Frequently Asked Questions
Everything You Need to Know
Leaving your pet is never easy, and I’m sure you have a lot of questions about how it works. I’ve compiled some of the most common questions into the list below. If you want further information, just get in touch.
What are the benefits of using a professional pet sitter?
For pet owners who want the best care for their pets and who want the confidence that comes from using an educated, responsible pet-care provider, professional pet sitters are a great choice!
The benefits of using a professional pet sitter include:
• Pets are happier and experience less stress at home.
• Diet and exercise routines are uninterrupted.
• Travel trauma for both owner and pet is eliminated.
• Pet's exposure to illness is minimized.
• Untrained or unwilling friends/family/neighbors need not be called.
• In-home professional pet care provides peace of mind.
What does a pet sitter do?
Pet sitters can give your pet a stay-cation while you are on vacation.
Pet sitters perform a variety of tasks, including:
Providing exercise and play time
Feeding the pets and changing their water bowls
Cleaning litter boxes and cleaning up any other pet messes
Administering pet medications, if needed
Providing lots of TLC!
Pet sitters also often bring in mail or newspapers and alternate blinds and lights to give the home a “lived-in look” if the owners are away. Pet sitters may also perform other tasks as requested by the pet owners, such as watering plants.
Will I meet the person who will be taking care of my pets?
Yes. For your peace of mind, your pet’s peace of mind, and our safety we never want to send an unfamiliar person to your home. We want your pet to know their sitter is a friend before service begins.
We endeavor to introduce you to two pet sitters at the Meet and Greet. Every time you book, we assign your service to one of those pet sitters. If your primary caregiver and alternate are both unavailable, we’ll provide the opportunity to meet another member of our wonderful staff.
How do I get started?
Begin with our New Client Application. This will allow us to ensure our service is a good match for your needs.
After speaking with you, we will send you an email with a link to your private, secure Client Portal. Setting this up will guide you through the process of giving us the necessary information about your pet and home that will allow us to match you with the best pet sitter to meet (and hopefully exceed) your needs.
Following that, you will receive a complementary Meet and Greet.
What happens at the complimentary Meet and Greet?
You and your pets may interview your Pet Visitors. You will meet a primary caregiver and an alternate who can perform service in case of emergency. They will go over your pet and home care instructions, asking questions while getting to know your pets and their needs.
If keys are necessary to access your home, the Pet Visitors will need to pick up and test two keys at this time. Your keys will either be placed in an onsite lockbox (in a place of your choosing) or enrolled into our Ready Key program.
For the onsite lockbox, you may provide your own or lease one from us for a one-time fee of $40.
For the Ready Key program, one key will be retained by the primary caregiver for the duration of the assignment. The other will go to the office, where the alternate may pick it up should an emergency occur. When the assignment is over, all keys will be turned in to the office where they will be stored securely.
Do you administer medications?
Yes. If the medication can be given in food or as a treat, this is included in our regular service.
However, if the medicine is to be administered transdermally, orally, or via subcutaneous injection (such as insulin for diabetic pets) this requires us to match you with a pet sitter with the correct skillset. In such cases, please make sure to discuss your pet's medical needs.
Do you charge extra for ...?
Generally, no. We want our rates to be straightforward and avoid unnecessary surcharges.
Animal Companions rates are based on the time and personnel needed to prepare for and perform a given service. There is no extra fee for additional animals serviced at the same location. If we feel we cannot perform services requested in the allotted time or without additional personnel, we will request:
Authorization to spend extra time,
Authorization to allocate more personnel, or
Amendment of services to be performed.
Surcharges apply in the following situations:
Excessive cleanup. We are happy to scoop litter boxes and clean up ordinary pet messes, and only apply this when cleanup goes beyond reasonable expectations.
Fuel Surcharge. For some areas, we may have to include a Fuel Surcharge to properly compensate our staff for their travel.
Holiday Service. This allows us to reward our staff for making themselves available on the holidays instead of spending time with their family.
Late Booking. While we welcome every booking, it can be particularly difficult to set things up on short notice. We reserve the right to charge a Late Booking fee to visits scheduled on less than 48 hours notice.
Leasing Office Key Pickup and Return. Going through leasing offices can sometimes make our pet sitters spend extra time waiting to be given a key or to get their ID returned afterward. To compensate them for this time, we may occasionally have to add a Leasing Office fee.
What is your Deposit Policy?
In order to promptly pay our staff, a deposit may be required for a particularly long series of visits.
A deposit may be required to book an Overnight Pet Visit.
Deposits are mandatory for Overnight Pet Visits that include a major holiday.
What is your Cancellation Policy?
While we would rather not charge you for service not performed, often our pet sitters have to turn down other assignments to accept your booking. We believe it is only fair to compensate our staff accordingly.
Cancellation of Overnight Pet Visits that fall on a major holiday (as detailed below) in the booking will result in a Cancellation Fee equal to 100% of the booking.
Cancellation of Overnight Pet Visits that do not include a major holiday will result in a Cancellation Fee equal to 50% of the booking if cancelled on less than a week's notice, or 100% of the booking if cancelled on less than 48-hours notice.
Cancellation of other services on less than 48-hours notice will result in a Cancellation Fee equal to 50% of the booking, or 100% of the booking if cancelled on less than 24-hours notice.
Do you do a background check on your pet sitters?
Yes. We have a careful selection process for our team, and one of the many steps is a professional background check.
Are you insured and bonded?
Yes. All of our staff are insured and bonded.
Is my information secure?
Yes. All the information we collect is stored in encrypted format via our online scheduling system, Time To Pet, which is hosted by a state-of-the-art data center.
Only authorized personnel and you can see your information. No one - even managers and administrators - can see credit card information beyond the last 4 digits (to confirm which card you are using) and the expiration date.
What are the Ready Key and Lockbox Programs?
We require two copies of your house key, which we will pick up at the Meet and Greet (in which your Pet Visitors will meet you to get acquainted and pick up keys). If there is an emergency (such as a flat tire or the like) which prevents the scheduled Pet Visitor from making it to your home, this allows the backup Pet Visitor to retrieve the backup key from the office and take care of your pets.
Your primary caregiver will retain one key for the duration of the assignment. Between assignments, keys are safely locked away at our office. The key tags are coded, and do not have your name or address on them.
May I purchase a gift certificate?
Yes! However, please ensure the recipient is in our service area.
Perfect for any special occasion - Weddings, Birthdays, Father's Day, and Mother's Day, just to name a few.
Great for those who will be away from home, such as business travelers and honeymooners.
Also great for those who just need a stay-cation or could use a little help around the home (such as expectant parents or those needing some recuperative time after surgery).
Valid for 1 year and are left open for the recipient to schedule the date that is best for them.
Includes all the information the lucky recipient will need to schedule their service.
My pet needs to go to the groomer (or veterinarian, etcetera). Will you take them?
Yes! We will gladly transport your pet to a local destination. We call this a Pet Taxi.
Where can I find Animal Companions Pet Sitting? Does Animal Companions provide Pet Sitting and Dog Walking near me?
We come to you! We provide pet care in the place where your pet is most comfortable - it's own home!
Our Service Area covers much of Southwest Houston and portions of The Woodlands. For specific details, check out Our Service Area.
I would like to be a pet sitter. Are you hiring?
Animal Companions is always on the lookout for new team members to be professional pet sitters.
PLEASE READ the following job requirements to see if you would be a good fit with Animal Companions.
Compensation: Depending On Experience
Principals only. Recruiters, please do not contact Animal Companions.
Pet Sitter/Dog Walker Job Requirements:
First and foremost you must love animals, especially companion animals!
Must have some experience with handling and caring for animals, and display eagerness to learn about a wide variety of animal species and breeds. This includes, but is not limited to, cats, dogs, birds and fish.
Physical requirements of the job include walking dogs (some very large)
Must have reliable transportation (fuel-efficient transportation highly recommended)
Must pass pre-employment screening. Please note that Animal Companions is responsible for lives, property and privacy, and do everything possible to earn the trust our clients place in us. Therefore, if you have a criminal history of any kind please do not apply, as you will not be considered.
Must be able to read and write fluent English.
Must be able to work some days, nights, weekends and Holidays.
Experience administering oral and/or injectable medications or certification in Animal First Aid / CPR is a plus.
If you would like to be considered for this position, please fill out our Application Form.
What happens if I don't leave enough supplies for my pets?
If we can reach you, we will ask that you order the supplies to be shipped to your home.
Alternately, for a nominal shopping fee plus the cost of supplies, we can pick them up for you.
Is there still a question that you’d like answered? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.