Pet Sitting

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!

 

 

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.