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Don't Fail Them - Give Them Options!
Are You Spending Too Much Time In Your Business?
Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo West 2023 Show Preview
photo by Ryan Brix
The Importance of Air Decontamination in Animal Care Facilities
March / April 2023
vol 13 • ed 2

Barkleigh Productions, Inc.


Rebecca Shipman

Art Director

Laura Pennington


Brandi Aurelio


Luke Dumberth


Todd Shelly


Gwen Shelly


Adam Lohr


James Severs


Karin Grottola


Cassidy Ryman


Evan Gummo

General: (717) 691-3388


(717) 691-3388 (ext. 225)


(717) 691-3388 (ext. 224)

Copyright March 2023. Pet Boarding & Daycare is published bimonthly by Barkleigh Productions, Inc, 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. Postmaster: Send change of address to Pet Boarding & Daycare c/o Barkleigh Productions, Inc., 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. Editorial offices: 970 West Trindle Road, Mechanicsburg PA 17055. (717) 691–3388 FAX (717) 691–3381 Email:

Pet Boarding and Daycare Magazine logo blue


Lucky Paws Pet Resort:

Every Pet Should Be So Lucky
The importance of air decontamination in animal care facilities



Animal Behavior
Don't "Fail" Them - GIve Them Options!
By Jennifer Wolf-Pierson

Blue dropcap digital image of the letter V very client thinks that they have the friendliest, most well-behaved, perfect baby in the world…and they do! However, some dogs just do not enjoy being in a group play situation. As an industry, we are seeing less and less “social” pets and more selective and human-play-centric dogs. So, instead of turning these less-social pets away, use this as an opportunity to educate the pet parent and offer an alternative that would be a better fit for their dog’s health and happiness—while also retaining the client!

There are three steps to take when delivering potentially tough news to a client: First, document your findings; next, initiate action; and finally, complete the process with clear communication of facts and options.

clipboard graphic
Step 1: Documentation
For initial play evaluations, start with a pet personality form. The goal is for the facility team member to use the form as a conversational guide that is filled in by that employee, not by the client like paperwork that is filled out at a doctor’s office. This strengthens the bond and your brand, and helps to ensure that you will get all of the information needed to help make the best decisions for the pets in your care. Also note, evaluations should be called “play evaluations”—not temperament tests.
Are You Spending Too Much Time In Your Business?
woman with corgi dog and magnify glass
By Laura Laaman
The pet care industry can be incredibly rewarding and resilient. But, as you know, that doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine and butterflies, either. Almost all pet care business owners have at least one thing in common: When we got involved in pet care, we wanted to create something wonderful for pets and their people. We likely envisioned being surrounded by happy dogs and even happier customers. But, unfortunately, like in all businesses, unforeseen challenges pop up…

Maybe just a few at first, or maybe a lot—but they tend to pile into something big, intimidating and maybe even suffocating. With employee issues, staffing shortages, inflation and building problems, owners can quickly feel consumed with so much on their shoulders…and in a recession, it’s even worse.

In pet care, success typically involves providing exceptional pet care and outstanding customer service while generating a healthy financial return. And in the pursuit of that, you can get swallowed up by every minor aspect of your business. The reality is, owners who remain too deeply embedded in the day-to-day operations tend to struggle and burn out.

Many of the most successful pet care facilities are owned by people who have experience or even owned businesses in other industries. This tends to provide a special perspective. They’ve seen how important it is to develop self-sufficient businesses and that their most valuable role is to act as the company’s conductor rather than its engine. So, if you’d like to take a step back, breathe and reclaim your life, read on.

An illustrative representation of a yellow caution warning symbol banner that has fourteen black stripes across
Helping Your Community & Their Cats During an Evacuation typographic title in black
An illustrative silhouette representation of a yellow colored woman hovering on top of/floating above a red colored cat and a yellow colored cat
By Deborah Hansen
An illustrative representation of a yellow caution warning symbol banner that has five black stripes across
When an emergency strikes your community, are your cat boarding clients prepared and is your business positioned to help those in need?

Dropcap version of uppercase letter H in orangeaving a strategy in place to help your community prepare then support those affected will make your business stand out and attract new clients. It is important to have a plan in place so that when an emergency does happen, you can act quickly and make financially wise decisions.

The first step in my emergency plan is educating the public on what to do in case of an emergency. I live in an area where there is a high probability of a major earthquake, and many of my clients live in areas that are routinely evacuated or have their electricity turned off due to wildfires. Over the years, as wildfires have gotten more destructive, evacuations and power shut-offs have become more aggressive. My education plan focuses both on what to do after an earthquake and preparing for an evacuation due to wildfires or an extended electricity shut-off.

After you identify the emergencies that are most likely to affect your community, it is time to start planning for your educational social media campaign. While you may focus on one scenario, like a wildfire or hurricane, readers can easily apply those strategies to other emergencies in their lives.

Once you determine the type of emergency you want to focus on (flood, hurricane, tornado, wildfire, etc.), write out a list of suggestions to create a social media campaign. In my business, I focus on these key topics:

How to find your cat.
During a wildfire, this can be especially hard because a cat will naturally flee or hide when they smell smoke. Cats also tend to hide when they sense their owner is stressed.
How to get your cat into a carrier.
Most owners struggle with this for simple veterinarian visits, grooming appointments and boarding stays. When an owner is stressed, the cat will become even more leery and resistant to going into a carrier.
What you need to take with you when you evacuate.
Providing a checklist for clients is very helpful. Often they are focused on grabbing financial documents, family heirlooms and their loved ones. Families often forget things like the cat’s medication, vaccination records, bed, food, etc. While these things can be replaced, the time spent away from home will go smoother if these items can be brought with you.
dog toys, treats, and food with a yellow background
'Are You Ready To Add Retail?'

By Eve Molzhon

Blue dropcap digital image of the letter T he question of whether to add retail or not to add retail is a heavy one. It takes space and a lot of time to research what products you want to have, and also time in maintaining inventory and placing orders. Businesses can make their retail area as big and bold or as small and quaint as they desire.

One key thing to think about is how close other animal retail stores are to your business. If there are a couple of big-box stores within a few minutes of your facility, maybe shift your focus to more unique or local, homemade items. If there isn’t a box store within 15-20 minutes, you can try offering some more generalized items. This will label your business as more of a convenience since the client is already coming to you for daycare or boarding services for their pet, so giving them the option to also buy food, treats, etc. from you makes your business their onestop pet place.

It’s not necessary to carry 20 different kinds of dog food. One or two brands that your business personally utilizes and endorses are good to have. Offering both small bags and large bags is beneficial. The small bags can be sold to somebody who accidentally forgot their dog’s food when they dropped them off for boarding, and the big bags are what recurring clients are going to purchase from your business because your business has endorsed that brand as an animal expert and it’s convenient to buy when they pick their dog up from daycare or boarding.

If your facility doesn’t have room for dog food, then you may consider offering bones. (Dogs always need those for their boarding stay.) Some durable, tough toys are also a good idea. Or, if your facility is near a body of water, floaty toys would be good. But remember, you don’t need to buy 50 of them; buy five to sell and see how they go. Gauge your retail space based on the sale of the product.

Profile of Success
Lucky Paws Pet Resort logo and business HQ
clipart of paw prints
clipart of paw prints
Every Pet Should Be So Lucky title
By Kathy Hosler
Photos by Lucky Paws Pet Resort
“It’s all about the pets here at Lucky Paws Pet Resort,” says owner, Gretchen Fieser, enthusiastically. “Their care, safety, and happiness is number one with us. If we do right by the pets, everything else will fall into place.

“I love to be able to share the owner’s joy when they see their dog run and play off-leash, enjoying our pool, dog park, and other amenities in a safe, controlled environment,” Gretchen adds.

Lucky Paws Resort is a canine and feline paradise located on four beautiful acres in Freedom, Pennsylvania, and the guests of the resort really are “lucky.” They stay in luxury suites complete with private patios, romp and play in the wonderful indoor/outdoor dog park, and have the time of their lives splashing in the custom-designed swimming pool. And, that is just the beginning of the activities and pampering that they enjoy at the resort.

The Importance of Air Decontamination in Animal Care Facilities typography

By Lucas Pantaleon, DVM, MS, DACVIM, MBA
& Chama Gomez, RVT-R, BD

Clean air is a basic requirement of life. The quality of indoor air, where people and pets spend a significant part of their lifetime, is essential to their overall health and wellbeing.

There is an ongoing debate as to whether indoor air should be regulated in the same way as drinking water and outdoor air pollution. Consider that in any given setting, one may choose not to drink the water or eat the food that is available, but generally has little choice in breathing the same air as everyone else. This makes air an environmental equalizer, with the potential to rapidly disperse whatever it may contain—including infectious pathogens. This highlights the importance for improving indoor air quality and reducing the exposure to both pollutants and pathogens.

Buildings have long been associated with disease outbreaks in both humans and animals. The amount of time people and/or their pets remain indoors in close contact is a main contributor for disease transmission. Sources for indoor microbes include aerosols from people or animals, pathogen aerosolization from biofilm and resuspension of pathogen reservoirs such as dust. Airborne diseases, including canine and feline viral respiratory diseases, SARS-Covid2 and influenza viruses, can spread through the air. Enclosed, crowded and poorly ventilated environments such as animal shelters, boarding facilities and veterinary hospitals are prone to experience outbreaks of respiratory diseases.

Think Tank
Drawing of smiling employee at cashier
"Ways to Really Take Care of Your Customers"
By Fernando Camacho
Y our business is nothing without your customers. They are your lifeblood, and without them you would be forced to close up shop and give up on your entrepreneurial dreams.

You already know this though, right?

Of course you do. So, the real question is, are you really doing a good job of taking care of them at a level that is indicative of something so critical to the livelihood of your business?

Despite whether your answer is “Yes,” “No” or “Possibly,” there is always room for improvement! Here are four ways to up your customer-care game and get people to use your services more often:

Animal Health
A black and white dog looking sideways
Title Image : The Physiology of Stress & it's effects on boarding Pets
By Professional Pet Boarding Certification Council

We have all felt stress at some point in our lives, and we’ve seen dogs and cats exhibit signs of being stressed—especially those in our boarding facilities. Dealing with a change in routine and environment can cause pets to experience stress and a change in behavior.

What is Stress?
Stress is really just a perception that something is about to change. It is a part of life for all creatures, and there is good stress and bad stress. It may occur as a result of hunger, fear, noise, change of environment, pain or any number of factors. Good stress (also called eustress) causes a change in behavior or a change of environment to eliminate the precipitating factor. Bad stress (or distress) is stress that occurs long-term, when no changes are instituted to help manage or eliminate it.

Biology classes often teach the “fight or flight” theory. In this postulate, an animal that senses danger makes a decision to flee to get away from the stress, or to fight to stay alive. This stress reaction, in either case, changes the body status significantly to enable the animal to either get away safely or to fight hard enough to survive.

What Happens to the Body?
When a perception that something is about to happen reaches the brain, a number of chemical reactions are set off. Remember that stress is based on what we think is going to happen so, therefore, stress can result even though in reality the situation may be perfectly acceptable. This is why pets in a new environment can become upset—the environment is perfectly safe, but they are not sure what may happen next.

Once the brain perceives a stressful situation, the pituitary gland releases ACTH (adrenocorticotrophic hormone) into the bloodstream, which circulates through the body to the adrenal glands. All mammals have two adrenal glands, one on each side of the body, located near the kidneys. The adrenal glands secrete hormones and cortisone.

Industry News
petboarding and daycare expo west new
Get ready to “go all in” at this year’s Pet Boarding & Daycare Expo West! With the exciting new location of the Horseshoe Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, right on the Las Vegas strip, this is one industry event not to miss.

An alluring line-up of industry experts, including some brand new faces, will come together to share their expertise and words of wisdom on every aspect of running or working in a pet care business. You’ll hear from veterinarians, dog trainers, builders, marketing experts, financial advisors, lawyers, facility owners and more!

With the continued challenges of hiring and retaining a great staff being felt in all industries, the pet care industry is certainly no exception. That’s why this year’s education has more seminars than ever that focus on hiring, training and managing staff.

Speaking of staff—don’t forget to sign them up, too! Education is also offered for those in entry-level pet care positions with topics like dog behavior, customer service and cleaning being covered.

New Products
dog wearing a K9 Dog Life Jacket
K9 Ballistics K9 Dog Life Jacket™
We set out to create a dog life jacket that holds up to our standards of durability, comfort, and sustainability. Our signature Tough Rip-Stop™ fabric lines the outside to provide resistance against abrasions and splashes, while retaining breathability for quick drying and natural airflow.
waterproof pad in grey
The Aquapaw Food & Water Mat
The drool, the spilled water dish, the bits & pieces of food—it’s an unfortunate downside of caring for pets. But, with the Aquapaw Pet Feeding Mat, messes and spills can be kept at bay! The raised edges contain spills, keeping floors clean and dry. It’s also 100% waterproof, so nothing soaks through. The mat’s grippy top surface keeps bowls from sliding around, and it’s dishwasher safe.
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Thanks for reading our March/April 2023 issue!