Is pet sitting a new concept for you? You are not alone! We talk to many people each day looking for alternatives to friends and family, kennels, or bring pets along on vacations. While these options may be fine, my goal here is to educate you on why a professional pet sitter might be the right choice for you.
In a small, friendly community such as Boise, people are open and friendly with their neighbors, friends and family. We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful place. Many times, we exchange pet sitting with our circle of friends and family. Sometimes this is great, and sometimes not. If something happens, such as damage to your home or a fight between your pet and your friend’s pet, who pays for this? This can create an uncomfortable situation and may even end a friendship. Another situation we often see is that friends and family often leave town and are unavailable at the same time. Who doesn’t want to take full advantage of holidays and summer breaks? Will your friend really have the time to spend with your pets and care for them to your standards? Most people are well intentioned, but when it comes right down to it, they are busy and have their own lives to live. While they may happily agree to care for your pets, in reality, they are popping in and out and doing the minimum. The pets get minimal care. You have to really look at the person and read between the lines. Do they really have the time to help me? Am I imposing upon them? Will I be able to return the favor? These are important questions to ask yourself. Lastly, you actually need two people who can commit. The last thing anyone wants is to be on vacation and a situation arises where your friend cannot care for your pets. Always have a back-up plan. And, make sure that everyone involved has the pet experience required.
While kennels and cat boarding are also alternatives, ask friends and veterinarians for recommendations and schedule far in advance. We are also happy to recommend facilities. We are not offended if you call us and ask for recommendations. Some pets do well in boarding situations. If you choose a boarding situation where your dog is allowed to play with other dogs all day, consider the added risk. If your dog injures another dog, you are liable for the costs. Your dog may also incur an injury. It’s unlikely, but should be taken into consideration.
We hope you will choose to leave your pets at home, in their safe, familiar environment. Our staff of trained, compassionate, trustworthy pet sitters will care for them to your exact instructions and will update you with texts, emails and photos after each visit. We will customize care to include regular or extended visits and/or overnight care. If your primary sitter is sick or cannot visit your pets for any reason, one of our other sitters will fill in so there are no worries about a missed visit. Our high tech software scheduling and notification system ensures no visit is ever missed.
Are all Professional Pet Sitters created equal? NO!
Here’s what to look for:
- Insurance. This is a must. Ask for verification. All insurance is not created equal. Entry level insurance often is sufficient to cover property damage, but falls short on the pets. Most of these policies only have a $1,000 maximum on each pet. Anyone spending time at the vet for a pet injury or illness understands that bills can run into the thousands. If this happens, can your pet sitter cover the costs? Also, the entry level plans cover one sitter, the owner. Make sure that each sitter is covered under the policy and ask for proof or a copy of the policy number so you can confirm by calling the insurance company yourself.
- Longevity. The pet sitting industry if full of fly by nights, and hobbyist pet sitters. Ask lots of questions if you choose a new business. While they may have great sitters, make sure they have processes in place that give you peace of mind. Chances are services with at least 2 years or more in business have the clientele, the reputation and the experience you need or are looking for. Always a good sign. Check the Idaho repository for criminal background records.
- Organizations, Online Reputations, Angies’s List, etc. There’s a litany of online review sources. Do your homework and see what you can find for reviews. We happen to be on Angie’s List, so if you have an account, check and see if whatever service your considering is on there. Definitely not a requirement, but a great source none the less.
- Staff. Make sure this business or person has back up staff that can step in in-case of emergency situations. People get sick, cars brake down..things can happen. If there’s no staff, you run a big risk. Many pet sitting businesses use independent contractors. Avoid these. Choose businesses that use trained employees. If an independent contractor gets hurt on your property, you are liable. If an employee gets hurt, they are covered under Workers’ Compensation. There are many other reasons why the independent contractor is not a good choice. Please call us for further information.
- Communication. Choose a pet sitter who offers up to date texts, including photos, of your pets after each visit. It is also important to be able to contact your sitter anytime, via phone.
- Flexibility. Choose a company that understands that plans change. Can they change with you? Will they penalize you for last minute cancellation fees or scheduling?
- Appointment Tracking. It is important that the service your choose has a high tech scheduling system. The last thing you want to happen if for your appointment to slip through the cracks and your pet not being seen. These software systems are critical for pet sitters.
- No Visitors on Jobs. Ask the business owner if children or other guests are allowed on the visits. Many stay at home parents are attracted to pet sitting because they can bring their children along. This is not a good idea on many levels. Hire a sitter who will provide one on one focused care for your pets.
- Giving Back: Is the company involved with charitable pet organizations. We believe this is a great indicator of their true love for pets. Do the owners and employees volunteer and financially support animal rescues, shelter, and the like. This is an indicator if they walk the talk.
- Services: Do they offer the services you need, when you need them? Will they customize a plan that works for your needs?
- Black Out Times: Does the business offer services 24×7? Many hobbyist sitters do not have back up and they want their holidays and vacations, too. Make sure they will be there anytime you need them.
- Special Skills: Does your dog pull on walks? Do you have a diabetic cat needing insulin shots. It is important that the pet sitter you choose has the skills required to care for your pets.
We, at the Pet Sitter of Boise, have been in business for over 10 years. We have all the things stated above. We are serious, trained professionals, not hobbyists. Our employees are passionate about pets and you can trust us with your pet and home. Call or email us anytime. We offer pet sitting, dog walking and overnight care. We will customize a care plan to your specific needs.