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Profile of success south park doggie resorts & theme parks
5 ways to create a more staff-dependent business
Show Preview: Pet Boarding and Daycare Expo November 6th-9th, 2023
Are you prepared for a CIRDC outbreak?
September / October 2023
vol 13 • ed 5

Barkleigh Productions, Inc.


Rebecca Shipman

Art Director

Laura Pennington


Brandi Aurelio


Carlee Kubistek


Luke Dumberth


Todd Shelly


Gwen Shelly


Adam Lohr


James Severs


Karin Grottola


Cassidy Ryman


Evan Gummo

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Copyright September 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:
Hexagon with icons showing a checklist, dollar sign, number 5, person walking with briefcase, info sign, and people talking
"Ways to create a more"
"5 Staff Dependent Business"
"(& Reduce Owner Stress)"
By Laura Laaman
Life as a small business owner can be incredibly taxing. Most owners feel like they have a never-ending laundry list of worries hanging over them, and for good reason—especially in the beginning.

Every part of opening and operating a business can be demanding, and even more so in pet care. After all, pet care facility owners are responsible for the wellness and safety of living beings who can’t talk. And if that’s not enough pressure, many of these owners put their financial futures at stake…

They invest in buildings, property improvements, quality staff and countless other important expenses. Most don’t expect it to be easy at first, but they work hard and hope to develop a rewarding and successful business. Unfortunately, so many owners get worn down and become disillusioned because they haven’t reached that level yet.

Vector digital illustration of various green shades of "AI (Pet) Business" typographic title and white colored term "In Your" on top of a minimalist representation of two guy figures in scientist-like attire trying to mechanically figure out how artificial intelligence works in a robotic-looking head with several tech icons surrounding them
By Dominic Hodgson
Green uppercase letter I drocap f you’re anything like most pet business owners, you probably sit in one of two camps when artificial intelligence (AI) and, specifically, ChatCPT are mentioned. Your reaction will either be, “What are you talking about?” or “OMG ChatGPT has changed my life!”

The funny thing is, it’s amazing how quickly you can jump from group one to group two once you’ve learned what it is—and tried it out for yourself.

So, what is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is a remarkable AI language model developed by OpenAI. It can understand and generate human-like text in conversations. Think of it as your virtual chat companion, ready to provide assistance, answer questions and engage in meaningful discussions. ChatGPT can help pet business owners by offering insights, ideas and suggestions on various topics, such as marketing strategies, customer communication and problem-solving.

Industry News
Pet boarding EXPO Title
White and brown dog looking up with illustrative stars
Well, being “average” in the pet care industry just doesn’t cut it anymore!
I he demand for pet boarding and daycare services is at an all-time high, and pet parents are not willing to settle for the first facility they come across. Dogs and cats are no longer regarded as “just pets,” but are now considered loved members of the family.

If you’re ready to get with the times and outshine your competition, you won’t want to miss the 2023 Pet Boarding & Daycare Expo!

Taking place in Hershey, PA, November 6th-9th, the largest industry event for boarding and daycare professionals will feature more new speakers than ever before sharing information that is invaluable to all pet care businesses, no matter the size.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to expand, there are seminars available for every stage of pet professional, including entry-level staff.

The expo will kick off Monday afternoon with the four-hour certificate program, “Professional Pet Boarding Infectious Disease Management Certification,” which is packed with the most up-to-date information on infectious canine and feline diseases.

Monday evening we welcome everyone to attend the Keynote Address, “The Changing Face of the U.S. Pet Owner,” presented by Geoff Klapisch and Beke Lubeach of DOGTV. This duo will take you on a journey highlighting the dynamic landscape of today’s pet owner and its impact on the businesses that service them.

Seminars will continue all day Tuesday through Thursday covering a variety of topics, all specific to the boarding and daycare industry, from marketing and staffing to dog behavior and cleaning. Packages are available for the full schedule of education, or you can pick and choose which classes interest you.

Profile of Success
Resorts & Theme Parks
Resorts & Theme Parks
South Park Doggie
Resorts & Theme Parks
Resorts & Theme Parks
dogs playing with water sprinklers at dog park
By Kathy Hosler
Photos provided by South Park Doggie
G ary Khachatryan opened his first facility, South Park Doggie, in 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Gary knew there was a need for the services they provided—daycare, boarding, training and grooming—but what Gary didn’t know, was that he was going to embark on the adventure of a lifetime…

“When COVID hit, people stopped traveling and bringing their dogs in for normal daycare,” says Gary Khachatryan, founder and owner of South Park Doggie. “My clients told me that they, not just their dogs, missed coming to the facility and interacting with other owners and their pets. They relayed a true sadness that they could not experience being with other dog owners and have that social connection with them.”

Gary listened his clients’ wants and needs, and then had a brainstorm: “I got the idea of building the world’s first theme-park-style playcare and staycare for dogs,” Gary says. “I wanted to create a resort with an activity-filled atmosphere where learning would be fun for the dogs, and I also wanted to incorporate a way for the owners to interact and participate with their dogs.”

Considering Expansion? Challenges and Benefits of Opening A Second Location and Beyond
By Shaina Denny

The demand for reliable pet boarding and daycare facilities has witnessed a significant surge in recent years. As more people become pet parents and find themselves pressed for time, the need for trustworthy and convenient dog care options has become essential. In this article, we will explore the considerations involved in expanding your pet boarding and daycare business by opening a second location. The challenges and benefits of such an expansion will be covered, providing valuable insights for boarding and daycare professionals seeking growth opportunities.

When launching your first dog daycare and/or boarding business, it is crucial to establish strong roots within the local community. Interacting with referral sources, organizing events, and engaging in charitable efforts help build your reputation and create exceptional experiences for your clients. As the demand for your services continues to grow, you may find it necessary to evaluate the potential benefits of opening a second location. This can also be seen quickly when existing clients start requesting different locations or new clients ask if you have a location in a different neighborhood or city.

Animal Behavior
After the Assessment: Understanding Body Language and Safe Handling in the Pet Care Facility typographic title; a woman and a dog playing with a toy
Professional Pet Boarding Council logo
Continual observation of body language during a dog’s stay in the pet care facility is a good practice to keep yourself safe, and to keep the dogs happy and healthy as you interact with and care for them. When working in activity areas, dog daycare groups, off-leash play areas, pools, training areas or with special equipment like treadmills, it’s especially important to closely observe body language of the dogs in your care. Aside from helping to keep yourself and other dogs safe, body language changes can also serve as an early warning signal of discomfort or illness.

In addition to the areas listed above, the following situations in a pet care facility can pose a safety risk and require close observation of body language as well as good handling techniques:

  • Entering an enclosure with a pet that is uncomfortable in the environment or is highly excited by human contact.
  • Feeding dogs that resource-guard (including picking up dishes after mealtime).
  • Feeding multiple dogs in the same enclosure.
  • Removing personal possessions while the dog is in the enclosure (if they resource-guard).
  • Exiting an enclosure with a pet that is uncomfortable, wants to escape or has poor gate manners.
Think Tank
6 Simple Ways to Boost Your Pet Business's SEO
By Fernando Camacho
Let’s face it, pet businesses are popping up all over the place, making the industry more and more competitive. And in today’s competitive digital landscape, having a strong online presence is crucial if you’re going to outshine and outlast the rest.

One of the most effective ways to enhance visibility and attract potential customers is through search engine optimization (SEO). By optimizing your website and online profiles, you can improve your visibility and increase your chances of appearing in relevant search results.

Here are six simple, yet powerful ways to boost your pet business’s SEO:

Animal Health
Are you prepared for a canine infectious respiratory disease outbreak?
By The Dog Gurus
No matter how diligent and proactive your facility might be, there is always a chance of an outbreak of disease or illness. The increase in dog socialization between daycares, playdates and dog parks is significant, and not every dog that comes into contact with your clients’ dogs will be properly vaccinated. If there is an outbreak of canine respiratory illness in your community, it’s almost impossible to prevent it from reaching your facility.
Industry News
illustrated paper plane
The Rapidly Evolving Landscape of Dog Care In 2023
By Jesse Coslov
illustrated network of icons and ladders
In the modern world, endless information is readily available at our fingertips. The internet has given everyone access to becoming an “expert” on any subject. Ironically, this abundance of free information only increases the need for true experts—industry leaders that not only work to stay ahead of trends, but who also take the time to assist educated consumers in deciphering between facts and fluff and building on what they’ve learned on their own.

At this moment, health and wellness—both physical and emotional—are now front and center in the minds of pet guardians. As experts, we understand these subjects are highly individualized, and we can no longer get by with a one-size-fits-all mindset regarding how we care for our animals. With unique personalities and physiologies, different dogs have different needs in all aspects of life. As a result, dog daycare and boarding facilities have adapted to the new expectations of well-researched clients. Furthermore, knowing these expectations provides an opportunity for staff to add to a client’s educational journey. This is a chance to help clients not only understand how we tailor each dog’s experience, but to also appreciate why we do it.

New Products
Fuzi pet bed
The pet lifestyle brand FÜZI PETS launched its flagship line of elevated modular pet beds that bring modern luxe style to pet furniture. With three durable designs (and three different sizes), the stylish beds feature sleek metal frames, chew-resistant and water-resistant inserts, and machine-washable covers that come in a variety of buttery soft faux furs. The off-the-floor bed design brings pets “up” to their human counterparts, off the ground collecting dirt and dust, and with an aesthetic to complement the most stylish of spaces.
Jump Dog box set
The five multi-sized boxes are designed and manufactured for indoor sports performance, rehabilitation, physical therapy, and obedience training. The Jump Agility Boxes are covered in premium high-density textured vinyl which is ideal for training use with extra texture on top landing and loading surface. A small bumper box is available to allow adjustability to the box set (sold separately). JUMP DOG™ is a product of Gyms For Dogs™, a leader in providing play & agility products for dogs.
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Thanks for reading our September/October 2023 issue!