November 2020

All posts from November 2020

Should Pet Owners Feed Their Puppies or Kittens Wet or Dry Food?

by Lisa Fimberg on November 30, 2020

When your customers purchase their first puppy or kitten, they have a lot of things to consider.  They need to get the right supplies, safeguard their homes for their new furry family members and decide what type of food to feed them.

Of course, their veterinarian is always the best place to start for food recommendations, but they might ask, wet or dry food?  The consensus, particularly at the puppy and kitten phase, is both.   Wet food provides the much needed moisture and dry food provides the necessary carbohydrates.

The most important thing for pet parents to monitor, of course, is that their puppies and kittens are eating.

Below are some of the benefits of wet or dry food for pups and kittens:

What is the real difference between wet and dry food?

Both wet and dry food are nutritionally complete if they are of high quality. The biggest difference between the two is that wet food has a much higher moisture content.  For puppies and kittens, wet food can help keep them hydrated if they are not drinking enough water.

The benefits of wet food for puppies and kittens:

Water Content:

Wet food for puppies and kittens has more water content and is therefore ideal to keep pets hydrated.  If a pet owner’s puppy or kitten does not drink enough water, lives in a hot or humid climate, wet food is very beneficial.   Of course, fresh water should always be readily available for puppies and kittens.

Chewing:

Kittens and puppies that have trouble chewing in their infant stages can eat wet food much more readily.  With the more slippery texture, kittens and puppies have no trouble eating or digesting wet food.

Smell:

Wet food has a very distinctive smell and can be very appealing for finicky kittens or puppies.  Most kittens and puppies love the smell and will eat it readily.

Weight control:

Due to the higher moisture content, wet food is more filling, and it also has less calories than dry food.  While puppies and kittens need to eat and gain weight, wet food is better for young cats and dogs that are overweight.

The benefits of dry food for puppies and kittens:

Convenience:

A measured potion of dry food can be left out all day for puppies and kittens for grazing.  Pet owners do not have to worry about it spoiling like wet food can if left out all day.  Dry food is ideal for pet parents who want to leave out some food while they go to work or school.

Less expensive:

For the most part, dry food for kittens and puppies is less expensive than wet food.  It can be bought in bulk and has a long shelf life.

Dental health:

For puppies and kittens, dry food is important to help develop and strength their teeth.  Some dry food formulas can also help reduce plaque build-up in dogs and cat’s teeth.

Good carbohydrates:

A healthy dry food will enable kittens and puppies to get the good carbohydrates they need for growth and development.  Most wet food is low in carbohydrates and high in protein.

Ultimately, the decision is up to the pet parents and their kitten or puppy.   However, for the formative years, a combination of both wet and dry food is always the best at this phase in their life.

In fact, there are many different wet and dry food choices that are made specifically for kitten and puppyhood.  Your store probably has both healthy dry and wet food options made for this young age.  Their veterinarian can also recommend the best food for their pet.

This, of course, is just one of many common questions a pet owner might ask after bringing a new puppy or kitten home.

If you need help with fielding pet care questions from your customers, our Solutions.pet agents are happy to help.  Contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about of our services.

 

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Lisa FimbergShould Pet Owners Feed Their Puppies or Kittens Wet or Dry Food?

How Soon Should Pet Owners Take Their Puppies or Kittens to the Vet?

by Lisa Fimberg on November 20, 2020

When one of your customers purchases a new puppy or kitten, they want to make sure that their new pup or kitten is healthy.  Of course, any pet store owner would want the same which is why it is important to encourage new pet owners to schedule a veterinarian appointment right away.

It is generally recommended that new puppy or kitten owners see a vet within the first ten to fourteen days after bringing their furry family member home.  Really, the sooner the better.

This is just one of the many questions your clients might ask upon purchasing a new puppy or kitten.

The first vet visit can not only determine if the puppy or kitten has any initial health concerns, but also can provide general care instructions like the best feeding schedule, as well as the different vaccinations that might be needed.  It is extremely advantageous to the new puppy or kitten owner, and also to you as well to make sure early on that the puppy or kitten is signed off with a clean bill of health.

The Veterinarian Visit

Your clients should call ahead of time to schedule their first vet visit as some vets can be booked for weeks.

In fact, during Covid, it might be harder for your clients to have a traditional meet and greet with their vet.  Most vet clinics currently are only allowing the dropping off and picking up of pets.

It is important that your clients bring any medical records that they have from the store or the breeder to the first vet visit.

What happens at the first vet visit?

When a new puppy or kitten owner brings their pet to the vet, the typical procedures that they can expect are the following:

  • Weighing the puppy or kitten
  • Taking their temperature to establish what is normal for that puppy or kitten
  • Listening to the puppy or kitten’s heartbeat
  • Full body examine including eyes, nose, and feet.
  • Examination of teeth and mouth
  • Examine coat and skin
  • Lymph nodes checked
  • Will usually take a fecal sample for a standard worm test.

During this visit, most vets will provide information that can help new pet owners with feeding schedules as well as future vaccinations.  They will also discuss the timing of spaying and neutering if that is something your client wants to pursue.

If the vet prescribes any medication or form of treatment, it is important that the specific directions are followed.   Future wellness checks and vaccination appointments should be scheduled after the first visit.

If your customers have any more questions about their first vet visit or any other pet care questions, our Solutions.pet agents are happy to help!  They can take care of your customer calls or questions so you can focus on all your in-store clients.

Contact our success team to find out more about this service:  successteam@thirdpartypet.com.

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Lisa FimbergHow Soon Should Pet Owners Take Their Puppies or Kittens to the Vet?

How Pet Owners Can Keep Their Pets Safe and Healthy in The Cold Winter Months

by Lisa Fimberg on November 18, 2020

Winter has arrived early, and it can be a big change for every pet owner and even their pets.  While it is easy for pet parents to bundle up and stay healthy, it is equally important that they take extra care with their pets during the cold winter months.

For new pet owners particularly, they might not realize the impact the cold has on their dog or cat.  Some dogs do thrive and love the snow, but they should only be outside for only a short period of time.

Below are some tips for pet owners to help keep their dogs and cats healthy and safe during the winter:

Pets must be kept indoors

Pet parents should never leave dogs and cats outdoors when the temperature drops, especially short haired or older dogs and all cats.  When they do go out, pet parents should watch them closely.  Dogs and cats are safer indoors and should be only allowed out for short walks and potty breaks.

Dogs and cats should wear extra clothing during the winter

Cats may not tolerate the extra clothes, but many dogs enjoy wearing sweaters or hats especially after a few cold days getting acclimated to them.  Hats and boots can help to protect their sensitive ears and feet from the freezing cold.  STORE TIP:  Keep winter clothes and booties in the front of your store for pet parents to peruse as they enter.

 Shorter dog walks are preferable

For dogs on a particular schedule when it comes to walking and exercising, while it might be difficult to alter, pet parents should be mindful of the temperature and the duration of outdoor activity.  Walking dogs later in the afternoon when it is warmer or not taking them out during a snow or rainstorm is better for their overall health.   Shorter walks are always optimal during the cold winter months.

No matter what the temperature is, a wind chill can threaten a pet’s life. Dogs and cats are sensitive to severe cold and are susceptible to both frostbite and hypothermia when they are outdoors during extreme cold temperatures.  Further, their exposed skin or noses, ears, and paw pads can quickly freeze and suffer permanent damage.

Pet parents should not leave dogs or cats in the car during winter

Dogs and cats should never be left alone in a car during cold weather. A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter, holding in the cold and causing the dog or cat to freeze to death.  There is so much attention to pets being left in hot cars during the summer, but the cold car during winter can be equally dangerous.

Pets’ paws’ need to be wiped after they have been outside

Pet parents should wipe a dog and cat’s paws with a damp towel after they have been outside.  The salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice can irritate the pads of a dog or cat’s feet.  These chemicals are also toxic, which can be ingested if a dog or cat licks their paws.

Dogs and cats require just as much water during winter

Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors need more food in the winter because keeping warm depletes energy.  Pet parents should routinely watch the water dish to make certain the water is fresh and unfrozen.

Plastic or ceramic water bowls rather than metal can be a better option in the cold, so a dog or cat’s tongue doesn’t stick and freeze to the metal.   STORE TIP:   Create a “winter special” or “winterized display” to sell these types of bowls and other winter items.

Pet parents need to watch the antifreeze

Antifreeze is a deadly poison, but it has a taste that can attract pets. Pet parents should wipe up all spills and store antifreeze (and all household chemicals) out of reach for your pets. There are some types of antifreeze that are less toxic, but it is always best that they are kept away from cats and dogs.

Hoods of cars ought to be checked before driving

When a pet owner is off to work or school in the morning, they should knock on the hood of their car before starting their engine.  Outdoor cats, feral or domesticated (as well as other outdoor critters), tend to seek shelter and warmth from winter’s cold air. Warm car engines and tires on vehicles are common places for felines to take a cat nap.

Winter can be fun for pet owners and their pets – new scents, chasing snowballs and warm snuggles.  Pet store retailers can help pet owners by providing great options for winter clothing and supplies during the cold winter months.

If your customers have any questions about their pets during the winter season, our Solutions.pet agents are here to help!  Contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about our services.

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Owners Can Keep Their Pets Safe and Healthy in The Cold Winter Months

What Traits Pet Retailers Should Look for In Hiring New Employees

by Lisa Fimberg on November 16, 2020

Your store employees are typically the first person a customer meets when walking into your store.  With the Covid pandemic still looming, each walk-in customer is an even more important prospect.  These days, customers are no longer “window shopping” but are in store and ready to purchase.

Therefore, hiring the right employees can be especially important to your store, sales, and bottom line.  If your employees do not possess certain fundamental skills, it can be a disservice to your customers and your store.  Having trained and caring employees can win over customers and help increase sales.

Below are some fundamental traits and skills that you should look for in hiring a new employee:

Communication Skills:

Strong communication skills are the foundation to build any new customer relationship.  It is very important for your employees to have the ability to speak properly and professionally.   It is a reflection on both them and the store to not only communicate effectively, but to really listen to develop a rapport with a new or existing customer.

Active Listening:

A good sales employee should have the ability to focus and actively listen.  It is important that any new employee can be focused on the task at hand so they can help with your customer’s needs.  When you are interviewing any new hire, ask them questions and make sure they are answering your direct questions and are truly listening.  While they might be nervous, you can usually assess their attention span, how well they listen or if they seem distracted.

Loyalty:

New employees in the pet retail industry may be part time or even looking to secure their first job out of school.  While they might not have a deep employment history, it can be helpful if your potential employee has shown loyalty or longevity in school or even a sport.

Belonging to a team or club shows not only loyalty, but the ability to stay with a sport, hobby, or club.  Loyalty can be a sign of someone who could potentially stay longer and grow with your store which can help reduce turnover.

Enthusiasm and passion:

Look for potential employees who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they do or what they might potentially do at your store.  If they are still in school, are they enthusiastic or passionate about their studies or even hobbies?  An enthusiastic, passionate, po-active employee not only helps with sales and customers but can help to improve the morale of the store.

Empathy:

When any customer walks into your store, they want to be met by an employee who is professional, yet empathetic.  A customer might arrive at your store, for example, to find the puppy they want has been sold and is extremely disappointed.  Where a defensive response (telling the customer that they could have put a deposit down to secure the puppy) could drive the customer elsewhere, an empathetic response (acknowledging the disappointment and trying to provide another option) could create a loyal customer.

Empathy is really listening to the customers questions or complaints, being understanding, and showing the initiative/attempt to make things better for the customer.  Empathy and kindness go a long way in winning over new or even existing customers.

Team player:

Whether you are a hiring a new inventory clerk, a salesperson or even middle management, the ability for the new hire to be a team player is crucial.  Does your potential hire have a track record of working with teams?  Or being part of any team or club?  Finding an employee that knows that their success is not just about them, but the entire team is important to any store or business.

Hiring the right employees can be crucial to any store or business.  Of course, you really do not know how any new employee will turn out until they start working at your store.  However, asking questions upfront to determine if the potential hire shows the fundamentals of the above-mentioned skills is a great start to hiring the best candidates.

If you are having a hard time finding the right employees, our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) can help.  Our services can help your store get leads and offer support to take the burden off the in-store employees.

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Lisa FimbergWhat Traits Pet Retailers Should Look for In Hiring New Employees

Safe & Healthy Foods To Share With Your Dog This Thanksgiving, Plus Foods To Avoid

by American Kennel Club on November 10, 2020

  • Thanksgiving tends to coincide with an uptick in vet visits, due to dogs being fed unsafe human foods.
  • Turkey meat, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin are all safe, healthy foods to share with your dog.
  • Bones, sweets, alcohol, and fatty foods are all things that should be avoided by dogs.

It’s not just humans that overeat at the holidays. Some of us may also be a bit indulgent with our dogs. But it doesn’t have to be the turkey bones or other not-so-great items from the Thanksgiving or Christmas menu. There are healthier choices to share with your dog. From green beans to sweet potatoes, plenty of fall favorites can be tasty (and safe) options for your dog to share in small portions during holiday festivities.

It may be tempting to offer up the turkey bones to include your dog in your family’s celebratory feast. But, because they can potentially cause damage to your pet’s digestive tract, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends keeping them out of reach. However, though turkey bones are off the table, there’s no need for your pet to feel left out.

Safe & Healthy Foods To Feed Your Dogs at Thanksgiving

Below, safe and satisfying foods that you can share with your dog this holiday season are discussed by Gary Richter, MS, DVM author of The Ultimate Pet Health Guide: Breakthrough Nutrition and Integrative Care for Dogs and Cats and Veterinary Health Expert with Rover, Sara Ochoa, DVM and small animal and exotic veterinarian in Texas, and the American Kennel Club’s Jerry Klein, CVO and emergency and critical care veterinarian who has been a valued member of the Chicago veterinary community for over 35 years.

Sweet potatoes are a great source of dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and beta-carotene,” says Dr. Richter. “Sweet potato treats can be as simple as a dehydrated sweet potato chew.” Just remember not to give your pet sweet potatoes containing any added ingredients.

Potatoes. You get to enjoy both kinds of potatoes, and your dog can have that option, too. However, give only boiled or baked potatoes with no butter, sour cream, salt, or pepper, and serve in moderation.

“Apples are full of vitamins A and C and contain lots of great fiber, making them a healthy Thanksgiving treat for your pet,” says Dr. Richter. “However, if you’re sharing an apple with your pooch, be sure to cut around the core, as large amounts of apple seeds can be toxic.”

Turkey meat (no bones, no skin). For those that wonder if dogs can eat turkey at Thanksgiving, the answer is yes. The main dish is okay to offer up “as long as it has not been prepared with any seasoning,” says Dr. Ochoa. In addition to avoiding bones as discussed above, Dr. Klein advises owners to skip out on feeding the skin as well. The outer layer of the poultry is likely to have been prepared with butter, spices, or other fatty ingredients that may cause pancreatitis or other issues for your dog.

Green beans. “With ample amounts of plant fiber, manganese, and vitamins C and K, plain green beans are great for dogs,” says Dr. Richter. The key here, as with turkey, sweet potatoes and other options mentioned in this list, is the bean dish should be plain — without any added ingredients like butter or spices.

Plain peas are a fine choice, but creamed peas should be avoided. Fattier food items like this that may upset your dog’s stomach.

“Pumpkin itself is a very healthy snack,” explains Dr. Richter. “Pumpkin helps with digestive health and it’s great for a dog’s skin and coat. Also, if feeding canned pumpkin, make sure it’s just pumpkin and not the pre-spiced pie mix.”

Dessert is an option, but not just any kind. Go ahead and satisfy your pet’s sweet tooth with something healthy like frozen yogurt, suggests Dr. Richter. Calcium, protein, and live bacteria that can act as probiotics will give your dog a tasty dose of nutrients, and a sweet post-meal treat.

Unsafe & Unhealthy Foods To Avoid at Thanksgiving

You may notice this list is longer than the one above filled with healthy options, and with good reason. Thanksgiving coincides with an uptick in emergency vet visits across the U.S., writes Dr. Klein, because of the extra, often unsafe “human” food that dogs end up consuming at this time of year. That doesn’t have to be the case for your loved one, if you prepare your dog’s menu taking these proper precautions NOT to serve something potentially unhealthy, or worse, toxic.

Below are the items Dr. Richter, Dr. Ochoa, Dr. Klein, and the AVMA caution should NOT be served to dogs at this year’s Thanksgiving feast, due to unsafe or unhealthy ingredients:

  • Turkey bones, skin, and gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Casseroles
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Creamed peas
  • Chocolate, cookies, pies, and sweets (especially anything containing xylitol)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Raisins and grapes
  • Onions, scallions, and garlic
  • Ham
  • Yeast dough
  • Fatty foods
  • Foods containing spices

And for good measure, don’t forget to keep the tempting scent of the trash of the special day’s meal out of reach, since we all know our dogs are super smellers.

If your pet gets into something they shouldn’t, seek help right away. In the event of an emergency, contact the Pet Poison Helpline or your local vet that offers weekend and after-hours services.

Source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/thanksgiving-foods-to-share-with-your-dog

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American Kennel ClubSafe & Healthy Foods To Share With Your Dog This Thanksgiving, Plus Foods To Avoid

What Are the Essential Pet Supplies for New Pet Owners?

by Lisa Fimberg on November 6, 2020

When a new pet owner brings home a new puppy or kitten, there are some essentials that they will need at the start.  In fact, some of your new puppy or kitten owners might not be aware of exactly what they need to set up their home for their new furry family member.

Most of your customers, especially those who have had a puppy or kitten before, know the basics.  But, in the excitement of buying a new puppy or kitten, they might forget something.

Therefore, it can be a good idea for your store to have a list ready to go of the basics that your new puppy or kitten owner will need from the start.   And, by having these essentials readily available at your store, it can be an immediate sale for you and a convenience for your new customer.

This, of course, is one of many common questions that customers (might ask about their new puppy or kitten.

List of the Essential Supplies for New Pet Owners:

Below is a list of the basic supplies that your customers will need.  Make sure that your store has a supply of the following handy for new puppy and kitten owners:

  • A blanket or bed for the puppy or kitten to sleep.
  • Water and food bowls.
  • Wet and Dry Food that is specialized for puppy and kittens.
  • Training pads for puppies.
  • Litter box for kittens as well a scratch pad.
  • A crate for puppies.
  • A leash and collar for puppies and chew toys for teething.
  • Kitten toys for batting and playing.

Of course, there are many other supplies that a kitten or puppy will need, but the above list is a great place to start for your clients.  A foundation.

If you have any other questions of what your customers might need for their new furry family member, our trained team of Solutions.pet agents are happy to help with those calls.  Or any other pet care questions your customers might have!

Make sure to contact our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) to learn more about our services!

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Lisa FimbergWhat Are the Essential Pet Supplies for New Pet Owners?

Continued Covid Protocols for Pet Retailers

by Lisa Fimberg on November 4, 2020

The Covid Pandemic has been the defining theme of 2020.  It has affected every business, individual and industry different ways. While it has been devastating on many levels, a possible bright side is the now hyper-awareness of hygiene.   Retail stores and consumers are more vigilant about sanitization, hand washing, and regular cleansing of high traffic areas.

No one knows when the pandemic will truly end and when a vaccine will be available.  Regardless, cleanliness guidelines and even social distancing could be a part of our American culture for the foreseeable future.

Continued Covid Protocol Guidelines:

Various guidelines are in place, depending on where your store is located and what your local government dictates.  The CDC continues to update the guidelines for retailers that are just opening back up or have been open the entire pandemic.

There are many protocols that should continue to be followed even as some restrictions are lifted:

  • Conducting daily health checks.
  • Provide masks and continue to implement that employees must wear cloth face coverings (masks) in the workplace.
  • Implementing policies and practices for social distancing in the workplace.
  • Improving the building ventilation system.
  • Implement measures to ensure physical distancing of at least six feet between employees and customers.

Reminders for store owners:

  • Store owners should consider the different levels of transmission of Covid in their communities and revise their business response plans as needed.
  • Continue to have employees wear a cloth face covering at work.
  • Remind employees that the CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings even when social distancing guidelines are in place.
  • Supply gloves and continue to clean and sanitize shared equipment including ladders, supply carts, time clocks, any payment portals as well as any other frequently touched item.
  • Clean touchable surfaces between shifts or between users.
  • Create different entrance and exit points for customers.

Reminders for employees:

  • They should stay home if they are sick, get medical care and to learn what to do if they are sick.
  • Inform their supervisor if they have a sick family member at home with COVID-19.
  • Wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or to use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid using other employees’ phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment, when possible. Clean and disinfect them before and after use.
  • Practice social distancing by avoiding large gatherings and maintaining distance (at least 6 feet) from others when possible.

While most of these guidelines might be already implemented at your store, it is always a good idea to continue daily cleaning checks.   Further, by being open with your employees and encouraging them to let you know if they are sick or have been in contact with someone that had Covid can go a long way to protecting both your employees and your store.

If you had to limit your staff during the pandemic and need more help with customer questions and answers, our Success Team (successteam@thirdpartypet.com) is always here to help lighten your load.  You can continue to have a safe workplace as well as excellent customer support from our team that is off site.

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Lisa FimbergContinued Covid Protocols for Pet Retailers