December 2020

All posts from December 2020

Can You Have A Dog If You Allergies – Some Hypoallergenic Recommendations

by American Kennel Club on December 27, 2020

Sharing your life with a dog is a special experience. After all, they’re adorable, perceptive, and provide unconditional love. In fact, having a dog in the home can provide many benefits to kids in particular, such as greater compassion and self-esteem.

But how do dogs affect our health? Recent research has shown that children exposed to dogs may have a lower risk of asthma. And surprisingly, dog exposure before the age of one might protect against future allergies. But what if you suspect you already have an allergy to dogs? Perhaps you get a runny nose or watery eyes whenever you’re around one. Or what if you’ve already had a dog allergy diagnosed?

Well, having a dog certainly won’t relieve your symptoms. Does that mean you can never have a dog, or could a so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breed be the answer? Is there even such a thing as a “hypoallergenic” dog? Or could there be other options?

Everybody’s allergies are different, ranging from mild to severe. And there are steps you can take to minimize your exposure. Depending on your situation, you might be destined to live dogless. However, if you take the time to do your research, get proper allergy testing, and work on keeping the allergens at bay, dog ownership could be a possibility. Read on to see if owning a dog, even if you have allergies, might be in your future.

What Causes Allergies to Dogs?

“Hypoallergenic” dog breeds are often defined as those that either don’t shed or are hairless.

Breeds in the past thought of as being ‘hypoallergenic’ are really breeds or types of dogs with minimal shedding or whose type of hair (or lack of hair) may cause less possibility to create a reaction due to the type of coat that breed has,” affirms AKC Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein.

But does a dog’s coat really determine the risk of an allergic reaction?

For most people with dog allergies, the dog’s fur isn’t the issue. According to Dr. Klein, it’s not necessarily the fur, but the dander, that causes allergic reactions in people. Dander is the tiny bits of skin that are shed from the dog, much like people “shed” dandruff. This dander often ends up combined with other allergens, like the proteins found in the dog’s urine, feces, and saliva.

In most breeds, shed fur can carry proteins and dander all over your house. So-called “hypoallergenic” breeds don’t have that problem. But of course, they can still cause an allergic reaction. No breed is truly allergy-safe. In fact, “hypoallergenic” dogs may produce just as many allergens as their shedding, furry cousins. And all those allergy-triggering proteins can become airborne, particularly when your dog licks himself when grooming. Dander and protein can also be directly transferred to you when you pet your dog or if your dog licks you.

So, despite their label, there is no guarantee a “hypoallergenic” dog breed won’t trigger your allergies.

What Is An Allergy Test?

If there isn’t a truly hypoallergenic dog, and you believe you may have allergies, does that mean all hope is lost? Not at all. The first step in determining if you can live with a dog is to undergo testing for allergic sensitization. Although what’s causing your allergies might seem obvious, don’t self-diagnose, because your symptoms could be unrelated to what you suspect. Plus, up to 80% of people with allergies are allergic to more than one thing. And those allergic triggers can add up. So, if you have an issue with pollen and a pet allergy, reducing exposure to the pollen might be enough to keep your dog allergy symptoms at bay.

Plus, allergy tests have come a long way. While skin prick tests and traditional blood tests both help a clinician diagnose allergies to common causes like pets, new blood tests that examine allergens on the molecular level can provide clinicians with even more information. Using a standard blood draw, allergen component testing can get extremely specific. It can pinpoint the exact allergenic proteins that may be causing your symptoms. And in terms of dog ownership, that can have a huge impact.

For example, some people are only sensitive to a dog protein called Can f 5, which is only produced by male dogs. Up to 30% of people who only have a Can f 5 sensitivity may be able to tolerate a female dog or a male dog that has been neutered. Armed with this detailed information about your allergies, you will be in a much better position to make a responsible decision about dog ownership.

Are There Dog Breeds Suitable for Allergy Sufferers?

The real issue to consider is the severity of your allergies. If your symptoms are inconvenient but tolerable, then there is likely a place for a dog in your life. And in that case, Dr. Klein says so-called “hypoallergenic” dog breeds are likely the safer choice. These are the American Kennel Club’s recommended breeds for allergy sufferers:

There is a wide range of less allergenic dog breeds, from the large, intelligent, and protective Giant Schnauzer to the tiny, calm, and hairless toy Xoloitzcuintli. Dr. Klein points out that because smaller breeds have less of everything, they will also create less dander than larger breeds. Research the available breeds and look for one that fits your lifestyle.

For example, do you want a high-energy dog to participate in dog sports with, or would you prefer a quiet lap dog? It’s essential to find the right match, so in addition to coat care and dander potential, look at size, personality, activity level, trainability, and more.

Dr. Klein emphasizes that the match should be for the dog’s entire life, stating, “What no one wants is to relinquish a dog because of factors like a change in income, a change in living arrangements, or the development of an allergy by a member of the family.”

Although it’s a difficult decision, on the rare occasion that you can’t find the right match, Dr. Klein advises that it might be wiser to not acquire a dog, rather than bring one home only to relinquish it for rescue.

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American Kennel ClubCan You Have A Dog If You Allergies – Some Hypoallergenic Recommendations

The Benefits of Crate Training Puppies

by Lisa Fimberg on December 22, 2020

When your customers purchase a puppy, they will inevitably have questions.  Unless they have owned puppies in the past, some might be apprehensive about crate training.  However, crate training puppies can be a positive experience, effective for housetraining and prevent destructive behavior.

Benefits of crate training

Some pet owners might think crate training is cruel to dogs, but the truth is it can be a very positive experience for both puppies and pet parents.  What your sales associate can convey is that crate training can provide puppies with a sense of security and a place to nestle when feeling insecure about a new space.

Dogs are naturally den animals and enjoy being in small, enclosed spaces. Dens protect them from danger, keep them warm and dry, and help dogs feel safe and protected.  By using a crate, the puppy’s natural instinct is to keep it warm and dry.  Therefore, a crate can provide a safe and comforting place for a puppy, as well as help pet owners with house training.

Crate training should be a positive experience for puppies

It is important for pet owners to make crate training is a positive experience for their puppies.  Feeding their puppies meals or treats in the crate can make the puppies feel as if being in a crate is a reward.

Dogs crate time, however, should be limited based on their age and the level of house training that is necessary.  Puppies should never be left in the crate all day, but only for a few hours at a time.

How pet owners can use a crate to house train dogs

Crate training is an essential part of housebreaking puppies since dogs do not like to soil their sleeping quarters. Puppies learn how to hold their bladders while they are in their crate, so pet owners can use this as a tool to house train puppies more readily.

If your customers are using a crate for house training, the crate should be sized where the puppy can lie down comfortably and have the ability to easily turn around in a circle.  If the crate is too large, the puppy might soil one end of it and sleep at the other end. If the crate is too small, the puppy will be uncomfortable and unable to sleep.

Crate training can prevent destructive behavior

Dogs and puppies need to learn to refrain from digging on furniture or rugs, chewing table legs, cushions, or other household items, and stealing food from garbage cans or counters. To teach puppies that destructive behavior is wrong, they need to be observed and monitored.

If pet owners put their puppy in a crate, it can prevent unwanted behavior when they are unable to supervise their puppy or need to leave their home.  However, this is only a temporary solution and should only be done while training.

Crate training can also help in emergencies

 If an emergency were to occur, pet owners who have crate trained their puppies can easily and safely get their puppies in the crate in a timely manner.  Having dogs secured during an evacuation or any sort of emergency can reduce the chances of them getting hurt, lost, or injured.

Further, if a dog is feeling insecure or freaked out by any outside noise, disturbance or even too much noise at a pet owner’s home, puppies can use their crate to escape it all and feel safe and comforted.

How to help customers choose the correct crate for their puppy

Store employees should know how to help new puppy owners choose the right crate size for their puppy.  The dog’s crate size depends on the size of the puppy and how the crate will be used.

The crate should be just large enough for the puppy to stand up, turn around, and squat, particularly if they are using it for house training, Your store employees should consider how big the puppy will be as an adult and choose a crate accordingly.

Most of your stores will have small and large crates, but some pet owners might prefer a softer, smaller crate.   Having a variety of crates at your store can be an additional sale for new puppy owners.

Pet owners should never use crates for punishment

A pet owner should never use the crate for punishment.  The crate is a safe and happy place where the puppy sleeps and will become his little home den.  By using the crate to punish a puppy, the crate loses its value and is no longer a safe space for the pup and can lead to even more destructive behavior.

If your customers have any questions about crate training, house training, or any other puppy or kitten related question, our agent are here to help.  Our trained agents can answer all your customers questions so your store employees can focus on the floor.  Contact our Success Team ( to learn more about all of our services.






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Lisa FimbergThe Benefits of Crate Training Puppies

How Pet Retailers Can Train Employees to Turn Leads into Sales

by Lisa Fimberg on December 21, 2020


When a customer walks into your store, he or she is usually there for a reason.  Due to the pandemic, there are very few customers who are just looking around these days.  Most in-store customers either need pet supplies or they want to meet or purchase a puppy or kitten.

Therefore, it is important that your employees do the best they can to close the deal while the customer is in the store.  Particularly, if this customer has an appointment to see a puppy or kitten.

Below are some tips to help close the sale:

1. Engage

Have your employees start engaging with customers as soon as they come through the door. The sooner the engagement begins, the sooner your salesperson can begin to create that positive buying atmosphere.  Let the customer get their bearings, wait about fifteen seconds, and greet them with a smile and a welcome.

2. Offer an incentive

If you have a customer that has spent a few minutes with a puppy and seems genuinely interested, offer an incentive, a freebie.  A gift, or on the spot discount can turn a conversation into a sale.  This could be a one-time discount if they buy the puppy by the end of the day, or something like a free dog bed or collar and dog tag, for their new puppy.

3. Create urgency

If that same customer is looking at a specific popular puppy breed, it helps to create a sense of urgency in the purchase.  For example, your sales employee should let the customer know that this breed is one of your best sellers and there has been a lot of interest in the pup.  Your employee wants to be sure that this customer doesn’t miss out if they’ve fallen in love.  By creating a sense of urgency, it can help push the customer to buy sooner rather than later.

4. Address any questions

A salesperson who is engaged and listens should know how to sell to a customer.  A few specific, pointed questions, coupled with a sincere interest in how the customer responds, will reveal anything that might hold up the sale.  By being engaged from the start, your sales employee can address any concerns the customer might have and be better prepared to close the sale.  If, for instance, they mention having a limited budget for the puppy, than your employee is better suited to find a puppy within their price range.

5. Demonstrate Value

The biggest challenge in closing a sale is delivering the price without setting up the value.  Most customers will know the price of a puppy if they have done any research on what puppies’ cost.  If a customer balks at the price, the salesperson needs to focus not on the price but on the value.  For example, what comes with the puppy, what programs or warranties, or anything else that may help alleviate some of the customers concerns.

6. Closing Organically

At this point, the sale should be fairly straightforward.  Your employee has been engaged, addressed any concerns the customer might have and now should be able to close the deal.  The simple ask, “Have you found a new family member?” should get the desired response.  Yes!

Now that your employees know how to close the sale, how does your store get great qualified leads?  With our lead management service!  Our team of experts will not only set up the leads but will follow up and make sure the customer shows up at the store ready to purchase that puppy or kitten.  Contact our Success Team: to learn more!

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Train Employees to Turn Leads into Sales

What Can Pet Retailers Expect for 2021?

by Lisa Fimberg on December 14, 2020

2020 has been a challenging year.  With the Covid pandemic lasting throughout the year, it has affected every person and business.  It really defined 2020 and will likely influence the start of 2021.

What will 2021 look like for pet retailers?

The outlook for 2021 will continue to be strong for pet retailers.   Having already implemented the necessary changes and guidelines to deal with the Covid pandemic, retailers are already in a position to set themselves up for a successful 2021.

In fact, the pet industry continues to be recession and pandemic proof with a projected $99 billion dollars spent in 2020 with a slight increase projected in 2021.  67% of Americans own at least one or more dog and cat, and this trend is expected to continue.

With a vaccine for Covid projected to be in place by the second quarter of 2021, consumers will feel even more comfortable shopping in stores.  If some of the social distancing guidelines are relaxed, even more customers can be in your store at the same time which can only improve your bottom line.

How to make 2021 a prosperous year

Many businesses have now transformed to a remote or work from home environment and more pet lovers are expected to bring even more pets into their homes.  Further, the puppies and kittens that were purchased during the pandemic will continue to need pet supplies, toys, and food.

Some tips to keep in mind for 2021 to increase sales:

Make every appointment count

With social distancing measures still in place, it is even more important that your customers have a great in-store experience.  If a potential customer has an appointment to meet a puppy, this is the ideal opportunity to make them a long-time consumer.  Employees need to be on top of their game and win the customer over.  Even better, if your store can offer a free toy or leash for their new puppy, you can not only win over a new customer, but they will most likely become a long-time loyal customer.

Pet product diversification

The more products your store can make available to your pet-loving customers, the better the customer experience.  It is important for retailers to update their inventory with the upcoming and emerging trends in the pet market.  For example, grooming products and dental care products are a rapidly growing sector of the pet industry.  Interactive toys are also very popular to both dogs and cats engaged when pet parents are away.

Being well stocked with a variety of items can increase sales and entice customers to buy them from your store (where they can see and feel them) and not on-line.

Puppy and Kitten display

When a customer has an appointment to purchase a puppy or kitten, a display dedicated to puppies and kitten can be a big win.  With some of the essentials, best sellers or favorite toys, blanket or beds, most new puppy or kitten owners cannot resist purchasing something for their new furry family member.

Keep your online store fully stocked

Those retailers that have an on-line presence will continue to prosper as the pandemic has led to more consumers online.  Your loyal customers might prefer to shop on-line. Therefore, it is important that their on-line experience is stellar as well.  Best selling items need to be in stock, deliveries timely and a fair return policy.

Consider a 2021 promotion

What better way to kick off the new year than by offering a 2021 promotion to your customers.  You can have an on-line and in-store sale with a favorable discount or even put an incentive program in place.  For example, if your customer spends more than $50, they can get a free dog or cat bowl (or $10 off their next purchase).   There is nothing more enticing than getting something for free or a good deal and this can help your store get a jump start on the new year.

With the right strategy and a great in-store experience, 2021 can be a very lucrative year for retailers. Happy customers love good deals and a good shopping experience.   And more today than ever, most consumers are happy to shop local and be loyal to their favorite brick and mortar store.

If you need help with getting more puppy and kitten sales, our lead management team can help.  Our team is well equipped and trained to get an interested puppy or kitten buyer into your store and on time!

Make sure to contact our Success Team to learn more about our lead management team as well as some of our other services:

Click here for an infographic of the top pet products of 2021!

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Lisa FimbergWhat Can Pet Retailers Expect for 2021?

How Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends

by Lisa Fimberg on December 9, 2020

The Covid Pandemic has affected everyone’s lives in many ways.  Whether you own a pet retail store or even a restaurant, the way business is conducted has seen many changes in the past nine months.  Both retailers and consumers have had to adjust to this new normal.

While pet retail stores have fared well during the pandemic, not all businesses can say the same.  Consumers have not only changed their spending habits, but they have also adapted to doing things at home.

While some people have learned to cook at home or even cut their own hair, others have taken to grooming their pets at home.  With many dog groomers being closed, some pet parents have learned to bathe and groom their dogs themselves.

How Pet Stores Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends

Pet retail stores can capitalize on this trend by ensuring that your store has the proper grooming supplies available.  While not all pet parents are up to the task of a full home groom, most would at least consider giving their dogs a good bath!

Consider designating a section to home grooming and have the proper tools ready for pet parents to purchase.  Grooming supplies can even be a great holiday gift for pet owners.

The most basic tools that your customer would need to do some home grooming are the following:

Pet Brushes:

Dogs have many different coat and hair types so it could be beneficial to have a variety of brushes for both long and short haired dog.  Most cats like to be brushed as well and might benefit from a softer brush.

Flea combs are a great addition to brushes for flea removal which can be done after bathing.

Dog Shampoo and Conditioner:

Most consumers today are more likely to gravitate towards a healthy, organic pet shampoo and conditioner.  Having a variety of shampoos available from oatmeal to a natural chemical-free shampoo is always a win.

Not all dogs need to have a conditioner after a wash, but it can help with keeping a dog’s hair shiny and tangle-free.  Have a few choices of dog conditioners available to provide options for various needs.

Nail Trimmers or Clippers:

Nail trims can be stressful for both dogs and their owners.  By having the right tools, it can put both dog owners and their dogs at ease.

Claw-style or plier-style trimmers can cut the nails just like a pair of scissors.  Guillotine trimmers have a replaceable blade that can cut the dog’s nails with a handle or you can offer a simple scissor-like trimmer that can work well on dogs with short nails.

Filing tools grind down the nails gradually and result in a smooth edge-nail. Basic emery boards or metal files can be used on small, delicate nails for the smaller breeds.

Pet Grooming Shears

While not all dogs will need haircuts, having a few types of pet grooming shears could be a nice addition.  Some pet parents might want to give their dogs with medium to long hair an occasional trim.

Pet toothbrush and toothpaste

Most of your customers will know the benefits of brushing a dog’s teeth.  It can help to prevent decay and tartar build up which in turn is beneficial to the pup’s overall health.

It is easy to brush a dogs’ teeth and by having a pet toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs available could be an easy sale.  Why not add that to the home-grooming section!

Pet owners always want to keep their dogs’ fur clean and healthy.  By having the right home grooming tools available at your store, it could be an easy sale for you and a convenience for your customers!

If your customers want to know more about pet grooming, our agents are happy to help.   They can answer your customer’s questions about any pet or health care question.  Contact our Success Team ( to learn more!)


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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Retailers Can Capitalize on Home Grooming Trends

How Pet Owners Can Prevent Their Pets from Getting Lost

by Lisa Fimberg on December 7, 2020

There is nothing more disheartening than when a dog or cat is nowhere to be found.  Maybe they merely ran out the door or somehow decided to explore the neighborhood.  Whatever the case, all any pet owner wants is to find their pet and bring them home.

While accidents do occur, there are many ways that pet owners can lessen the chance of their pet getting lost.   According to statistics, one in three pets become lost at some point in their lives which is why it’s best that pet owners are prepared.

By having the right identification on their pets and by securing their homes, pet owners can certainly lessen the odds.

Some tips for pet owners to consider to prevent their pets from getting lost:

All pets should be wearing some sort of physical identification

Every cat or dog should wear some sort of physical ID tag that is always on them.  Even if the dog or cat is microchipped, a physical id is more convenient and can be read immediately.  If someone finds a lost pet and sees a physical identification tag, they can just call the pet owner immediately with very little effort involved.

Pet parents need to make sure that their pets’ microchips are up to date

Since your customers already have their pets microchipped, it is important that they register their pets in the national recovery database associated with your store. Further, they should make sure that they continually update their records with current addresses and phone numbers.

Having their pets’ microchipped (with their current address) is the most accurate and reliable way to reunite cats and dogs to their owners if they do become lost.  While microchipping is the best assurance for lost pets, a pet id tag on top of this will help if any dog or cat runs out in the neighborhood.

Pet parents need to make sure their home is secure

Pet parents can secure their homes by checking all the doors and gates to make sure their pets cannot get out.  Doors should never be left open for a long time when greeting guests or otherwise.  Some dogs and cats are escape artists and will run out before any pet owner even says hello!  Being extra cautious is always the best prevention.

Spaying or neutering their pets can help pets from straying

Spayed or neutered pets are less likely to roam to find a mate.  Lost dogs will be more likely to seek out opportunities to breed if they are not spayed or neutered – creating motivation for them to stray from the home.

Train dogs (and some cats!) that running out is not acceptable

If pet parents can take the time to train their dogs when they are puppies that running out the door is not acceptable, their pets are more likely to stay put.  Further, when pet owners are outdoors at any time with their dog, it is important that they keep their leashes on their pups.

While out, pet owners should introduce their dogs to their neighbors.  These are typically the first people to check with if the dog has run out of the house.

Searching for pets

The first place to start is everywhere in their home: closets, cupboards, and all accessible spaces inside their homes.  They can continue to search behind their cars, inside pipes and culverts, in heavy brush, sheds, basement crawl spaces, open garages, as well as under the decks.

For cats that get out, trees, roofs, and attics should also be checked.

Leaving their favorite food or toy out can also be enticing for their pets if they are close by to return home.

With the proper id, registered microchip and home prevention, pet parents can feel better prepared if their dog or cat does become lost.

If your customers have questions about losing their pets, microchipping or other home preparedness, our agents are there to help.  Contact our Success Team ( to learn more about this service!



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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Owners Can Prevent Their Pets from Getting Lost

How Pet Owners Can Puppy and Kitten-Proof Their Homes

by Lisa Fimberg on December 4, 2020

When one of your customers purchases a puppy or kitten, it is such an exciting time for them.  They have so many decisions to make from naming their new bundle of joy to getting the right supplies and food.

However, before they even bring their new puppy or kitten home, it is equally important that they safeguard their home for their new pet.  Just as infants are curious and love to explore, kittens and puppies are no different.  This can lead to them getting into things that might be dangerous or harmful to them.

Below are some tips to help pet parents’ puppy or kitten proof their homes:

Cords and wires should be covered:

All cords and wires should be covered with sturdy cord covers or tucked away.  There are some deterrent sprays available that can be used on power cords or cables.  Puppies and kittens love to chew anything and everything, and electrical cords can be very dangerous.

Trash cans should be secured:

Puppies love the smells that come from the trash can (and some kittens like to explore there too) which is why it is important that pet owners secure and cover them.  Puppies and kittens could eat something they shouldn’t, swallow a bone or even get their heads caught in a plastic bag.

Purses, backpacks, or gym bags should be out of reach:

Puppies and kittens love to snoop in purses, backpacks or even gym bags.  There are many things that pet parents might keep in their bags that could be a potential threat to puppies and kittens.  Most pet owners know the harm that Xylitol has on pets which is in most sugar-free gum and some candies.  Even loose coins and some hygiene products can be hazardous to kittens and puppies.

Medications and vitamins should be in cabinets:

Pet parents should keep all their medications and even vitamins or supplements in cabinets away from curious kittens and puppies.  There is a reason why medications are safety capped.  As dangerous as they are for infants and small children, human medications tend to be the most common source of poisoning to pets each year.

Some houseplants are poisonous to kittens and puppies:

Pet parents should be mindful that some houseplants can be toxic to puppies and kittens.  At the very least, nibbling on plants can cause digestive issues in puppies and kittens.

Household cleaners, detergents should be in cabinets:

Any type of detergent, glue, yard chemicals or even household cleaners should be kept away from puppies and kittens.  Antifreeze, during the winter months, can be particularly poisonous to puppies and kittens.  Any spills that might occur should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent a puppy or kitten from licking them.

Doors and windows should be closed or watched:

Curious kittens and puppies will run out the door if left open.  Baby or puppy gates can be set up in areas that might be dangerous or vulnerable to puppies and kittens.  Crates are great for puppies to help them understand their limits and to keep them safe.  STORE TIP:  Provide plenty of information to new puppy owners regarding the use of puppy crates.

Small items and sharp objects should be put away:

It is easy for any pet parent to forget to put some of the small items away that puppies or kittens might swallow.  Rubber bands, paper clips, even hair clips and jewelry can be swallowed or destroyed.  Kittens, in particular, love to play with hair bands.

Sharp objects such as scissors, razors, tools, and knives should be out of reach and stored away.

Puppies and kittens are very curious creatures and want to explore the world and pet owners’ homes.  By keeping an eye out for anything that is potentially dangerous or toxic, pet parents can keep their new furry family member safe and healthy.

If your customers have any questions about what might be hazardous to their new puppy or kitten, our agents are happy to help!  They can answer any pet care questions your customers might have.  Contact our Success Team ( to learn more about this or any of our services.

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Lisa FimbergHow Pet Owners Can Puppy and Kitten-Proof Their Homes