September is Pet Sitter Education Month

Started by Pet Sitters International to highlight the ongoing education pet sitters take part in to perform their jobs well, I thought this would be a good opportunity to educate potential clients and my readers about the importance of using a professional pet sitting service. Do you know what to look for in a pet sitter? Or why a professional sitter might be a better choice than a well-meaning friend or neighborhood teenager? Read on to learn why pros are different and what that means to you, your pets and home.

The difference between in-home boarding and in-home pet sitting

In-home boarding means the pet sitter will take your pet into their home for the length of your trip, or sometimes regularly for daycare. All services are done in the pet sitter’s home. Be sure to check out the sitter’s home before you commit to hiring them, and make sure you sign a contract. That will protect you and the sitter. Ask for their proof of liability insurance and business license from the city. If they don’t have those, it could be a red flag that they are a fly-by-night sitter who may not be a professional.
In-home pet sitting usually means the sitter comes to your home and performs all services there. All professional sitters should have basic contracts, liability insurance and business license. If they’ve only been in business less than 5 years, I’d ask for references. Claws and Paws Pet Sitting Service is an in-home sitting service, we do NOT offer boarding.

Comparing in-home sitters vs. kennels

Pet sitting has been in existence since at least the 80’s. Before then, options for pet care when the pet owner travelled included using neighbors, friends, family or kennels to care for the pets. Now, there are much better options, including professional pet sitters who strive for providing the best care so that they can make a living doing what they love. Some important services sitters provide that kennels can’t:
  • perform daily house security checks (checking for break-ins, water leaks, alarm triggers, sprinkler damage, any number of house-related problems that seem to happen when client’s are away from home for any length of time)
  • take in mail/papers/packages (do you really want packages/papers piling up at your door? This is an obvious signal to thieves that nobody is home, you’re an easy target!)
  • pet medical emergencies/illness (sitters are on the ball and always watching your pet for anything out of the ordinary. Will the kennel notice your pet has come down with a fever/has a cough/runny nose? Not likely.)
  • stress-free care for your pet (pets are going to be stressed at an unfamiliar place, especially in a caged kennel environment with other pets barking)
  • healthier at home (kennels are a perfect breeding ground for disease, as many pets are housed close to each other. There is no need to subject your pet to illnesses)
Those are just some positives of using a pro pet sitter, there are many more though.

Pet sitting myths

  • Sitters only stay 5 minutes/day to check on pets, then leave. (A pro pet sitter will provide you with rates for a specific time period, and use an app that tracks time, and will stay the entire agreed-upon length of time).
  • It’s all playtime. (We carefully watch all pets for illness/injury and contact clients immediately if anything is unusual. Transport to a vet is available in most cases. Will a teenager/child/neighbor know the signs of an illness and transport to a vet? Often not. Pro sitters are often trained in pet First Aid/CPR.)
  • Cheaper than a kennel. (As this is a customizable, high end service, rates are higher, but you get what you pay for. And keeping your pet healthy and out of the vet’s office will save you considerable money!)

Pet sitter red flags/green flags

Red flags:

  1. No business license
  2. No liability insurance
  3. No contract
  4. No references
  5. Ultra low rates (low=$5-$15/visit or $60/overnight)
  6. Listed on Rover or Wag apps only
  7. Doesn’t need to meet you before booking service
  8. Has no experience working with pet

Green flags:

  1. Has business license, liability insurance and contracts
  2. Uses an app/online portal/software such as Time To Pet for booking, invoicing, tracking GPS routes
  3. In business many years/decades
  4. Requires a meeting with pets before accepting new clients
  5. Has higher rates (reflects experience and professionalism)
  6. Has a team to adequately cover all bookings
  7. Hires employees, not contractors (for greater control)
  8. Comes highly recommended


Behind the scenes of a typical stay

Attractive-Woman-Walking-Her-Dogs-on-a-Leash-September-BlogUpon arrival, we typically let the dogs out in the yard or take on a walk for a potty break. Longer walks (minimum of 30 minutes) are typical. Then, back inside for playtime, fresh water, feeding or meds if needed. Then we send a report card to the client, often with pictures of pets and a note. For overnights, I arrive 8:00 pm for dinner, walks, etc. We play, watch TV together, and one last yard let-out or walk before bed. I sleep in guest room (or master, depending on clients preference). Then up early for breakfast, walk, fresh water, treats, and belly rubs before I leave 8:00 am or later. Minimum of 12 hours for overnights, and up to 24 hours for live-in service.

How my service works 

  • Sign up using this link for a phone call or email to assess if we’re a good fit for each other and if we have availability.
  • Free consultation at your home in Encinitas, La Costa, Cardiff, Rancho Santa Fe Or Solana Beach is booked.
  • If all goes well, I’ll send your Client portal activation link via email, so you can sign my Client Agreement, add your pets’ and your home info and request services, all in your private portal.
  • Dates are accepted and invoice is emailed to you, which you can pay online with credit card.
  • Dates are confirmed a week prior.
  • We perform services in your home and send a report card after each service.
  • Upon returning home, you confirm you’re back and you come home to happy, healthy pets!
Ready to get started? Hire the best, most experienced, award-winning pet sitting service in Encinitas area by contacting us here!
We look forward to meeting you and your pets.



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