Frequently Asked Questions

Hiring The Right Pet Sitter

What does a Professional Pet Sitter do?


Pet owners realize that their pets feel more comfortable and secure when they can stay in their own home rather than being boarded at a kennel. Pet sitters make this possible by providing daily visits to your home to care for your pet. Sitters provide a variety of pet care services, including feeding and providing fresh water, walking dogs, cleaning litter boxes and cages, and administering medications. They can also give your house a lived-in look by bringing in mail, packages, newspapers, opening and closing blinds, and rotating lights. Your pet will appreciate the extra doses of loving care and you will experience the peace of mind knowing that your pets and your home are in capable hands. See also: Why Hire a Professional Pet Sitter




Why should I hire a professional?


Professional pet sitters are just what the description implies – professional. While having friends, family, or neighbors care for your pets may seem like a logical choice, professional pet sitters do this for a living and have the experience necessary to care for your animals. All members of our network are bonded, insured, and belong to at least one industry trade association. This means that you can trust us to act responsibly when we enter your home. Since this is our job, you can count on us to be there.




Why do I need to hire someone who is bonded and insured?


These days it's rare to find a professional service provider who isn't fully insured and bonded. Insurance protects you against the cost of accidents or damage to your property caused by the pet sitter's negligence. Bonding protects you in case of theft of your belongings.




What kinds of animals do you care for?


Network pet sitters care for a variety of pets, from the usual dogs and cats to birds, reptiles, horses and chickens! While not all pet sitters care for the same types of animals, you will find just the right sitter by using our pet sitter search feature at the top of the page. I don't need a pet sitter, I need a dog walker! Most pet sitters offer dog walking services at flexible times to their clients who can't get home to exercise and provide a potty break for their dogs.




I'd like to save money by having my friend, relative, or neighbor share the pet sitting duties. Good idea right?


Many of our sitters DO NOT share pet sits with other care providers, be it friends, relatives, or neighbors. This is because of insurance liability issues and continuity of care concerns. Please make sure you discuss this with your pet sitter on the phone before setting up the consultation.




My cat is independent. Would you visit him every other day?


Most of our members require cats to be seen a minimum of once per day. Network members feel strongly that cats should be observed at least once in 24 hours as they are very good at hiding illness, some of which may require immediate medical attention. In addition, cats are curious creatures, so they may find themselves trapped in closets or rooms away from their food or litter box.




Since I'm planning to leave a big bowl of food for my dog, and he has a doggie door, can you come once a day?


Dogs are social creatures and need the company of a "pack" to stay happy and balanced. Most of our sitters require a minimum of 2 visits in 24 hours for dogs, even if your pet has access to a doggie door.




How much should I tip my pet sitter?


Pet sitters work hard and often get overlooked. They care for your pets with a great deal of love, and frequently go “above and beyond” the call of duty. If you were provided with great service, it is appropriate to tip your pet sitter 10-20% of the total bill.




When is it not appropriate to hire a pet sitter?


There are some cases where pet sitting may not be the best alternative for your pet. Here are some examples. Most pet sitters are able to give your pet basic oral medication, and many can administer insulin injections. Some pet sitters can give sub-coetaneous fluids as well. If your pet is in failing health, or requires more intensive care, we would suggest boarding your pet at your vet’s office, which can provide 24 hour care. If your pet is aggressive, or doesn’t react well to visitors or strange people entering your home, it would be best to board your pet. If your pet gets very destructive in your absence, or suffers from severe separation anxiety, he or she may be better off at a boarding facility around other dogs and people.




What happens if my pet has a medical emergency?


During your consultation, your expectations for your pet's care and your pet sitter's emergency protocols will be discussed. Together you and your sitter can tailor an emergency plan specific to you and your pet’s needs. Your sitter will contact you and your vet and transport your pet to either an emergency clinic or your usual clinic depending on the circumstances. Be prepared to pay for your sitter's extra time.




What happens in the event of a weather emergency or natural disaster?


Having a severe inclement weather contact is critical to your pet's welfare. Supply your pet sitter with the name and contact information of a nearby neighbor who can walk to your house and care for your pets in the event that impassable road conditions or other emergency prevents safe travel to your home. Make sure this neighbor has access to your home and will be home during the period of time that you are away.




Why does my cat have to be vaccinated? It lives indoors!


Rabies vaccination is required by law. Other vaccinations should be considered for the overall health and welfare of your cat, as your cats could be exposed to disease from feral animals in your yard or from viruses carried on your shoes or clothes. This is a topic to be discussed with your veterinarian.




What if I don't believe in vaccinating my pets?


While we respect everyone's opinion, many sitters will not accept unvaccinated pets as clients because of the health risk to themselves (think rabies) or to other clients' animals.




My dog is a little aggressive, will you still pet sit for him/her?


This is definitely an issue to bring up with your sitter preferably prior to or during the consultation. Some members are more willing to work with aggressive animals than others, especially if they have training credentials. Your sitter may decline the job for the sake of his or her safety and that of others. He or she can probably recommend a good trainer for you though!





About The Network

What is the National Capital Area Professional Pet Sitters Network and what does it do?


It is the Mission of the Network to educate pet owners about responsible pet ownership and the benefits of professional pet sitting services. We provide local pet sitting professionals with a support network and share educational opportunities and tools. We also support local shelters and rescue groups in the effort to care for and find responsible homes for pets.




Who is eligible to become a member of the National Capital Area Professional Pet Sitters Network?


Membership in this network is open to all professional pet sitting businesses licensed to operate in the community in which business is conducted, and who has customers in the Metro DC area. Each member pet sitting business must be a member of a national pet industry organization (such as Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters), must carry pet sitter liability insurance and sign our Pledge of Professional Conduct.




How can I receive information about becoming a member of the Network?


Please visit the “Join Our Network” page or contact a Network Executive Committee Member for membership information.





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