You Bark, We Listen

Below are some answers to questions that we have been asked in the past. Please contact us at pets@loudounpetsitting.com if you don’t see the information you are looking for here.

Q: What does “bonded and insured” mean?

Your pets are typically insured through your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. However, once they leave your property with one of our caregivers, our insurance kicks in. Our bond protects your home and property against theft and damage by one of our team members. We also perform a national criminal background check on our team members before they start working for us. It’s very important to hire a dog walker or pet sitter that is bonded and insured to protect you, your pet, and your home.

Q: How will you access my home?

We will pick up two keys (or a garage or door access code, and one key) at our consultation when the paperwork is signed. If you only provide one key and we need to make a copy of it, we will add a $10 charge to your next invoice. Alternatively, we (or you) can provide a lockbox with a code for you to install on your house or property somewhere where our caregivers can access, and you can put a key inside. If a garage or keypad code is provided, we still require a key for backup (kept in the office) in case of power loss or low battery. Your keys are stored securely and labeled with only your pet’s name and an ID number assigned by our system as identifiers.

Q: How do you know that a visit has been completed?

We utilize an online system that all of our sitters access through their smart phones. They can use our GPS check in and out options, which enables us to see when they started and finished a visit and the GPS coordinates they were at when they checked in and out. They can also leave internal notes about the visit that we can refer to, and they mark the visit as completed which is then date and time stamped so we can see when they completed it. Finally, many clients leave a notepad out for the sitter to use to write short notes about the day’s visit – time arrived, time left, and any factoids about the visit that you might be interested in as a pet parent. Our managers check the system throughout the day to ensure that visits are being completed and follow up as necessary.

Q: How do you bill for services?

For recurring services, you will receive an invoice via email once every 2 weeks for services completed during that period. We do not bill in advance in case there are cancellations, additions, or changes. For vacation services or irregular services, we will bill upon completion of the visits. There is a link to pay via PayPal on the invoice – a PayPal account is not required to pay via PayPal. Credit cards are accepted through PayPal. We also accept checks, and many clients set us up through their bank’s online bill pay system.

Q: Are gratuities for my walker or sitter expected?

Certainly not. Some clients wish to recognize their walker or sitter, but it is not expected by the caregivers. If you wish to give a tip, you can leave cash for the walker, or you can request that it is added to your next invoice. 100% of the gratuities go directly to the walker or sitter.

Q: My schedule is inconsistent – can you accommodate that?

Absolutely! If you are able to set up a consistent schedule (i.e., M-Th each week, or MWF weekly), then you can take advantage of discounts for recurring services (a minimum of three visits/week for a minimum of 8 weeks). As a recurring client, you will enjoy the consistency of having a primary pet caregiver assigned to most of your schedule, have the ability to cancel at no charge by 8am the day of a visit, and you can add walks as your schedule dictates.

If you are not able to set up a regular schedule, or just don’t need visits that frequently, we would set you up in our system and gather keys, and do introductions with sitters as needed. Then you will be able to book walks as needed at our regular rates.  Once you are signed up as a client, we will work with you to provide services that meet your schedule. We prefer at least a day’s notice to add a visit – the shorter the notice is, the harder it might be to get your preferred walker on the schedule.

Q: How long do you visit my pet?

We offer visits ranging from 15 minutes to an hour. Regardless of the length of the visit, the time is measured “door to door,” meaning the clock starts when the sitter enters your home and ends when they leave your home. This means if you book a 30 minute dog walk, your dog is not being walked for the entire 30 minutes – it may take a few minutes to greet your dog and get his harness and leash on prior to the walk, then upon returning it may take a few minutes to get the harness off, throw away the poop bags, freshen the water and give a treat.

Q: Do you charge extra for more than one pet?

It depends on the services needed. In general, our rates include 2 pets but each household is evaluated based on what you need. Multiple dogs that need to be walked separately are entirely different from a house with 1 dog and 1 cat. We will discuss your household’s pets, their needs and your goals for the visit and provide a rate based on that information.

Q: How many different people will be coming into my home?

For regular midday walk clients, we pair your pet(s) with a primary walker/sitter and one or two backup walkers or sitters depending on the frequency of your visits. Ideally your pet will have the same caregiver every day, but occasionally a backup person is needed. All caregivers are screened, pass a background check, and are bonded and insured. If necessary, depending on your pet, they will have met your pet before entering your home alone.

For vacation schedules, the number of sitters entering your home will depend on the number of visits each day, the time of day of those visits, and the length of your vacation schedule. We try to limit the number of sitters over a vacation schedule to 2 or 3, and will be happy to let you know who is booked for the vacation once we finalize the schedule.

For ad hoc visits, weekend visits, or those booked with very short notice, we will strive to have sitters who know your pets do the visits whenever possible.

Q: Do you come at an exact time to care for my pets?

We schedule all visits within a 2-3 hour time window to allow the caregivers time to see all of their clients and to plan their most efficient route to account for travel time and traffic. Exceptions to this window are made for puppies and elderly/sick dogs who might need a more frequent daily schedule in which case we book visits within a one hour window.

Q: Do you offer boarding services?

While we do not offer any type of kennel boarding, a few of our sitters will take dogs into their homes. If your dog is well socialized with other dogs and cats, is completely house trained, not destructive, and likes an adventure, this option may be perfect for him or her. Availability is very limited and we recommend booking this well in advance.

Most of our pet sitting takes place in your home, which is much less stressful on your pets. If you need care over a vacation, we do offer overnight stays (12 hours) and/or can perform multiple visits during the day. Many clients who travel take advantage of 3-4 visits per day to ensure their pets are fed and get their time outside. We can schedule early morning and late evening visits with a small surcharge. We will work with you to design a visit schedule that works best for your pets.

Q: Do you have any breed restrictions?

No! We love all breeds and are happy to help to take care of them. However, regardless of the breed, your dog must be well behaved on and off leash, willing to walk on leash, good with new people, and not have a history of biting people or other dogs. We understand that many dogs may have some form of leash aggression, even if very mild, and will keep your dog away from any other dogs, people or animals while they are being walked. You can discuss with us your dog’s needs and behavioral issues and we may be able to accommodate.

Q: Do you take care of cats?

Yes! Many of our caregivers are cat people (along with being dog people) and are happy to provide care for your kitties. Our sitters will be happy to sit, cuddle and play with your cat (if your cat would like!) during a visit, along with feeding, filling water bowls, and cleaning litter pans.

Q: What kind of barn/farm care do you provide?

Most of the barn care we provide centers around horses in home barns of up to six horses; we generally are not able to serve larger commercial operations. As part of our basic barn care provide turn in/turn out, feeding and preparing grain, administering oral medications or supplements at owners’ direction, blanketing, fly sheets/masks/spray in the summer, checking feet for shoes, and picking hooves (if horses are well behaved). Barn cat care is included with any horse care service. We can also clean and set stalls, which includes picking/cleaning, fresh bedding as needed, cleaning and filling water buckets, and fresh hay. We can provide basic grooming services, but we do not provide any services that involve exercising or training the horses such as riding or lunging; and we ask that your horses already have good ground manners if you want us to lead them in or out or work around them in their stalls.  We have also provided care for chickens, ducks, turkeys, peacocks, the occasional pig, and koi pond fish. Talk to us about care for any other animals you may have on your farm.

Q: Is this the same company as 'Walking Wetnoses'? And 'Hoofs and Woofs Pet Sitting'?

YES. The owners of The Loudoun Pet Sitting Co. purchased Walking Wetnoses in 2016 and Hoofs and Woofs also in 2016, and merged them together under The Loudoun Pet Sitting Co. We are proud to provide the same great sitters, services and customer care that clients of Walking Wetnoses and Hoofs and Woofs have come to expect.