Pets 101

What to Look For When Choosing Pet Services

As responsible pet guardians, we owe it to our furry family members to choose their service providers with the same kind of keen scrutiny we use when choosing our own personal trainers and salons: What do their websites look like? Is there a bio? List of certifications? Rave reviews?  Make sure you take into consideration these and other important factors:


whistleWill this trainer provide references from other clients?

Ask if you can sit in on a class: Do you like how the trainer interacts with the other dogs? The other people?

Will he/she work one-on-one with your pet or only in groups?

Does this trainer use positive reinforcement techniques to teach behaviors and commands?

Do you feel your pet is comfortable with this person?

Will this trainer’s services fit into your budget?


Is your vet a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association?

How clean and organized are the offices? If the reception area is dirty and the scene behind the desk is chaotic, what does that say for the vet’s practice in general?

Does your vet take walk-ins or appointments only? Are there before- and after-work hours as well as weekend hours available?

What is the parking situation like?

Does this vet accept pet insurance or payment options for pricey procedures?

Do you have friends or colleagues who take their pets to this vet?

Is this vet available for emergencies?


Take a tour; make sure you are comfortable with the layout and services offered.

Is the place clean and organized? Do the pets on the premises look well-cared for?

Are there outdoor and indoor facilities for your pet to enjoy?

Are there specialized play groups for small dogs only, big dogs only, etc?

Is there staff on site 24/7?

How does the staff handle dog fights?

Is any of the staff certified in behavior? CPR? Other disciplines?

Should an emergency arise, is there a comprehensive plan in place to address the crisis?

Is there a webcam connection so you can keep an eye on your pet remotely?


Host an on-site interview in your home to see how the individual interacts with your dog or cat.

Is this person licensed and/or bonded? Does this individual carry liability insurance?

Can this person perform CPR?

Will your dog be walked alone or with other dogs?

What happens in case of emergencies? Does this person have contact info for vets, or a substitute available to take over in the event of illness, etc.?

Do you feel there’s a good “fit” between your pet and the person who will be taking care of him or her?


soapObserve the groomer in action before bringing your dog in. Is the place clean?

Does the staff treat the animals in their care with kindness and compassion?

Do the dogs look comfortable during the grooming process?

Does this person come recommended by friends or colleagues? If so, are you impressed with how their dogs look after a day at the grooming facility?

Check out the groomer’s website: Are you happy with the before/after photos?

Does this groomer have any certification?

Has this groomer ever participated in any competitions?

Can this groomer provide products for sensitive or allergy-prone pets?

Is this groomer qualified for expert styling for poodles, terriers, etc.?

Will he/she go beyond the standard “Standard Poodle” look, to give your pet the style YOU want?

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