Archive for July, 2011

July 19, 2011

Two Pet Sitters, a Book & their Stories

by Bonnie Best

The pet sitting business has been ear marked by the U.S. Bureau of Labor as a small business industry that will thrive with the coming years. Every year an estimated $41 billion is spent on U.S. household pets. 63% of U.S. households own a pet. As these numbers present, the pet sitting business is fast becoming one of the best small business ventures that an individual can undertake.

Two amazing women I know personally are taking advantage of this exciting time and they are former real estate agent, Lynne Cline of Gilbert, AZ and 10-year-old, Alexandra Barikhan of Lake Forest, California.

I wanted to share their stories with you, from their point of view, and how my book, The Real POOP SCOOP on Pet Sitting helped them get their business up and running!

About Lynn Cline:

Bonnie’s understanding and great care of my animals as my pet sitter inspired me to leave the real estate industry and start my own pet sitting business. The Real POOP SCOOP on Pet Sitting guided me every step of the way and provided invaluable information for me to become successful.

I live and operate my business, Urban Tails Pet Sitting, in Gilbert, Arizona. Starting the company in 2006 with 5 clients, I’m now approaching 30 clients and that number continues to grow. My array of services, along with client pictures, rates and policies can be found here.

The Real POOP SCOOP on Pet Sitting positioned me for the realities of owning a pet sitting business and allowed me to develop the fundamentals needed to get it started as well as market it. It’s really my “go-to” place for any miscellaneous questions I may have. It feels great to see such an amazing profit versus what I was making as a real estate agent.

About Alexandra Barikhan:

I received The Real POOP SCOOP on Pet Sitting as a Christmas gift and even though I’m 10 I’m already starting my dream of becoming a pet sitter. Starting in my neighborhood, and with friends of my family, I make time to pet sit before and after school, and on weekends. It’s fairly small now, but I’m taking the pet sitting business tips from the book very seriously.

My services are not limited to basic pet care, but also includes taking in the mail, cleaning up the yard and litter pans, keeping lights turned on at night, and taking out the trash. My mom helps me supervise the needs of the clients, and I charge based on the services requested. I’m so thrilled to call myself a pet sitter. The book was the perfect gift.

My background in animal care comes from my family who raise and show champion dogs and horses. Even from birth, animals have been a large part of my life. Not only do I handle the dogs, smooth coated collies, in the junior handling classes, I also show a beautiful champion Friesian stallion.

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July 19, 2011

Book Signing!

by Bonnie Best

Getting ready to do a book signing in Las Vegas! So excited!

If you’re in the area, stop by and say hi. We’ll be at the Petco on Warm Springs and Durango from 1-4 pm on Saturday July 23rd.

Proceeds to benefit the Great Dane Rescue! For a donation of $15.00 or more, you will get an autographed copy of my book “The Real POOP SCOOP on Pet Sitting” and a gift bag. Supplies are limited so come early. I will also be giving away one free autographed book, in a drawing!

Look forward to meeting you!

July 17, 2011

Fun in the Sun

by Bonnie Best

Summer is in full swing and many of our dogs live to swim.

It’s a fun time for everyone, but remember, if your dog has access to a pool, never leave him unattended unless you are 150% sure he can not only swim, but find the steps and get out of the pool to safety. Your dog will only be able to “swim” or dog paddle for so long before exhaustion overcomes him causing him to drown.

Teaching your dog to access the steps, and use them in a proficient and timely manner, will take time on your part. If you need help with this please contact a local dog trainer, or myself. I will be glad to help you out! Remember, you need to provide plenty of fresh, cool water for your pet at all times.Enjoy the summer with your dog, but make it a fun and safe one!

July 15, 2011

The Importance of Clean Water

by Bonnie Best

Water is the one component critical for all life as we know it. Water is responsible for maintaining hydration, controlling body temperature, replacing nutrients throughout our system, and flushing toxins out. The importance of fresh water in our lives cannot be understated, and this is also true for our pets.  The amount of water an animal needs varies with its size and activity level.  A good general rule of thumb is simply to keep fresh, clean water available at all times.

Writing an article dedicated solely to water may seem a stretch to some readers.  The fact remains, however, that even though water is a most crucial component to our pets’ health, it is also the most misunderstood. Without fresh clean water daily, their health is in danger.  You see, animals not only drink water for hydration and proper bodily functions as we do, they also drink water to clean their mouths.  Today, more than ever, we are seeing an increase in bad dental health in pets, which may very well be due to our inability (or unwillingness) to supply them with fresh water daily.

In our constant endeavor to find ways of making pet ownership easier, a new way of watering animals has become quite popular.  Instead of refilling their bowls at least once a day (and cleaning the water bowl with each refill), many owners have switched to a “water cooler” system, which is far easier for humans! Unfortunately, since our pets do not “drink” like we do, this ever-so-convenient system actually can be, and often is, not very healthy for them.

Let me explain.  When your dog or cat takes a drink, he first uses the water to rinse and flush out his mouth.  Then he lets this water run back out.  In the wild, a dog or cat will drink from a fresh running stream.  This water is in motion and therefore constantly “oxygenated,” which gives the animal’s mouth a good cleaning while also providing clean water as the expelled dirty water runs downstream.  After this rinse, the animal quickly begins to drink.Once we stop emptying and cleaning water bowls daily, bacteria start to grow from the “dirt” the animals have just flushed back—and they now have to drink this same dirty water.  Add the possibility of multiple pets drinking from one source, and you can easily see where this is going!  So if you’re watering your pet(s) with the upside down water bottle container and only refill it weekly (or, even worse, whenever it empties), your pet is drinking some nasty water that will affect his health. At least once a day, your pet should be offered clean fresh water.

Another water issue relates to “alternate” sources of drinking water that your pet may favor. What about those pool-drinking pups?  Whenever you are with your pet, you should discourage this behavior.  I don’t believe any pet should be left unattended by a pool, but if your dog is a proficient swimmer and knows how to get out of a pool, then it’s admittedly difficult to keep him from drinking pool water when you’re not around.

A far more serious problem arises, however, when an owner thinks “oh well, the pool’s always here” and stops leaving a clean bowl of fresh water for the pet to access.  Dogs may drink from the pool, but if they are given a choice, most will still choose fresh water over the pool.  Pool water is not healthy for drinking, especially on a continual basis. It has a much higher chlorine content than tap water, and some pool filtration systems now use sodium—neither chlorine nor sodium is suitable for animal consumption. Keep in mind that old saying, “If you wouldn’t eat or drink it, why should you allow your pet to?”

Finally, pets don’t sweat as we do, and we need to accommodate this difference when our animals are very active. Most of us love to bring Fido along when we are hiking or camping.  Fido probably enjoys it too, but make sure you always bring plenty of fresh water for him.  He will need more than you think, so offer it often. Again, drinking from lakes and ponds is not healthy.  Our lakes and streams carry all kinds of parasite and bacteria like Giardia. These bacteria can wreak havoc with your pet’s digestive system.

If you think your pet is dehydrated, offer him small amounts of room temperature water.  Do not let him gulp.  Often, if an animal is dehydrated and drinks very cold water or too much water too fast, he will start vomiting, which only causes him to dehydrate more. It is best to see your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns, or if any of the following symptoms appear: poor skin elasticity, constipation, sunken eyes, increased heart rate, or lethargy.

The best part of pet ownership is having our animal companions join us in our daily lives.  Just remember to always have a sufficient amount of good clean water available to keep them healthy!