How One Dog's Death Could Impact the Pet Services Industry



While pet care apps are a current craze, their popularity may be impacted by a recent tragedy. In December 2018, a Houston couple’s beloved dog reportedly died while in the care of a dog walker hired through the Wag! app. The couple said they were given conflicting information concerning the circumstances of their dog’s death and never received the full details of the incident. The company, which is valued at $650 million, offered to pay the bill for the cremation costs, but only if the couple signed a non-disclosure agreement. Feeling that Wag! was trying to buy their silence, the couple posted about the situation on social media and the story made national headlines.


Dog-walking and pet-sitting apps like Wag! and Rover make it quick and convenient for pet parents with busy lives to book caretakers for their pets. However, this recent incident has caused pet owners to question whether apps conduct thorough background checks of their caregivers. When putting pets into the care of another person, pet parents want peace of mind that their animal companion is in safe hands. With high-profile incidents like this one, that could be harder for app companies to guarantee. Pet care facilities like doggie day cares and kennels may see a boost in business as pet owners will be more likely to trust places that have pet care certifications and staff that are properly trained. 


This horrible tragedy, which encompasses a pet owner’s worse nightmare, also illustrates an important lesson for pet businesses. While every step should be taken that pets are kept safe and their owners’ expectations are met, there can always be unforeseen circumstances. Even if an incident isn’t as devastating as the death of pet, retailers and pet care facilities should take the time and effort to acknowledge their customers’ concerns and act in a compassionate manner. Callousness does not come off well, particularly when it comes to pets


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