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Prep for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas … and More Activities for Nov-Dec

Here’s how to make the most of the busy months ahead.

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Keep your customers informed on how to keep their older pets healthy during National Senior Pets Month.

November

1 It’s NATIONAL SENIOR PET MONTH and a good time to do some concentrated messaging about products or services you offer to help older dogs lead healthier, longer lives. Parents of aging animals will love you for it.

5 During NATIONAL ANIMAL SHELTER APPRECIATION WEEK, shine the spotlight on local shelters on your website and social media. Offer a free product or service package to anyone who adopts a shelter animal this week.

18 Today marks the start of the NATIONAL DOG SHOW. For canine lovers, this is Wimbledon and the Masters rolled into one. Not your thing? Then fire up your favorite streaming service to watch the classic 2000 comedy Best in Show. Even funnier than This is Spinal Tap, we say.

23 The holiday shopping season “officially” starts today, BLACK FRIDAY. Are you doing what you need to be doing to be recognized as a top-of-mind destination for holiday shopping? One way to ensure that happens is to make sure, for the next month, that every advertisement you run, every banner you publish and every email you send has the word “gift” somewhere in it … preferably in type 50 points or bigger.

24 In recent years, SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY has become an increasingly important day for many local pet businesses. And it could be for you as well. But you’ll need to do something noteworthy to get customers through your door. Hold a show, a concert, a grooming or skills contest, or even a meet-up with Santa (or the Grinch). Offer a giveaway, a special discount, a donation with purchase, or a free portrait sitting with a photographer. For more ideas, check out our Sep/Oct 2017 feature at ppmag.us/smallbizsat.

December

2 HANUKKAH starts quite early this year. Make sure your holiday promotions have been running long enough to reach customers celebrating this sacred holiday.

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21 It’s UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER DAY. This event spotlights what well may be the absolute nadir of mankind’s sartorial achievement. Your spin on this event? Have a contest featuring pets in eye-scorchingly ugly holiday-themed sweaters. (But we’re pretty sure that they’ll still look adorable.)

22 On KEEP PETS SAFE IN WINTER DAY, add a list of cold-weather tips to the “Resources” page of your website. (You do have one of those, don’t you?) Most important, says the ASPCA, add a basic rule of thumb for the wintry days ahead: “If it’s too cold for you, it’s probably too cold for your pet, so keep your animals inside.”

25 Merry CHRISTMAS! We hope your business had a strong holiday season and an even better year overall — hopefully with a bit of help from PETS+. Like many of our readers, we’ll spend the next few days resting and enjoying our families. But we’ll be sure to burn a few brain cycles thinking of ways we can get better at what we do and provide even more value in the year to come. We hope you do the same. See you in January!

More Events in November-December

  • Nov. 1 is National Cook for Your Pets Day. Got a few pet favorite recipes to share?
  • Nov. 4 marks the day Daylight Saving Time ends. Enjoy an extra hour of sleep.
  • Nov. 7 begins National Canine Lymphoma Awareness Week.
  • Nov. 17 is Unfriend Day, a good time to prune your social media lists of negative people.
  • Nov. 26 is Cyber Monday. Tell customers about a special coupon available only on your website.
  • Dec. 5 is Bathtub Party Day. Offer an especially sudsy holiday grooming package for your pet wash area.
  • Dec. 15 is Cat Herders Day. Wouldn’t it be great if that was a real job? Of course, the rate of nervous breakdowns for those in the profession would be unreal.

Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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In April, Have Fun at Work, Celebrate Volunteers, Be Kind to Lawyers

What was the most joy you had at work?

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01 On NATIONAL FUN AT WORK DAY, we have a question for you: What was the most joy you had at work this week? If you’re struggling to remember, you fail our test. Every day should be spiced with fun, laughter and a playful attitude. Look at any business study, and fun is associated with experimentation, better morale and productivity. So lighten up, and make a point of asking yourself every Friday, “What was the most fun I had this week?” We will be checking up …

01 STRESS AWARENESS MONTH is an opportunity to remind your market of the health benefits of pet ownership, specifically how petting and spending time with a cat, dog or other animal feels good, can lower blood pressure, helps release a relaxation hormone, and cuts down on levels of a stress hormone. See if your local media outlets need a source.

07 Richard Nixon created NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK in 1974. So, raise those hands and get involved. Helping paint a school shed, pitching in at a rescue, getting thigh-deep in chilly water as part of a local creek cleanup is a great way to meet people in the community.

09 On BE KIND TO LAWYERS DAY, send a cheery note of thanks to your lawyers for their hard work keeping your business safe from legal jeopardy (and soundly ethical to boot).

11 Sure, every day is NATIONAL PET DAY at your business, but for just about everyone else, it happens in early April. Started in 2005 to highlight the love pets bring to our lives and to encourage adoption, the date has grown into a legitimate calendar event with pet owners across the country invited to share photos of their animals on any and all social media channels. Get ready with a promotion and some professionally taken photos.

15 Death and taxes, our constant companions. Of the two, the IRS has more potential to be a friend, especially if business is in a slump. If yours is not performing so well this year, consider carrying back the loss to get a refund of taxes paid in prior years. Just make sure you’re ready before today, INCOME TAX PAY DAY.

21 Don’t worry, be hoppy. EASTER as we know it today has its origins in the Christian incorporation of Teutonic pagan rituals that had to do with spring and fertility gods, and their symbol — a long-eared cotton-tailed rabbit. Why not pay homage to the Big Bunny with appropriately corny marketing, such as an egg-citing Easter email mailout?

23 LOST DOG AWARENESS DAY is the day for those who have lost their way. Offer a special on all of your tags and GPS collars.

27 Didn’t celebrate International Fragrance Day on March 21? Use SENSE OF SMELL DAY to consider an upgrade of your business’s olfactory appeal.

MORE EVENTS

April is Pet First Aid Awareness Month — Encourage your customers to take the online course offered by the American Red Cross.
April is National Heartworm Awareness Month. Email a reminder to all of your dog-owning clients about the need for an annual test.
April 1-7 is International Pooper Scooper Week. This category is a hotbed of innovation. How’s your selection?
April 9-15: National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Use #preventdogbites to share dog bite prevention information. (petsplusmag.com/4191)
April 19: Bicycle Day. Ride to work today. Your heart and lungs will thank you.
April 25 is INTERNATIONAL GUIDE DOGS DAY. Tip of the hat to these canine heroes.
April 28 is GO BIRDING DAY. Take the opportunity to draw attention to the fact many of our best-loved species are also the most threatened.

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March Comes In Like a Sock Monkey and Goes Out Like a Cuddly Kitten

See what March has for you.

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1 About National Sock Monkey Day, Stacy Busch-Heisserer of Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, MO, has this to suggest: “There are some super cute sock monkey dog toys out there now. Set the monkeys up on a fun display or place them all over the store, in some unusual places, with signage attached, announcing the holiday.”

3 If there were a better occasion for encouraging memes on social media than If Pets Had Thumbs Day, we can’t think of one. Start with your own, and ask followers to contribute. A quick search reveals people have already given this some serious thought.

8 Ethel or Elmer, Hortense or Horatio, Wilhemina or Egbert. Whatever your middle name is, you are duty-bound to share it with the world on Middle Name Pride Day. Fun idea: Make T-shirts with every team member’s middle name printed on them. Gather in the office, and have everybody take off his coat one by one for the big reveal.

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10 Lack of sleep can cause weight gain, moodiness and outright stupidity. Neuroscientist Russell Foster calls sleep our most important behavior, noting that while we sleep our brain consolidates our daily experiences in the form of memories and uses that information to come up with novel solutions to problems. During National Sleep Awareness Week, commit to going to bed early enough so that you wake up without an alarm clock.

10 Benjamin Franklin is credited with first proposing the idea of Daylight Saving Time in 1784. He hoped to save on candles. Invite your customers for special daylight “savings” for one extra hour on the first day of the sale.

14 Albert Einstein — big brain, big heart, big lover of animals. On the 140th Anniversary of his Birthday, hold — what else? — a brainstorming session with staff or mentors. Use something he actually said as a starting point: “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

15 Julius Caesar never saw it coming. Honorable, trusted, popular Brutus was a member of his inner circle. Is there someone on your team who has the potential to do damage to your business? On Brutus Day, take note: It’s the Ides of March, so remember the three Ts when it comes to underperforming staff: Tolerate, Train or Terminate.

17 Banish snakes? Perish the thought, especially if you sell reptiles. Here’s a much better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day: Banish the winter blues. It’s the perfect date to raise a toast and bid the cold months farewell. Lay out some green drinks (kombucha, green tea, anything but beer), green edibles and give prominent display to any environmentally friendly pet food and treats. Everyone loves a party … and it’s really not so hard being green.

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23 Hope you had a good night’s sleep: National Puppy Day, World Turtle Day and Cuddly Kitten Day all fall on the same day. You’ve got your work cut out for you.

MORE EVENTS

March 4  Day of Unplugging. The challenge: 24 hours without phone or Internet contact. Can you do it? The benefits are said to be surprising.
March 6  It’s Professional Pet Sitters Week. True professionals are a great resource. Build a database.
March 20-22 Global Pet Expo. Break out — then break in — your comfortable shoes.
March 20 Spring — the season of renewal — brings visions of warmer days, clearer skies, budding flowers and frisky animals. It also means it’s time for spring cleaning. Get to work!
March 30 50th anniversary of Jeopardy, the thinking person’s game. Run some animal quizzes on your Facebook feed to celebrate.

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February Events to Note in Your Business: Chinese New Year, Wear Red Day, Love Your Pet Day

Note these dates on your February calendar.

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1 Brace for an education. The word February comes from februare, which means “to purify” in the dialect of the ancient Sabine, one of the founding tribes of the early Roman kingdom. One theory is that this had to do with how the Romans honored the dead and performed rites of purification in February. And so what’s it got to do with pet retail? Everything. The holiday season is done. The big shows lie ahead; it’s time to purify your dead inventory. If it didn’t sell between November and Feb. 14, it’s probably not going to sell in a hurry. Purify!

2 Today marks 16 years since the first National Wear Red Day to raise awareness about the No. 1 killer of women in the U.S.: heart disease. Bring out a line of red collars or pet jackets. Get involved in a business or community activity or co-host a red-themed party with a neighboring retailer. Check out heart.org/heartorg/volunteer for more ways you can get involved as a small business.

4 No advertising medium divides pet professionals like Facebook. Some swear by it; others swear it’s a waste of time. Still, with more than 2 billion users you need to be sure you’ve fully explored its potential. On the 15th anniversary of the day Mark Zuckerberg and three friends launched The Facebook, adopt the company’s motto, “Move Fast and Break Things,” and commit to shaking things up with your social marketing. Test some sponsored posts. Get super specific with your targeting. Try a contest, try more video, follow the PETS+ Facebook page at
facebook.com/petsplusmag.

5 Bow down and welcome the pig. It’s Chinese New Year, and it’s the swine’s time to shine. Unlike his Western cousin, the pig in China is considered a patient, trusty character that attracts success in all spheres of life. It means 2019 could be a great year to invest and make money, although probably best if you steer clear of the mini pig trend. Who knew those cute little teapot squealers could grow into a 300-pound house guest?

10 Death of a Salesman marks its 70th anniversary today and while never comfortable, viewing it provides a useful reminder about the need to keep up with the times and our aspirations grounded. What’s your American dream in 2019? Maybe this is a good time to ask.

11 In the human world, red-carpet season peaks this month with, first the Grammys and then the Oscars. In the dog world, the spotlight is firmly on the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show at Madison Square Garden. Ready your social media guns to provide daily roundup of commentary and images of the stars strutting their stuff.

14 According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend more than $750 million on their pets for Valentine’s Day this year. Sure, that’s an average sale of only $5.50, although some tickets will be much higher. Stock up on treats, accessories and costumes in the appropriate price ranges.

20 On National Love Your Pet Day, ask customers to share photos of their pets with the hashtag #nationalloveyourpetday. Perhaps run a contest for the most popular post with a gift card as the prize. People love it when their pet is featured on a store’s Instagram or Facebook page, says Stacy Busch-Heisserer, owner of holistic pet supply store Busch Pet Products in Cape Girardeau, MO.

MORE EVENTS

Feb. 1  Pet Dental Health Month … well-being starts at the mouth. Explore dental hygiene products you can promote.
Feb. 1  Beat the Heat Month, National Prevent a Litter Month Spay/Neuter Awareness Month. Yep, the longer days mean something is in the air. Play your part.
Feb. 1  GI Joe, the action figure made his debut on this day 45 years ago, and more than a few came to a grisly end in the jaws of the house pet. Celebrate his birthday with a special on dog chews.
Feb. 3  St. Blaise Day. Light a candle to the bishop, martyr, healer of wild animals and patron saint of veterinarians.
Feb. 4  Pet Theft Awareness Day — Make sure your customers know about micro-chipping and pet protection services available in your area.

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