipe with a rag or simply use a mop. This will clean your floors from muddy or any other stains your pet has made and also remove any unpleasant odor.

These DIY cleaning products are easy to make, save you money and work miraculously. Make sure you try them soon.

Starter Pack Memes for Bloggers and Pet Lovers

So, I’ve began to realize how popular these “Starter Pack Memes” are. I have to admit, some of them are hilarious to me. Plus, some of them you can’t deny aren’t true. I’ve decided to create a few of those “Starter Pack Memes” for your entertainment. Well, for my entertainment, too. In my Starter Pack Memes I tried to be considerate. Because I believe that every person I listed is a vital part of the community. 

Ya’ll have seen those “Starter Pack Memes” right?! You know the ones that show what you need to be a certain type of person. Now, some of them are quite judgmental. But, some of them are right on par. Plus. pretty hilarious, too.

Some of the great people I know deserve to be celebrated. In order to do that, I created my own “Starter Pack Memes.” Yep. But, these aren’t to degrade these professionals. These “Starter Pack Memes” are to hopefully bring a smile upon a blogger or even a pet owners face.

Now I’d like to introduce you to my newly designed “Starter Pack Memes.” Created just for ya’ll, of course! 😉

Dogs and Kids “Starter Pack” Memes

starter pack memes

The Cat Lady “Starter Pack” Meme

I’m not ashamed to say at one time I was the “crazy cat lady.” I worked in a cat sanctuary for a year. It housed over 300 cats. Yep, that’s right 300 of them. I loved my job. Plus, I loved the cats. At one time my family and I fostered 14 cats. That’s a lot. So, I love this “Cat Lady Starter Pack” meme!

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starter pack memes

The “Animal Rescue” Starter Pack Meme

For over 10 years, I’ve dedicated my life to animal rescue. So, I’d say this “Animal Rescue” Starter Pack meme really hits home. I remember crawling under cars in a junk yard. Just to rescue a dozen puppies. It involved knee high boots and welding gloves. These puppies were feral. Completely feral.

starter pack memes

The “I Can’t, It’s My Dogs Birthday” Starter Pack Meme

I know you’ve seen the memes with the dog and their human cuddled up in bed. Then a friend calls asking for a night out. But, nope not happening. Wanna know why? Because it’s the dogs birthday! Now, I’ll have to admit. I’ve owned quite a few dogs in my lifetime. I’ve thrown a birthday party for just one of them. I know. I’m a horrible pet owner. 😉

starter pack memes

The “I Just Got A Puppy” Starter Pack Meme

We all get excited when we get a new pet. Nothing is more fun to watch than someone who got a new puppy. Be prepared to see cute outfits, cute bows, and lots of treats. Oh, had to add the chewed up book. Because, that comes with puppy territory, too.

So, let’s talk all you social media moguls. Do you love memes?! If so, share with me some of YOUR favorite “Starter Pack Memes.” I’m always looking for a good laugh. Oh, and don’t worry pet professionals. I’ve got a few more coming just for you!

Nature’s Logic: Great For Dogs With High Protein Diets

Disclosure: I received a bag of Nature’s Logic Duck & Salmon Meal dry kibble for free. But, as always, all opinions are my own. They are not influenced by the compensation. 

Pluto, our Boston Terrier, is full of energy. He’s constantly running, jumping, and playing. To keep his energy going we sometimes buy him a dog food with higher protein. But, when considering a high protein dog food, you have to look at the dog, too. There are also a few more factors that come into play, too. I’ll be honest, when I first owned a dog, I had no idea. I just fed them whatever. They lived long, healthy lives, too. 

The thought of a high protein dog food may make some pet professionals and owners shudder. The most important thing to remember is: proteins are essential, but in reasonable portions from top notch sources. So, when you’re looking at the protein amount in dog food, you have to factor in other things. Like the source of protein.

Too much protein in a dog’s diet is sometimes harmful. Their body has a hard time processing the protein. So, it’s found in the dog’s urine. So, when I got my bag of Nature’s Logic, I was a little worried. The protein seemed a big high. But, I had to remember it was important for me to look at the other factors, too.

nature's logic

Nature’s Logic Duck & Salmon Meal Dog Kibble Pros

  • No synthetic vitamins
  • No synthetic minerals
  • #1 Ingredient: Duck Meal
  • Fruit & veggie concentrated

nature's logic

Always remember, when you’re looking for a dog food. Consider your dogs age, weight, breed, activity level, etc. Your veterinarian will more than likely be happy to discuss a suitable diet for your dog with you. 

nature's logic

Another great thing is the kibble size. It’s small. So, it’s great for smaller dogs. It’s also great for older dogs who can’t chew as well. For example, my senior dog Mack. We let him try some of Nature’s Logic, too. Just like Pluto, it’s hard to get a picture of them eating. They love to eat! But, I was able to get a picture of him begging for more. Even through those gorgeous, old man cataract eyes.

nature's logic

So, I feel like the crude protein (36%) is a little on the higher end. But, the great thing is, the protein is coming from good protein sources. Sources that must meet the Association of American Feed Control Officials standards. Plus, you can’t beat the veggies and fruits that are in the mix.

Nature’s Logic Veggie & Fruit Mix

  • Dried Tomato
  • Dried Carrot
  • Dried Apple
  • Dried Pumpkin
  • Dried Blueberry
  • Dried Spinach
  • Dried Broccoli

But, what if your dog is sensitive to a certain protein? Nature’s Logic offers a variety of protein mixes. High protein diets are ideal for puppies and dogs with high energy. We sometimes gave dog’s high protein diets that suffered from pancreatitis at the vet office I worked at.

nature's logic proteins

But, remember: I’m not a veterinarian. So, any diet concerns should be discussed with a veterinarian. 

Overall, I’m pleased with Nature’s Logic. The protein is all good protein. You can’t beat the variety, either. I think Pluto and Mack give it two paws up. Because they demolished it!

Are you familiar with the Nature’s Logic brand? What’s your opinion? I’d love to know and share feedback with the brand! 

Service Dogs: Who They’re For & Identification

Service dogs are vital to many people. They require special training. This training can be expensive. It also may be lengthy. But, these dogs have a job to do. The person with the service dog may not always look like they need assistance. But, not all illnesses appear on the outside. Service dogs, their trainers, and handlers have many rules to abide by, too. 

During my 5 year stay at a local veterinary clinic, I met one service dog. Sure, I’ve heard of them. I knew they wore a vest, or something. But that’s where how familiar I was stopped. Which, to me, is pretty sad. Service dogs are a vital part of the medical community. They serve many purposes. The veterinarian field should be educated on this. Thankfully, thanks to an amazing trainer, I’m more familiar with them.

I met Elizabeth Brooks after I began working at a local grooming salon. She used the facility for her training classes. During my time at the shop, we grew a friendship. We are so different. But, at the same time, we’re a lot alike. She’s the mastermind behind Paw Pals Pet Dog Training. She dedicates her life to her business.

She began her training career in 1998. So, as you may expect, she’s seasoned. Elizabeth is also a graduate of Arizona Canine Academy. She’s a Certified Assistance Trainer and a Certified Dog Obedience Instructor. Paw Pals was also featured on Dateline NBC and The BBB Eye in Colorado Springs. This girl is well rounded! Her personality even  shows that.

Elizabeth has the patience of a saint. I worked by her side for a while. She was in the process of training a New Foundland. Not to be a service dog. She was doing private in home sessions for basic training. I wasn’t introduced to a service dog until later. That’s when I met this huge, blue merle Great Dane. He was only 8 months old when I met him. Elizabeth couldn’t tell me what condition his handler suffered from. But, watching her train him was a life long lesson.

Service dogs are not pets. When you see one, they are working. It’s important not to distract them. 

I think it’s important to educate others on the importance of service dogs. They are trained to help people. These dogs actually perform services for their handler. The services are based on what disability their handler has. Thankfully, there are laws that protect service dogs and their handlers.

Disabilities That May Benefit From A Service Dog

  • Epilepsy
  • Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD)
  • Panic Disorder
  • Depression
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Diabetes
  • Neurological Problems
  • Physical Weakness
  • Autism
  • Social Phobia

Service dogs are trained to do amazing tasks. Being working dogs, that’s what they do. They work for their handlers. They’re providing them with a service.

service dogs

Things Service Dogs Are Trained To Do

  • Deliver handler’s medications during an illness episode or flare up
  • Bring a drink to their handler so they can take their medicine
  • y Carrphone to their handler during an emergency
  • Answer the door when someone rings the doorbell
  • Dial 911
  • Help when there is a speech impairment
  • Ask for help from someone in the workplace
  • Assistance with going up and down stairs
  • Get handler to stand up
  • Call 911 if smoke alarm is going off
  • Carry a backpack with medical information and must have supplies
  • Medication reminders
  • Helps manage emotional overload
  • Crowd control
  • Wake up a sedated handler
  • Turn lights on
  • Assisting with safety in public

The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) website has a lot of information on service dogs.

Identifying Service Dogs

Orvis has put together a great article and infographic. It focuses on how you can identify if it’s a service dog or a pet.

Check out the Orvis article on identifying service dogs here.

Is That a Real Service Dog?

Is That a Real Service Dog? Developed by Orvis.

Halloween Safety For Your Pets | Planning Ahead!

October is finally here. That means Halloween is right around the corner. We all know what comes with Halloween. The costumes, parties, and of course yummy treats. But, like with any holiday, staying safe is important. Halloween safety is important. We want to make sure all our loved ones are taken care of. That includes our furry family members, too. Chocolate, sour treats, and sweet treats are yummy to us. But, they also entice your furry family members, too.

I must say, our family loves Halloween. We love to decorate, dress up, and of course eat candy. Plus, right before Halloween we get to celebrate Dray’s birthday! But, candy doesn’t just make our mouths water. Our two dogs are famous for licking their lips when they see candy, too. Thankfully my 10 years in the pet industry has opened my eyes to HUGE “no no’s” when it comes to our pets.

For 5 years, I spent time at a local veterinary clinic. Often we had dogs come in that ate something they shouldn’t have. It may have been an object, a plant, or even a pork chop bone. The scary reality is, what we love may not be safe for our dog. There’s one case I saw at the clinic that I will always remember. It was a simple mistake on the pet owner’s behalf. A simple mistake any of us can make.

Buddy was a regular at the vet clinic I worked at. Not because he was sick. It was because his owners traveled often. So, Buddy would use our boarding services on a regular basis. He was a 5 year old, healthy petite Boxer mix. His owners were an older, retired couple. Buddy was wild. But, despite his wild personality, we loved it. So did his owners. We were all aware Buddy received table food at home. His owners would often send him with prepackaged home cooked meals to eat while boarding. 

Buddy’s owners had a big trip coming up. So, naturally, he would be staying at the kennel. This trip was longer than their regular weekend getaways. They were traveling to England. So, Buddy would enjoy 15 whole days with us. Which isn’t an issue. I live near a military base. So, military pets boarded for quite a while, quite often. On his first night, I noticed something wasn’t right.

Buddy loved to eat. So, when he refused one of his owner’s famous home cooked meals, I worried a little. By day two, he still refused to eat. That’s when I knew I should bring it to the veterinarian’s attention. She examined him right away. Taking vitals, collecting blood. She even checked a stool and urine sample. Once the initial tests were done, she had to dig deeper. 

Abnormal Results Buddy Had

  • His bowel movements were runny
  • Low temperature
  • Abnormal blood levels

The veterinarian decided to do a x-ray. That’s where the problem was found. Buddy had something lodged into his esophagus and stomach. This prompted the doctor to perform emergency surgery on him. She removed many lodged shreds from his organs. As well as a decent sized pork chop bone. Upon talking to Buddy’s owners, they admitted to giving him a pork chop bone the night prior to boarding him. 

Unfortunately, the damage was done for Buddy. Shortly after surgery, he got an infection. He bloated and his gums became pale. His treatment was intense. He got IV antibiotics, numerous bags of IV fluids, and constant vital monitoring. Even after his treatment, we still lost him.

halloween safety

Halloween Safety For Pets

Now, Buddy’s outcome is not always the outcome when it comes to dogs eating “no no” items. Take my Siamese cat, Shorty, for example. He ate a ton of my sewing yarn. The first sign was his lack of appetite. Then one day, I saw string hanging out his butt. True story. It took our part time veterinarian over 8 hours removing over a foot of yarn. It was wrapped around his intestines. Cutting off vital blood supply.

Shorty recovered from the whole ordeal. In a record amount of time it seems. You would have never known he enjoyed yarn as an entree. But, as you see, severity varies from case to case. So, it’s important to cover all your bases. It never hurts to have a plan, to be prepared. That’s why Halloween safety for pets is so important.

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic

Dogs and Candy: Sweet Safety Infographic by Orvis.

The infographic above is a great visual tool for Halloween safety. Orvis gives you the facts. Plus, great tips on how to keep your Halloween candy safe. As we enter into the holiday season, remember to protect your furry family members, too.

Make sure you share your holiday pet safety tips below. Especially your Halloween safety tips. The fun night is just around the corner! As a parent, I’m always looking for ways to make sure my whole family is safe during late night trick-or-treating!