titlebar.jpg

Home
About Us
Services & Rates
New Clients
Existing Clients
Hotel / B&B Sitting
Our Mission
Q & A
Meet Our Crew
Service Area
In The News
Plan Ahead
Employment
Pet First Aid Class
Testimonials
Our Sponsors
Pet Adoptions
Local Links
Contact Us

Q & A

Below you will some of our client's most frequently asked questions.
Should you have additional questions not covered here, please feel free to
contact us.

What is In Your Home Pet Sitting?

In your home pet sitting is a service where a pet sitter comes to your home for scheduled visits and cares for your pets in their own, familiar environment, following your instructions. Visits are customized to meet the needs of your pet which can include dog walks, feedings, litter box cleanings, play time, or even just quiet companionship. 

You select a 15, 30, 45 or 60 minute visit as many times a day as you'd like (7am-9pm).  

If you're on vacation, we can also bring in your mail, newspaper and packages while caring for your pet. We can take out your trash, adjust your TV or radio, alternate your lights and blinds and even water your plants. We also offer a mid-day dog walk service (10am-3pm, Mon-Fri) for folks with busy work schedules or those who merely want their dogs to have quality walks. 

Each visit is completely customizable. Our service also provides your property with added security since your routines are kept, making it appear as if you're home.
 

How many times per day do most people book if going on vacation? 

 A standard pet sit for dogs is usually 3 times per day - Once in the Morning (7-9am), once in the Afternoon (1-3pm) or Late Afternoon (4-6pm) and once in the Evening before bed (7-9pm) however we do offer 5 time blocks (Morning, Late Morning, Afternoon, Late Afternoon, Evening) that you are able to select.

Some dogs are fine with only two visits per day (ie: dogs who have doggie doors, are kept outside, have pee pads, etc). 

Cats require daily visits once per day but you can schedule more if you'd like.

We do not offer every-other-day pet sits and we do not share responsibilities with caretakers not employed by Zoo Sitters. 

Since every pet is unique, you can simply customize each visit to meet your individual pet's needs.

 

I usually board my pet(s). Why should I consider the In Your Home Option?

According to the American Humane Society, pets are happiest when they're at home, surrounded by familiar sights, sounds and smells. From your pet's perspective, their familiar environment, diet and exercise routine - coupled with the detailed attention provided by an experienced, professional pet sitter - is the perfect alternative to you personally being there.

The "in your home" option is a relief to most owner who don't want their dog kenneled and who also no longer wish to rely on family or friends. You can rest assured, with the "in home " option, that your instructions are being followed closely.

Professional pet sitters are not the "next door neighbor pet sitter". They are trained in how to take care of other people's pets, know what signs to look for to avoid unnecessary risks with your animals, and know how to handle pet emergencies.

 

I already have a pet sitter - why should I switch to Zoo Sitters?

Zoo Sitters was opened in 2006 by former zoo keeper, Vanessa Sorace. Vanessa was named the 2012 Pet Sitter of the Year by Pet Sitters International due to her high standard of excellence, passion for pet care, and professionalism.

She is also a Certified Professional Pet Sitter through Pet Sitters International and The National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.

Additionally, she has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Animal Behavior from West Chester University and is a certified instructor of pet first aid and CPR through Pet Tech, giving our staff  an additional resource for any potential pet issues.

While other pet sitters can be capable, responsible people, we are able to provide you with service that is held to a high professional standard. We can identify warning signs before there is a problem and we have the experience and staff to be able to adequately take care of the issue.

All of our clients are assigned at least two pet care professionals so that if your primary sitter is unavailable, sick, is in an accident, etc. you can be assured that another one of our qualified pet care professionals will be able to care for your pet and follow your instructions.

We also maintain a tested evacuation plan in case of an extreme weather evacuation. In addition, we work closely with local veterinarian offices who can handle any emergencies should care be needed during your absence if your primary vet is not available. 

Our sitters are experienced, responsible, mature, animal enthusiasts who are trained in pet first aid and CPR.

They are valued employees (no subcontractors) who are fully insured, bonded, and background checked before they come on board with us.

They also go through an extensive and ongoing training program to ensure they are always meeting, what we call, the Zoo Sitters Standards. This guarantees that all of our sitters are providing your pet with the same level of care.

We are not the "next door neighbor pet sitter". We are not pet sitter hobbyists. We are highly trained individuals who know how to take care of other people's pets, know what signs to look for to avoid unnecessary risks with your animals, and know how to handle pet emergencies. We take our responsibility very seriously and strive to give you and your pets the best experience possible.

Our online system also allows you to request your appointments or update your pet care instructions at a time that's convenient for you.

Since all your pet care instructions are entered into our system directly by you, there no middle-man keying errors on important pet care information,or worse, a scheduling miscommunication. This provides you with a record of exactly what you have requested of your sitter at each visit, setting a clear expectation for us.

We also accept credit card payments, provide our clients with visit updates direct to their email, offer a free companion App where clients can update their pet care information, schedule services and receive visit updates, and pride ourselves on our quick responsiveness. 

Are you Insured and Bonded? How can I be sure? 

Yes, we are insured and bonded. We are happy to provide you with our insurance information upon request. 

We always recommend that you ask for proof of insurance regardless of which pet sitter you choose. In addition, it is suggested that you call the insurance company directly to ensure the policy is still in effect.

Zoo Sitters carries levels of insurance adequate to appropriately cover our client's home and pets while under our care. This includes Care, Custody and Control insurance in addition to General  Liability and Bonding. Care, Custody and Control insurance covers your pets and contents of  your home while under our care, while General Liability covers the structure of your home only. Bonding insurance covers theft. We also carry Worker's Compensation insurance in accordance with state laws.

 Who are your sitters? 

Our pet care professionals are responsible, experienced, mature, animal enthusiasts, over the age of 25, who pride themselves on getting to know your pet and your routines. We have a great Meet Our Crew page on our website as well so that you can get a feel for our sitters before you meet them. 

They are insured, bonded and undergo a thorough criminal background check before coming on board. 

They also go through an extensive training period  before being allowed in a client's home on their own. It takes our sitters approximately 3 months from the time they first contact us regarding employment, before they get a key to a client's home. Not just anyone can be a Zoo Sitters pet sitter and most who apply, don't make the cut. We hire less than 1% of people who seek out employment with us due to our high standards. We take hiring very seriously and it's a process that is never rushed. After all, it's our name and reputation on the line when we call someone a Zoo Sitters pet sitter. 

Our sitters are highly valued employees. We do not hire independent contractors.

They are also trained in pet first aid and CPR through Pet Tech. Our pet care professionals take to heart the high standards of working for a professional pet sitting company and will strive to exceed your expectations. 

They are responsible members of the community and understand that they are working for one of the top pet sitting companies in the country. They also take continuing education classes to help them be the most knowledgeable and experienced professional pet sitters around. 

Will it be the same sitter for all of my visits? 

Zoo Sitters provides only top notch pet care professionals trained to uphold our high standards. We also don't feel that a one-man operation who may be conducting business without a backup plan in place, is a safe option for your pets. If that one pet sitter is sick, in an accident, or has an emergency, who will care for your babies? 

It is because of this that we ensure all of our clients always a primary pet sitter and at least, one back up sitter. 

During your Client Meeting, we will meet with you to discuss your pet care needs, evaluate your pet and ask any questions that we may have. During this meeting you will meet with the owner of our company or one of our Field Managers, your primary pet sitter and hopefully your back up sitter as well, if we are able to coordinate all schedules.

If your primary pet sitter is not available for your appointment when you book, your back up sitter will be assigned to cover the visits. 

If your primary pet sitter and back up sitter are both unavailable when you request dates from us, another qualified backup may be able to cover your needs. We will always make you aware if a new back up sitter will be handling your visits and direct you to their online picture and bio so you can get a feel for them.  If you'd like to meet that sitter before your appointment begins, please let us know and we will make every effort to work it into their schedule. 

You can be assured that anytime you book with us, a highly trained pet care professional from our team will be caring for your pets, and following the same set of instructions as your primary pet sitter. Every pet sitter on our staff conducts visits according to our Zoo Sitters Standards so that you don't ever experience a difference in service. 

 

How many times a day can you visit? 

We can potentially visit up to 5 times per day: once in every time block.

 

Can you just come every other day for my pet while I'm on vacation? 

We do not provide every-other-day vacation service. 

In order to provide proper care for your pet and your home, we require daily visits when you are away. Issues such as  illness, blockages, behavior problem, sanitation, broken pipes, etc. can be addressed immediately and action taken if we visit on a daily basis. 

Our policy is to limit as much risk as possible ensuring the highest levels of safety of your pets and your home. It is one we take seriously.

 

Is it ok if my friend stops over while you're sitting for us? 

Unfortunately, no. We have a strict policy that we do not split visits with other caretakers and we do not accept jobs where other people will access your home while you are away. 

We are responsible for your pet(s) and home while you're gone. When another person enters your home, any issues that arise could spill over onto our watch and impact our insurance. 

Our sitters are trained to notice patterns in behavior to ensure any potential issues are identified before they become a bigger problem. When additional people enter your home who are not trained in the Zoo Sitters standard, this ability to monitor the health of your pet and the safety of your home is compromised. 

This includes caretakers, family that don't live with you, friends, cleaning companies, etc.  

With this in mind, we will not approve any appointments where you cannot guarantee us that only Zoo Sitters employees will be accessing your home from the time you leave, to the time you return. Not abiding by this policy may result in a termination of a client's contract along with additional fees. 

What if the weather is bad when you arrive? 

Our pet care professionals will use their best judgment concerning your pet's well-being when dealing with inclement weather conditions. 

Walks will most likely be shortened and the remainder of your visit spent indoors with your pet. 

We will not cut your visit short however and you will be billed for what you booked. 

Before scheduling long dog walks, we recommend checking the weather forecast ahead of time and booking accordingly.

 

Can I email or call with my service dates and instructions? 

We do not allow instructions or date requests to come via email or phone unless you are requesting service for today or tomorrow. 

Phoned or emailed booking requests can be misplaced, misinterpreted or mis-keyed. With this in mind, we believe the safest mode of communication is direct between our clients and our sitters, through our online system.

Our online system is very user friendly, fast and accurate. It also communicates your changes to all of your sitters at once and creates an electronic trail of any requests you make with us. 

Our system ensures that we know exactly what is expected of us at each visit and no visit ever get missed.

 

Can I just leave instructions for my sitter at  my home? 

Due to our insurance and the legalities of professional pet sitting, we cannot follow notes left at your home. Therefore all care instructions must be in your online account. The care listed in your contract is what we have agreed to before arriving at your home. 

It is also our priority to always minimize the risk that comes with caring for someone else's pets. Notes left at the home can be lost, confusing, and take time away from your pet's care. We've seen sticky notes with instructions even come off a refrigerator and fly underneath, never to be seen by the sitter! 

With that in mind, we feel the safest method of communication is through your online account. This ensures nothing is ever missed. 

We appreciate your understanding and want you to know that safety is always our number one priority.

 

My computer is down. I cannot update my contract or schedule. 

We realize emergency situations happen and are happy to accommodate clients in this situation. Just call our office and we'll enter the information in for you. 

Turn around is 24 hours and clients are responsible for reviewing their confirmations to ensure appointments were built correctly.

 There is a $5 administrative fee for any manual entries handled by our office.

 

 What if something changes with my pet care as I'm walking out the door? 

While you can certainly update your contract and even leave a note online for your sitter through our App right from your Smartphone or iPad, if you have a last minute change and are not able to do so, we ask that you call and leave your instructions on our office voicemail.   

Do not leave a note at your home as we cannot follow it. 

Notes left at the house can result in a fee of $30 being assessed to your account and potentially a termination of your contract with us.

 

Can I get updates while I'm away? 

You sure can! All of our services come with FREE visit updates sent to your email. Additionally, our clients all enjoy our free App that makes communications, updates and scheduling extremely quick and easy!  

 

Can you give my pet medication? 

Yes, we are able to give most pills and liquid medications to most pets provided your pet is agreeable. If your pet is difficult to medicate, they may not be a good fit for our services.

We do not charge an additional fee for administering medications. 

We do not give needle-administered medications like insulin or allergy shots. 

 My dog doesn't walk well on a leash. Can you still walk him? 

It shouldn't be a problem however our policy to always ensure the highest safety for your pet. 

With this in mind, if your dog pulls excessively or lunges, we reserve the right to utilize a different collar from what you normally use. This could be a martingale, gentle leader, Halti, slip lead, EZ walker harness, or Sprenger training collar, depending on the situation. 

Our sitters are trained on the proper use of all collars. This will be at the discretion of your sitter and will ensure we have control over your pet at all times, allowing us to avoid any problems that could arise. 

Safety is our number one priority and we want to ensure there are never issues on our watch. 

 

I have multiple pets, can you charge me only once a day for my cat? 

Legally, your pet is considered personal property. That means, unless they are listed under on your contract, we are not allowed to legally render aid should an issue arise. 

Therefore, we require clients to include all pets in their online contract so that each pet is included on our insurance, on every visit. Our additional pet fees are kept intentionally low to accommodate clients in this situation. 

 

Will you pick up after my pet(s)? What about accidents? 

Your sitter will pick after your pet when they are out on their walk. 

They will also pick up after your pet if they go in your yard while under their care however we do not provide yard clean up services. 

If your pet gets sick or has an accident in your home, we will clean up after them to the best of our abilities. We also carry Nature's Miracle and will do our best to take care of any stains, marks, etc. 

While we never charge for cleaning up accidents (Its part of the job!), if it becomes a chronic issue, we may discuss the use of alternative products to help with the situation or adjusting your visits.

 

How do you handle my keys? 

We highly recommend the use of a lock box so that you don't even have to provide us with keys! This is our preferred method of key management.

Lock boxes can be a great alternative to supplying keys and run about $20 on Amazon or at any local hardware store. You then just attach it to a door knob and supply us with the code. 

Please note that with the removable lock box option, we may not be able to conduct any emergency pet sits for you unless the lock box is always present. If this is a concern, there are also lock box options that can be permanently mounted outside, in a garage, outdoor shower, shed, etc. 

If you decided to use a lock box, we still recommend that you place two keys inside the box just in case a sitter accidentally locks a key inside your home. 

If you choose not to use a lock box, we require THREE sets of keys from you unless you leave your home unlocked. 

Keys will be picked up free of charge at your Client Meeting. If you do not have keys ready for us at your Client Meeting, we can either schedule an additional meeting to pick them up or simply make a second set for you, both for an additional charge.

If you provide us with keys, we will retain them so we are ready for future service at a moment's notice. 

Keys are housed in our lock boxes when not in use and are only coded with a Zoo Sitters internal code - no client names or address'. 

For the safety of your pets, your home, and our staff, we do not lock keys inside your home or place them outside. 

Please note that we DO NOT RETURN KEYS. Should you wish to cancel your account with us, we will destroy your keys. Clients who are not comfortable with this are encouraged to use a lock box. It's a great option!

 

I'm going to give you my garage code. Do I still need to give you keys? 

Yes. Unless you are utilizing a lock box or have an automatic backup generator in place, keys are still required in case of electrical outages. Again, a lock box is a great option.

 

Can I just leave the keys under the mat or outside? 

No. To ensure the safety of your home and our sitters, we do not allow for keys to be left under your mat or outside of your home.

We will also not lock them inside your home. 

If you do not wish for us to retain your keys, we recommend the use of a lock box. 

Why do you require three sets of keys? 

Your primary and back up sitter each retain a set of your keys. 

As an emergency backup, we keep one set of keys in our office. This ensures, in case your sitters gets held up with a sick pet, are in an accident, have an emergency, or simply aren't available, we can supply another backup sitter with your key to ensure your pets are not negatively impacted in anyway. 

Our insurance company also recommends that we have multiple sets of keys to avoid locksmith fees in case we accidentally lock your keys inside your home.  If you only supply us with one set of keys, we will make additional copies for you for an additional fee. 

Avoid giving us keys all together by utilizing a lock box. 

What do I do if I want to book service? 

You are given access to our online system once you register. The online system allows you to request your appointment dates, services and time blocks at a time that convenient for you. 

If you need an emergency visit for today or tomorrow, you will have to contact our office directly to request service. There are additional fees added to such visits as they are considered last minute requests.

 

How am I billed? 

We are a credit card only company. We accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover. 

You will receive an invoice for sheduled services 1 week before the invoice is due. Payments are due 3 days before the start of your appointment. You can pay your invoices online right in your account. If your invoice is not paid by the due date, we will automatically charge your credit card for you.  

How can I be sure that I'm scheduled? 

Once your online appointment request is approved, you will receive a confirmation of services via email that will list the dates and services you selected as well as the cost of the appointment. 

You are also welcome to log into your account at any time to view the status or details of your appointment. 

 

Does my sitter accept tips? 

Absolutely! Tips are always appreciated. They help keep only the best pet sitters on our staff. Generally, pet sitters are tipped like any other service industry such as hair dressers, servers, cleaning staff, etc. Typically this ranges from 10-20% of the total bill.

Sitters prefer cash which can simply be left at your home during scheduled visits. We do ask however that you designate the tip for your Zoo Sitter so that they know it's for them. 

You never have to break up tips between your sitters however. If multiple sitters work on your appointment, your tip will be divided up accordingly by our office. 

Additionally, you can add a tip to your credit card when you pay your invoice. Please be aware that sitters are not made aware of credit card tips until after appointments are finished.

 

 Are there any extra charges for holiday care? 

Yes. There is a Holiday Surcharge per visit if pet care spans any of the following holidays: New Years Eve, New Years Day, Presidents Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. 

Can I schedule a last minute visit for today or tomorrow? 

Sure can! We are happy to schedule or change sits for you with less than a days notice when we are able to accommodate them on our schedule. 

Please understand that Zoo Sitters carefully schedules our time to service you and other clients and last minute changes do require administrative efforts to engage your sitter and update schedules and billing. 

There is an additional fee attached to each visit not booked with at least one day's notice. 

Should you need a visit for today or tomorrow, you will need to contact our office directly.

 

I'm staying in a local B&B. Can you provide pet sitting services for me while I'm out on the town? 

Absolutely! While our policies are different for our hotel / B&B clients, we can certainly provide you with a pet sitter or dog walker while you're out enjoying our town depending on availability.   

Check out the Hotel/B&B tab on our website for details. 

Do you offer a service that monitors that I've arrived back home? 

Yes. Our Home Safe Service can provide you with valuable peace of mind when you are away. It's a great option for clients who would like for us to ensure they have returned home before ending service. 

Here's how it works: Select the date and time block for a Home Safe Service from the online system when you book your appointment. This would be the date and time by which we would need to hear from you to ensure you have made it home safely.

If we do not hear from you by the end of the time block you selected, we will call you, at the number(s) listed in your contract to see how you'd like us to proceed. 

If we do not get in touch with you, we will engage a sitter to get to your home as soon as possible and your normal sitting schedule will resume. 

Each sit after contact is attempted will be charged a Last Minute Fee in addition to the cost of the visit. 

If we do not hear from you within 48 hours, we will begin to call your Emergency Contact and make arrangements for your pets to get to them.

 

 

Click Here to Get Started!

© 2006 Zoo Sitters All Rights Reserved.