Pet Sitting

5 Reasons Your Cat Will Love a Cat Sitter

So you want to get out of town and are thinking about hiring a professional cat sitter.  Many cats are fairly independent, and are often left at home for a couple days with lots of food and water. It is also quite common to board cats with the veterinarian. The benefits of hiring a cat sitter can be really great for your cat as well as your peace of mind. Here are out Top 5 Reason to hire a Cat Sitter:

1. The comfort of their home

We all know cats love a solid routine. So, why take them out of an environment where they are the most comfortable? With a professional cat sitter, your cat can keep his routine, and minimize the stress of you going out of town.

2. Safety & Fresh Water, Food, and Litter

Most cats are incredibly independent and it is not uncommon for them to be left for days with an automatic feeder, litter scooper, and water fountain. However, automatic feeders and water fountains do occasionally malfunction, and water bowls can be knocked over leaving your cat with no water and possibly damage to your home.. The safety of your home is also another consideration - you can have the power go out, a pipe burst, a break in can occur not only know your cat is safe, but that your home is safe as well.

3. No traveling

Many cats do not particularly enjoy car rides! Between loading a cat into his carrier, the car ride, and dropping him off at an unfamiliar place, this can be a very stressful event for your cat!. Why stress them out when you can simply leave them home?

Secondly, you will save travel time by not having to drop off and pick up your cat when boarding. Often times you can even miss the pickup deadline, forcing your cat to stay an extra night and increasing your cat care costs.

4. Individual Attention

Whether you decide to board your cat or just leave it home alone for a few days, your sweet feline companion is not getting the one-on-one attention is deserves. A cat sitter will focus on your fur baby in all the specific ways you want them to. Maybe they have a favorite toy they like to play with, or they simply enjoy a good brushing on their favorite chair by the window. The personalized service you will get with a professional cat sitter is something your cat will absolutely love!

5. Your cat won’t be exposed to illness or disease

Yes, boarding facilities require all animals to be vaccinated. However, cats can be susceptible to illness because their immune system weakens in times of heightened stress.

With so many upsides to hiring a professional cat sitter, the choice is clear for how to best care for your cat.   How do you have your cat and home cared for when you go away? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Review: Best Pet Sitters in Atlanta

 Finding the Best Pet Sitter in Atlanta to care for your pets when you're away doesn't have to be difficult. Let us help you find the best fit for you and your pets!

Finding the Best Pet Sitter in Atlanta to care for your pets when you're away doesn't have to be difficult. Let us help you find the best fit for you and your pets!

So you live in Atlanta and you find yourself needing a Pet Sitter. There are certainly a lot of options!

There's a lot of benefit to having choices, but sometimes too many choices can seem overwhelming.

There's so much to consider when choosing the Best Pet Sitter for you and your pet. Although we serve many happy clients every day, we know we aren't always going to be the best fit for everyone. Your pets should always come first when selecting a service, and when Whoa Doggy! isn't the best choice for you, we like to have other pet sitting companies that we can recommend.

Review of the best pet sitters in atlanta

Let's review some of the Best Pet Sitters that Atlanta has to offer:

  1. Critter Sitters: "Critter Sitters provides caring, responsible pet sitting for the owners of much loved dogs, cats, and other pets. We give love and companionship while you’re away."
     
  2. Laughing Pets Atlanta: "Our mission is to love and care for your pets when you aren’t able to be there. Laughing Pets Atlanta will give you the peace of mind that you need while you are away. Keeping your pets happy, healthy and safe is paramount; all service is customized to fit specific needs of you and your pets. We are committed to maintaining a professional demeanor at all times, except when we are with your pets."
     
  3. Diogi: "Our mission is to sustain the well-being and happiness of Atlanta’s pets while their humans are at work and play by providing personalized pet sitting and dog walking services as well as custom dog training programs created by our dog trainer, Emily Parker, CPDT-KA. Our team is dedicated to always putting your pet first. As pet parents ourselves, we understand how difficult it can be to leave your furry, feathered or scaly baby in the hands of someone else."
     
  4. Cutie Paws: "A locally owned and operated Atlanta pet sitting service with lots of love to offer, we are all about your pets! Dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, fish…we love all that is furry, feathery and scaly. We completely recognize that your pets are your children, and in our own way, we take care of you the parent as well! We understand how important the connection is between you and your pet, and we do our very best to alleviate any anxiety that you may have while you are away by maintaining your pets routine as best as possible."
     
  5. Frogs to Dogs: "Our mission is to always provide you and your pet family with exemplary services. We pride ourselves on gaining the applause of each client and the wag of each tail."

Which Pet Sitter is right for you?

We know choosing the right Pet Sitter is an important decision. Your Pet Sitter will be responsible for your precious pet, as well as your home while you're not there! It's a huge responsibility, and there's so much to consider. We wrote an informative blog series called, "So, You Need a Pet Sitter", to give you some points to consider and questions to ask when interviewing your potential Pet Sitter:

How can we help you find a pet sitter?

We have a wonderful team of highly trained, professional pet sitters! If you'd like to meet us to see if we are a good fit for you and your pet, just let us know!

Pet Sitter Versus DOG BOARDING & Dog Kennels: Which Is Better?

 A quality Dog Sitter bonds with your dog and offers a unique, tailored experience.

A quality Dog Sitter bonds with your dog and offers a unique, tailored experience.

Often when we speak with new clients, they are comparing our Dog Sitting services to boarding their pets at a kennel or boarding facility. Certainly there is a lot to consider when weighing your options. You know your pet better than anyone else, so it's up to you to determine if whether Dog Sitting or Dog Boarding is the best fit for your dog.

Here is a list some of the attributes of Boarding Facilites & Kennels versus those of a Dog Sitting Service to help you decide.

Dog Boarding Facility / Kennel

  • Very often dogs are not walked, and they get a few quick potty breaks throughout the day instead. 
     
  • Will your dog receive one-on-one attention? Very often dogs are kept in group environments with other dogs and don't receive a lot of personal attention, or they can sometimes be confined for a portion of the day in a kennel.
     
  • Some boarding facilities charge more for extra one-on-one playtime, which can make boarding a more expensive option.
     
  • Limited pick-up and drop-off times. You have to drop-off and pick-up your dog between certain hours, which can often cause a conflict with your travel itinerary. For example,if your flight lands after the designated pick-up time of your boarding facility or kennel, your dog will have to spend another night. This can add significant expense to your dog's stay, as well as inconvenience to you.
     
  • Is there a human on staff 24 hours per day? This is a big deal, and I find that many people don't think to ask! Many boarding facilities and kennels do not have a person there overnight. You should always ask if your boarding facility has someone in the building 24 hours a day. What if there is a fire, or your dog gets ill and needs urgent veterinary attention overnight?
     
  • What type of veterinary care will your pet receive, should the need arise?
     
  • Many dog boarding facilities and kennels can get a little smelly due to dogs going to the bathroom indoors. Is there fresh air? How is the facility kept clean and free from bacteria that can spread to other dogs?
     
  • Health risks: Kennel Cough is very common, and it happens when your dog interacts with other infected dogs. Remember the Canine Influenza outbreak that hit Atlanta and Decatur in 2015?
     
  • Some dogs become very stressed over being in a foreign environment without their loved ones. This can cause their appetites to decrease, and in some extreme cases, some dogs can harm themselves with stress-related behaviors such as licking their paws excessively, or chewing on the fencing within their kennel.

Dog Sitting

  • Dogs are comfortable in their own homes, where they have all their familiar toys, beds, and smells. Pet sitting in your home is usually a less stressful scenario for your dog.
     
  • There's something to be said for sleeping in your own bed :)
     
  • Long walks: Dogs get a lot out of walking around their neighborhood. The mental stimulation is just as important as the exercise! Have you read about Why Your Dog Needs to be Walked Daily?
     
  • Quality, one-on-one attention for your dog. Cuddles, talking about the Falcons game, walks, backyard playtime. These are all standard services when you hire a Professional Dog Sitter.
     
  • Dog Sitters cater visits to your dog's specific needs. A tailored service, start to finish.
     
  • There is almost no exposure to bacteria that cause illnesses, such as Kennel Cough.
     
  • You have constant access to your Dog Sitter by phone and email.
     
  • Many Dog Sitters send message updates with pictures at least once per day. Whoa Doggy! sends messages and pictures with every visit!
     
  • If you have another pet at home, your Dog will have companionship, and your Dog Sitter can also care for your other pets!
     
  • Pet Sitting when you have multiple pets is often much less expensive than boarding multiple pets.
     
  • Built-in house sitting. It's nice knowing that along with your dog's well being, your house is being looked after. Plants get watered, mail and newspapers get brought in, and your home security system is being used properly.
     
  • With Dog Sitting there is no need to pick up or drop off your dog before/after your travel plans. 

Doesn't a dog sitter sound better to you???

To learn more about our Dog Sitting Service, please contact us any time!

How Much Does A Pet Sitter Cost?

We get a lot of calls asking about our pricing, and we understand why! The cost of Pet Sitting is an important consideration when you're hiring a pet sitter, and it's helpful to understand where the pricing comes from. 

 Whoa Doggy! Team Member, Chris, with his gorgeous dog, Reese!

Whoa Doggy! Team Member, Chris, with his gorgeous dog, Reese!

How does a pet sitter price services?

There's a lot that goes into setting prices for a professional pet sitting service, so let's take a look at some of the most important considerations.

How many pets do you have?

Many pet sitters charge higher rates based on how many pets you have in your home. Caring for one pet is a different job than caring for multiple pets. All of your pets need additional love, care, and attention, and often require more time to get the job done. It's also more responsibility for your pet sitter. 

Length of visits

The duration of a pet sitting visit generally affects pet sitting rates. A longer visit should cost more than a shorter pet sitting visit. Whoa Doggy! offers visits in different durations, to meet the needs of pets, and to meet budget requirements for our clients.

Insurance

This is a big one! A professional pet sitter has insurance to protect your pets, your home, himself, and every member of his team. You should always make sure your pet sitter is insured, and if he isn't, you should consider looking for a new pet sitter who is. It's that important. Whoa Doggy! is insured and bonded through Business Insurers of the Carolinas

Ongoing Training

Part of being a professional pet sitter is keeping up to date on new industry trends and procedures, such as pet first aid training and CPR certifications, and memberships to professional pet organizations, and all of these things are helpful to providing their pet sitting clients with better care. 

Cost of gas and vehicle maintenance

Getting around town can burn a lot of gas, and that's a more tangible aspect to the pricing of a pet sitter's service. Driving around from appointment to appointment also puts wear and tear on a pet sitter's vehicle, and requires more frequent maintenance and repairs. A quality, professional pet sitter has reliable transportation, and that costs money.

Responsible business practices

In addition to being highly trained and insured, professional pet sitting businesses should also be registered and licensed with their local and federal government, and pay taxes. Pet sitters who operate on their own sometimes operate as cash businesses, off the books and under the radar. Whoa Doggy! is registered locally and federally, and we proudly employ highly trained pet sitters to care for your pets.

Ease of service

A professional pet sitting service should provide a wonderful customer experience. Things like online booking, easy electronic invoicing, credit card processing, and other various systems can really improve the customer experience for the humans, too! Whoa Doggy! offers online booking, credit card processing, and real-time GPS check-in and check-out at your home so you know when we were there, and for how long. We also send message updates after each and every visit.

Want to learn more about Whoa Doggy's Pet Sitting Services and Pricing, just check out our Pet Sitting Services page and our Cat Sitting Services page and if you have questions or want to schedule your Meet & Greet, just give us a call at (404) 941-4646 or Contact Us by email!

 

 

Beat The Heat: How to help your dog enjoy the hot summer safely in Atlanta & Decatur

 Cassius loves to run and play, but we need to make sure he doesn't overdo it when it's hot out!

Cassius loves to run and play, but we need to make sure he doesn't overdo it when it's hot out!

Woof! It's hot out there, and your dog feels it, too! But there are things you can to do make Atlanta's summer heat more manageable for your dog, while still having lots of fun.

Atlanta runners use a phrase that perfectly describes Atlanta:  “Heat, Hills and Humidity”. Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers in Atlanta & Decatur can relate. We’ve gotten used to the hills which give our neighborhoods wonderful character. As for the heat and humidity, let's just say we are grateful for air conditioning, and leave it at that.

But since we care for pets in Atlanta and Decatur year-round, we often spend time outside in less than ideal conditions. Summer can be one of those times. Everyone knows how hot it can get here...whew!

It’s really important to know how hot is too hot for your pets, and what you, as a loving pet owner, can do to keep your pets cool and safe during our hottest months.

Avoid Hot Surfaces

Asphalt and concrete can get very hot. Ever fried an egg on your driveway? Me neither. But you can! You wouldn't let your pet stand in a hot frying pan, but asphalt and concrete that has been in the direct sun can be just as hot, so you should be mindful of that. A good rule of thumb is to place your hand or bare foot on the hot surface. If you can't keep it there for 10 seconds or more before it gets too hot for you, then it's too hot for your dog to walk on. 

Try to limit your walks to grassy areas, or shaded areas. If you don't have much grass or shade to walk on, you can always get your dog some stylish booties to protect those paw pads from burns.

Alternatively, you can walk your dogs longer in the early mornings and evenings when it's not as hot. Another thing to consider is that since dogs are closer to the ground, the heat from those hot surfaces radiates up to their bodies and can raise their body temperature, too.

Never Leave Your Pet In A Parked Car

Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a parked car can can raise very quickly, and can lead to heat stroke. In extreme temperatures, things can get bad in a matter of minutes. For that reason, leaving your pet in an unattended car is illegal in many states.

Shade and Water aplenty

It's significantly cooler in the shade, so make sure your dog has plenty of it! When walking your dog, try to walk on the shady side of the street, or go to parks that have lots of tree cover. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water at all times, as pets can get dehydrated quickly. And lastly, if it's extremely hot, keep your playtime indoors as much as you can.

Cooling Vests for Everyone!

There are a few additional ways we beat the heat here at Whoa Doggy!. Have you heard of a cooling vest? This stylish vest is designed to keep your dog’s core temperature cool, even as the outside temps reach triple digits. 

More Tips for Beating the Heat

Here are a few additional helpful tips from the ASPCA website

  • Make a Safe Splash - Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
  • Screen Test - "During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets - mostly cats - fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured," says Dr. Murray. "Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions." Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
  • Summer Style - Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs' coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Safe fun with your Pet Sitter or Dog Walker

 Lola loves to go for long walks and hang out outside all day, but when it's really hot outside, we like to supplement our dog walks with some fun indoor playtime!

Lola loves to go for long walks and hang out outside all day, but when it's really hot outside, we like to supplement our dog walks with some fun indoor playtime!

When your Whoa Doggy! dog walker or pet sitter is with your pet, we are careful to minimize the time spent outside in the hot hot heat.

We’ll always make sure they get a proper potty break and a nice walk, and if it’s really hot, we’ll spend the rest of our scheduled visit having fun, stimulating playtime inside where it is safe and cool.

We’ll always refresh water bowls with cool, clean water and will make sure your pet is comfortable before we leave.

Summer is one of our favorite times of year because of all of the outdoor festivals, BBQs and dog-friendly events that Atlanta and Decatur have to offer.

A little awareness, preparation, and care go a long way in making sure your pets can enjoy it, too!

We’d love to hear from you! How do you and your pets keep cool while still enjoying summer in Atlanta and Decatur? Please share in the comments below!

The Dog Flu in Decatur and Atlanta: What You Need to Know about Canine Influenza

Well, it's happening. The "Dog Flu" has hit Atlanta and Decatur. 

You may recall that the dog flu has been big news in the last month, with the virus spreading quickly in the midwest, around Chicago.

Why has this dog flu become an epidemic? 
Your dog probably never contracted Canine Influenza before because he received a vaccine for it at his regular vet checkup. The thing about this particular strain of the dog flu, the H3N2 strain, is that it is immune to the common influenza vaccine. There is a vaccine available, but it is in very limited supply.

Even if your dog is vaccinated, he is still not protected from this strain of Canine Influenza

Since we are a dog walking and pet sitting service, this affects us and our clients directly. So after reading and hearing several reports from neighbors, I decided to call my personal vet, The Village Vets of Decatur, and ask some questions.

The following is some basic information you need to know about the dog flu, and how it pertains to your pet's daily routine, whether it's with your dog walker, your pet sitter, or your doggy daycare. You should consult your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your pet.

It is extremely contagious

 Libby is wondering if she should worry about the dog flu.

Libby is wondering if she should worry about the dog flu.

Canine Influenza is airborne, which means it can travel long distances through the air. According to my vet, it can even travel through the ventilation system. 

So what does that mean?
It means that if your dog just breathes the same air as another dog who is infected with the virus, your dog can, and most likely will, get infected (more on that "most likely" part below). And that's true even if the two dogs are not in the same room, because it's traveling through the air conditioning vents, too. 

How likely is it that your dog will be infected?
Extremely likely. Actually, it's a small miracle if he doesn't get infected. 

I learned from my vet that the dog flu has a rate of incidence of 95%. That means that 95% of dogs that come in contact with the virus, actually get infected. So when they say, "highly contagious", they're not kidding. And you should heed that warning.

If you're thinking Canine Influenza can probably also be contracted through direct physical contact, or sharing food and water bowls, you'd be right. Canine Influenza can survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours.

HOW TO AVOID THE DOG FLU

My vet highly discourages contact with other dogs for the next couple of weeks. Makes sense, right?

You should avoid:

  • Dog parks
  • Doggy daycare
  • Groomers
  • Boarding or kenneling
  • Avoid saying hello to other dogs on your walks

What you should look out for

Dogs who contract Canine Influenza often don't show symptoms for 2-4 days, and those first few days are when your dog is most contagious, and will infect almost every single dog he meets (remember, 95%!!!).

The most common symptoms are:

  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Lethargy, ranging from mild to severe
  • Loss of appetite
  • Discharge (mucous, runny nose, runny eyes)
  • Fever

If your dog shows any of these symptoms, especially if he has been in contact with other dogs recently, you should contact your vet right away. Canine Influenza is not known to infect humans.

What is Whoa Doggy! doing about it?

We are taking precautions to prevent transmitting the virus. On the recommendation of my vet, we are keeping safe distance with all pets. Sure, this temporarily limits cuddling, but it's an important measure we have to take. We are thoroughly washing our hands and disinfecting after each visit, too. And we are encouraging our clients to temporarily stop using daycare or boarding options for their pets until the outbreak subsides. We are also paying extra close attention to each dog we walk or pet sit to look for symptoms, and as always, we are communicating anything we notice to our clients right away.

For more information on Canine Influenza, visit this page on the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association website.

Edit 6/22/15: Here is an updated article on some local news regarding the subject on Decaturish.com, with Whoa Doggy! being mentioned.

Our New Website and an Important Update

Hey y'all!

We've got some fun news - Our new website is live! It's been a long time coming, and we've been working really hard at it for some time now, so we are really excited about it. Our favorite part about it, by far, is the "Meet The Team" page, which features photos and bios about each pet sitter and dog walker on the Whoa Doggy! Team. So if you haven't ran into your favorite Whoa Doggy! dog walker or pet sitter before, and you want to put a face to the name, please check it out!

 Our friend, Blue thinks this news is all really fantastic!

Our friend, Blue thinks this news is all really fantastic!

We also have an important update, which involves a really nice upgrade to your experience with Whoa Doggy! We have been using pet sitting software for the last three years, which allows you to update your pet profiles with current information, and schedule all of your pet sitting and dog walking appointments online. It's been a really successful and beneficial feature of our service for our clients and for our Team!

The time has come for us to upgrade that software, and we are in the process of implementing those changes right now! The new pet sitting software will provide a really nice, upgraded user experience for our clients. You'll enjoy a more streamlined, user friendly website, with a very intuitive and modern look and feel. It's truly an upgrade all around, and we are very happy that we can bring the new platform to you!

We want to make the transition as easy as possible for all of our clients, so we are taking care of migrating client and pet profiles to our new system for you. When it's ready to go (we'll announce a date very soon), you'll be sent an activation link. All you'll have to do is create a new password for your account, and re-enter your payment information (we can't do that part for you since that information is totally secure, and we don't have access to it).

We hope you enjoy the new website and the upcoming software upgrade! Please be on the lookout for an update in the next couple of weeks, and please share your comments below!


Wags & Hugs,

Garey 
Owner & Professional Pet Sitter/Belly Rubber

Our First Two-Star Review And Why You Should Care

Well, it happened. We received our very first negative review. Two stars in fact. Ouch!

The Good:  The meet & greet went well and dog walking visits were off to a great start. On our end, Andrea really enjoyed spending time with the dog and always gave a fun report about their time together.

The Not-So-Good:  Our reviewer was not comfortable with our key policy and preferred instead, to rely on a key lockbox to be left on his property which was also accessible by 3 other in-home services.


That’s the gist of the review, and once we got past the initial sting of it, we’ve recognized it as an important opportunity for us to talk more about our key policy and what it means to our clients, and their precious furry families.

We require two working sets of keys. They do not have to be given to us during the meet & greet, but we do need them prior to beginning our service. We adhere to this policy at all times, with every client.

We will not leave keys hidden on clients’ property, in a plant pot, under a mat, or in a lockbox, and we do not share keys with other parties...including other in-home services. We don’t attract attention by searching for and re hiding a key, or entering a code in a hidden or visible lockbox. 

In short, our key policy is in place so that we can guarantee a professional, reliable, and consistent service to all of our clients. We treat our clients’ keys ethically, and professionally and have well thought out, detailed policies and procedures in place to protect clients’ anonymity, privacy, and security, and to be able to maintain a pet visit schedule that is uncompromised. Even in a pinch. Even in an emergency.

Exactly one month ago, I received a call from a frantic nanny who worked for one of our regular clients. Actually, frantic is an understatement. She had the old “hide-a-key” arrangement with our client, and never actually had her own key. Apparently, she also did not have a back up plan in place for an emergency...or an accident...because those never happen. Long story short, what I was able to hear between her hyperventilating and panic, is that she was locked out of the house and the baby was locked inside the house. No key, no backup plan. Our clients, who were already beginning their workday alllllll the way in Alpharetta, asked her to call me...their pet sitter.

Because we have a key policy that can be counted on.

Without skipping a beat, I was able to let the nanny into the house within minutes...thankfully, the baby was still napping peacefully. I was even able to lend her my key for the rest of the day, because (per our key policy) I had a backup key securely locked in a key safe back at my office. Whew. I guess you could say, our key policy saved the day.


I was able to breathe easy that day because I remained 100% accountable for every aspect of my job. Had we made an exception to our key policy and shared the hide-a-key with the nanny (and anyone else who had access to it), I would have spent the afternoon hyperventilating alongside her, simply because she did not put the key back in its place. Instead, we were able to complete our scheduled dog walk for that client that afternoon, as scheduled, and were able to focus on quality time with their (amazingly adorable) pup, Jazmine. Easy peasy.

No, we do not adhere to our key policy so we can let nannies who’ve locked themselves out back in...but thank goodness we can. We adhere to our key policy because we made a commitment to you and your pets that we will always be there for you when you need us, and our key policy allows us to honor that commitment. Even when your housekeeper mistakenly took your key home...to Roswell...yes that’s a thing, and it happens. 

Why 2 keys? Simply put, an emergency for your dog walker does not constitute an emergency for your pet. Similarly, if there is an emergency with another pet that requires immediate attention, and therefore interrupts the original pet sitting schedule, our backup plan is triggered, another trained member of our team steps in (with your backup key), and your pet gets the attention they deserve...as scheduled. 


We love what we do, and we take it very seriously. We aren’t accessing your home to perform a job that can be done later or tomorrow. We are showing up to care for your pet, your baby, your furry family. You don’t take chances on that, and neither do we. You can count on it. And there’s nothing bizarre about that.

You can read this and all other reviews in their entirety by visiting our page on Yelp.

If you feel inspired to write a review about a positive experience you've had with Whoa Doggy!, we'd be honored. Thank you again for allowing us to have the best job in the world. 

xoxo
Wags & Hugs,
Whoa Doggy! 

 

So, You Need A Pet Sitter (Part 3) What To Expect

As I jotted down some bullet points for this post, I had a good bit of difficulty narrowing it down. This topic is so very important that I could really talk about it all day, but I also really want you to be able to read it in less than a day, so…

I decided that the best way to approach it was to take a good hard look at what I want for my dogs, my buddies, my furbabies, Cody and Lukey, when I’m not around. This is exactly what I did when my husband and I had the crazy idea to give up our corporate jobs to start Whoa Doggy! and do work that we are passionate about.

So here I am again, with Cody snoring loudly at my feet, and Lukey “running” in his sleep in his big cozy bed. Neither of them have a care in the world, and it’s up to me to keep it that way. That is the best part about being a pet, isn’t it? That’s what it all boils down to. When I’m not home, I want the peace of mind in knowing that their lives are still stress-free and fun, and that the people caring for them truly love them, and love what they do. In fact, I feel I deserve that peace of mind, and you do too.

If you are just joining us on the blog, you might want to check out the last two posts in this series. In part one of the series, we talked about how important it is to find the best professional pet sitter for you and your furbabies, and in part two we talked about what to consider when you are searching for “The One”. Today, I’m going to talk about what to expect from your professional pet sitter, so you can rest easy when you aren’t home.

Connection, with your furbabies, and you!
It doesn’t take long to know whether you and your furry family have a real connection with your professional pet sitter. This one kind of goes without saying, but it’s definitely important.

How your professional pet sitter interacts with you is just as important as how they interact with your pet, and you can certainly tell a lot from this interaction. You should expect them to truly love your pet, and you should expect nothing less than a real professional.

Don’t forget, they are going to be inside your home while you aren’t. They are the people your neighbors will say hello to when they pass by. They will be the ones handling emergencies, should they arise (more on that later). Their professionalism will set the tone for everything they do. 

IMG_0007.jpg

Communication.
No news is good news, right? Not always. And who only wants to be updated when something bad has happened? Not me! I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough pics of my furbabies. Even if they are just sleeping in a cute position, or just came back from a fun walk. I love hearing about how fun and cute they are, and it will never get old. It should never get old for your pet sitter either.

Your pet sitter should fill you in on how things are going at least once every day they are with your pet. You should be able to request more (or less) communication if you want, but they should certainly adhere to the communication plan you agree on. And if you want to check in, you shouldn’t be made to feel like you are nagging or bothering your pet sitter.

Ease and Reliability of Scheduling.
Are you taking your pet sitter’s word that your visits are on their schedule? Are you confident that they’re scheduled the way you want them (times of visits, feedings, medications)? Do you have to look back at texts and emails to see visit requests or changes to the schedule? What about sticky notes? Surely they’ll see the sticky note you leave on the counter, right?

That’s scary. Especially if you consider how many other clients your pet sitter has leaving sticky notes, texts, emails, adding visits, cancelling visits, adding feedings...that’s a lot to manage for one person. All it takes is one missed text or sticky note and your puppy goes the whole evening without his dinner visit. Yikes.

Your professional pet sitter should have a smooth, reliable, secure system for important notes on your pet and home, and for scheduling purposes. You should be able to see your schedule at any time, without having to wonder if your visits are written down correctly in a notebook, or their [unsecure] Google calendar. You should be able to know that your visit requests have been received, even if it’s midnight.

You should also be able to update important information for your pet (oh yeah, Cody now insists on eating ½ can of wet food mixed in with his usual dry), and be confident that your professional sitter will see the updates when they are with your pet.

Scheduling is the most basic part of a pet sitter's job, and yet the majority of horror stories we hear when we meet new clients for the first time stem from their previous pet sitter not showing up on time, or sometimes, not showing up at all. Wondering and worrying about your pet sitting schedule is the last thing you need. Be sure you are comfortable with the system your prospective professional pet sitter uses.

Experience and Preparedness.
Professional Pet Sitters run into all types of situations and emergencies on a regular basis. They should have an understanding of pet safety, equipment, and proper fit (leashes, harnesses, pet gates, crates), but being prepared goes way beyond basic pet safety. Their experience as a professional pet sitter allows them to create policies and procedures to protect you, your pet, and your home in the event of an emergency, or if there is a special, unusual circumstance that requires attention. They should be prepared with a system for knowing who to call and what to do, especially if they are unable to reach you. You should be able to ask them about their emergency plan in advance, and have a good understanding of how an emergency would be handled, should one arise. Because they do. Remember “Snowpacalypse 2014”? We do too. 


What happens if your pet sitter has an emergency (we are all human, right?), or if there is an emergency with a pet at one of your sitter's previous appointments? Be sure that they have a suitable backup plan that you can count on, so that Barkley doesn’t have to hold it in for an extra few hours (or longer!) as a result. Will they send a professional in their place? A friend? A relative? How will this new person know exactly what to do when they arrive? What kind of experience do they have, and can you really trust them with your alarm code and house key? Trust me, you want to know detailed answers to these questions and be very comfortable with them.

Reliability and Consistency.
What good is a Professional Pet Sitter that you can’t rely on? What about consistency? Will Bailey really know if the routine is a little different? You bet! Have you ever tried not giving Bailey a treat after her night time walk, when you usually do? You should be able to count on your Professional Pet Sitter to be there within the timeframe they are scheduled to arrive. Bailey should be able to count on her sitter to know exactly what to do when they are with her. She should still expect that night time treat, or morning belly rub that she is accustomed to.

 

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You should expect all of this. Every time.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in! Finding the best professional pet sitter for you sounds like a lot of work, but it’s so very important and totally worth it. In our next post, we are going to give you some ideas on how to find “The One”, so you can rest easy. Ahhh.

Wags & Hugs,
Whoa Doggy!