Tag: value of a pet sitter

Overnight Pet Sitter in Mesa AZ

Our overnight pet sitters are one of the most requested services we provide.  Pet parents like the option of overnight pet sitters because their pet’s are used to having someone home at night to sleep with or spend time with.  Whether it is a luxury or necessity is up to you to decide.

What goes on during an overnight pet sit?  A sitter arrives by 8:00 pm and leaves by 8:00 am the following morning.  Your pet gets one on one attention for the entire time your sitter is there.  We focus on play time, belly rubs, fresh food and water and cuddle time.  If your pet is used to sleeping with you, our sitters are happy to cuddle with your babies as well.

The beauty of choosing an overnight pet sitter is your pets are well adjusted when you get home.  It’s really as if you never left!  The pets that get the most enjoyment out of an overnight pet sitter are seniors, puppies and little breeds.  They LOVE the attention and the warmth our sitters provide.

Here is a checklist to see if you would make a good candidate for hiring an overnight pet sitter:

Do you talk baby talk to your pets?

Do you like to snuggle wuggle with your pets?

Do you allow your pets to sleep with you?

Are they used to having someone at home at night with them?

Do you feel more comfortable knowing your pet will have someone with them all night?

If you answered yes to any or all of these questions…you would make the PERFECT overnight pet sitter candidate 🙂

 

 

Dog Sitting in Mesa AZ.  Why One Visit Isn’t Enough…

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.

  1. Social creatures long for companionship

  2. They get bored

  3. They get anxious when they haven’t seen their human (or any other) for long periods of time

  4. Pets thrive on routine

  5. 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.

How My Clients Have Been Disappointed

I talk to pet parents every day. Sometimes I talk to pet parents who have used pet sitters before and were disappointed in the service. Once I ask discovery questions to better understand why they were disappointed, 9 times out of 10, I find out the pet parents weren’t using a PROFESSIONAL PET SITTER. Their “pet sitter” was a hobby sitter.

What is a hobby pet sitter?

A hobby pet sitter is someone who doesn’t care for pets on a full time basis. Someone who may love pets, but doesn’t make it a priority. The most common hobby pet sitter is a teenager…the kid that lives down the street.

How do people find hobby pet sitters?

The most common places you will find hobby pet sitters are Craigslist, Care.com, Sittercity.com, Petgigs.com just to name a few. Check out this ad from one of the mentioned sitter websites:

My name is (removed for protection), I’m actually 14, I’m very honest and u can trust me with your pets, I love animals of almost all kinds , I’m not looking for a crazy large pay, and there a variaty of things I’ll do for your pets for even 5 Bucks Like I’ve said I love animal.I have a few myself.

Can you predict the problems you would have if you hired this person?

What are the top complaints about hobby pet sitters?

The top 2 complaints I hear from my clients is:

I came home and found a several piles of poo and urine stains throughout the house.
I never heard from the sitter and assumed everything was ok.
These clients wondered if their pet sitter ever actually came. And if they did come, why didn’t they clean up the mess?

Never hearing from your “pet sitter” may be a good thing, it may be a bad thing. But wouldn’t you want to hear from your sitter…just for a little peace of mind?

How is a Professional Pet Sitter different?

A professional pet sitter would certainly clean up any messes that were made in the house. They would also communicate their findings with the pet parent. Maybe the pet needs more visits, or the timing of the visits needs to be adjusted. A professional pet sitter will have no problem communicating with the pet parent daily, even if it’s just to let the parents know everything is okay and to share a cute picture.

I’ve talked to and gained 2 new clients in one week who had similar experiences from different “sitters”. Unfortunately for hobby sitters, this happens more often than you’d think. In the long run, it’s better to hire a professional pet sitter from the start. It will save you heartache, stress and time finding a new sitter after the hobby sitter let you down.

How do you find a professional pet sitter?

There are several ways to find a trusted, professional pet sitter.

Ask your vet, groomer or pet supply store for a referral.
Google “pet sitters (your town)”
Check out the top 3 sitters who show up on Google and review their website, find them on social media outlets like Facebook and Google +
Check review sites
Have you ever had a bad experience with a hobby sitter? Share your stories with us…

Which is best?  Hiring a pet sitter or boarding my pets?

Guest Blogger – Starla Clark – Vet Tech/Pet Sitter Extraordinaire

As a Play Time Pet Care pet sitter I am of course a bit biased when it comes to in home care for pets. As a long time veterinary technician I feel I have experience to back my biases.

Overall I think pets do best when they are able to stick as close to their routine as possible. This being especially true for a cat which I believe always does best in its own home. For me the biggest concern is the trust you have with the person doing this care. Having been in the veterinary field for so many years and seeing things that go terribly wrong, I became very selective about care for my own pets. This is the number one reason I decided to accept pet sitting clients from Play Time Pet Care, and also use them for the care of my own animals…TRUST.  Jenna has carefully created a business that is held to high standards and limits potential problems.

While keeping pets in their own environment may be the ideal situation there are times this is just not feasible. I have two large dogs that are prone to disagreements between themselves and cannot be left at home unattended. Play Time Pet Care does offer live in services but I generally elect to use a boarding facility for one of my temperamental dogs while away.

When looking for a boarding facility be certain to see where your pet will actually stay. There may be times that the area is unavailable for viewing but never except that you cannot actually see the kennel. Many kennels sound terrific on paper but fall sadly short when actually viewed.

When touring a facility:

1.  Look for where the dogs are taken to relieve themselves (do they have grass, dirt, cement, etc.)

2.  Temperature control in the area they stay (do they have any, is it swamp cooled or air conditioned)

3.  Ability to escape the gaze of other dogs (to reduce anxiety and possible fighting)

4.  Overall care of other boarders

A kennel that requires documentation for current vaccines and negative stool samples is generally a higher quality kennel looking out for the best health of your pet. While not guaranteeing your pet will return free of parasites or viruses, it does generally indicate a higher caliber of pet owners and pet health of the boarders.  The same goes for doggy day care.

Many kennels allow dogs to exercise or be cared for in a “cage free” environment. This is an area I have seen countless times go bad. Dogs are usually stressed in a new situation and may not behave as expected. It’s hard to predict which dogs will get along and an ever present pecking order just causes more stress to an already anxious pet. Be sure to tour these facilities as well and ask them how they handle dog disputes.  If their answer is to throw food all over to distract them, that is a HUGE red flag.  Talk about creating another issue between possible food aggressive animals.  Ask them what they do to protect your dog during sleeping hours.  Is the night shift allowed to sleep?  If they sleep, where do they sleep and can they get to, or even hear, a problem as it’s arising? 

Do your research. You will enjoy your time away from home more thoroughly knowing your pet is well cared for. You can trust that if left in the hands of a Play Time Pet Care pet sitter, your pet will be treated as if it were their own.

Play Time Pet Care offers many options for pet care. From once daily visits to complete live in care and many choices in between!

How to keep your home safe while you are gone

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

SOURCES
* usatoday.com; iii.org
** youtube.com
*** fbi.gov
**** EzineArticles.com
† ncjrs.gov
†† crimestoppers-uk.org; fnnc.org; easier.com

Mesa Pet Sitter Transports Pets

Guest Blogger – Starla Clark – Pet Sitter Extraordinaire 

Ever struggle with getting your cat into a carrier and out the door?  As your professional Mesa pet sitters we are often asked to transport pets to vet appointments, groomers and day care.

Most anyone who is owned by a cat knows the secret telepathy that a cat possesses in regards to that scheduled appointment to the veterinarian, groomer or other time specific date. Many a cat is nowhere to be found when it comes time to load up into the car or if found, refuses to cooperate with the plan. 

Cats are often not seen by a Veterinarian because the pet parents don’t know HOW to get that darn cat in their carrier.  Starla has offered a few tips to help with transporting your furry friend.

  • Be certain to have a sturdy carrier in which to transport your pet. Plastic carriers are generally the safest, but a cardboard style carrier can also work fine for a normal weight, non-escapee variety of cat. If using cardboard, check to be sure it has been correctly assembled. You don’t want to lift kitty only to have him fall out of the bottom. 

  • Always confine your cat in something for the ride, even a pillowcase will work in a pinch. The most docile cat can exhibit super cat strength and escape your hold when being transported to an unfamiliar place.

  • When attempting to collect your cat to put into the appropriate carrier, be sure to have the cat contained first before bringing out the carrier. Many cats are very effective hiders when they spot that carrier first.

I am often asked how to get the cat into the carrier when they refuse to do so willingly. My answer is if they will not go willingly head first, most cats will allow you to place them in backwards. For the cat that is truly unwilling, stand the carrier on end and lower the cat by the scruff of the neck, backwards into the crate. 

A nice soft towel placed in the bottom will cushion the ride and absorb anything that might need absorbing.

And for all you dog owners… remember the leash, and a collar your pet cannot back out of when being asked to walk through that scary door to the animal hospital, kennel or groomer. Remember too that just because Fido loves cats, the cat Fido wants to look at in the waiting room may be deathly afraid of dogs.

The amazing part of this journey is how easily the cat returns to the carrier when leaving and how quickly the dog heads out the door. Always a miracle!

Don’t want all the drama? Remember Playtime Pet Care offers a Pet Taxi service to help you avoid all this work!

Starla Clark has been a team member with Play Time Pet Care since 2011.  Starla has over 30 years of veterinary experience.

Mesa Pet Sitter Provides Snout to Tail Assessments

At Play Time Pet Care our pet sitters provide snout to tail assessments (as long as the pet will allow) for our clients.  Our main objective is to ensure your pet is happy and healthy while you are away.  Part of knowing if you pet is healthy is by performing regular snout to tail assessments.

Our pet sitters are certified in Pet CPR & First Aid which offers us the knowledge and experience to manage health issues.  Mesa Pet Sitter offers Canine ReikiWe begin by getting to know your pet and allowing them to become calm enough for us to hang out on the floor with them without being clobbered with kisses and playful nudges.  Then we begin with the snout to make sure it isn’t dry and cracked, then check out their breath to ensure it isn’t stinky, we move on to the ears feeling the exterior for abnormalities and checking the interior for infection and general cleanliness.  We move down the body to check for lumps and bumps, recording the size and placement of any findings.  We’ll check the spine, legs and tail.

Of course on our very first visit we won’t know what is normal or not, so we keep the assessment in our file and on every new contracted visit we will re-evaluate to see if we notice any changes.  We alert the pet parent of any changes that we have found just to bring it to their attention.  If we happen to find an ear infection we will do our best to start cleaning the ear and let the pet parent know about it on their return so they can continue treatment until the infection is cleared up.

What a great way to ensure your pets health…by having a pet sitter that is certified in Pet CPR & First Aid take care of your pets while you are away.

Pet Sitting in Your Home

Your fur-ever pet sitting and dog walking company…

Providing and promoting positive, force free, human – pet bonds.

Pets are family too!  

As your fur ever pet sitting and dog walking company we dedicate ourselves to providing personalized pet care to your furry, feathered and scaled kids.  Our professional pet sitters and dog walkers provide a service of convenience to each of our pet parents, individual love and affection to our four legged clients and the exclusivity of working with the Best of the Valley.

Play Time Pet Care provides in your home pet sitting and dog walking services including: daily dog walking, potty breaks, puppy care, overnight care,  live in care and taxi services to the residence of Mesa and parts of  Gilbert.

Are you looking for a pet sitting company that will:

Play with and exercise your pet?

Cuddle and love your pet as you do?

Spend QUALITY time with your pet?

Provide a special diet?

Provide daily picture updates?

When it comes to the love and care of your pets our pet sitters are no nonsense. When it comes to playing and having a great time with your pets our pet sitters are ALL nonsense 🙂  

Questions to Ask Your Potential Pet Sitter

So you’re looking for a pet sitter and have no idea what kind of questions to ask. You figure if you meet the person and they seem nice, that should be good enough, right? Well, there are some important things you will need to know prior to making that hiring decision and handing over your keys. Here are a few tips and MUST ask questions:

1. Are you insured and bonded? The answer to this question should be YES. If your potential pet sitter responds by saying insurance and bonding isn’t important, stop the interview right there, thank them for their time and move on to the next one.

FYI – Insurance for a pet sitting company isn’t all that expensive. It should cover anyone from the company coming into your home. This includes the proprietors independent contracts / employees. If the sitter caring for your pets and home is under the age of 18, make sure the proprietors insurance covers them. MOST insurance companies DON’T cover those under the age of 18. Their insurance should cover special property of others which will cover accidental breakage, theft and mysterious disappearance.

2. Are you Pet CPR & First Aid Certified? The benefits to having a pet sitter that is pet CPR &First Aid Certified is tremendous. If a pet is acting strange, your pet sitter should be able to distinguish between emergency health related issues and those that can be waited out. If you are a multi pet household, First Aid comes in handy if multiple dogs are playing and one accidentally bites down too hard to get a toy from another dog and tears some skin. Your pet sitter should know how to clean a basic wound. If you allow your dogs to chew on rawhides your pet sitter should know CPR in case the rawhide gets lodged in the pets throat.

3. What is your back up plan? It is imperative that your pet sitter have a back up plan. Is this a single person operation or do they have independent contractors / employees that work for them? What happens if the sole proprietor gets sick, or in a car accident and CAN’T make it to your home to care for your pets? Working with a pet sitting company that employs other pet sitters is like getting a BOGO (buy one, get one). This also is a tell tail on what will happen during the holidays when pet sitters are their busiest. Single sitter operations may not have room on their calendar for you, which will leave you to search for another pet sitter anyway.

We’d be happy to help you find your fur-ever pet sitter. Give us a call for more pet sitter interviewing tips and questions.

Pet Sitting ~ Hire a Sole Proprietor or A Team of Sitters?

The age old debate:  To hire a single individual or a team of pet sitters?

I think this debate rings true when hiring any service provider that is coming into your home when you  may not be there.  A lot of people may find comfort in knowing the same person will be providing the service rather than a multitude of people whom you may have not met.

So, what happens when you hire a pet sitting company that has several pet sitters that work for them?  Will you get the same person every time, or will there be several people in and out of your home while you are away?  That’s a great question to ask your pet sitter prior to making that hiring decision.  Here is how Play Time Pet Care handles it:

When you call to set up your initial consultation / meet and greet, the sitter that is assigned to you will be determined by who lives closest to you, who is available during your requested dates and depending on the type of pet(s) you have, who has the most experience.  The goal is to set up the meet and greet with THE sitter that will be entering your home, providing your updates and completing the services needed.  We also like to continue having that same sitter work with you on future pet sitting needs.

With that being said, there is a HUGE advantage to working with a pet sitting company that has other pet sitters providing services.  Those advantages are:

  • You never have to interview or hire additional pet sitting companies that may have different rates and policies because we will always have you covered.  
  • Life happens.  If something were to happen to your dedicated pet sitter which rendered them incapable of caring for  your pets during a time when you are away, they have built in back up.  Your pets still get cared for without interruption. Granted, it may be a different pet sitter coming in to your home, but isn’t the piece of mind knowing your pets will always be taken care of better than the stress of possibly having another person in your home?
  • All our pet sitters are insured, bonded and background checked.  So, no matter who is in your home, you are protected.
  • What if you want to go on vacation the same time your pet sitter wants to go on vacation?  That’s not a problem with Play Time.  We’ll just send a different sitter to meet  you prior to you leaving so you know who is in your home.
  • It’s like having an army of passionate, pet loving individuals on your side.

The chances of having multiple people in your home is slim, but in the emergency case that may arise, you want to have a team of professionals to have your back to take care of your beloved companion.

Play Time Pet Care is there for you all the time, no matter what.  Your pets are our number one priority.