FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Covid-19 Pet Sitting Protocols
Requests for pet care service started to trickle in within hours of the shelter-in-place reopening.
For those of you who have known me a while, you understand that I am conservative when it comes to the safety and health of my furry friends but also of you, the pet parents!
Regular clients understand why I was unwilling to take any risks or to open early.
This “wait and see” approach that has served me well in my lifetime as well as relying on other expertise for input.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s weekly meetings have been valuable since I trust their due diligence and what they put in place for the well-being of everyone involved–animals, staff, volunteers and guests.
Having worked in disaster preparedness and rescue, seeing firsthand the hardships, I always err on the side of caution.
Therefore, I wanted to share a few thoughts and protocols with you about care within your home so you know what to expect and what steps you and I can take to make sure that we all remain safe.
We have seen spikes in virus cases mostly because of non-compliance with state and county mandates. Some is likely due to the influx of careless visitors who arrive from outside areas as well as a minority of locals who refuse to adhere to the guidelines because they come from areas that are open, or simply don’t believe there is any risk.
As a conservative measure, I have temporarily suspended accepting new clients until further notice. This decision is a new one effective April 2, 2021.
Due to new strains of the corona virus and non-compliance with current mask orders and related protocols, all services remain on hold.
Currently I adhere to strict animal management and handling safety practices but there are a few new additions specific to Covid-19.
Standard practice is that other service personnel should not be scheduled to enter the home while I am onsite.
House cleaners, personal chefs, contractors and other guests can unwittingly harm or create unsafe conditions which is why intakes always ask for the names and contact information for your service personnel.
Disclosure of other services that have been scheduled such as repairmen, gardeners, pest control, etc., is also a standard courtesy for safety and to avoid any surprises or risks to pets.
Estate management companies and managers please connect with me by phone to discuss specific client requests as I am usually able to accommodate your unique situations.
Pandemic Protocols (Re-opening 2021)
During this pandemic, it is more important to make sure that anyone entering and exiting your home be diligent about their hygiene and to not have anyone outside your regular household onsite 48 hours before I enter the dwelling.
Please remember to mask up during any interactions with me on-site. Beginning April 2, 2021 failure to comply will result in refusal of services.
Two weeks prior to departure we will confirm that your household is healthy with no symptoms and that I am as well. One week prior to departure we will hard confirm that you’re travel plans are the same and that service will be provided.
Prior to finalization of booking please disclose if you have been traveling in the prior two weeks due to increased risk factors. (Air travel, use of other transit, participation in group gatherings outside of your normal household.)
Please note that I’ve remained in shelter-in-place since it was ordered. This means that I have been sticking close to home and very selective of whom I am around and of the businesses I enter.
I screen daily, sanitize, wear and maintain personal protection equipment. I also still maintain the essential worker protocols for safety.
When I dog walk, I have always kept pets away from other animals and people. I dissuade or avoid interactions for safety and health purposes as a standard practice.
Pet household preparation practices should be to leave all pet essentials out in a dedicated open area so that it is not necessary to open drawers, cupboards, etc., to access food, treats, utensils, bowls, brushes, toileting or clean-up supplies, toys, leashes, etc.,
Detergent and cleaning aids (dish washing detergent, sponges, paper towels, etc., and trash bags/receptacles should be left out for ease of use and access as well.
Door knobs for entry and exit areas should be wiped just prior to your departure. Ideally wipes or disinfectant should be left out for access, if needed.
Prior to entry I will be wearing a face covering. I wear a face shield so animals can see and hear me but that also provides a barrier so droplets are not expelled around your dwelling.
Personal protection equipment (PPE) gloves will be washed and sanitized and worn on entry and prior to exit.
Entry and exit door knobs will be disinfected on first entry and on last exit before you return.
Although you may request protective animal handling, unless you specifically request no hand-to-animal contact, I will manage your pets normally.
Normal practices have always included washing my hands before and after handling. Upon request, if there is active play with toys, gloves will be worn.
Other than the use of items related to pet care and sanitation within your dwelling, I won’t plan on touching or using anything in the home for drop-in service.
Again, it is important for you to leave necessary items out for easy access if you have any concerns.
As always, I will do a walk around to verify home is secure for pets on arrival (windows, doors, etc.,) and bring in the mail (gloved) unless you dictate otherwise. Trash bags will be secured and discarded as normal, using sanitizing protocol and PPE.
If you are vulnerable or have escalated concerns, feel free to request shoe disinfectant or to provide protective shoe covers at entry point. At this time it is not a public health mandated safety practice and so is not standard protocol for my business.
Finally, if you are booked as tentative, this means we are in agreement it is a “wait and see” versus a confirmed booking.
For confirmed bookings, the cancellation fees that normally apply will be waived only on an individual (case-by-case) basis.
Right now I don’t anticipate “normal” operations again until public health indications warrant it. What I do anticipate is that we all will remain safe and that I will
spoil take care of your pets to the high standards you have come to expect.
As always, wishing you wagging tails and a TOUR-ific month!
A family member needs someone to help out while a friend is caring for the dog, is this something you do?
When other people are in and out of the home it is a risk to the safety of the pet. We do not “share” care with those outside our professional service providers as we strive for optimal safety. So no, we do not share service work with anyone else and will not provide service to a household with multiple caretakers.
We also do not share access to the home during pet sitting due to security concerns. For estates and other properties with outside service providers (housekeepers, landscapers, realtors, etc., we do coordinate service upon request.
What are the hours over night care or partial day pet sits?
These change but a good guideline for calendar hours are 9:00pm to 7:00am for overnights and 9:00am to 5:00pm for daytime sits.
We do provide a special rate for 24 hour coverage. This is billed as a overnight on-site sit w/special day time rate not available as a stand alone. Services during these 24 hour cycles mean in & out when necessary (usually during the daytime) while primarily on the premises.
Daytime on-site sits without consecutive overnights are billed at an hourly rate with a 4 hour minimum.
What are your policies for veterinary medical prescriptions or supplement administration?
Due to the increased number of special care clients and intense specialty needs involving special dietary needs, health supplements as well as veterinary prescriptions, we have specific safety protocols in place.
With more and more complicated needs, safety measures for proper administration and delivery of custom diets (raw or cooked foods), as well as delivery of correct dosages of both prescription medications and supplements, is essential.
Although intake procedures and notes cover this aspect, changes and other updates become more important.
Past sitter experiences include discovering food that has gone bad upon arrival for service, as well as findings that commercially prepared food had thawed and been refrozen–either before or after purchase.
In cross checking dosages and other instructions, mistakes and omissions within notes left onsite for reference have also been identified.
In order to reduce these types of issues, all special dietary preparations (cooking, portioning) medicinal and/or supplemental dosages need to be prepared in advance by owners.
Ideally each serving/dosage(s) will be put into clearly marked containers (pill boxes, etc.,) with the original veterinary (or supplement) containers in the pet cupboard for cross reference and/or verification.
Enzymes, probiotics, etc., should be included in those containers. Many come in pre-measured packets or capsules.
If not, the correct measuring aid should be inside the container or clearly marked and placed with it.
Best practices also include keeping all the items together for dispensing both food and any additives (medicines, supplements, etc.,).
When a discrepancy is identified, it is important that your response to an outreach by your sitter be timely, which is why multiple numbers of family members as well as a veterinary release form are put on file during intakes.
Also, be sure to inform your veterinary medical care provider(s) that we are authorized to discuss a pet’s veterinary medical care or needs since most will NOT discuss the animal’s care or medications.
Therefore, it is essential for you to inform your veterinarian so that he/she is aware of this authorization any time you are traveling and not in town.
Since your pet’s care and safety are very important, your understanding and cooperation on this very important health and safety practice is of upmost importance.
Plug-in fragrance health & safety practices.
As a standard practice, pet owners are asked to unplug all fragrance dispensing prior to in-home pet care as a standard health and safety practice.
Faulty plug-in fragrance devices are of concern due to past product safety recalls and because overheating of the device and the fluids within them is of concern as a potential fire hazard.
Additionally, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study indicated that 86% of air fresheners tested contained toxic components that pose health risks.
If such devices are found onsite, they will be unplugged on arrival and will remained unplugged until owners return and reconnect the devices.