Using Music to Calm an Anxious Dog

Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be as as effective as it is for humans. It reduces blood pressure and stress.

Many dogs suffer from anxiety.  Some breeds are more prone to the condition, but many have developed high levels of anxiety or separation anxiety through circumstances in their living conditions. Many rescues have experienced abuse by a previous owner. Others have become fearful of noises or sudden movements through their experiences while living on the street.  Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be very effective. 

Using music to calm an anxious dog has proven to be as as effective as it is for humans. It reduces blood pressure and stress.

When I adopted my rescue dog, Zorro, he had spent his very young life in and abusive situation.  When he was only a few months old, he was rescued and sent to stay with a foster mom until a sponsor was found to bring him to Canada. The foster mom spent three months caring for Zorro.  She was an excellent source of information when he was transitioning to his new life in my home. She explained that he did not do well in the crate, so she would use spa music to help him to calm down when she had to leave him.  This information has come in very handy a number of times since we brought him home two years ago.

Be Aware of what Causes Your Dog’s Anxiety

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Although he was a very happy guy, there were some definite signs of anxiety in a number of situations.  Separation anxiety was one of the most difficult challenges for him.  The three people in my home worked on a variety of schedules and, because of this, Zorro was rarely alone for more than an hour or two.

When we would leave him, he would bark and cry. We purchased a Furbo Dog Camera so that we could see what was upsetting him, but there was nothing unusual.  He would face the door and howl or bark, pace the floor and start again.  The Furbo notified us when he was barking.  This allowed us to speak to him from wherever we were.  This helped him a lot, but we wanted to prevent the anxiety as opposed to calming it.  We began leaving the radio on for him and saw a big change in his stress levels.

Music Covers Environmental Noise

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Zorro, like many other dogs, struggles with sounds from lawn mowers, snow blowers, construction tools and, of course, fireworks. We always leave the radio or TV on for him so he doesn’t feel alone. The “white noise” effect reduces his exposure to outside activity. The music or conversation from the television provide a familiar and soothing distraction.

Music is Not Just a Distraction for Dogs

It has been proven that music reduces stress in humans, and it has the same effect for dogs.  The flow of the music helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.  The physical response on the body encourages both mental and physical relaxation.  Your dog’s body will relax, taking down or eliminating the levels of anxiety. 

What Kind of Music is Best to Calm Your Dog

Just like people, your dog may respond to one type of music more than another.  It is a personal preference.  In most cases, classical music is recommended.  The light, flowing consistency of classical music seems to have a more soothing effect than something with a rapid or loud beat.  

We witnessed an immediate reaction to spa music with Zorro. We were on a road trip to the east coast for our family vacation.  Zorro loves the car and has travelled this road before, but something out of the ordinary happened on this trip.  We had been driving, and of course taking brakes, for about 9 hours, when Zorro became very agitated.

We had been listening to music along the way, so we tried turning it off for a few minutes. Our thought was that we were disturbing his sleep.  As it was 3:00 am we thought we may have been disrupting his sleep routine.  He was still unhappy.  We stopped and took him for a walk to stretch his legs and pee, and we offered some food and water.  He seemed fine after about 20 minutes, so we got back into the car.  He immediately began whining and turning around in his spot.

Remembering that his foster mom would use spa music to calm him, my daughter searched her song lists, found some spa music and we put it on for him.  It was like magic.  He stopped whining, turned around three times in his seat, curled up and went to sleep.  It was actually an incredible thing to watch.

Since then, whenever Zorro shows any sign of stress, we pull out the spa playlist or turn on the spa music channel on the TV. This either calms him immediately or significantly reduces his stress levels.

A Musician has Written a Song to Calm Anxious Dogs

A musician by the name of Garrett Charles Nash (Gnash) who rescued a dog with significant anxiety issues, researched the music theory to help his dog.  He found that certain rhythms helped dogs to settle down.  He has written a song called A Song for Daisy to help his dog that has been used in shelters to soothe dogs that suffer with anxiety issues. The song is 15 minutes long and incorporates a simple melody with a lot of repetition.

His work, along with my own experiences with my rescue dog, has proven that music therapy can significantly reduce a dog’s stress and anxiety levels.

Should your dog have difficulty with separation anxiety, noise reactivity or maybe she is always stressed, music therapy may be a good place to start. 

How to Start Your Own Dog Walking Business

If you truly love dogs and wish to work with them, a dog walking and pet care service is a perfect way to indulge your passion. In addition to a decent income, the job offers the added bonus of an abundance of fresh air and exercise.

Do you want to work with animals? Here are some tips to start your own dog walking business.

If you truly love dogs and wish to work with them, a dog walking and pet care service is a perfect way to indulge your passion.  In addition to a decent income, the job offers the added bonus of an abundance of fresh air and exercise. If you would like to know how to start your own dog walking business from scratch, I have provided a step by step list of things I had to do when I began my journey 2 years ago.  I hope it helps you to achieve your goals and enjoy the freedom that being an entrepreneur offers!

Be Sure You are Ready to Commit to Your Dog Walking Business

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Dog walking is a real business. It is important that you are ready to devote your full attention to your company and your clients.  You are making a commitment to dogs and their families that you will be there at a specific time, regardless of weather or any exciting events that may come up.  You should be willing to work regularly and be prepared enough to adhere to a schedule. 

A dog needs to go out.  Sometimes people are at work for 8-10 hours a day.  If you are not on time, or don’t show up at all, that dog does not get to go out and relieve herself.  Sometimes you may be asked to administer medicine.  If you don’t show up, that poor doggo goes without.  This is why it is extremely important that you take this type of business seriously.  These animals are relying on you to be their break in the day. To them, you are like a family member and they need to be considered every day.

Think of a Catchy Name for your Business

You can choose to call your business anything you want – almost.  You can call Janet’s Dog Walking or Bob’s Pet Care Service, but these are not as memorable as they could be.  Try to think of something animal related, maybe a play on words or including the word “Tail”, “Fur” or “Wag”.  These names will catch a potential client’s attention and be more memorable when they want to look you up.

Do a little snooping around.  Look up businesses that provide similar services to what you want to offer in your area.  Find out the names of some of the more popular ones.  Be sure you are not duplicating or mimicking anyone.  This could cause confusion and possible legal issues.

Make Sure the Name You Choose for Your Business is Available

Once you have chosen your business name, the next step is to register it as a business.  You will have to run a search to be sure that no one else is using that name.  There is a small charge for the business name search, but it is worth it.  You should also check to see if the domain name is available for you website and that the business name (or a strong variation) is available on any social media platforms you would like to use to promote your business.  Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn are commonly used for business promotion.

Register your Business

When you are sure you have access to use this name, you will need to register your business with the government and get your business licence. Make sure to register for all tax numbers required in your area. This is something you should investigate on your government website or, if you prefer, consult an accountant.

Get Some Information About the Competition in Your Area

A little investigating will also give you some insight into what your community expects a quality service to provide.  I have had many customers tell me how pleasantly surprised that my arrival time is within 10 minutes of a scheduled visit.  Apparently, there are walkers out there who are very vague and feel that this is ok.  These are the things that you want to know about your competitors and your perspective clients.  You need to provide a top-notch service.  Knowing what is currently being offered and the average price for the services provided will help you to be more competitive. 

Speak to Dog Walkers in Your Community

When I was starting out, I was asking another dog walker some questions about her business.  I explained that I was not working in her territory so I would be of no threat to her business.  She said, “There are so many dogs out there that there is enough for all of us!” While this is a fact, she was very generous with her information. Her guidance helped me to gain some perspective about my own business.  If you are lucky and you are able to speak directly to someone in your area about their business, you will get a clear idea about local expectations. 

I have found that different communities have different ideas of what a walker should be doing.  Some feel it is a quick walk, wipe the feet and be on your way. Others have higher expectations and may want you to spend time feeding the dogs, cleaning bowls and brushing them, private walks vs. group walks, etc.  It may just be what they have grown accustomed to with a local walker that changes the expectations, but it is important to know what your fellow pet care companies are doing so that you can match or exceed the services already offered within a specific community.

Determine the Pricing Levels for Dog Care in Your Area

You are going to want offer a competitive price point for your services.  Part of your inquiries should include pricing.  How much is the going rate for a 30 minute walk?  How much for a group walk?  How much for a puppy drop in?  is there a discount for two visits in one day?  You can find the answers to these questions by doing a simple internet search on the other dog walking businesses in your community.  Make sure you don’t over charge.  People would prefer to pay a competitive price.  If you are too high, you will not attract business. 

The same can be said for a price that is too low.  Yes, that’s right.  You can actually under price yourself right out of a client!  That old saying, “It’s too good to be true!”, will cause people to move on if they see your extremely low prices.  Others feel that, “you get what you pay for.”, so if you are too low, you may come across as inadequate. Make sure you charge what you are worth in your specific market.

Take a Pet First Aid Course

Knowing what to do in an emergency is important as a pet owner and a pet care provider.  Accidents can happen in an instant.  Injuries and illness can arise when a pet is in your care and it is vital that you know how to handle each situation.  St. John’s offers Pet First Aid course that taught me how to do CPR and First aid on a dog.  They described scenarios that I had never considered.  It was an eye-opening experience for me.  I’m sure there are other companies that provide this training if St. John’s isn’t available.  I highly recommend taking the course.  It provides you and your clients with a level of confidence in your abilities.

Get Business Insurance for Your Pet Care Service

There are many companies that offer small business insurance.  It is important that you find a company that offers insurance for the specific needs of a pet care business.  It should incorporate coverage for accidents or injury to the pets you are caring for as well as the homes and contents of your human clients.  You will be entering many homes every day and you will be responsible for the health and well-being of their family pet.  It is important that you are insured for all unexpected occurrences.

Your vehicle, should you be driving from home to home, should have commercial insurance as opposed to personal coverage.  You are running a business and your vehicle is now a part of that business.  You will likely be on the road more than you were before and it is important that you have the proper coverage.

Create Your Website and Social Media Presence

You will need to find a web host and create a website for your business.  Most web hosts offer a fairly easy to follow set up.  You can choose from a number of style templates and add your business name.  There is a place to add pricing, contact information, special services and pictures.  It is always important to provide quality pictures.  People love to see what you do with the pets in your care.  By showing them pictures of happy pets playing outside, walking through a park or interacting with you or other dogs, they are able to gain some insight into your relationship with animals.  It also is a visual guide to what their pet would be cared for, should they hire you.

Pictures and captions are also great for Social Media. People are visual.  Cute animal pictures will attract people to your site faster than any words. You can gain more of a following by adding hashtags to your social media posts. Including # yourcitypetcareservices or # yourtowndogwalking can offer a way for people in your town to find you should they be looking for a pet care provider.

Interact with Local Pet Related Businesses

Many small businesses on social media will support one another and recommend you if they know that you are a reputable local business.  These are important connections.  Just be sure to reciprocate as small businesses need each other to grow.  One of the nicest things that happened to me in the beginning was when a local pet store did a shout out to my business on their Instagram feed.  They included my website Bio and some of my pet photos, along with a very generous write up.  I was not familiar with their store, but they had been following my IG and felt that my business was worthy of mentioning. Now I always recommend their store to local pet owners.  It’s a great way to make connections and a win/win for both businesses.

Advertising Your Pet Care Business

When you are just starting out you will need to advertise and promote.  Eventually, your repution will be your best advertising and word of mouth your best promotion, but until then you will need to get out there and hustle to get your business going.  I had to start on a very strict budget, so I made flyers using Publisher, printed them off and went all over town placing them on bulletin boards, telephone poles and apartment lobbies (where permitted).  I chose places like veterinary offices, pet stores, grocery stores and laundromats.  These are high traffic, family oriented places where someone who was looking for pet care may look for local businesses.

Register with an Existing Pet Care Service

Another way to get your business started is to join an existing pet care service that allows you to work independently.  I registered with Rover.com and was able to run my business as well as work with them.  They provide leads and connections, but the interviewing, pricing and scheduling is still all up to you.  You simply pay them a percentage for the connections they provide for you.  It may take a while to gain a reputation on your own.  Services like Rover offer you and option to work while you build your own business. Once you are established, you can continue to work with Rover in addition to your regular clients.

Have Business Cards Made for Your Business

When you are walking your dogs out in the parks or down the street, you are bound to have someone ask you for your card.  Carry some with you and give out more than one should someone ask for it.  They will pass one onto their friends. When they pass you name along they can say that they met you and spoke with you.  They will be able to sat that they saw you interacting with your dog(s) and that all seemed well.  People love a personal recommendation.  Be visible.  Be friendly.  Be courteous.  Be prepared. Business cards create plenty of opportunity for word of mouth to spread as your cards to get passed around.

Summary:

Opening a pet care service is a commitment.  Register your business. Create a website and advertise on social media and in person.  You can gain valuable experience while building your business by registering with a pet care service such as Rover.com.  Taking a pet first aid course and obtaining proper insurance coverage is vital when caring for animals.  Learn what other pet care providers are doing in your area.  Provide comparable services at competitive prices.  Mostly, provide prompt, reliable, safe and loving pet care and you will be successful.

Good luck and enjoy your walks!

What to Ask When Looking for a New Dog Walker

You need to know what to ask when looking for a new dog walker. You must be sure that you can trust the potential walker with the proper care of your pet as well as your home and all access areas such as apartment/condo lobbies, hallways and elevators and underground parking lots. Whoever you choose should love dogs, be responsible, dependable and respectful.

Are you looking for quality pet care? First you have to know where to look for solid candidates. Next, you need to know what to ask when looking for a new dog walker. You must be sure that you can trust the potential walker with the proper care of your pet as well as your home and all access areas such as apartment/condo lobbies, hallways and elevators and underground parking lots.  Whoever you choose should love dogs, be responsible, dependable and respectful. 

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Here is a list of some things you should look for when screening a potential dog walker:

What kind of Training and Experience does the Dog Walker have?

Although there is no formal training needed to be a dog walker, you should find out what kind of background the candidate has with caring for dogs.  Many will have years of experience working for themselves.  Many have worked for other experienced walkers and have been shown some methods of operating and tricks of the trade to ensure that the dogs in their care are safe and having fun.  Knowing that you would be handing over your pet to someone with knowledge and experience will help you to have confidence in their abilities.

Someone who has been working as a dog walker for a prolonged period of time also indicates that this is a permanent position for them.  Someone who is new to the job or only works part time at it may not be in it for the long term. 

Dog walking seems like an easy job, but many people learn quickly that it is physically demanding. Dogs can pull or need help walking.  Some older puppies or dogs need help getting up and down stairs.  It requires someone who is happy being outside in any weather. Many who feel that this is a quick and easy way to make money, don’t factor in the potential downpours, extreme heat waves and blizzards that they will be faced with.  Someone with little experience may give up when faced with these challenges, leaving you without a walker. 

This is not convenient for you, but also creates an unstable situation for your pup.  Just when he gets used to his new friend coming to walk him daily, that friend disappears from his life.  They do feel the loss and can act out of there is too frequent of a turnover.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

Will the same person be coming to walk your dog every day?

Knowing what to ask when looking for a new dog walker can help make your dog’s daily visits safe and happy.

Some dog walking agencies or companies have multiple employees.  The daily schedule for each employee changes with the bookings in various locations and the walkers are sent to different homes.  It is important that your dog has a stable routine and a familiar face coming to the door every day.  Make sure that, with the exception of illness or vacations, the walker coming to your door is the same every day. In the event of the occasional change to the schedule, be sure you are notified in advance.  You should have the opportunity to meet or at least be informed of a new person who will be caring for your doggo as well as gaining access to your home. You wouldn’t want your key or access code to be handed to someone new without your knowledge or consent.

How many dogs your walker will be walking at once?

Many cities have laws restricting the number of dogs that can be walked at one time.  Although the walker you are screening may abide by the legal guidelines, you or your dog may not be comfortable with larger groups.  Some dogs don’t thrive in a pack setting.  This becomes a challenge for all of the dogs and the dog walker.  If you prefer only solo walks, or a maximum of 2 or 3 pups at a time, that is your preference.  Be sure to make it clear in the interview so as not to waste your time or worse, wind up with your dog in an uncomfortable scenario.

How does the dog walker go about pick up and drop off?

I have seen many dog walkers with 5 or 6 dogs in their vehicle. They park in a driveway and leave the dogs unattended while picking up the next dog or dropping one off. There are a few minutes that they are away from the vehicle and in the client’s home. During this time the dogs are left unattended.  I have also seen situations where there were two walkers in the vehicle.  One walker remained in the vehicle while the second entered the client’s home.  The dogs were never left alone.  You need to know which approach is being taken and how comfortable you are with the practice being offered.

Will the dog be walked or taken to the dog park?

Many dog walkers pick up the clients and head off to the dog park.  The allow them to run and play off leash for the 30 minutes or hour and then round them up and bring them home.  There are many dog owners who are happy with this approach. Many are not comfortable with their dogs being off-leash surrounded by a number of unfamiliar dogs in a relatively uncontrolled environment.  Neither is right or wrong, these are just concepts you need to be aware of when selecting a dog walker.  If you prefer parks, walks in your neighborhood or just playtime in your own fenced in yard, you must be clear about your requirements. The walker you choose should be someone who can provide you with the services you desire.

How does the walker handle keys or entry code information?

When you are handing over access to your home, it is imperative that you know how the keys or access codes will be handled.  Security and privacy practices should be followed.

Dog walkers will have many keys and codes to juggle on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, there are a lot of walkers who label their keys or code lists using the client’s address, family name or even the dog’s name.  This can be very dangerous should they lose their keys or drop their list or phone containing the information.  This leaves your home and family vulnerable.  Make sure your walker uses some form of color coding or undecipherable method of labeling this sensitive information.

What type of communication does the walker provide after each walk?

Your dog is going to be spending time with the walker on a regular basis.  You may want to know what your dog is doing while he is away from home.  You may also want to know things like whether or not he peed or pooped.  Did he do well when crossing paths with other dogs?  Was he socializing well with the group?  These are ways an owner can be clear about your dog’s wellness as well as social happiness.  If your dog has not relieved himself by a certain time in the day, you may not stop to get groceries on the way home. Chances are your pup will need to go out sooner than later.

A photo or two to show where your pup was and how he enjoyed his outing is also a nice touch.  Many of my dog parents say that they enjoy receiving a couple of pictures after our walk. Pictures of their dog playing or rolling in the snow became the highlight of their day.

Does the dog walker know Pet CPR and First Aid?

There are a number of places that offer CPR/First Aid courses for pets.  A dog walker who is trained in emergency care would be an asset.  If you have a dog with medical issues, who is a senior or even a puppy who picks up and chews everything in its path, you may want to have someone who is capable of removing an object that is causing your dog to choke.  Someone who can recognize an emergency situation and react accordingly would be beneficial.  You might want someone who is able to administer medication should your dog become ill.

Does your dog walker have insurance?

A dog walking agency or company, will likely have proper insurance coverage.  If you are hiring an individual, they may not.  This is an important question to ask of anyone you are screening.

There are companies that provide insurance specific to dog walkers and pet care providers.  They address everything from pet injury or death (hopefully this will never be needed!) to liability for the pet owner’s home and even lost keys.

A walker who has insurance coverage for their business indicates someone who offers responsible business practices and stability.  Most fly-by-night walkers will not go so far as to invest in a 12-month insurance policy.

Summary

Hiring a dog walker or pet care provider is an important, long-term agreement that should not be taken lightly.  You must ensure that your dog and your home will be left in the best hands possible.  Take your time, have your list of questions ready and make an informed decision.

Your dog will love you for it!

Choosing the Best Dog Bowls for Your Dog’s Health

What you serve your dog’s food in can be a health hazard in a number of ways if you aren’t aware of the dangers. Although it seems basic, choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is something that should be thought through and investigated thoroughly. Everything from the size, height and materials used to produce the bowl should be considered.

Who would have thought that choosing a dog bowl would be such an important event?  It is.  What you serve your dog’s food in can be a health hazard in a number of ways if you aren’t aware of the dangers. Although it seems basic, choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is something that should be thought through and investigated thoroughly. Everything from the size, height and materials used to produce the bowl should be considered.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What size of dog bowl is best?

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Dogs come in different sizes, so their bowls should too.  Your dog should be able to comfortably reach to the bottom of the bowl.  When scooping up the last few bites the rim should not be pressing on her neck.  The small bones in a dog’s neck are extremely fragile and this pressure can cause damage. 

Is a raised bowl better than on the floor?

There are mixed reviews as the benefits of raised bowls.  Some smaller studies have indicated that raised bowls will prevent bloat.  This is a stomach issue that causes extreme pain and potentially even death.  There are some larger dog breeds that are more prone to bloat, but it can happen to all sizes and breeds.  Initially it was thought that the raised bowls would help ease the possibility of bloat, but it has since been found that it may actually increase the risk of bloat.  The only time raised bowls might be recommended would be when a dog has neck or spine issues that make it painful to bend the head downward.  If your dog has spinal issues, it is best to discuss your options with your vet.  A professional will be able to guide you to provide the most suitable accommodations to ease your dog’s discomfort.

What material should a dog bowl be made of?

Dog bowls can be made from a variety of materials. Each of those materials can have high and low- quality levels.  It is important to be sure that, regardless of the material you choose, you are sure that the bowl is of a quality that is safe to serve food on.  If it’s not safe for a human to eat from, it is not safe for your doggo.  You will often see labels that say, “for pet use only”, or “not for use by humans”.  This indicates that the materials used are dangerous.  They may contain high levels of lead or other chemicals that you would not want your dog to consume while eating or drinking. 

Here are the 3 most common types of dog bowls in order of safety:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel dog bowls are the safest choice for your pup.  It must be made of high-quality stainless steel.  It must not say for pet use only, and it must be dishwasher safe.  High quality stainless steel, when washed properly, will not scratch easily.  A scratch-free surface, combined with diligent washing practices, prevents any bacteria from building up in the bowl.  This keeps your dog’s food free from contamination that can cause him to become ill.

Ceramic or Glass Bowls for Dog Food

Golden Retriever Puppy with Paw in Water Dish
Many dogs like to play in their water bowls.  They will use their paws to swish around in the water. Their claws scrape against the sides and bottom of the bowls causing scratches and chips where bacteria can grow.

Choosing a ceramic or glass bowl for your dog’s food and water is still a strong choice.  The caution with these types of bowls is, again, the quality of the materials used. Be sure it can be washed in the dishwasher so that it can disinfected thoroughly,  Many low-quality bowls can contain chemicals and lead.  This can cause serious repercussions for your pet.  If you choose ceramic, be sure that the glaze used to create that shiny finish does not contain lead.  Also, if the bowls become chipped or cracked, these crevices will provide a place for bacteria to build up and create a contaminated area.  By washing your dog’s bowls frequently and safely, you can prevent build-up. 

Another benefit of daily washing is that you have the opportunity to inspect the surface of the bowls. If there are any chips or cracks – even really small ones – you should throw it away.  It’s just not worth the risk to keep it and it will never be cleaned properly once the glazed seal has been damaged.

Plastic Bowls for Dog Food

Many people use plastic bowls for their dog’s food.  This is ok, but they should be washed carefully and replaced more frequently.  Once again, you should always choose a standard of plastic that is safe for human use and it should be dishwasher safe (top shelf).  The biggest concern with plastic is how easily it can be scratched, allowing bacteria to contaminate the food and water you set out for your pup.  There are some plastics that are more porous than others.  Be sure that you choose a bowl with a smooth surface and that you clean and monitor the bowls daily for damage. 

How do dog bowls get damaged?

You may think that your dog bowls are safe because you are only putting soft food and water in them, you are disinfecting regularly and you are washing with a gentle sponge.  These things will definitely help to prevent damage, but there are some sneaky little things that can cause scratches and nicks.

  • Some dog’s like to carry their bowl.  By holding the bowl with their teeth they can scratch any surface, or even leave tooth prints in some softer materials.
  • There are dogs who will use their front teeth to reach the last few kibbles or to grab the last bit of soft food that is sticking to the bottom or side of the bowl.  This can cause tiny scratches that are almost undetectable. 
  • Sometimes a dog’s tags will rub up against the sides of the bowl (inside and out) while he is eating. This causes small scratches and scuffs.
  • Many dogs like to play in their water bowls.  They will use their paws to swish around in the water. Their claws scrape against the sides and bottom of the bowls.
  • There are even dogs who just like to chew on the sides of the bowl.  Puppies are known to chew on anything to easy the discomfort of teething. A water bowl is cool and firm, providing relief.

Summary

Choosing the best dog bowls for your dog’s health is an important dog parenting decision. Stainless steel is the safest option for your pup’s food and water. Regardless of the type of bowl you choose, it is vital to inspect, clean and disinfect your dog’s bowls as a part of your daily and weekly routine. 

See:  Dirty Food Bowls Can Make Your Dog Sick to learn how to properly care for your dog’s bowls.

How to Find a Good Dog Walker

Although you may get lucky and find the best dog walker in the world posted on a telephone pole, the process of choosing a good, safe and reliable pet care provider can be made easier by starting with these three options.

Where to look for a Good Dog Walker

There are ads all over social media, Kijiji, newspapers and even flyers in your mailbox.  But how do you know where to look for a good dog walker. How do you trust a total stranger with your furry family member?   Although you may get lucky and find the best dog walker in the world posted on a telephone pole, the process of choosing a good, safe and reliable pet care provider can be made easier by starting with these three options.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Word of Mouth

Start with friends and family. If you have people who are close to you who are dog owners, perhaps they have been in your situation in the past.  They may know someone who is perfect for you.  Having someone who has had first hand experience with a dog walker is comforting.  If your dog parenting practices are similar to the friend’s, you will have a lot more confidence in someone they are recommending than someone you find in a random ad. 

Knowing how to find a good dog walker will help to ensure safe and happy visits for your pup.

Unfortunately, the walker may not have the availability that you require or may not be in your area.  In this instance it would be a good idea for you to has him/her for a recommendation of someone that they know who also does pet care.  Most dog walkers know someone else and most would not recommend anyone who was not reputable. Any walker who has a good reputation would likely only recommend someone who would enhance that reputation, so would not just pass on any name unless they were familiar with the referee’s practices.   It would still be wise to ask if they have ever worked together or how they know each other.  This will give you an idea of how much the two know about each other’s methods. It would be advisable to look at the walker’s website and check the references posted there as well.

Veterinarian’s Office

Many vets will have a bulletin board in the waiting room of their office.  Have a look and see if there are any advertisements.  Many dog walkers will leave advertisements or business cards posted on the bulletin board.  Often, the staff in the vet’s office are familiar with the dog walker.  If you do find a posting, ask the vet staff if they know or would recommend the dog walker.  Although they are not affiliated with or responsible for the actions of the dog walker, they may be able to provide some insight.

Pet Care Agencies

There are many pet care agencies that will provide you with a listing of dog walkers in your area.  When selecting a pet care registry, investigate the company’s reputation.  Do some leg work to be sure they have a solid history and that they offer the services you need. An example of an established network would be Rover.com.  Rover offers pet care options in the United States, Canada and Europe. They require a criminal background check from all of their pet care providers, and provide insured pet care for all bookings through the agency.  I have worked with Rover for almost 2 years and I have met many clients who swear by Rover’s services because of their history, reputation and practices.

If you decide to go through an agency, look for a company in your area that offers biographies and client ratings for their providers.  Many of my pet parents say that the reason they chose me was not only because of my five-star reviews, but because of the number of repeat bookings I have had.  They told me that they felt that having the same clients request my services repeatedly was an indication that I was good with their pets as well as reliable. The more statistics and details you know about a potential walker, the better chance you will find the best care for your pet.

Added Suggestions

After looking, researching and narrowing down the best candidates, you are ready to call and book an interview.  Although you think you have chosen the most perfect candidate, it is wise to call and book an interview with the top 3 or 4 candidates.  A potential walker may look great on paper but you may not be happy with the person that arrives at your door.  This may be due to many reasons including changes in availability since booking your interview, personality conflicts or maybe even a poor reaction by your pup.

Checklist for Finding a Good Dog Walker 

  • Investigate word of mouth referrals, bulletin board posts in trustworthy places (vet’s office) or reputable agencies.
  • Narrow down your search to 3 to 4 potential walkers.
  • Take your time and interview all of the finalists. 
  • Have questions ready.
  • Make notes.
  • Ask for references and actually call the references to get a feel for their perspective about pet care.
  • Review your notes after meeting with all of the walkers. 
  • Compare all references, written and verbal.
  • Make your decision.

Summary

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All safety and medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

If you follow all of these steps your chances of finding someone you are happy with (and more importantly who your doggo is happy with) is pretty strong.  Having said that, be sure to monitor any changes in your pups behavior to be sure all is well.  I also recommend checking in with neighbors to see if they have seen the interaction between your dog and the new walker.  As a pet care provider I also love seeing some form of security system or a FURBO Camera to keep an eye on what goes on inside your home when the walker/sitter is caring for your fur baby.  You can never be too safe!

Dirty Food Bowls Can Make Your Dog Sick

Dirty dog bowls, damaged dog bowls and dog bowls made of certain materials can cause a variety of illnesses for your dog.

Do you have a regular dog bowl cleaning routine?  Many people don’t.  It is not uncommon for pet parents to just refill the bowls daily and occasionally, when it becomes visible, rinse them out to get the residue off.  Let’s face it, dogs eat just about anything (and I mean anything) so a dog bowl can’t  harm them, right?  Wrong!  Dirty food bowls can make your dog very sick.  Actually, dirty dog bowls, damaged dog bowls and dog bowls made of certain materials can cause a variety of illnesses for your doggo. Here is what I have learned about the best dog bowls, the best cleaning methods for you dog bowls and how to wash your dog bowls safely.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Selecting the Right Dog Bowl

It’s very important that you choose a safe bowl for your dog.  The best option would be stainless steel that is dishwasher safe. It is also best to have at least two sets of bowls so that when one is being cleaned, the other is available to use. 

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post if required. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

How Can Dirty Food Bowls Make Your Dog Sick?

Saliva remains in the bowl after a dog eats.  This, along with the leftover bits of food can act like a Petri dish where germs can grow freely.
Dirty food bowls can make your dog sick when food a remain in the bowl. Saliva remains in the bowl after a dog eats. This, along with the leftover bits of food can act like a petri dish where germs can grow freely.

Your dog actually uses his or her tongue to scoop up the food or water from the bowl.  Saliva remains in the bowl along with the leftover bits of food. This can act like a little petri dish where germs can grow freely.  Gross right? Is it safe to use detergents? How do I clean my pet’s bowls safely?

Many dog parents are afraid to use soaps or detergents in their dog bowls. They are afraid that they will leave a residue that could be consumed by their pet.  Fortunately, this is no more likely to happen to your pet than it would for yourself or your family members after doing the dinner dishes.

Some feel that rinsing the dishes under hot water is the best method.  Unfortunately, a simple rinse under hot water leaves dirt and food particles on your dog’s dishes where bacteria can grow.  This bacterium will be ingested by your dog and can cause some significant health issues.  Because of this, it is crucial that all dog dishes be washed regularly and sanitized a minimum of once weekly.  This is especially imperative if your dog is on a raw food diet. Any raw meat should be removed from the bowl and disinfected after each use. Meat that reaches room temperature is a breeding ground for a number of serious bacteria, including Streptococcus, Listeria and even Salmonella.

How to Safely Wash Your Dog’s Bowls

A study was done in 2011 by NSF International listing the “germiest places in a home”.  Number one on the list was the kitchen sponge.  Number 4 was pet bowls.  This means that the tool most people use to clean the 4th dirtiest item in the home is the 1st most dirty item.  Seems kind of counter intuitive now, doesn’t it? So, what do we do about it? 

Option 1:  Daily

Use your dishwasher when possible.  Any food dish that your dog eats from, should be dishwasher safe.  The dishwasher will sanitize the bowls and provide a safe place to feed your doggo.  I personally prefer to rinse the bowls even after they go through the rinse cycle on the dishwasher in case any dishwashing liquid residue is left behind. 

Option 2: Daily

If you don’t have a dishwasher, or prefer not to use it for your pet bowls, you can use a basin of clean, hot, soapy water.  Wash the bowls with a clean, non abrasive, sponge.  If you are not sure how clean the sponge is, wet it and place it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  This will help to disinfect the sponge, which will in turn keep the sponge from contaminating your dog bowls. 

Wash the bowls thoroughly, making sure to pay close attention to any crevices. Rinse the bowls in hot water to remove the suds, just as you would your household dishes.  Air dry.

Option 1:  Weekly

Even though you are washing your bowls daily, it is recommended that they are given a good disinfecting once a week.  Some suggest that you briefly (one minute maximum) soak the bowls in a bleach and water mixture (always check labels for the safest water to bleach ratio) and rinse in cold water.  It is not recommended that you do this with plastic bowls as bleach can get into the plastic and will not rinse thoroughly.  I personally do not use bleach on my pet’s bowls. I am not comfortable using chemicals of that strength near my dog’s food. Although I know it’s been rinsed well, I prefer a more natural alternative.

Option 2:  Weekly

If you prefer not to use bleach, the alternative recommendation would be to use a vinegar and water mixture, followed by a thorough rinse in warm water. The recommended ratio is 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar.

How can Water Affect My Dog Bowls?

Depending on where you live, your plumbing and water filtration system, the effect you water has on the dog bowls is something to be considered.  Calcium build up creates a crusty rim on the bowl that doesn’t come off very easily.  Using an abrasive sponge is not a good idea as it can scratch the bowl and leave it vulnerable to bacteria, so it is best to use the previously mentioned vinegar/water mixture.  Soaking in this solution will help break down the residue, leaving the bowl smooth and shiny.

Wrapping it all up!

  • Dirty food bowls make your dog sick because of food residue and saliva.
  • Using a stainless steel, dishwasher safe food bowl is the best option.
  • Sterilizing in the dishwasher is the best cleaning method.
  • If washing by hand, make sure the sponge/cloth is new or sterilized before use.
  • Rinse with a vinegar/water solution and rinse with warm water weekly to thoroughly disinfect the bowls.
  • Have multiple bowls so that you can swap them out when the others are being cleaned.
  • Use the vinegar/water solution to remove calcium build up and hard water stains from your dog’s bowl.

Why Do Some Dog Breeds Have Their Tails Cut Off?

One method of tail docking is performed when a puppy is between 2 and 5 days old. The breeder uses surgical scissors to cut off the puppy’s tail without anesthetic.

I was playing with one of my favorite neighborhood dogs the other day.  He is a beautiful Boxer with the sweetest disposition and is the patriarch of the neighborhood dogs.  He has not been neutered, but he has no tail.  I asked his owner why he would have one of the procedures done and not the other, and why he chose tail docking.  His response was that the breeder had done it before he adopted his dog.  He wasn’t even offered the option.  I have heard this before, from a client who owns a Golden Doodle.  She said she wasn’t even aware that there was a choice until after she had picked up her puppy.  This made me wonder why some dog breeds have their tails cut off?  What is the reasoning behind the procedure and how it benefits the dog?

I decided to do some research and came up with some surprising information.  I had always assumed that was supposed to have some kind of medical benefit, but why?  Here is what I discovered:

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

What is Tail Docking and how is it done?

Tail Docking, also known as Tail Bobbing or Tail Cutting, is the process of removing most of a dog’s tail at the base.  There are 3 methods of removal. 

The first is performed by the breeder.  A strong rubber tie is wrapped around the tail.  This cuts off the circulation from the body to the tail.  The part of the tail beyond the tie is expected to fall off after a few days.  This has to be performed when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old.

Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don't even know  how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.
Some dog breeds have their tails cut off (Tail Docking) because they are working dogs, but most have it done for aesthetic reasons. Many owners don’t even know how the tail is removed or that Tail Docking is an option.

The second method, also performed by a breeder when the puppy is between 2 and 5 days old, is performed by cutting off the puppy’s tail using surgical scissors. Neither of these two processes involve the use of anesthetic and the puppies are awake.  Because of the circulation to the tail at this age, stitches are not usually necessary. 

The third method involves a veterinarian.  This is done when the dog is over 8 weeks old. The vet will place the puppy under anesthetic and use a scalpel to remove the tail.  The skin at the base of the tail is pulled over the open wound and held together with stitches.

According to the RSPCA and many other studies, any of these processes cause considerable pain at the time of removal and can result in long term pain as well as associated medical, emotional and social issues.

In 1996 The University of Queensland did a study of 50 puppies.  This was included in their findings:

“The behaviour of 50 puppies of traditionally docked breeds was recorded during and after the procedure of tail docking at the University of Queensland Companion Animal Veterinary Hospital. The behaviours were recorded at the time of the procedure and then in 5 second intervals for the first minute followed by 10 second intervals until the pup settled to sleep. All puppies vocalised intensely (‘shrieking’) at the time of amputation of the tail, averaging 24 shrieks (range of 5 to 33).”

Read more here:  https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:712177

History of Tail Docking

Tail docking began many centuries ago.  Dogs were not pets in the sense that they are today.  Although still considered companions, most were working dogs. They were used for herding on farms or as hunting dogs.  On a farms, dogs would round up cattle or sheep. Because of their close proximity to the larger animals as well as their exposure to machinery, it was felt that their tails were subject to injury. It was thought that removing the tail was a preventative measure to ensure the dog’s safety.

A hunting dog had the potential to engage in fights with other animals.  It was felt that the tail provided a disadvantage as the opponent had something to grab on to, leaving the dog vulnerable. In both cases there was also the concern that if these dogs got too dirty, there could be issues with infection. In later years, when employed as police or guard dogs, this same principle of the dog being vulnerable applied, and the tails were removed for these working dogs.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Current Reasons for Tail Docking:

For working dogs in the military, on the police force or on farms, the reason for tail docking continues to be for the safety of the dog.  Many dogs who do not work also have their tails docked.  This is often for aesthetic reasons.  The owners feel the dog looks better without a tail or that this provides a look that is familiar to the breed.  Tail docking, for some breeds, has been a requirement for some show dogs to be allowed to compete. 

There is also the belief that it is required.  Many people who are purchasing dogs from breeders are not even aware that tail docking is an option.  The breeders perform the docking and sell the pups already altered.  The owners, in a number of cases, are not even aware of the reasoning behind the removal of the tail, the process by which it is removed nor the potential hazards associated with it.

Which Breeds Most Commonly Dock Tails?

Only certain breeds customarily have their tails removed.  These include:  Dobermans, Rottweilers, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Schnauzers and Poodles.  The American Kennel Club has identified over 60 breeds that are known to have docked tails.

NOTEWORTHY:

In most areas of Canada and the US, tail docking has not been banned.  In many countries the procedure is banned or, at the very least, must be performed by a veterinarian and a medical or other suitable reason is required before the surgery is performed.

What to Do When Dogs Fear Face Masks

When dogs fear face masks it can be traumatizing just to go for their daily walks.

As the world changes and people begin to come out of isolation, we will be changing many of our daily habits and routines.  One of the most common new things is that many will be wearing face masks to protect themselves and others.  While we are learning to adapt and communicate with our faces covered, our dogs may be very confused by the inability to see facial expressions.  Dogs may be stressed when they see people sporting their new fashion masks.  So, what do we do?  When dogs fear face masks it can be very traumatic when passing someone on the street or when her owner walks in the door looking like Darth Vader.  I found a few hints and tips to help your doggo adapt and to feel comfortable with this new reality.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Tip #1:  Make masks a common household item.

If you have a few masks (or even just one), you can leave them around the house in plain sight.  Placing them in areas that are familiar to your dog including her sleeping area, hanging from a chair in the kitchen or dining room, on the hook where you hang your keys or even wrapped around her treat bag.  By placing the masks where your dog can see them, they become routine, day to day items.  This will offer some familiarity and reduce the element of surprise.

Tip #2:  Let him sniff the mask.

If you hold the mask and let him sniff it, he can see that it is just another object and not something to be guarded against or feared.  Becoming acquainted with the unknown can ease stress.

Tip #3:  Put your mask on in front of your dog.

If you put your mask on in one room and then walk into the room where your dog is, he may be shocked or outright scared.  Remove the element of surprise by putting the mask on while your dog watches.  She will see the transition from the real you to the masked you and the transition will be smoother.  By seeing that it’s you “getting dressed” the level of fear will be reduced.

Tip #4:  Wear your mask around the house.

Now that your dog has watched you put the mask on, try wearing it around the house.  Wear it while you play a game of fetch. Enjoy a brief training session or a belly rub with your mask on. By doing this she will make the correlation that masks are for good times.  Just wearing it around the house while going about your day, will make the mask common place.

Tip #5:  Use treats to associate a potentially scary thing with a positive thing.

If you give your dog a treat when you hold the mask, when you put it on or when you are wearing it, he will associate the mask with good things.  When you are walking your dog and he sees other humans with their masks on, have some treats ready before you cross paths. As you and your pup approach people you can give your dog a small treat before the shock or fear of seeing the masked people occurs.

Note:  Dogs will not be able to read facial expressions through the mask.  They will only see eyes.  Using soft praise, gentle tones and attempt to make your eyes speak rather than your smile. It will help you to communicate with your pup in a new way.

When dogs fear face masks you can help by having a small treat ready on your walks. You can give him one before approaching masked people.

Not all dogs will be afraid.  Some won’t even be fazed by the change.  Those that are nervous, new to your household and adapting, coming from bad situations or who are just generally skittish will need some extra time to get used to the changes going on around them. When dogs fear face masks it can be traumatizing just to go for their daily walks. By using the ideas listed above, you can help to make this transition a pleasant one.

I am neither a veterinarian nor a medical professional. The information in this article has been researched and sourced at the end of the post. All medical issues or questions regarding your pet’s health or symptoms should always be brought to the attention of your veterinarian for clarification, assessment, advice and treatment.

The Best Dog Toys for Strong Chewers

My dog loves to chew. He loves to find the weakest part of a toy, rip the seam and take all of the stuffing out. I am excited when a toy lasts more than three days. Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task.

Dogs love to chew. Some have a very strong chew reflex and will go through a plush toy in no time. Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task

My dog loves to chew. He loves to find the weakest part of a toy, rip the seam and take all of the stuffing out.  I am excited when a toy lasts more than three days.  Besides being expensive, this habit can be concerning as he tends to swallow the stuffing.  I am always afraid he will choke or develop some kind of intestinal blockage.  In the two years since I adopted Zorro I have found some of the best dog toys for strong chewers.  Some have even lasted the entire two years!

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

I have put together a list of some of the most durable toys that I have found for dogs that love to chew and destroy!

Kong Classic Dog Toy

As many of you know, the Kong Classic will withstand the strongest of teeth.  It can be used for interactive play such as a rousing game of fetch, a self-entertaining chew toy when left alone, or you can add treat to the center to make a brain exercising puzzle that will keep your pup busy for quite a while.

They come in various sizes so mouths of every age, shape and size can enjoy.  They even have a specific size and texture suitable for senior or small dogs.

Extreme Ball

Kong offers a ball that is great for playing or chewing.  Because it is actually round, as opposed to the classic toy, it rolls well and allows your dog to play a more traditional game of fetch. It provides a great opportunity for keeping that busy jaw entertained.  My dog will go through a tennis ball in a matter of minutes, but the Extreme Ball will keep him working for hours and still stand strong!

Puppy Binkie

Got a teething puppy?  Kong has an answer for that as well.  The Puppy Binkie is a helpful training tool as well as a fun way to keep your puppy busy.  A teething puppy can (and will) find anything in your house to chew on.  I am sure many of you have experienced the chewed shoe when you were getting dressed or a few tooth prints on the edge of your coffee table or base boards.  Having this teething toy as a resource will help your puppy an save your home at the same time.  It also has a space for hiding treats so that your puppy can spend time solving puzzles and  stimulating her brain.

Kong Wubba

I actually discovered this toy through one of my clients.  They have two Shetland Sheep dogs.  One is a senior and the other is 3 years old.  Both dogs love to play, and fetch is the game of choice.  I would visit three times daily and play fetch for 30 minutes with these two and their Wubba.  They would race each other, chew it until it squeaked, wrestle to get the toy away from each other and bring it back.  11 months later, when I returned to work for this family for another week, this same Wubba was there, front and center in their toy room.  It was well worn, but still completely intact.  I was impressed.

Kong Goodie Bone

This is a great alternative to giving your dog a bone.  As bones can cause damage to your dog’s teeth or intestinal blockage and tears, choosing a strong chewing alternative is the best option.  The Kong bone is shaped like a regular bone, allowing the dog to manipulate it in the same way she would a natural bone.  The ability to add treats to the centers offers a the flavored bonus of a natural bone as well.

West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Durable Dog Bone

This bone shaped toy is firm and extremely durable.  It provides the opportunity for the same chewing action as a bone, so your dog will apply her natural chewing instincts.  My dog has been chewing on this bone for over a year and there are only a few minor tooth marks in it.  Although I have never used it in this manner, the company claims it floats. Should you be planning a day at the beach it is best to play with a toy that does not hold water.  In a salt water environment this is a great way for your dog to play while avoiding ingesting salt water, which can cause serious illness.

Dog Rope Toy

A strong, thick rope toy with large, firm knots will provide your dog with plenty of chew time.  You can play fetch, hide and seek, or tug of war with your pup.  This rope is extremely durable.  We have two; one long one and one about 8 inches long. We have had both for almost 2 years.  Zorro loves to play with it.  He flings in in the air and chases it all by himself.  Other times, he just holds it with his front paws and gnaws on it until he uses up all of his chewing energy. 

K9 Tough Guard Elephant

There are a number of K9 Tough Guard Plush Toys available, and I can only conclude that they are all as durable as the elephant.  My dog has had his little purple friend for about 14 months now and, although it is quite tattered, this is the first squeaky toy (called a Squiggen in our house) that has ever lasted more than a week.  He plays with it daily.  It is the toy he brings to the door when we return from work.  He squeaks in routinely and often sits quietly chewing on it.  It is the most durable plush toy he has ever had.

Finding long lasting dog toys for strong chewers is not an easy task.  The Kong name is well established as one of the best for chew toys, but there are still some surprising little gems to be found out there.  If you have any recommendations for durable dog toys, please add them in the comment section. My doggo would love to try something new!

Jobs Working with Animals

There are many ways to spend your days at jobs working with animals while earning a decent living. Even the jobs that require little or no education can provide a substantial income.

Have you been trying to decide what jobs you can do that let you work with animals? Depending on your current skills, whether or not you want to attend school or even if you would like to do something on your own, there are a number jobs working with animals.

This post may contain affiliate links.  Although we may make a small commission it is at no cost to you.  See “Disclosure and Legal Things” section for complete details.

Here is a list of ideas if you are considering a career with animals:

Veterinarian:

A veterinarian is responsible for the medical care of people’s pets.  It requires 6 years of University as well as a Veterinary License.  You can work in a veterinary hospital or in a veterinary practice for someone else. Other employment options include animal rescues, zoos (requires additional studies for exotic animals) or you can open your own practice.

Veterinary Technician:

Veterinary Technicians work alongside veterinarians. They assist with preparing animals for surgery, doing lab work and caring for animals pre and post-surgery. Some also provide basic dental care.  Becoming a Vet Tech requires a 2-year education.  Vet Techs are employed at veterinary practices, veterinary hospitals, animal rescues and zoos (requires additional studies). 

Veterinary Assistant

A Veterinary Assistant is responsible for the basic care of the animals in a veterinary hospital.  They assist with the care and recovery of pre and post operative pets. Duties include ensuring the kennels are thoroughly cleaned, the dogs are walked and that they have been fed according to veterinary instruction. They perform any general care responsibilities required for the animals.  Vet Assistants may be asked to perform some of the office work, make phone calls to pet parents, book appointments and take payments.

Pet Store Associate

As a pet store associate, you would work with the animals in the store as well as serve customers.  You will learn about the care and feeding needs of a variety of animals. The job includes assisting people with the needs of their own pets. You may also provide instructions regarding the pets that they are purchasing.  You may work as a cashier or stocking shelves, or a combination of a variety of these duties. Usually, the only education required is a high school diploma or equivalent.

Dog Trainer

A dog trainer assists pet owners with the training of their puppies or adult dogs.  In some cases, you may be training a support, service or guide dog. These require very specific skills as they will be working with people who have physical and emotional challenges.  Dog training requires no formal education. Most learn through apprenticeship programs that provide on-the-job learning. There are online training courses to gain a basic understanding of the job, followed by practical training.  It takes many hours to develop the skills needed to work with the animals as well as the people who care for them.

Pet Groomer

A pet groomer will bathe and cut your pet’s fur/hair. They will remove matting, clip nails, clean ears and, in some cases, express anal glands to avoid impaction.  A dog groomer can work in association with a veterinary practice, at a grooming salon or in a pet store. They can choose to work out of their own home or even have a mobile service set up with a modified van.  There are many self-employment opportunities once you have the necessary experience caring for the animals. It is also important to learn how to interact with the pet parents.

The education required can be obtained via an online certification program. This includes a practical placement guided by an established groomer. An apprenticeship program with an established groomer is a very common way to learn grooming skills. Another option is by working in a pet store that provides grooming where you could train with the in-house grooming staff. 

Pet Sitter

Many people struggle to find pet care for their animals when they are out of town.  There are a lot of pets that do not do well in a shelter or with other animals. The best solution for them is to stay in their own home.  Pet parents will hire an individual to stay in their home and provide full time care for their pets. 

There is no formal education required for this position. Usually you would have to have some pet care experience, a referral from someone who knows your animal care background and a criminal background check. It is also recommended that you have pet care business insurance to cover you for liability.  You can find jobs through agencies or create your own business through advertising and word of mouth. 

Doggy Daycare

Doggy Daycares are becoming very popular.  These are places where people can bring their dogs to be cared for during the day. Many offer overnight stays or boarding while the famiily is away.  Working in a doggy daycare does not require a formal education, but experience with animals is a bonus.  You can be trained on-the-job to gain this experience. 

Home doggy daycares are a self-employment option if you have the space for the dogs to move around and play in the house as well as a big enough yard for them to get some exercise.   Experience caring for groups of dogs is recommended as it requires a lot of organization and supervision. Most jobs working with animals will require a criminal background check. Pet care insurance would be advisable when caring for other people’s pets.

If you prefer not to fully run your own business, you can register with an agency like Rover.com who will connect you with people searching for daycare or boarding for their pets as well as insure your business.  You will still choose your own rates, hours and clients, but you will spend less time and money on advertising and insurance.

Dog Walker
Jobs working with animals include  grooming, dog walking, boarding and doggy daycare.
Jobs working with animals include dog walking, boarding and doggy daycare.

A dog walker will travel from home to home picking up the dog and taking him/her for a daily walk.  These walks may be individual or as a group.  It takes some experience to build up to groups of 5, so you should start with one or two and when you become confident, add more.

There are many agencies, such as Rover.com that connect the families with a suitable walker.  You can register with one of these agencies or you can own and operate your own dog walking business.  The agency will require some pet care experience, a few references and a criminal background check.  In exchange for a percentage of your hourly rate, they will pay for you to be insured and provide you with many leads to people who require pet care.  You will still choose your own rates, hours, days and clients, but without the added pressure of advertising and insurance payments.

Pet Photographer

It is becoming more and more popular to have pet portraits taken. People want specialized cards for Christmas, Mother’s Day, Birthdays or Valentine’s Day.  Pet photographers are hired for advertising, social media and marketing campaigns.  The ability to capture great pet photographs will provide you with the opportunity to sell them. You can sell on various platforms including Adobe Stock, Shutter Stock, Dreamstime or Getty Images.  You can work for yourself or you can find a job working for a photography studio.

Pet Treat Baker

Into baking?  Creating healthy, homemade dog treats can be a great business.  You can open your own shop or work from home.  This would require that your kitchen pass health and safety requirements.  As pet-oriented shops are opening in a number of cities, this business may allow you to find a job as an associate or baker in one of these locations.

Pet Massage Therapist

Many pets, especially rescues, are very anxious.  They find it difficult to relax.  They may be very sensitive to touch, depending on their experiences. Massage helps the animals to relax and learn to trust the touch of a human hand. It will also provide relief to pets with medical issues such as arthritis or hip dysplasia.  Massage will help an animal in the same ways that it helps a human. You may also work with pet parents to show them how they can massage their pets to help them to become comfortable at home. 

There is no specific education or licensing requirements for pet massage therapy. Online courses are available as well as the option to be an apprentice. By working with an experienced therapist you will learn the best practices. Employment opportunities are found in pet massage clinics. Once you have acquired the proper skills and experience you could open your own business. It is recommended that you obtain the proper insurance with any form of self-employment.

Doga Instructor

Recently, I am hearing more and more about Doga.  This is a form of yoga that you practice with your pet.  If you are already a yoga instructor, you can provide Doga classes for people and their dogs.  If you would like to become a Doga instructor, you can take a 200 or 400 hour online yoga instructor training course.  Once you become a yoga instructor, you can incorporate Doga into your classes. There are jobs available in yoga studios or in gyms. Once you have gained experience and are aware of the business requirements, you could opt to open your own studio. Some instructors choose to provide online courses for people who prefer practicing at home.

Pet Blogger

If you have a lot of experience with pets you can start a pet blog.  You can teach others if you are passionate about pet care and needs. If you enjoy writing you can share your knowledge and experiences about the various pets you have cared for.  You can write about any jobs you have had working with animals. Your niche can be about many pets or a very specific species. You could also choose a niche that revolves around pets, such as pet foods or grooming.  Many people who provide a service for pets also run a blog about their experiences. These blogs offer information to pet parents who may have questions or concerns about their pet’s care. 

Creating a blog takes only a few minutes and has very few costs associated with start-up.  You can make a part-time or full-time income from a blog.  Your earnings will depend on the time you have available to devote to your blog. This includes writing informative content and promoting it to an audience of pet parents.

There are many ways to spend your days at jobs working with animals while earning a decent living.  Even the jobs that require little or no education can provide a substantial income.  Many, such as grooming, walking, massage, Doga or baking, can be done on a part-time or flexible basis while attending school or working another job.