Discover how to translate your love of animals into a fun and profitable career.
If you're an animal lover, find out how you can start your own pet sitting business to translate your passion into a profitable career! In this course, you will master the essentials of running a cat and dog sitting business. You'll begin with pet care, including nutrition, exercise, first aid, and the identification of common diseases. You will learn the basics of first aid and find out how to administer pills, liquid medications, and injections to an uncooperative cat or dog. You will discover how to handle home visits and impress your potential clients. You'll also explore sticky situations that can arise, such as lost pets, pets that die unexpectedly, and pets that need immediate veterinary care.
In addition, you will delve into finances and explore start-up costs, accounting, fee setting, business plans, and low-cost marketing. You will discover how to obtain required insurance, hire employees as your business expands, and entice financial institutions to loan you money. Then, you will look at opportunities for expanding your pet sitting services. Is a dog-walking service right for you? Can you train puppies? Do you want to look after other animals, including horses? By the end of this course, you will have all the knowledge you need to become a professional pet sitter. In addition, you will discover how your pet sitting business can grow to continually challenge and satisfy you.
- This course can be taken on either a PC or Mac.
- PC: Windows 8 or newer.
- Mac: OS X Snow Leopard 10.6 or later.
- Browser: The latest version of Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox are preferred. Microsoft Edge and Safari are also compatible.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader.
- Software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins.
- Email capabilities and access to a personal email account.
There are no prerequisites to take this course.
Instructional Material Requirements:
The instructional materials required for this course are included in enrollment and will be available online.Discover how you can turn your love of animals into a profitable pet-sitting career. This course covers everything you need to know about caring for pets from nutrition, exercise and first aid and everything that goes into starting a successful business.
Welcome to the World of Pet Sitting
Are you a bona fide animal fan? Do you love nothing more than a long walk with a furry friend? If so, then a career in pet sitting may be just right for you. In this first lesson, you'll discover what pet sitters do, what the many benefits are, and how to determine if there's a strong market for this business in your area. The good news is, you don't need lots of money to get started—your love for animals, your strong sense of responsibility, and the knowledge and skills you'll learn in this course will take you far!
Caring for Dogs
In this lesson, you'll find out how to care for dogs. You'll see that feeding is more than just putting food in a bowl as you discover how to determine food and water quantities for the dogs you care for. You'll also learn about some of the ways to help Spot get the exercise he needs without overdoing. You'll examine a dog's vital signs and learn how to accurately assess the overall health of your canine clients. Finally, you'll consider two emergency situations that can mean the difference between life and death for a dog and outline what to do if they arise.
Caring for Cats
In this lesson, you'll gain an understanding of all the ways that cats are not just little dogs. You'll see that feline nutritional requirements are unique, and you'll explore the latest guidelines for ensuring that cats get the nutrition they need. From hair balls and abscesses to more serious conditions, such as thromboembolism and urinary blockages, you'll examine the particular health concerns you'll need to be aware of as you care for cats. You'll learn how to identify these diseases as well as others and evaluate a cat's vital signs so that you can be alert to emergency situations.
Canine and Feline Behavior
Can you tell a timid dog that's smiling from an aggressive one that's baring his teeth? What would cause a cat to use your sofa for a litter box? In this lesson, you'll gain insights into how dogs and cats think. You'll gather quick tips on how to protect yourself when working with aggressive cats and dogs and also learn strategies for dealing with common feline and canine behavioral issues you'll encounter as you care for them.
Pet First Aid and Emergencies
In this lesson, you'll learn how to recognize and deal with emergencies that can arise in your role as a pet sitter. You'll find out what to do if one of the pets in your care is bleeding, has an allergic reaction, or experiences shock. You'll find out what to do with conditions such as vomiting and diarrhea, foreign bodies, and eye problems, and what to do during the birthing process. You'll then learn about poisoning and examine common toxins that pets may encounter. Finally, you'll learn what to include in a first aid kit and how to respond to emergencies.
The First Meeting, Finances, and Organizing Yourself
Have you ever gone into an interview totally unprepared for what happened? Did you make a poor impression? This will never happen to you in pet sitting! In this lesson, you'll find out how to make the best impression to a new client—what to say and how to act. You'll also consider how to assess the impression prospective clients are making on you—and how to refuse a client. Next, you'll gain an appreciation of how much you can earn and how many calls you can do in a day. Lastly, you'll look at how to get organized so that you can get the most out of your new business.
Servicing Clients and Home Visits
In this lesson, you get right into the thick of your new career by finding out what to do during the home visit. You'll learn about what kind of information to get from your clients in advance and how to assess their needs based on the kind of services they request. Next, you'll explore all the elements of a home visit, from managing keys and alarm systems to feeding, exercise, and everything you need to do to keep the pets healthy and happy. Finally, you'll get a first look at some of the little extra things you can do to offer the kind of service that keeps your clients coming back for more.
Sticky Situations and Medicating Pets
What happens when a pet you're caring for gets lost? What if the animal needs expensive veterinary care? Will you be stuck with the bill? In this lesson, you'll learn to cope with some of those sticky situations that pet sitters occasionally run into on the job. This includes losing a pet, the sudden death of a pet, as well as handling medical emergencies. You'll also learn how to handle some literally sticky situations—such as how to administer injections, eye and ear drops, and other kinds of medication.
How to Market Your Pet Sitting Business
There are countless ways to get clients to call you and book your services. In this lesson, you'll discover the different tools and techniques you can use to build your clientele. You'll start with basic marketing materials and see how to exude a professional image through business cards and brochures. Then, you'll delve into advertising and consider whether paid advertisements are worth the money. The lesson will also discuss how to use things like press releases and social media to get free publicity and whether joining professional organizations can boost your business. Finally, you'll explore ways to establish and deepen your relationship with clients once you've caught their attention—from how to handle that first phone call to special things you can do to keep clients happy and loyal.
How to Set up a Business
At this point, you've developed the skills and knowledge to be a successful pet sitter. But how do you set up shop? In this lesson, you'll see how to establish your business, including both your actual office and the legal structures you have to have in place to keep your venture stable. You'll learn about the licenses you'll need and get a good sense of why contracts with customers are so important. You'll appreciate the different types of insurance, both for the business and you personally. Finally, you'll learn the ins and outs of employees—when to hire them and what they cost.
Accounting, Money Management, and the Business Plan
Time to hit the books—the financial books, that is. In this lesson, you'll delve into the world of accounting so that you can see where your business is heading financially. You'll find out how to determine start-up costs as well as the ongoing costs of running a pet sitting business. You'll also come face to face with the necessity of getting your bills paid, and get some suggestions to ensure your clients pay in a timely fashion. Finally, you'll explore the importance of writing a business plan to set a road map for success and help you convince lenders that your new business is a solid investment.
Expanding the Business for Fun and Profit
You'll discover that pet sitting doesn't have to be just feeding and watering the cat or dog. As a pet sitter, you are perfectly positioned to add other services. This can include grooming the animals, cutting their nails, and brushing their teeth. There are also services like dog walking, training, puppy care, pet taxi, home sitting, and even poop scooping. You'll then take a look at other kinds of animals, each of which requires their own expertise.
Jeff Grognet has been a companion animal veterinarian for 25 years. He was a pioneer in the field of veterinary assistant teaching, developing his first course more than 18 years ago. Due to the success of his veterinary receptionist/assistant courses, he expanded his teaching into other high-demand areas including pet first aid and alternative medical therapies for companion animals. He practices at a veterinary hospital and contributes regularly to several magazines.