5 Things to Consider When Starting a Pet-sitting Business

Starting up a pet-sitting business isn’t as difficult as it may seem, but there
are several things to take into consideration. Time, commitment, and professionalism are at the top of the list. Essentially, you will be a small business owner, regardless if you hire employees or go it alone. Keeping that in mind, where does one begin in regards to starting up a business? Here are five things to consider before taking the leap.

Filing the Paperwork

Business License and/or “Doing Business As” (DBA)

Filing for a business license can be a daunting task for many, but it’s not as scary as it seems. Check with your state whether you need a business license to legally operate a pet-sitting business. They will let you know what paperwork to file to get your business off the ground.

Do you want to use your own name, or a business name? (ie. Pam’s Pet-sitting vs. Walk in the Park) If you choose to name your business, you’ll need to register that name with the appropriate authorities. This process is known as registering your “Doing Business As” (DBA) paperwork. Registering your DBA is done either with your county clerk’s office or with your state government, depending on where your business is located.

Protecting yourself

Insurance vs. no insurance

What if, while in your care, Fido bites another dog or a child? Or you accidentally break a client’s favorite antique? As a business owner, you’re liable. Accidents happen, so it’s a good idea to protect yourself. Pet-sitting insurance covers general liability, personal property, and employee accidents or dishonesty. There are several insurance companies that offer pet-sitting insurance. The cost will vary, but it’s worth it.

Keeping track of business finances

Personal checking account vs. business account

dog-1082307_1920Using a personal account for your business finances affects your legal liability. If you’re a sole proprietor and combine business and personal expenses, it can be difficult for the IRS to determine if you’re a viable business. If you choose to operate from your personal account, make sure to keep track of your business and personal expenses. If your business is an LLC, partnership, or corporation, it’s crucial to have separate accounts. Failure to separate business and personal expenses can result in the owner being sued for business and corporate liabilities. Check with your bank to see what they offer in terms of small business accounts.

 Privacy and professionalism

Business phone vs. personal phone

Business contacts who have access to your personal phone number can create privacy concerns. Having a separate business line gives you the ability to answer the phone and return calls in a professional manner. You can also set up business hours (although if you’re taking care of someone’s pet, I recommend being available to them at all times). If you decide to use your private number, be prepared. Clients will treat the number as a business number, and may be calling at all hours. Make sure your voice message states when you’ll be returning their calls.

Advertising & Branding

Logo, website/domain name, business cards, and flyers

Having a local and online presence is important. If you aren’t tech savvy, find someone who is that can help you. It’s also a good idea to check out your local pet-sitters to see how their websites are designed, and what they offer their clients.

Logos: Design a logo to represent your business. Your logo will brand your website, business cards, online advertising and flyers. Make sure your images aren’t copyrighted or you could be sued. You can use clip art or search for Creative Commons images online. From there, find a photo editing/designing program (PicMonkey, Fotor) and create something memorable.  The possibilities are endless, have fun with it!

Website/Domain name: Depending on your business needs, a website/domain name can be free (Weebly, WordPress, Blogger) or paid (Wix, iPage, GoDaddy). Pay careful attention to introductory web hosting prices, as they will most likely increase after the first month. Again, if designing a website isn’t your thing, find someone who can help you.

Business cards and flyers: Leaving business cards and flyers with your local veterinarians, pet shops, animal-related events, shelters, and dog parks is a great way to spread the word about your business. Don’t forget to advertise in your local online directories.

With some thought and planning, starting up your own pet-sitting business is a wonderful venture. Getting involved with a pet-sitting organization to learn from others and network is a step in the right direction. Good luck!

For more in-depth information and helpful advice about starting a small business:

SBA US Small Business Administration


Clarissa Johal is the bestselling author of paranormal novels, Poppy, The Island, Voices, Struck, and Between. When she’s not writing and listening to the ghosts in her head, she runs her own pet-sitting business and volunteers at the SPCA. Author website: www.clarissajohal.com

PetsitUSA Blog

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Service dog becomes internet star

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Raccoon picnic

This family of raccoons came by to eat some deer pellets and nibble on the feed block.

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

DOG TALK UNIVERSITY Debuts: Myths About Dog Vomiting

Dog on couch

After my last blog on the basics of how and why a dog vomits, I realized there was a need for some shorter informational radio podcasts in which I could impart some basic information about pet health and wellness. I figured it might be easier on the brain (and maybe better retained!) when you hear it instead of having to plow through all the words, sentences, paragraphs, etc. so this week I debuted a new show called Dog Talk University and devoted the first one to the topic of throwing up. Charming, eh? But hey – it’s really such an important topic because it can be the bell-weather for a serious medical condition that may wind up being a whole lot less serious if attended to promptly.

There are some basic myths I wanted to “bust” in Dog Talk U. It is untrue that “vomiting is normal in dogs and they throw up all the time.” Nope! When people make the mistake of shrugging off the fact that their dog threw up and doesn’t seem “quite right,” they are missing a chance to act early on a warning sign of illness. If your dog vomits and seems lethargic and listless – or if she throws up more than once and is clearly not herself, pick up the phone and schedule a veterinary visit to figure out the cause. As with any medical malady, the sooner the problem is addressed, the better the outcome is likely to be.

Don’t make the mistake of shrugging off the vomiting with excuses such as, “She eats too fast,” which is no explanation at all because a dog’s normally functioning stomach can expand just fine whether dinner is inhaled like a vacuum cleaner or nibbled over hours.

Equally misunderstood is a dog’s reaction to eating grass: some people think the reason their dog threw up was because she ate grass, but this is a classic ‘chicken versus egg’ conundrum. Do dogs vomit because they happen to have eaten grass? Or do they eat grass to induce vomiting because they have nausea or gut discomfort and need to empty their stomachs? As I explain on the podcast, the worst thing you can do once your dog has thrown up is to allow her to eat more grass – which will only further irritate her stomach, cause more vomiting and irritation and compound the problem. If your dog’s stomach is that upset, you need to get her to the vet to have her evaluated and receive medications that will calm down the problem while figuring out the reason for it.

I hope you’ll like this new feature on Dog Talk and will feel free to write me at RadioPetLady@gmail.com to suggest other topics of interest to you for my next “lecture” on Dog Talk University.



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Autumn VEGAN Grilled Cheese 2 Ways + a Daiya Prize Package GIVEAWAY

Autumn VEGAN Grilled Cheese 2 Ways + a Daiya Prize Package GIVEAWAY

My regular readers know I’ve been a vegetarian longer than I haven’t, and that I’ve especially been making an effort to incorporate more and more vegan and/or plant-based foods into my diet this year. I am not vegan, but the health and environmental benefits of choosing a plant-based diet can’t be ignored. That said, my biggest struggle has (always) been giving up the deliciousness known as cheese. Recipes that include cheese are just so glorious (hello pizza/nachos/grilled cheese), and for a long time, I just couldn’t find a dairy-free cheese that satisfied my cravings. Lucky for me, the universe brought Daiya into my life earlier this year (you may remember the plant-based party tray I shared earlier this year that stared the delicious Daiya Farmhouse Blocks), and my dairy-free cheese dreams officially came true. More recently, I discovered Daiya Slices, and suddenly grilled “cheese” had a whole new, incredibly tasty meaning.

With fall in full swing, I’ve been experimenting with autumn-inspired grilled cheese varieties that use Daiya Cheddar Style Slices. I’ve come up with a few goodies, and today I thought I’d share two of my favorites: pumpkin grilled “cheese,” and apple and spinach grilled “cheese.” Both sandwiches are savory with a hint of sweetness, and both evoke all sorts of pleasantly cozy autumn feelings.


Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
1 organic apple (I like Honeycrisp)
small handful of organic baby spinach
2 slices of vegan rye bread
coconut oil

Cut apple into thin slices. “Butter” each slice of bread on one side with coconut oil. Place one side of bread, coconut oil side down, onto a medium skillet. Top with two slices of Daiya Cheddar Style Slices, followed by a few apple slices, followed by a few pieces of spinach. Place the other piece of bread (coconut oil side up) on top. Cook in a skillet over low to medium heat, turning occasionally, until the cheddar style slices are melted. (Tip: To help slices melt, cover pan with a lid or foil. You can also heat each pieces of bread separately and wait to close both sides of the sandwich until slices have begun to melt.) Serve with a glass of fresh apple cider.


Daiya Cheddar Style Slices
approx. 1/4 cup organic canned pumpkin (or, if you’re more driven than me, roast your own)
2 slices of vegan multi-grain or sprouted bread
coconut oil

Spread pumpkin on one piece of bread. Place two slices of Daiya Cheddar Style Slices on the other piece of bread. Place the pumpkin covered bread slice, pumpkin side down, on top of the cheddar style slices to close the sandwich. Spread coconut oil on each side to “butter,” then cook in a skillet over low to medium heat, turning occasionally, until the cheddar style slices are melted. (Tip: To help slices melt, cover pan with a lid or foil. You can also heat each pieces of bread separately and wait to close both sides of the sandwich until slices have begun to melt.) Serve alone or with tomato soup.

Both of these sandwiches are uniquely delicious, and make for the perfect fall lunch or dinner. These recipes are easy to multiply too, and are great for entertaining. And while the apple and pumpkin make them undeniably autumn, it’s the cheddar style slices that are the star of the show. Daiya Slices are now cheesier than ever, and perfect for grilled sandwiches, cold sandwiches, or alone as snacks. They’re also dairy-free and soy-free, and made from plant-based ingredients. Pretty great, right?

And now for the best part of this post: the giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive a prize package of Daiya products including Cheezy Mac and the latest addition to their line of delicious plant-based alternatives, Dairy-free Dressings, along with coupons so you can have the chance to try Daiya Slices at home! ($ 50 value)

To enter, just use the form below. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through October 19, 2016 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers with delivery addresses in the U.S. and Canada. A winner will be randomly chosen via Random.org and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway. Good luck!

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you make either of these grilled cheese recipes! Between you and me, the apple is my favorite, but they’re both ridiculously good.

This post is in partnership with Daiya. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I live in fla…if some of the pitties that don&#3…

I live in fla…if some of the pitties that don't have a home do end up coming 2 the states….I would take 1 into my home…would have 2 be good with cats and be a male as I have a female service dog…Praying..things don't go that far…is unfair…loving,loyal breed…humans who make them fight.. Sometimes is bad breeders… Shameful…All must pay for few… Mine, slept with me, ate off a fork, big babies…
Rev. Amanda Santangelo

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Dying Pet’s Bill of Rights

As I prepare for my third year at IAAHPC, the veterinary hospice conference, I’ve taken pause to reflect on this journey and how it affects the way I view veterinary medicine. Personally, I have only euthanized a personal pet in a clinic (versus at home) one time.

It was Nuke, my vet school coonhound, and he was diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma just a month after I graduated and came back home. The veterinarian was lovely and did as great a job as one can do in that situation, but so many memories still stick in my head:

-They asked me to come in at the end of the day, ostensibly to make it easier for me. It meant I had to wait all day and then sit, sobbing, in rush hour traffic. It wasn’t what I preferred, but I was too tired and sad to realize I should have asked for what I needed.

-They took him in the back to place a catheter. I get it, I did the same thing throughout my entire clinic career. It’s definitely easier for the staff. I would have preferred to be with him the whole time. After doing it by myself in people’s homes with no backup- yes, it is perfectly possible.

-After I left, they took his body and placed it in a black garbage bag in the freezer until the aftercare place arrives on their weekly rounds. I know, because we all do this. Every clinic I have worked at does it this way. It is just the way it is done.

But does it have to be?


I know that the answer is no. I know that there are options out there that so many people want, so many ways we can better respect the dignity of our patients and clients before and after death, and we owe it to you all to let you know they are possible. Veterinarians have many reasons for not offering them, and they are not invalid concerns:

  • They are more expensive
  • They take more time to organize
  • Most people do not want them

While many if not most clients are fine with the process the way it is, it hurts me to no end to know that so many people are still unaware of the myriad additional options out there to help your pet at end of life and to ease your pain as a family through the process. You may have to advocate for yourself, prepare, and find these options on your own- trust me, after having to advocate for my mother to get into hospice when it wasn’t offered as an option, this is kind of a universal problem.


To that end, I’d like to share with you my End of Life Bill of Rights- the things that you as an owner have a right to ask for and, after having worked with so many like minded colleagues now for several years- I can tell you that someone out there is equipped to provide you with:

The Right to Refuse Treatment. If your pet is suffering from a terminal disease, you have the right to say no to chemo, or surgery, or radiation. I believe in my heart that most veterinarians out there support clients in that, but there seems to be a lost-in-translation moment where so many owners feel pressured into heroic measures they were not prepared to take, emotionally or financially. This does not mean I am advocating to neglect an ill pet in suffering- quite the contrary, I am advocating for aggressive and patient focused comfort care.

The Right to Pursue Treatment. On the flip side, if you want to take your pet to the best of the best and do everything in the book possible to change things, it’s your call, not ours. We can offer you guidance and advice, but our job is to help you make an informed decision about realistic outcomes.

The Right to Have Your Family Involved. Unfortunately, some veterinarians still actively discourage families from having children present during euthanasia in the clinic. The emotion makes them uncomfortable and is disruptive. It is a clinic-focused way of thinking that is not focused on family needs. This is a once in a lifetime transition, and you need to do what you need to do. Many clients do not want their children present, which is fine- especially for kids under 5 who don’t understand what is happening- but it should be your choice. What your children see and hear- or don’t see- will live with them forever. If you don’t know how to approach the conversation- there are many, many professionals who do, and they have excellent resources to help.

The Right to Impeccably Respectful Aftercare. Most people don’t want to know what we do with a pet’s body afterwards. If they ask, I would tell them, and assure them we are as respectful as we can be. I believe in transparency. Nonetheless it is a disturbing image to many, myself included. If we can’t be honest without feeling like there’s a need to cushion the blow, why not change it? Especially when it’s such an easy thing to do?

More recently I have worked with a local business that doesn’t use bags or hold pets onsite; pets are wrapped in a clean white sheet and transported directly to the crematory facility, with the family knowing that the position their pet was last placed in is how they will remain. Yes, it costs more. And yes, many people are happy to pay it for that peace of mind. Some clients of mine transport their pet directly to an aftercare facility themselves, or have a trusted friend do it, because that chain of custody is important to them. These are all valid options.

The Right to Die at Home. The first time I went to a hospice conference, it changed everything for me. We can do so much better by our clients. In-home hospice and euthanasia veterinarians are changing the landscape of the profession, and providers exist all over the world. We are trained to offer not only medical support, but we are able to direct your family to the compassionate emotional support you may need, through chaplains, grief counselors, and support groups. We can offer palliative care options when medical treatment is discontinued- as in humans, we have a wide array of comfort care support that goes far beyond a pain pill here and there that can ease the discomfort of end of life.

And when the time comes, you will be at home, in a safe place, with those around you that you need. I bring blankets, candles, music- things that might not be practical in a busy clinic but, in a time of grief, provide small but vital bits of calm through all the senses. For those who experience euthanasia in a clinic, you also have the right to take the time you need, to make the environment what you need it to be for you. It matters. Your bond matters, too.

With love, Dr. V

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Fisherman’s Dog

Home for this lovely dog is the island of Procida, near to Naples hanging out with the fishermen. 

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Strange California canid

California coyote

I don’t know the original source of this photo, but it appears to be of a coyote or coydog in the West.  If this is a wild coyote or coydog, then this would be evidence of hybridization between dogs and coyotes outside the East. My initial source said it was in California.

If anyone knows, I would greatly appreciate it.

Update  (3 September 2016): This animal was photographed in Baja California, which is in Mexico.  There isn’t much written about coyote hybrids outside of the US and Canada, but it is assumed that they do happen in Mexico and Central America. Pre-Columbian civilizations in Mexico did cross coyotes. dogs, and Mexican wolves in their menageries. 

Natural History

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Happy birthday Teacher Quotes

A child probably learns the most important and fruitful life lessons in school. One should always thank those teachers who put in so much hard work into a child’s development. Wish all your teachers out there on their birthday with these messages from their students. I hope you enjoy these lovely birthday wishes and quotes. […]

[[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]

Sunflower Faith

Posted in Pet Care Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment