As a pet sitter it’s hard to take time off. Mostly because I’m needed here to watch everyone else’s pets while they go on vacation. My holidays aren’t during normal holidays, they are usually celebrated the week before or after. So, what DO I do when I need to get away?
I’m super blessed to have a wonderful staff that can not only take care of business, but whom I also trust caring for my own dogs when I go away. This year my husband and I took a week long vacation to visit family and I had one of my very own pet sitters take care of my dogs. You know what I came home to? Well adjusted, happy dogs…
Sure they were happy to see us. But they weren’t all frantic like no one had been around in hours. We get a more frantic greeting by our dogs when we leave them for a couple hours during the day. My pet sitter, the one who stayed with my dogs while we were gone, was awesome! I got the picture updates, just like our clients do. As a worried mommy myself, I contacted my sitter a couple times during the first few days I was away, just because I missed my kids so much. I just wanted to check in a time or two extra and my sitter was totally fine with it.
This time we decided to have a sitter live in our house while we were gone. Last time we went on vacation we had a sitter spend the night every other night. I must say, experiencing this for myself, there is a HUGE difference in my dogs adjustment and behaviors when someone is living with them than when someone is just stopping by or spending the night every other night. It was as if we never left home. This was such a great experience for me that I am totally sold on the live in services of my own company :).
The number one question prospective clients ask when calling about pet sitting services in Mesa, AZ is, “How much does it cost?” The answer to this question is, “It depends.” What do I mean when I say it depends? There are several factors that pet sitters take into consideration when quoting prices. Not all pet sitters are the same and pricing will vary depending on the following:
Where you live. Play Time Pet Care does not lower or increase prices just based off where someone lives. However, we do have a specific area that we cover. If you are outside our “normal” service area you may be charged a surcharge to cover time and gas to get there. Our prices are based off a certain mileage from our sitter’s homes. If they have to travel farther than normal they will be compensated for their time and travel.
How many pets you have. Play Time Pet Care’s pricing is all inclusive. This means we don’t charge for the number of pets you have. Other pet sitting companies may charge per pet after a certain number, say 3 pets. However, if you have a large pet family, it will take more time and effort to properly care for all of them and provide high quality service. You may pay a little more if you have a large pet family than someone who has a smaller pet family, this is to compensate for the additional work involved in caring for a lot of animals.
The type of service you require. Working with Play Time Pet Care you are able to mix and match services to your hearts content. The cost associated with different services will vary depending on what will work best for your family. There is a different rate for “pop in” daily visits, overnight care, live in care and dog walking. With dog walking and recurring visits (like when you are working long hours and your pet needs a potty break or extra attention) some pet sitters will offer a small discount because the service is recurring…meaning we can count on providing that service several times a week on an ongoing basis.
Medication administration. Play Time Pet Care does not charge extra for administering medication. Some pet sitters do. However, if you have a pet that is particularly difficult when taking medication (aggressive or just plain stubborn), you may pay a little extra because we take our time to ensure the animal receives the medication with as little stress as possible, which may take additional staff (2 sitters for each visit).
As you can see, there are many factors that we take into consideration when quoting prices to potential clients. Every family is unique and has different service requirements. It is difficult to determine a price with little to no information about the particular needs of your pets. I know “It depends” is a pretty vague answer, be patient and talk to your potential pet sitter about all facets of your pet’s needs to get the most accurate quote possible.
While dog sitting in Mesa AZ, I occasionally get inquiries from pet parents who are looking for just one visit per day. The pet parent explains that their pet only eats once per day so they only request one dog sitting visit per day. There are many reasons why your pet needs multiple visits per day (at least 2), while you are on vacation or business trip.
Social creatures long for companionship
They get bored
They get anxious when they haven’t seen their human (or any other) for long periods of time
Pets thrive on routine
Pet safety and home safety
Dogs are very social creatures and thrive on the companionship of their humans. When dogs are used to seeing their human in the morning and evening, they get stressed when they wake up and no one is around. Even if you have a shy or timid dog, having a sitter visit more often will help that shy or timid dog warm up to the sitter quicker and the faster the sitter will be able to play with and exercise your dog so they don’t feel anxious or abandoned.
You never know what they will get into when left alone for long periods of time. A visit in the morning and evening will help quickly assess whether your pet requires medical attention. See pictures below. Multiple visits per day will allow your sitter the opportunity to assess the situation and clean up the mess so your dog doesn’t have another opportunity to ingest something they shouldn’t.
The images below are dogs who “Never get into trouble or harm themselves when we are away.” This goes to show that you never know what your dog is going to do when left alone for long periods of time.
The one wearing socks chewed his legs raw because he was anxious that mom and dad were away.
The other is two dogs that got into the treat stash mom had in her closet. One was so sick she had to have rice and chicken for breakfast and lunch to alleviate the diarrhea. YES, the sitter cooked chicken and rice for the dogs to help make them feel better 🙂
If your dog doesn’t have a doggy door, THREE visits per day is optimal. This way they get their breakfast, mid day potty break and dinner. Did you know that exercise and walks are included in our pricing structure?
If your dog is crated during your absence, AT LEAST THREE visits per day are REQUIRED. Pets should never be left alone in a crate for more than 8 hours at a time. Puppies even less! Your dog needs to have ample time out of their crate to play, stretch and exercise. Your pet should ALWAYS have access to water. Which means they need a water dish in their crate and will need to go potty. Dogs that have been crate trained will not want to eliminate in their crate and it adds additional stress to your pet when they have to hold their bladder for long periods of time.
The optimal schedule for a dog that is crated during your absence is this:
AM – Breakfast, potty & play time
Afternoon – Potty & play time
PM – Dinner, potty and play time
Bed Time Tuck – in – Last potty break for the night and play time.
The bed time tuck in is scheduled after 8 pm and offers your pet an opportunity to go potty and get ready for bed and their time in the crate overnight. Your sitter will arrive early the next morning for their breakfast visit allowing for less than 12 hours alone in their crate.
You don’t have to pay “extra” for services that should be included. Our idea of pet sitting includes those “extra” services our clients expect at no additional charge. We don’t believe in nickle and diming our clients for services that should be included. The following services are included in our all inclusive pricing:
Daily Dog Walks
Emergency Trips to the Vet
Daily Photo Updates
All Pets Included
No Time Limit
Our prices are not the lowest prices out there. You can certainly find pet sitters that will charge less. However, we believe that positioning our rates a little higher than the rest will cover all the “extras” others may require you to pay for. Our philosophy is to provide the best possible care for your pets in a stress free environment. That stress free environment includes you, the pet parent, having a relaxing, stress free time away from home. You shouldn’t have to worry about getting an additional bill when you get home for things your pet sitter needed to do to take care of your pet while you were away.
When you are price shopping pet sitters in your area, be sure to ask your potential pet sitter what is included in their pricing and what you will need to pay extra for.
As a pet sitter in Mesa, AZ I am always looking for new ways to keep our clients connected to their pets when they are away. I look for technology that families are using to stay in touch with each other across long distances. Recently, I stumbled upon some really cool technology that I am encouraging my clients to use. This technology allows us, the ONLY pet sitter in Mesa, to send short video text and emails of their pets. Not just a photo image of their pet, but actual video footage of what fun their pets are having with their sitter.
Not only is this cool for sending a quick cute message, but if there is something going on, while we are pet sitting in Mesa, that may seem out of the norm, our pet sitters can capture video and send it to the client. Or they have the option of using the visual phone option, similar to Skype, to communicate with our clients. Let’s say, for instance, we are pet sitting in Mesa for a dog that all of a sudden started scooting their butt across the floor and yelping. We could take video of it, send it to the client with a short message asking if this is normal behavior. Instead of having to try and describe what is happening via text, the client can see first hand what is happening and let us know how they’d like us to handle it.
In the same instance, if there is weather damage to their home or a broken window or something we need to alert them to, we can use this technology to help our clients better understand what is going on at home so they can advise us to the best of their ability on how they would like us to handle the situation.
Click the image below to check out the short video I recorded for one of my clients while pet sitting in Mesa…
There are several ways in which we accomplish this. For those that have smart phones capable of viewing video we can take the video straight off our camera and text or email it to the client. If a client doesn’t have that capability through their phone, we use a FREE program called Tango, similar to Skype, to send video messages to their email. Through the Tango software, we are also able to video phone our clients or vice versa if the situation arises.
We love being able to effectively communicate with our clients, whether they are downtown at work or across the country.
Your Mesa pet sitter offers tips on how to keep your home safe while you are on vacation. Pet sitters at Play Time Pet Care take our jobs very seriously. Not only are we responsible for caring for your pets as you would when you are not home we also look after your home. We got some tips from our insurance agency so we knew what to do to make your home appear lived in even when you are not there.
Here are some questions that were asked of an ex burglar and his answers to each.
FACT: According to the Insurance Information Institute, the majority of home break-ins occur during the prime vacation months of July and August.*
Q: What’s the first thing you do to get inside?
A: “I head straight for the front door. I always knock, just in case. If you’re home, I’ll ask for directions or make up some other excuse. If you’re not, I’ll try to pick your lock. If you want me to avoid your house, make it look like someone’s home. Turn up the TV or radio. Park a car in the driveway.”
FACT: According to a survey of convicted burglars, 70% prefer to use the front door.**
Q: What about doors and door locks?
A: “I pick whatever takes the least time. So if I see a double lock, especially with a dead bolt, I’ll skip the house and move on to one with a single lock. A flimsy door that’s not hardwood or metal is a piece of cake to get into. I can kick the door down.”
FACT: According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 14.6 seconds in the U.S.***
Q: If I have a sign that says “Beware of Dog,” will that stop you?
A: “That’s a giveaway that you don’t have an alarm system, so boom! I’m in. Besides, it tells me there might be a doggie door in the back of the house. I’ve gotten in that way a hundred times.”
FACT: A Rutgers University study scientifically proved that 30-40% of burglars tend to avoid homes with burglar alarm systems.****
Q: What if I come home while you’re inside?
A: “There’s an old trick. I put a bottle or broomstick on the handle of the front door. If the bottle breaks or the broom drops, I know you’ve come home.”
Q: So what do you go for first on the inside?
A: “The small, high-ticket stuff—jewelry, credit cards, keys—the grab-and-run items. I look for bank statements because they tell me about your habits, and the better I know you, the better my chances for a heist. I’m also sizing up the bigger stuff you have. When it looks like the coast is clear again, I’ll be back for the TV, computers and antiques.”
FACT: If you’ve had the misfortune of being robbed once, your chance of being robbed again is higher.†
Q: Do burglars ever hit the same house twice?
A: “You bet, especially if you don’t get your locks changed right away. When people come home after a burglary and the house is a complete wreck, the last thing they think about is their keys. People are more worried about the expensive or sentimental stuff that’s missing. I take the keys, and after a few days, I come back because odds are the locks haven’t been changed yet.”
With all that being said:
Leaving the radio or tv on isn’t necessarily for your pets entertainment. Although they may get a kick out of it, or not care at all, it may be the one thing that will save your home from being robbed.
A good burglar will know how to handle a dog and will probably befriend them while they are taking your personal belongings, so lock up the dog door and have your sitter come more often. It’s cheaper in the long run.
Whether you have an alarm system or not, it’s a good idea to put an alarm companies stickers or yard signs by your front door.
Don’t make your home an easy target!
* usatoday.com; iii.org
†† crimestoppers-uk.org; fnnc.org; easier.com
Did your pet sitting quote come out to be more than you expected? Not all pet sitters are created equal. Here is one BIG reason you may pay more for your service.
I recently spoke to a new potential client who’s current pet sitter is moving out of state. This potential client needs to find a new live in pet sitter for her 7 dogs. As we were speaking about price and value, we came out to be $58 more per day than the last company she worked with. As I was “selling” her on our services she flat out stated that we don’t provide any different service than her last sitters who were cheaper. So she wanted to know what she was getting EXTRA to validate the additional cost.
Sometimes it’s difficult to explain how we are different. Yes, we provide similar services as other companies, we may appear to be exactly the same, but sometimes you need to experience the difference to understand what you are paying is worth every penny. We could use the car analogy:
“When you are test driving a Nissan and a Lexus, they both get you from point A to point B. They both essentially DO the same thing. But once you’re in it, driving it, THEN you understand what the difference is.”
We are providing overnight services for a couple who are taking a long overdue honeymoon. The last thing we want to do is call them with any emergencies. We just want to take care of everything so they can relax. However, Murphy’s Law says, “If it’s going to happen, it will happen when the pet sitters are in charge.”
We unfortunately had to call the dad and tell him his A/C went out. He is working with a home warranty company (which never moves as quickly as you want them to) and it’s going to take 3 days for them to come out and evaluate the system. In the mean time, we have 2 dogs and a kitty stuck in the home with no A/C. One of the dogs isn’t friendly with other dogs and all our sitters have dogs of their own so we aren’t able to bring them to one of our homes (which I would do in a heartbeat). Our only option is to keep the pets as comfortable as possible.
Mom and dad have ceiling fans, but no floor fans. It’s still too warm out to open up all the windows to catch a breeze. So, we brought our own floor fans, bought dog cooling pads for their dogs and brought a portable A/C unit to their house. Although the house is a little uncomfortable for a while, with the additional fans, cooling pads, portable A/C unit and extra water the dogs are going to be just fine. We’ve made additional visits to the house to check on the dogs (at no additional charge).
Is the extra money worth it?
I’ll let you be the judge. We are here for our clients and their pets. We do everything we possibly can to make their pets comfortable and to alleviate any stress this whole circumstance has produced. We will be waiting at their house from noon to 4 pm to let the A/C repair company in. All of this at no additional charge.
These are things that can’t be explained on the phone. It’s a service you just have to experience for yourself to understand. This may not happen to you, but something else could and we will be there to do whatever it takes to make sure your pets are taken care of and to help alleviate as much stress as possible.
Play Time Pet Care provides services to Mesa residence East of Gilbert Road which includes Las Sendas, Red Mountain Ranch and Thunder Mountain. Our pet sitting and dog walking services are top notch and second to none.
Some of the services we offer are:
Live In Care
Pet Babysitting by the Hour
For more information on the above services please check out our Services page.