7 Ways to Show Love to Your Dog This Valentine's Day

It’s Valentine’s Day again and love is in the air. All this talk of roses, candy and Hallmark love is enough to make a lot of people feel downright sick. That is, of course, unless you have a dog. Because everyone knows that a dog is the very best date to have on February 14th. So how can you show them just how much they are loved?

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1. Give Them a Special Treat

What says “I love you” more clearly and emphatically than food, especially for a dog? Treat your pup to a new treat or make some yourself!

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2. Go on a New Adventure

Whether it be going on a serious hike, letting them get messy or just driving one town over for a walk, new places are stimulating and exciting for your dog. So strap them in, get going and show them you love when they have a good time!

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3. Have a Play Date

Is there anything cuter than dogs being playful with each other? Consider inviting your dog’s best friend over for a whole morning or afternoon of playtime.

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4. Learn a New Trick

Training doesn’t have to be all about teaching your dog commands that you need for them to learn (sit, stay, heel, etc.) . It can be so much fun for both of you to embark on training a fun new trick like roll over, play dead or spin. And training is an incredible bonding experience - perfect for the day of love.

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5. Get Pampered

Did somebody say spa day? Make no mistake, many dogs enjoy being pampered just as much as we humans do so why not treat your doggo to a luxurious grooming session?

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6. Find a New Toy

We all know that nothing will replace your dog’s favorite, special toy. But something new is always fun! Why not stop by your local pet store and let your fur baby pick out their own new toy?

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7. Hire a Pooper Scooper Service

Last but not least, do you even love your dog at all if you haven’t hired a pooper scooper service for them?? But for real, a consistently clean yard is a great way to show your dog that you value their health and happiness. So contact us today.

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Dog Digging Habits: Causes and Preventative Measures (Hiring a Pooper Scooper Can Help!)

As dog parents, we all know that there are few nightmares worse than having your beloved dog get loose or run away. Having a securely fenced-in back yard can certainly be a strong step in the right direction toward preventing such a catastrophe. But remember that you also need to keep your dog from digging under that fence! This is a common problem that we see frequently when visiting customers’ yards for their regular poop scooping. We always snap a picture and alert the household immediately if some rascal is digging away in the yard. And we always wish we could do more to help like, say, write a blog on the subject!

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How can you know if your dog is ever going to be prone to digging? Many breeds are automatically predisposed to this behavior because the evolution of their breed probably called for digging as part of their job. They are born to dig! Such “hard core” digger breeds include dogs in the Terrier Group ( Bedlington Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Miniature Schnauzer), the Hound Group (Beagle, Dachshund) and Sporting Group (Wirehaired Pointing Griffon). Other dogs are more “fair weather fans” of digging and are a little less aggressive with their escape attempts! These dogs include those in the Working Group (Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute) and Herding Group (Australian Shepherd, Border Collies.) . While this is not an exhaustive list, it’s certainly a start to understanding your digging dog and which breeds will be more likely to dig. Learn more at Petcha!

So you already know there’s a problem and now you need a solution. If you have the time, patience, yard space and wherewithal (if you plan on hiring a professional to assist) to train your dog to curb his digging habit, rest assured that it IS possible. Wag! says that “even the most determined digger will respond given time and patience.” The trick is to remove the stimuli that is driving him or her to dig (boredom, lack of mental stimulation, heat) and encourage digging in a specified “dig zone.” This dig zone can be filled with sand, dirt or whatever your dog likes to get into and it can be fenced off if you prefer. Teach your dog, with treats, toys and puzzle feeders, that this location is where they should go to do their digging! Be sure to give them plenty of encouragement and rewards. It will make your dog happier and safer while giving you peace of mind that he or she will not be digging around the fence that could lead to him getting lost!

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Of course, this type of training may not be for every human or for every dog. You may not have the time to train or your yard might not be large enough to contain a dedicated “dig zone.” Or your dog might be particularly stubborn in this habit. What’s the answer then? Reenforce the fence! If your dog is going to keep digging there, so be it, but at least you can prevent them from popping out on the other side. Buried fencing materials for dig defense are available at most major home improvement retailers. Chicken wire is also an excellent option for shoring up your fence.

Whatever you choose to do, consider Big Business Scoopers or your local dog poop pick up and removal company, as another line of defense in your quest to keep your dog safe and contained despite all the digging. If we see any holes getting out of hand, we contact you immediately, with a picture, so that you can be sure to block continued and further attempts in that area. Together, we can keep your digging dog safe from harm!

Snow Policy Explanation ... Let It Snow!

Happy 2019 to you all!  Here's to another year of poop-free yards!  We'd like to kick off the new year by reviewing our snow policy. 


If there has been only a very light dusting of snow, we and our team of Scoopers can find what we are looking for and go about business as usual. But even when the grass is still visible in heavier dustings it becomes difficult to find deposits since they are lower than grass height. So if it snows much more than a very light dusting, we may need to skip that week's scheduled scooping as we cannot, alas, pick up what we cannot see.

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When snow is already on the ground, though, we absolutely forge ahead as usual to get your yard all cleaned up.  The only exception to this is when freezing rain has created slick and dangerous conditions.  But most often, the issue usually ends up being the timing of the snowfall and how close it happens before your scheduled service.

If you decide to clean up during a week that is missed due to snow, please let us know and we will credit your account for that week.  Otherwise, we do charge your usual amount as there is a double job to do when your Scooper returns and it's usually under "frightful" conditions.

We hope this helps clear things up before the dead of winter hits!
Cheers,
Tina and Emily LaBeaume

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POOlution: The Environmental Problem of Dog Waste

A single dog poop can contain millions of germs, parasites and bacteria that are harmful to human and dog health alike.  The Environmental Protection Agency places dog waste in the same category as herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and other toxic chemicals.  And with the number of dogs living in America on the rise, with 89.7 million recorded in 2017, the amount of this toxic waste in our environment is also on the rise.  Dog poop that is left on the ground can be carried up in stormwater and make its way into our untreated waterways.  This poses a great risk to organisms that depend on those ecosystems as well as people who use them for recreational purposes.  In order to protect New Jersey's five water regions and has twenty watershed management areas (WMAs), and our environment as a whole, we must be more conscious about how we handle and dispose of our dogs' waste.

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The first thing you can do to help minimize the negative impacts of dog waste on our environment is simply to make sure that it is picked up on a regular basis.  Ideally, dog waste should be picked up as soon as it hits the ground and this is especially true when you are walking your dog in your community.  But every practical dog owner knows that this just isn't feasible when it comes to dogs using a private outdoor space like a yard or dog run on a regular basis.  In this situation the best frequency of pickup really depends on the size of the space, number of dogs and humans using it and its proximity to waterways.  But the safest bet, as a general rule, is to pick up collected dog waste once every week.  This is what we recommend for most of our clients.

When we go to a yard for a cleaning we use 13 gallon trash bags to line a bin into which we deposit each pile of poop that we find using a hoe-like periscopic tool.  At an average stop we collect one bag and then place that bag into a second bag before placing it into the trash or hauling it away (either way, its destination is the landfill.)  During first time cleanups, like the one pictured below, and at yards that are used by three or more dogs it is more common to use 2 or more bags.  With an average of 25-30 stops per route, collecting at least 2 bags per stop, Big Business Scoopers alone uses 50-60 plastic trash bags per route.  Our Scoopers manage 17 routes per week over several New Jersey counties, bringing this total to at least 850 plastic bags used per week.  Of course, plastic is currently the optimal way to contain this toxic waste quickly and effectively, in order to prevent the spread of illness, but we do understand the implications of our business using so much of it.  Sometimes, it feels like we are canceling out the good we do of removing dog waste by also depositing so much plastic into our environment.  Talk about a conundrum!

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We pride ourselves on helping create a world in which dogs (and their humans) can live together even more harmoniously by enjoying safer and healthier outdoor spaces.  Thinking responsibly about how we are impacting our communities and environments by how we handle dog poop pick up and removal is an integral part of constantly striving toward that goal.  And to that end, we are, in this 15th year of business, beginning to look into options for disposing of dog waste in a more sustainable and eco-friendly way.  It will likely be a many years journey of discovery along which we are sure to make mistakes and learn some stinky lessons.  But we feel that it is imperative that we always attempt to do our small part.

The options are many and varied for offering our customers greener options.  We can swap 13 gallon plastic bags for ASTM 6400 certified large compostable bags like those offered by EcoSafe or BioBag, which will break down after reaching the landfill thus reducing plastics waste.  There is a product called Doggie Drain that seamlessly hooks up to a building's outdoor sewer line, allowing our Scoopers to flush (with a hose) dog waste directly into the sewer system.  Some trail blazers in the pet waste removal industry, like Green Scoop in Ohio,  are partnering with local water treatment plants or companies that have the capability to convert dog poop into natural gas and electricity.  Then there are DIY dog poop composter products like the Doggie Doolie which could be good options for dog owners with a lot of property and an open mind about composting right at home!  And there are certainly others that we have not yet come across.  We hope to share what we learn here on the blog as well as on social media so please feel free to follow along on this journey and share your thoughts and comments. 

Here's to greener dog poop!

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First-Time Pet Owners: What’s Right for You?

Some of your first memories might be of your family’s golden retriever, who let you saddle and ride her on piggyback through the backyard when you were little. Or, maybe they’re of the tabby you used to find snuggled in the crook of your legs when you woke up. You grew up with these animals, and now that you’ve moved into your first apartment or put a down-payment on your first house, you want your own pets. The tips below will help you decide which one is right for you, and how to set up your home so that they’ll flourish there.

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What’s Right for You?

First, figure out what kind of pet you want. Let’s say it’s a dog. Keep in mind that dogs vary wildly in size, so take that into account when considering the space you can offer them. Some websites will even quiz you about your life to determine which breed will thrive in your living arrangement. If the dog you get is going to be alone in an apartment with no yard for more than 40 hours a week, you might choose a small breed like a Boston terrier. On the other hand, if you live in a house in the suburbs with a huge yard and young children, you might go with an English setter instead.

What’s Right for the Pet?

As you’re thinking about which pet is right for your home, also look at the situation from their viewpoint: What’s best for them? Some pets require minimal accommodations. Fish, for instance, necessitate aquarium maintenance, fish food, and little else. For turtles, iguanas, and other reptiles, you need to regulate their temperature and provide them with enough light, but they’ll thrive in an aquarium, too. With dogs and cats, extending their living space into a backyard often comes as a boon. The optimal size of your yard depends on your pet. A mastiff needs a pasture-like spread to bound around in, while a manx will mostly laze on the table on sunny afternoons. Whichever pet you get, consider building a fence around your yard for its safety. Fences protect your pet from thieves and bigger animals and prevent it from running away.

And for dog-owners who don’t have a yard, fear not: Going on a jaunt with your dog provides it with much of the exercise it would’ve gotten digging up your tulip beds. Plus, it offers other benefits – structuring the dog’s day, teaching it to socialize with other dogs, calming any boredom it pent up indoors, and more. Your part in this deal is to keep it skipping along for 30 minutes and to have a doggy-bag handy at all times. Proper pet waste cleanup practices are worth a mention, not just out of etiquette, but because dog feces can contain salmonella, hookworms, roundworms, and other viruses that none of your neighbors want transmitted to their own pets.

One of the last (but most vital) considerations to weigh when you get a dog is its age and background. Older pets will need a few modifications to keep them comfortable, and even the kindest rescue dog will be wary of you at first, especially if it suffered abuse in a previous home. To earn its trust, don’t force your own kindness on it. Feed it at the same time every day, but also give it space to eat, so that after it feels nourished, it’ll come to you on its own. Preparing your home for an older dog calls for many of the same acclimating strategies: Make sure your house is quiet and warm to impart in it a sense of safety. Once it seems settled, take it to the vet for a checkup, and ask if you should mix any arthritis or dry skin supplements into its food.

And after all that, walk it on quiet mornings, and let it roam through your (fenced-in) backyard, and unfold a rug in front of the fireplace so that it can stretch out before the blaze on cold nights, because an elderly dog can instill in you the same sense of peace that it needs, too.

This guest post was written by Jessica Brody of OurBestFriends.Pet.  Image via Pexels

Interview: Debbie Huff of PooPrints

Do you ever wish it were possible to catch and penalize people who don't pick up their dog's poop?  Well, in thousands of managed communities across the nation, not only is it possible but it's a reality.  PooPrints is an effective pet waste management program, matching unscooped waste to the canine offender through DNA.  How does it work?  It's astonishingly simple.  Every dog owner on a participating property is required to register their dog on PooPrints' DNA World Pet Registry with a cheek swab.  Then, when unscooped waste is found, a small sample is collected and sent to the lab to identify the source.  Residents are fined for every offense and PooPrints reports that properties see up to a staggering 95% reduction in waste!

Needless to say, we had to find out more.  So we linked up with Debbie Huff of PooPrints of Philadelphia LLC which serves Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.  Here is what we learned:

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BBS: Who founded PooPrints and what is the story behind their idea?

DH: PooPrints was founded by BioPet’s Science team in 2008. BioPet was functioning as an outsourced Veterinary/Pathology Lab. We had a scientist that had recently moved to town living in an apartment community who saw the excess waste problem on the property. Then one morning the scientist herself accidentally stepped in a mess. She came into the office and said that there had to be a way to determine who left the waste.  At that time the team started to do some research on extracting DNA from fecal matter and PooPrints was born.  From there Tom Boyd, CEO of BioPet, and team discovered the need in the multi-family community and set out to develop a network of distributors.

BBS: What is the #1 concern that you hear from interested property managers?  How do you best address it?

DH: Other than cost…the most common question is, “How much time is involved in getting the program started at a location.”  There is a little extra time involved in starting the program because a DNA sample needs to be taken from each dog on the property.  Once management is trained on how to take a DNA sample they find out it only takes around 7-8 minutes to complete.  Not much time at all and it only has to be done once.  And when the benefits of PooPrints is explained to the resident during the DNA testing process, most locations find that their pet waste problems decrease by 75% because the program works great as a deterrent.  This frees up management time because they find they have a significant reduction in time they have to spend in handling pet waste issues and questions.

There is a onetime charge for a DNA test for each dog that lives on the property.  This cost can be less than the price of a large bag of dog food.  The DNA testing cost can become a part of the pet fee a location may charge.

BBS: Do resident pet owners at participating properties ever balk at the idea of registering their dog for this purpose?  How do you handle this issue (if it is one)?

DH: As a whole, most residents are thrilled to see PooPrints come to a property.  Once the program is explained to residents, pet owners and non-pet owners see that it will hold dog owners accountable for doing the right thing in regards to picking up pet waste.  Normally the pet owners that may balk at the program are the owners not currently picking up the poo and they know they are finally going to be held accountable.  Dog Poo on a property doesn’t only cause “curb appeal” issues, it can also cause disease and parasite problems for other pets and children on the property.  By explaining these concerns, management can usually overcome issues.

BBS: When unscooped dog waste is found who is usually the one to collect and submit it to your lab for analysis?  Residents, maintenance crew?

DH: If a property has a maintenance staff, they are usually trained to collect the poo and how to submit the sample to our lab.  In locations where there is not a maintenance staff the management may collect the sample.  At condos, I often find that a “dog committee” is usually formed and someone on that committee may collect the sample.  There are many ways to implement the program; implementation can be customized for the size and type of the managed community using PooPrints DNA pet waste management.

BBS: About how many accounts do you have open in New Jersey?  As the most densely populated state I’m sure it has a particular need for this service, am I correct?

DH: PooPrints has over 3,000 managed communities using our program in the USA.  We can also be found in Canada and Europe.  There is a growing concern about pet waste runoff into our waterways.  With the dense population of NJ and the many waterways, NJ has a real need to control pet waste and safeguard our environment.

BBS: We all know that the best thing about a dog business are the dogs.  While you may not deal with dogs directly on a daily basis, you surely have a cute/funny/unusual story to share...

DH: One of my favorite stories came from a property manager at an apartment that had a pet waste issue for years.  She found out about PooPrints off the internet and called me about starting on the program.  The announcement to start the program was sent out to residents on a Friday and she told me over the weekend residents were outside with buckets picking up their dogs waste.  The following spring, the PM told me it was the first time in over a decade that when the snow melted, their lawn was not covered in pet waste!  What a success story!

One of the hidden benefits of PooPrints is our free lost and found service.  Our lab has stated they get a call a week to help get a lost pet back to its owner!

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BBS: What is the ultimate, pie in the sky goal that PooPrints is trying to achieve and what active steps are they taking toward that end?

DH: PooPrints functions on three pillars. Promoting responsible pet ownership, protecting and expanding Pet Access, and safeguarding the environment. Our program focuses on accountability, but also allows for more dogs to live more places. Our vision for PooPrints is that it becomes a pet amenity, industry standard in the multi-family community. The program will allow for breed, size, and pet restrictions to be lifted. We see PooPrints paving the way to educate the masses on the additional benefits of DNA Registration, ultimately becoming a solution for municipalities. We take our science seriously and we are always evaluating our service and program to ensure that we are meeting the quality standards and ease of implementation that our clients demand. To assist in helping achieve these goals we are working to add value and resources within our technology that allow our communities and resident to understand the health and wellness of their pet. This gives our customers the added benefit of living in the digital age with their canine, and positions PooPrints to be the trusted resource in Waste management and pet health.

For more information about PooPrints please visit their website:

https://www.pooprintsphiladelphia.com/

What Causes White Dog Poop?

Your dog's poop can tell you a lot about his or her health.  That's why there are 5 qualities of dog poop that we regularly check when we are poop scooping in our clients' yards.  Color is one of them and white dog poop is something we come across with relative frequency these days.  We're moving along, picking up brown dog poop as usual ... when suddenly: a white, chalky deposit!  Where has it come from?  And what does it mean??

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No, it isn't an old poop.  No, it hasn't simply dried up or been bleached by the sun.  So what is the deal here?

The good news is that white dog poop may be a natural and healthy poop.  If you are feeding your dog a high mineral raw food diet then he or she may very likely be producing these chalky, white deposits.  This is because the raw dog food diet contains a greater amount of calcium, meat and bones.  You will still want to keep an eye out, though, as "too much calcium in the diet can also lead to chronic constipation" (LoveToKnow.com.)  

If you suspect that obstipation (serious and obstinate constipation) is becoming the issue then you should talk to your vet.  For daily preventative measures to insure against constipation we suggest taking a look at this article from Healthy Pets.  Exercise, plenty of water, species-appropriate dietary fiber, probiotics and more will help your dog have regular and healthy poops.

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(Licking white dog poop, as Will Farrell is seen about to do here in the movie Step Brothers, will solve absolutely nothing.  We do not recommend it.)

There is a chance that your dog is pooping white because of something unusual that he or she is eating.  If your dog likes to pick in the garbage or get into paper products like paper towels, toilet paper and tissues then this might be the reason for the color change.  Try limiting your dog's access to such items and see if the problem persists.

White specks in your dog's poop are another story entirely.  If you are seeing what looks like white polka dots or rice grains in your dog's poop then those are worms!  These are easily treatable so it's just time to call your vet.

We will cover other colors of dog poop (green, gray, black, etc.) in future blog posts so be sure to stay tuned.

Interview: Mark Thomas of PetNerds, LLC

Thanks to the wonders of social media networking, we have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mark Thomas, founder and owner of PetNerds, LLC.  PetNerds provides "in-your-home" pet sitting and dog walking services in the Southern Bergen County area of New Jersey.  Mark runs the company, which he describes as a "dream come true," with his wife, Patty, and their little Havanese, Buttons (who was the model for their logo.)  We have been especially impressed by PetNerds' passion for exceptional pet care as well as their creative use of technology to improve customer experience.  So, of course, we had to have a chat with Mark!  Read on to learn what we found out about this great New Jersey dog service!

BBS: PetNerds is, as you say, a dream come true.  When did you start PetNerds and what were your goals in doing so?

PetNerds: Being lifelong animal lovers, my wife and I had always thought that working with animals for a living would be both fun and rewarding. While traveling we realized that leaving your pet behind in someone else’s care could be very stressful.

When we started PetNerds in 2010 we did have certain goals in mind. We strive to help our clients feel secure and give them complete peace of mind while they are away. We care for our clients' pets as if they were our own, taking care to follow their owners specific directions and giving them lots of love and attention. After all, they miss their owners too!  Being an animal lover is of course very important but it is only a part of our vision. Our clients trust us to come into their homes and care for their pets… which in our eyes are family members! They expect that we will treat their home and belongings with care and respect and leave it clean and secure when we are finished. Back when we first started many pet sitters were still leaving a hand written note on the counter when they left which of course the client would not see until they came home. We chose to use technology to let clients know in real time how things are going with their pets and their home.

We also wanted to be prepared for life‘s little emergencies should they arise so we are also trained in pet first aid/CPR.

BBS: You can broadcast video of your dog walks and sitter appointments using your smart phones - cool!!  What else can you do, technologically speaking, that sets you apart from other companies?

PetNerds: Yes, people enjoy seeing that their dogs are enjoying themselves while out for a walk or that their kitties are having fun playing! I feel that it’s important to be mentally present while walking someone’s dog. They enjoy the interaction so I don’t want to be walking along constantly looking at my phone (DDW - distracted dog walking) Lol!

When conditions are safe to do so I enjoy shooting a short video for my clients!

Prior to starting PetNerds I worked for many years in customer service and technology so I am very comfortable adapting to new tech trends if I feel it is something that will actually add value for my customers. I can offer advice on things like installing WebCams, making back ups of their pet pictures, gps tracking etc.

Mark with one of his clients, Molly!

Mark with one of his clients, Molly!

BBS: We have something important in common!  BBScoopers is run by three women in the same family and you run PetNerds with your wife.  Talk a little bit about that intersection between family life and work life.

Wow, we do have that in common! Well I guess I don’t have to tell you that running a business requires you to wear many different hats and requires so much of your time. Pet sitting is not a typical 9-to-5 type of operation because clients require pet sitting from early morning until late night if they are working late or are away on a business trip or vacation. Since starting PetNerds my wife has transitioned to more of a back up/support role and helps me occasionally with administrative tasks and she is working on her own career, so yes… we both work long hours!

It’s important to set boundaries and specifically schedule time off occasionally for family.

BBS: We love that your doggo, Buttons, was the model for your logo!  Tell us a little about both Buttons and the idea behind your very inventive logo.

PetNerds: Thank you! Buttons is very special to us! Well, we had to say a tearful goodbye to our 14-year-old Jack Russell when she went to the rainbow bridge. After some time had passed we began looking around for the right dog for our little family. It took quite some time but eventually we discovered Buttons and felt that she was “the one” and that we should try to adopt her. Out of the many applications that were submitted they chose us!

Not long after that when we were thinking about starting our business we realized that the addition of Buttons to our family and starting a new business venture were both new beginnings for us and we wanted to somehow incorporate Buttons into our business. We couldn’t think of a better way than have her be our logo! As far as the design of the logo I give total credit to my wife… she spent countless hours sketching out different designs on a notepad until she came up with the one that you currently see!

And since that time we have adopted another dog...Murphy! So who knows...we may one day have to revisit our logo!

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Buttons

Murphy

Murphy

BBS: Going hand in hand with technology, you are also a savvy user of social media.  With so many different applications coming and going, how do you decide which platforms to use for your business? 

PetNerds: You are correct… There are so many apps coming and going it’s hard to keep track of them all! I concentrate mainly on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These are the apps that many of my clients use and it’s fun to interact with them especially when they see pictures of their pets! I find Instagram especially useful for networking with other pet professionals like yourself.

BBS: Give us a run down of your most popular services and how you strive to be the best service provider in those areas.

PetNerds: I would say that I have two services that are the most popular with our customers. The first one would be our basic visit which ranges from 20 to 30 minutes. This is mainly for during the day when people are at work or out running errands and need to have their pooch either let out in their completely enclosed yard or walked. It is also for cats, birds, fish, reptiles or any other small animals.

Our other really popular service is our vacation package. It includes several visits per day. It also includes the benefits of watering of house plants, bringing in mail/newspapers, opening and closing blinds and alternating lights so that it looks like someone is home.

Another added benefit for all of our clients that provide us with keys to their home is the ability to let them in should they ever lock themselves out of their house! I’ve had late night requests for this and it was great to be able to help. PetNerds to the rescue! Haha!

We are happy to add PetNerds, LLC to our "Friends" page and very much look forward to watching their continued growth and success unfold!  If you'd like to learn more or connect with Mark please use this contact page.