Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

How do I know that I can trust your pet sitters with my pet and home?

How does this service compare to using a kennel?

Do you have references available?

Will my pet sitter stay the same?

Do you only care for dogs and cats?

Will my dog be walked with other dogs?

Do I have to give you my house key?

What do you do when you visit my pet?

How long does each visit last?

What is included in the price I pay?

How many pets does my price include?

Will I get any updates on how my pet is doing?

What if my pet has specific medical requirements?

What happens if there is an emergency with my pet while I’m gone?

What if something comes up and my pet sitter cannot come to my home?

What if there is a severe weather emergency?

If my pet has an accident or makes a mess, do you clean it up?

Will my pet sitter arrive at my specific requested time?

Does my pet have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for your services?

I’m ready to book my first service. How do I get the process started?

What do I need to do to make a reservation?

What do I need to do to prepare for my consultation?

What if I need to make a reservation and you are full?

What if I have to cancel my reservation?

Is there a fee for booking at the last minute?

Can you care for my pets on holidays?

I have a friend/neighbor/relative that is going to care for my pets some of the time. Is this allowed?

My neighbor needs a pet sitter during the same time that we do. Can we get a discount for booking together?

How does the payment work?

Should I tip my pet sitter?

Do you offer any other services?



How do I know that I can trust your pet sitters with my pet and my home?

We all worry about safety when it comes to bringing people into our home, especially people who will be caring for our pets.  That is why we make sure that our pet sitters are safe and qualified to perform the tasks assigned.  All of our pet sitters are background checked before they are hired and personal and professional references for each sitter are always available upon request.  While we have never had to use it, we are also insured with liability insurance and bonding.  We also have many reviews from previous clients available online.  If you are unable to find them, you are welcome to contact us and we can provide links or contact information.


How does this service compare to using a kennel?

To see a full list of the benefits of pet sitting vs. kenneling, visit our “Why choose us” page.


Do you have references available?

Absolutely!  We have a long list of satisfied customers that have agreed to be references.  We do not ever give out client information without getting their permission each time, so 24 hours notice will be required for references.  This provides us with enough time to contact the next individuals on the list.


Will my pet sitter stay the same?

When you have your first consultation with us, you will be assigned a primary and secondary sitter.  Your primary sitter will be the one to meet with you and will be the one that most often performs your service.  It is possible, especially for clients that request more than 2 visits per day, to have two primary sitters (For example, one that does afternoons and another that does mornings and evenings).  While we do our best to keep sitters consistent, vacation schedules and other unexpected events make it impossible to do this for every service.  All of our sitters are pet lovers who have pets of their own as well as years of pet care experience.  All of the specific instructions for the care of your home and pets will be recorded and kept in your file to insure that the job is performed to your satisfaction every time, regardless of which sitter does the visit.


Do you only care for dogs and cats?

No!  We can also care for hamsters, ferrets, fish, birds, guinea pigs, etc.  We’ve even done jobs involving goats, chickens, and other small farm type animals.  We do not currently care for horses.


Will my dog be walked with other dogs?

For the safety of your pets and our sitters, HHPS does NOT perform pack walks.  The only dogs that your sitter will walk together will come from the same household.  There is a limit of 2 large dogs or 3 small dogs per walk, regardless of whether or not they are from the same household.


Do I have to give you my house key?

While we do not require that you provide HHPS with a key to keep on file, it is HIGHLY recommended to insure consistent and uninterrupted service.  When you leave your key on file with us, a copy is made at our expense and kept in a locked safe when not being used.  This insures that a key is always available if your sitter is not able to perform your visit as planned.  This option also makes it possible for us to easily facilitate last minute requests if and when you have them.  If you would prefer not to leave your key on file with HHPS, your other options are listed below…

  • We do allow (but do not recommend) you to leave a key hidden at your residence.  However, the key would need to remain in the hiding spot for the duration of the job so that any sitter sent to your home will have access to it.
  • If you want your key left on your premises but don’t feel comfortable leaving it unsecured at your home, we can provide you with a lock box to place your key in.  You and your sitter can decide on an appropriate hiding place and the code to access the box will need to be provided to your sitter.  A one time $30 fee will be assessed for this option to cover the cost of the lock box.  If you would like to choose this option, let your sitter know before the consultation so that they can bring the box with them.
  • If you have a garage code or front door code, these are often the easiest way to access to your home.  Keep in mind, however, that power outages or other emergency failures could make it impossible for your sitter to enter your home in this way.  If you choose this option, you will need to have some alternative form of entry just in case.  This can be a key left on your premises, left with the sitter or even left with a neighbor.
  • If your pets will be confined to your back yard and will not have access to your home, there is no need to provide your sitter with keys.  However, if your pet has access to your home too, your sitter will also need to have access to your home.
  • Lastly, you can choose to have your keys picked up and dropped off by your sitter.  A full visit fee will be assessed for each trip. Since we require two keys on file at all times, you will need to provide your sitter with both keys each time.  HHPS will only cover the cost of copying your house key once.


What do you do when you visit my pet?
Most of what we do will be determined by your specific requests and the needs of your pets.  Some of the tasks that are most often performed on visits are food and water, a walk or back yard play time, medicine administration, cleaning out litter boxes, etc.  During your consultation, your sitter will take detailed notes of your pets’ routine, quirks, and hobbies, so that we are able to make them at ease during your absence.


How long does each visit last?

The general time frame for visits is outlined below.  Your sitter may sometimes stay longer than the allotted time if their schedule is light or if they are performing a task that takes longer than usual.  Your sitter will never sacrifice the needs of your home or your pet simply because the allotted time has run out.  If your visit takes significantly longer than planned or if your visits consistently take longer than the time you reserved, an additional fee may be charged.  If you request a last minute visit or if your sitter is unable to perform your full visit for any reason, they may shorten your visit or a couple visits to insure that all of the pets in our care receive the care they need.  In this situation, all of the necessary tasks like potty break, feeding, medicines, etc. would still be performed and any lost time would be made up at the next visit(s).

Standard Visit-20 to 25 minutes

Extended visit-40 to 45 minutes

Overnight Stay-9:00 PM to 7:00 AM


What is included in the price I pay?

One of the great benefits of HHPS service is that we don’t charge extra for personalized care.  Our standard visits, extended visits, dog walks, and overnight stays include all pet related tasks you request including but not limited to a short walk, food and water administration, medicine administration, playtime, and waste clean up.  In addition to pet related tasks, we will also provide plant watering, trash to curb, mail and paper retrieval, and even basic pool maintenance at no additional charge as long as your visit does not surpass the allotted time.


How many pets does my price include?

All of our prices are charged per household and not by pet.  This means that all of your pets are covered under the price, as long as all necessary tasks can be done in the allotted time.  This includes dogs and cats in addition to smaller pets like birds, fish, reptiles, rodents, and even chickens or goats.  HHPS does not offer services for horses at this time and does not feed live rodents to snakes.


Will I get any updates on how my pet is doing?

Once you are assigned a username and password for the client portal, you will also be able to use the portal to check in on your pets.  You will be able to see which visits have been completed as well as see a photo of your pet(s) for each visit.  You can sign up to receive E-mail visit confirmations as well.  If you have questions, comments, or last minute requests/instructions, you can also send them to your sitter through the “conversation” option on the portal.


What if my pet has specific medical requirements?

Many of our clients have pets with special medical needs that don’t do well in a kennel environment.  We do our best to meet all your specific needs including pets with special medical needs.  Our pet sitters will take instructions on administering medicine, giving shots, or keeping your pet on a special diet and have a great deal of experience doing so, but they are not medically trained.  If anything needs to be done that will take a significant amount of time or skill, an extra charge may apply.  This will be discussed at consultation


What happens if there is an emergency with my pet while I’m gone?

When you fill out your client information form, you will find that the last section gives you an opportunity to name three emergency contacts (2 are required).  If an emergency happens with your pet, you and your spouse (if applicable) will always be contacted first.  If you cannot be reached and the situation is time sensitive, we will begin to reach out to your emergency contacts.  If you have not made prior payment arrangements with your vet, your emergency contact will be responsible for covering the cost of any necessary veterinary treatment while you are gone.  It is crucial that you inform them of this before you leave so that they are prepared to make these decisions for your pet and to cover the costs.  Your pet sitter cannot be expected to cover vet costs for your pet, even temporarily.  Your sitter will attempt to take your pet to the primary veterinarian that you list on your information form.  If they are unavailable, we will then move on to your requested emergency vet.  If you did not request a specific emergency vet, your sitter will select one for you.  A charge of $30 per hour and $.50 per mile will be charged for any emergency arrangements your sitter has to make for your pet.


What if something comes up and my pet sitter cannot come to my home?

If, for any reason, your pet sitter is not able to show up for the scheduled visits, a backup sitter is always available.  When you leave your key on file with HHPS, we always make a copy to be kept in a locked safe in case an emergency comes up with your sitter and another sitter needs to perform your service.


What if there is a severe weather emergency?

In the event of inclement weather or natural disaster, your sitter is entrusted to use their best judgement in caring for your pet(s) and home.  We recommend that pet owners make arrangements with a neighbor or someone else in close proximity of their home.  This person will be contacted if weather conditions make it impossible for your sitter to safely get to your home.  This person would also be contacted if the need to evacuate your pet arises.  Your sitter will do everything possible to evacuate your pet if required or make it to your home in inclement weather, but, given the unpredictability these types of situations, no guarantees can be made. 


If my pet has an accident or makes a mess, do you clean it up?

While your pets and home are in our care, we take full responsibility for them, and that includes cleaning up any messes they make.  However, our sitters are not professional cleaners and can only clean messes to the best of their ability with the cleaning products available in your home.  HHPS cannot be held liable for any residual carpet stains/floor damage or any other property damage caused by your pet after every reasonable effort has been made to clean or repair it.  In addition. your sitter will not be held liable for any damage to your home, yard or personal property that is caused by your pet unless it is found to be the direct result of a mistake made by your sitter.


Will my pet sitter arrive at my specific requested time?

On your information form, we will ask you about your specific time preferences and will usually try to stick close to those times when possible.  However, we do not ever guarantee that a visit will be done at a certain time.  This job is not always a predictable one, and it’s just not possible for us to know how long things will take.  The general time blocks for visits is outlined below.  While we can’t guarantee a specific time within a time block, your visit will always be within the requested time block, and we do our best to space multiple visits out as evenly as possible.  In the rare situation that your sitter does not have time to do all assigned visits in these time frames for any reason, one or more of your visits may be shortened with the time to be made up at the next visit or visits.   All necessary tasks (time outside, food and water, meds, etc.) will be done regardless of the length of the visit.

    • Morning Visits             6:00 AM to 10:00 AM
    • Afternoon Visits           11:00 AM to 3:00 PM
    • Evening Visits              6:00 PM to 10:00 PM


Does my pet have to meet certain criteria in order to qualify for your services?

One of the first steps in the reservation process is a free consultation where your pet sitter will come to your home to speak to you about special instructions, get a house key, and meet your pet.  As long as the pet sitter meets the pet and can insure that the pet is safe, your pet is eligible.  Your pet should also be up to date on their rabies vaccinations.  No reservations can be made without one of our staff meeting your pet beforehand.  After a pet sitter has met with you and your pet once, an additional meeting will not be required unless a new pet is added to your household.


I’m ready to book my first service.  How do I get the process started?

Once you decide to book your first service with us, you can register for your portal account using the sign in/register link in the menu on the home page.  When your information is received, we will confirm that you are in an approved area and, if you are, you will be sent an activation E-mail that will allow you to update your information in the portal and schedule your requested visits. You will also be contacted through your portal account to schedule a consultation.


What do I need to do to make a reservation?

All reservations will be made using the client portal.  If you would like to make a last minute request (within 24 hours), it is always best to E-mail or text directly as soon as possible to find out if a sitter is available to facilitate your request.  The portal will not allow you to make reservations within 24 hours.


What do I need to do to prepare for my consultation?

Most of the necessary details and instructions are covered by the information requested in the “my info” and “pets” section of the portal.  The main purpose of the consultation is to give you and your pet a chance to meet your sitter and ask any questions you may have.  It also gives your sitter an opportunity to meet your pets and make sure that there are no aggression issues that may compromise the safety of any HHPS sitters.  The initial consultation is also when we will need to collect a key from you.  While you are not required to provide a key at this time, please note that any other consultations you request will be charged at the regular visit rate.


What if I need to make a reservation and you are full?

Since we do not require down payments, we do often have last minute cancellations.  We encourage customers to place their name on our waiting list, especially if you are seeking care more than a month in advance.  The week before the scheduled service, we contact our customers to confirm their plans.  If they no longer need care, we will begin to call those on the waiting list.


What if I have to cancel my reservation?

If your plans change and you no longer need care for your pets, just contact us to be removed from the calendar.  The deadline to cancel a visit free of charge is 8:00 AM on the day of your visit for afternoon and evening visits and 8:00 PM the night before for morning visits.  While there is not a cancellation fee for trips cancelled before these deadlines, it is important that we are contacted as soon as you know your plans have changed.  If any client establishes a consistent pattern of booking services and then cancelling them at the last minute, it is possible that HHPS may begin to require that individual to pay a non-refundable down payment at the time of reservation.


Is there a fee for booking visits at the last minute?

Absolutely not.  We know that schedules can be crazy sometimes, and, while we can’t guarantee that we will always be available, we do our best to meet your last minute requests when possible and when a key is on file with us or readily available.  It is possible, however, that, depending on your sitter’s schedule, your last minute visit may not be as long as the normal standard visit.


Can you care for my pets on holidays?

Yes!  We know that pet sitting services are always in high demand during the holidays, so we always have sitters available to work.  It is important to book your holiday trips as far in advance as possible to insure availability, as they fill up quickly.  There will be a $4 surcharge for each requested visit that takes place on the following holidays: New Years Eve, New Years Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, MLK Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4th), Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Easter Sunday.  The surcharge is paid directly to your sitter as a reward for sacrificing their time during the holidays.


I have a friend/neighbor/relative that is going to care for my pets some of the time.  Is this allowed?

HHPS is one of the few pet sitting companies in San Antonio that does allow job sharing.  However, it is important to note that we do not accept liability for any individuals not employed by Homey Hounds, and therefore cannot take responsibility for any damage done to your pets or to your home during a time when individuals outside of our company had access to your home and pets.


My neighbor needs a pet sitter during the same time that we do.   Can we get a discount for booking together?

If you have a friend or neighbor that lives within 1 mile of your home, each of you are eligible to receive a 10% discount for each visit that is performed for both clients at the same time. This discount is only applicable for visits that take place during the same time block.  For example, if you request three visits per day but your neighbor only requests 2, the discount will only be applied to 2 of your visits per day.


How does the payment work?

For travel clients, your payment will be due the day you return, although it can be paid at any point after the reservation is on the schedule.  For regularly scheduled dog walking clients, payments are due every Friday, although the option for bi-weekly billing is available.

Payments can be made by cash, check or credit card/debit card payment via the portal.  If you choose to pay by cash or check, payments should be left at your home for your sitter to pick up.


Should I tip my pet sitter?

HHPS employees are not paid with the expectation of tips in mind, however tips are allowed and appreciated.  If you decide to leave a cash or check tip at your home, please let your sitter know in advance or leave a note with it so that we know what it is.  If you pay via the portal, you will have the option to add a tip to your balance before being forward to the payment site.


Do you offer any other services?
In addition to pet sitting, our pet sitters can perform other basic tasks, such as watering plants, feeding and caring for smaller pets, collecting the mail and doing simple housekeeping tasks while you are gone.  In the past, we’ve also done simple errands like picking up dry cleaning, buying dog food, or performing other home related tasks.  If you have specific tasks in mind, simply e-mail us and you will receive a response within a few hours regarding the availability and price of that service.