Business Ideas for Specialty Dog Care Services
Introduction: A dog day care center can be much more than just keeping dogs while their owners work. It can be much less than that as well. Consider the small shops that just offer dog specialty items and food. When you are looking for that unique gift, a specific kind of food, and other items that you won't find at the big box stores or most pet centers, a pet boutique is the place to go. You would be in a niche market, which means you carry a specific set of products that are hard to find, that are more expensive, and you cater to the special needs and the high end needs of dogs and their owners. If your location is in a place where people have the money to spend on such items, you can be quite successful.

Another direction to think about is pet health care services. This is big business. You could offer everything from insurance to pet first aid training classes. You can have an in house vet or a vet assistant. Another way to add health care is to hook up with a vet who has his own location and it is near you. Together you can partner in marketing, referrals, emergency care and consultations. If a dog becomes ill while at your center, you can have a signed form from the owner that allow you to call them. You might even get the vet to do a house call to your day care center. There are many services in health care to offer on the side at a dog day care. Vitamins, special foods, exercise toys, tooth care, shampoo, flea and tick treatments that are safe, and many other products that flood the market.

If a pet owner is needing food or shampoo and you have it there, it will save her a trip to the pet store. If you have access to a vet for check-ups, shots or other urgent care, the convenience will be worth the extra cost to most people.

Many day cares off the services of grooming and hair care, baths and nail clipping. Having a doggy salon or spa can be a fun add on to customer service. If their dog is in need of grooming, how convenient it would be to pick up Spot already cleaned and groomed. People pay for convenience. Time is equal to money, so the more time you save them, the more they will be willing to pay.

Still another pet service that seems to be booming is pet photography. You can offer it like schools offer student pictures. Have a photographer take pictures of all the dogs and then let the owners decide if they want to purchase them. You may be surprised at how many will and the cost will be low because you are doing the entire dog population at your day care. It might be a side business of one of you "extra employees." That extra worker who is there to fill in as needed when someone can't come in can come in handy when it comes to added services. They can be trained to groom, use photography and run the small store of supplies you carry. They might also be willing to train as a dog trainer so you can offer specialty classes during the day. The customer would pay an extra fee to have a 30-minute dog training class with a few other dogs. Many people would be thrilled to pay for that service.

When you open a dog day care, people will be thrilled to know you also offer other services that they can get as they pick up their pouch at the end of the day. They can even call ahead and ask you to have a sack of items prepared. They can call in and get grooming, a bath, nails clipped, and training. When you offer many services, it will pay off. In fact, you will probably find that specialty services will profit as much or more than just the dog day care.

Pet Boutique: If you want to know about pet boutiques, look no further than those high end shops in New York City. They carry name brand clothes, expensive jeweled collars, made from scratch meals (for your dog), spa and hotel services. Dog trends run from hats to sweaters, to jackets. The stylist who do the hair are highly trained and know what the customers want.

Unless you live in New York City, your customers might have difficulty finding such high end products with brand names that are recognizable by the upper crust crowd of dog owners. You could offer pet people special, one of a kind accessory. If you do go with a pet boutique, be sure to have a classy web site that will look high end and don't offer anything that is not safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly. Don't even think about adding any "run of the mill" items. You have to be The place to go for luxury pet products and treatment. Don't do anything or sell anything that can be found at the local pet store. Keep the purity of your specialty.

Pet Health Services: There are many ways you can help customers save time with health services. You can offer an area where you have shelves of products a pet might need for every day health and safety. You can offer books and information, first aid classes, and services of a vet or a vet assistant, either full time or part time or for consulting fees. Another way to help your customers save time when their pet needs to see a vet is to work out an agreement with a local vet to do check-ups, give vaccinations, and emergency care. It can be done in your dog day care or his vet shop. If he is close enough, you can walk the dog there. You can also offer dog health care insurance through a bigger company, health care plans for your partner vet to care for dogs through your day care, and package deals.

One other service that is not often discussed is a pet crematory. There are various laws and environmental rules that will govern the air and waste released among other things, but it is a part of the pet business and is often a needed service for a community. Offering grief classes or counseling is also often wanted by a pet owner. The Pet Loss Professionals Alliance is an organizational resource for further research on such services.

Working in your own community and using other professionals to work together in any way you can will instill your commitment to the community at large. It will be nothing but positive. You need to be an advocate for pets in your area. Let customers know that you go to local meetings and volunteer to speak up for animal health and safety in the community. When you hear your consumers talking about a lack of sidewalks, green spaces, and other dog friendly offerings, ask them to go with you to a council meeting and work together to get those things. Your reputation as an animal advocate and a community minded business owner will earn you the respect of both leaders and individuals within your area.

Interested in learning more? Why not take an online How to Run a Dog Day Care course?

Doggy Salon: Nothing is more satisfying than making a dog look clean and beautiful. A doggy salon can be as small or as large as you want or need. It can be a shop where you offer bathes, nail clipping and polish, shampoos and styles. You can offer photographing the pet while it is all fluffy and clean and you can also offer specialty items for the hair, collar or clothing items. People may lounge around if you have a small gift area and if you carry items like dog cologne, dog note pads, and dog items of every kind. People will spend money given the chance. You can also sell package deals for regular grooming to save money over time or for gifts. You can offer gift cards, or even offer an on call service on certain days where you go out with a van equipped to wash and groom dogs. Always have a website where customers can shop, find information, links to other dog sites and coupons for your store. Offer special rates to come to a dog grooming party where people invite others over to get their dogs bathed and groomed and where food and drinks are provided on the lawn. You can also make yourself available to speak to groups of children, local adult community clubs and senior centers about the importance of pets.

Doggy Photography: It is amazing what a pet owner will pay to have a staged and beautifully framed picture of their pet. Especially if that pet is older and they want the memory. A pet photographer can be as creative or formal as the owner wants. Of course, photographers today can use simple tools on the computer to create wonderful photos. You must be prepared to also take pictures with the pet owner's in the picture too. If the pet is mostly an inside pet, taking the pictures in their home might be what an owner prefers. Otherwise find a park or more natural setting. If you have a large yard at your dog day care, you could have a space for that purpose. Taking pictures with dogs on play grounds, with toys or wearing a special accessory can make a picture really cute. Keep the photos uncluttered and work to get the personality of the dog in the photo. Looking at the work of famous animal photographers or those often called "furtographers" can be inspiring.

Dog Training: A growing business within the pet industry is dog training, dog boot camp, and service dog training. These areas can be very specific with what they do and require special license or certification depending upon the state and local governments.

Many people want to take their dog to a training where they are involved and learn how to train their own dog, so what the trainer has to do is train the owner to train the dog. This is definitely a skill that is not for everyone. Other people want the trainer to train the dog and then expect to be able to just give the command used by the trainer and expect it to work. The problem with that is getting the dog to transfer the understanding from one setting to another. It often depends entirely on the emotional state of the dog, the breed and the diligence of the owner to continue to work with the dog correctly.

Dog boot camps started with some military guys who took dogs for several weeks to train. They switched trainers to avoid a dog bonding with any one trainer. They then had owners come in for observation and some training and sent the dogs home. In the first few weeks after release from the program, the trainers make house calls to work out issues that come up after the dogs go home. They also offer follow-up refresher courses for both the owners and the dogs throughout the year.

There are many different styles and methods used at all the doggy boot camps found around the country. If you offer this, know your stuff because people are depending upon you to help socialize their dogs toward greatly improved behaviors, less aggression, and obedience.

Dog training aimed to provide service dogs is another business. The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners sets standards internationally for service dog training. The skills in the training totally depend upon the need. Dogs are trained for a wide variation of service. Some are for the blind, some for those who have little mobility, some are for protection. They are trained differently for different needs. It is very involved and a trainer is required to have the specified training himself. This training is costly and often paid for by nonprofit agencies.

Dog FAQS: Many dogs throughout history have become famous either because they belonged to a famous person, became a film or television star, showed heroism, or extreme loyalty. Many of our presidents had dogs that Americans came to know and love. Maybe one of the most famous was Checkers, Nixon's dog. Bo and Sunny of course are the dogs President Obama and family own. Millie, was Barbara Bush's dog, Buddy belonged to Bill Clinton, and Pete, who was Theodore Roosevelt's bull terrier apparently bit so many people he was banned from the President's home.

Sigmund Freud's dog, Jofi spent time with patients who met with Freud. Laika is the famous Russian dog who went into space on Sputnik II. A memorial was built in its honor. On 9/11, the K-9 dogs with their handlers were honored for their tireless work over many days to find survivors. Then there are famous dogs in their own right who starred on television and in the movies. Lassie, Rin Tin Tin, Hooch, Beethoven, Old Yeller and Toto are a few. In Japan a professor at the University of Japan had a dog called Hachiko. Every day Hachiko waited just outside the university gates for his owner to get off work. Hachiko continued to wait at the same place, every day for over 11 years after his master died. A plaque was put at the site to honor his loyalty.

The movie Icebound, was about an event where Balto, the dog who pulled a dog sled through terrible blizzards to deliver lifesaving serum to Nome Alaska, would not give up. There are many more stories of dogs throughout history who lived lives that were heroic, loyal, and dedicated. Dogs have been entrenched within populations across the globe and services provided to them are as popular as ever.

Summary: Dogs seem to rule in the lives of many. Dogs are comforting, helpful, caring, loyal, dedicated and seem to have the ability to develop skills that humans cannot do. Dogs as companions can increase a person's good health, happiness, and safety. People love their pets. It should not be a surprise that even during the recent down turn in the economy people clung to their pets, and continued to spend money on them and treating them like their children.

Quality services for dogs and their owners vary as widely as quality services for people. Owners want good day care, food, training, health care, insurance as well as ways to simply spoil their special pets. Offering services that fit you as the owner and the need of the community can find success. Smart planning and decision making, high expectations for your business and employees, and bringing products and services demanded by the public will plant your business as a stable and profitable endeavor.

Pet owners want the same things available to them as do parents for children. Thinking like a pet owner will aid your movement toward that end. Having products and services that not only give pets needed care but also pamper them can be part of any dog day care facility. With strategic training of staff, you can broaden what you offer clients over time with the right training and marketing. Maintaining a center that is clean, beautiful, prepared for challenges, and ready to meet the needs of the people will only benefit the community and increase your profits.

Every dog deserves his special day and every owner deserves to be able to find what he wants for his pet.