FAQ

These extensive FAQs have been compiled for you. Some are the usual questions, some may be “odd”. Believe me, they have been asked!

Do you offer a discount?

Yes, to multi dog families. For this discount to apply, the pets need to live in same household (same address) or owned by same person. Additionally, I offer discounts to First Aid and Emergency Responders (firefighters, police, EMS, ACOs).

When and why did you decide to petsit?

I actually started at the insistence of veterinary hospital clients. Clients constantly would ask if I could watch their pets. They wanted someone they would be able to trust and they wanted someone qualified. I felt sorry for the clients who said that a pet sitter cancelled on them, mistreated or neglected their pet. I heard too many times about well intentioned pet sitters who really didn't know how to handle their pets. I petsat here and there in the beginning (while getting my degree in veterinary technology). After graduation, I have been able to devote more time to pet sitting. I started in 1999 and have been serving the Ramapo Valley and Saddle River Valley ever since.

Do you have an age limit or requirement for pets that you accept?

Yes, there's not an exact age because the number of years for one breed is not the same in another breed. It's a case by case basis. As an owner, you have to consider what is best for YOUR pet, not YOU. An elderly pet may not be suited to leave his environment. The older the pet, the more set he is in his ways and it may be extremely traumatic to put a elderly pet in a new setting. Your pet will be exposed to many things including: different floor textures, stairs, different water, different times rising and going to bed, children and young exuberant dogs. I can accept a very young altered pet, but they must have had a rabies vaccine, bordetella and be up to date on da2ppv vaccine series. They must also be housebroken, which is sometimes an issue with older pets.

I see you do not belong to any petsitting associations, why not?

I used to be a member of Pet Sitters International (PSI), but; it is only a membership that you pay into. It does not mean anything. Pet sitting memberships (National Association of Pet sitters, Professional United Pet sitters LLC), are not policing agencies. It does not guarantee the safety or well being of your pet. Most people may look for these logos on a website but they are just a stamp to put there, that the petsitter pays for, passing that cost to the pet owner. A prospective client needs to get a first impression and call references.

Why does the vaccine certificate need to be faxed directly from the vet? I have it here, I can fax it right now.

While most clients are honest people, a small percentage may not understand the legal ramifications of having an aggressive dog being cared for by an unknowing person or not telling a caregiver that the pet is under rabies quarantine. Having the vaccine certificate faxed from a vet hospital will give the vet hospital a chance to alert me to any reason why it would not be deemed inappropriate for the dog to be under my care.

I have used a pet sitting service before. My neighbors said all different people were coming in and out of my house. I am not comfortable with that. I never even met the people who were seen going into my house. Do you outsource?

No, what you see is what you get. I do the house visits, not a partner or employee. Your alarm passcode and key is safe with me. Rarely, I may have my husband do a pet sit. (If it involves a particular time for a medication). We do not have any "independent contractors" or employees (as known in the petsitting industry). Dog Haus Pet Sitting is a small business dedicated to providing one on one service to the local area.

My pet is diabetic and requires insulin and special diet. My other pet is not very easy to administer medication to, some people are afraid of my cat. Would you be willing to take this responsibility on?

I am a vet tech and administering medication is not hard. If your pet is difficult, most likely it is not a problem,. What do you think we do with unruly pets? Not help them? No, after years of training, education and experience you learn techniques to “get the job done”.

My pet doesn't eat well when I am away. Will you be able to get him to eat?

I can't guarantee it but most pets eat well here (from the excitement/activity with the other "playmates"). I will entice a dog to eat with making a gravy out of a tablespoon of Solid Gold canned food or sometimes ground meat. Nine out of ten dogs will eat all the food. Some finicky dogs (those who are finicky at home even) will eat well here, as they are mentally and physically stimulated here.

I need to go away this weekend. My petsitter cancelled on me. Can I drop off my dog tomorrow? Can you start coming to my house tomorrow?

No and yes, as I am not a kennel. Your pet needs to be preapproved. Once I receive confirmation that your pet is up to date on vaccines (and they haven't just been updated yesterday), then we can make an appointment very soon, sometimes the same day. Why can't you make an appointment that same day if all the vaccines are up to date and you understand that your dog may not be approved at this last minute? Because usually when a client is calling last minute it is for a busy time (and usually I have only one opening if any). Here's the scenario: Prospective client calls: wants to bring pet here to be petsat last minute. Hurries to get documents faxed. Makes appt for interview. I get call from current client. I tell them I may not have availability for them, I have a pending interview. Prospective client calls and cancels interview appointment or dog is not suitable. Now, I have just told current client I was booked (See the problem?). Booking your pet should never be a last minute thing, therefore I may not be able to come to your home either. I need to meet with you and your pet beforehand. THIS IS THE REASON TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL pet sitter, as a professional does not cancel on you. Sometimes I can cover a last minute situation if you are a new client. If you are a current client, many times something can be worked out.

I don't see an "a la carte menu" for petting, extra attention and potty breaks. Do you not offer this?

Yes, we offer this and more. We don't charge separately for each service. It is all inclusive for the daily boarding fee. We do not charge for: each meal served, each medication administered, each potty break, any "park outings", play session, first aid administered, doggie daycare, gourmet treat served, tv viewing, or personal use of human or provided dog bed.

Is there an additional charge for administering medication?

No, there is never an extra charge for administering medication.

I don't "believe" in vaccines. I want my pet to stay with you. Can't I get a titer for my pet?

Yes, however your vet MUST update a vaccine certificate, not just fax a titer (lab results). There is no standardized way of interpreting titers or measuring them. Your vet must verify an adequate vaccine response by updating a vaccine certificate. In general most vets in NY/NJ area are giving distemper combo vaccines (DA2PPV) every 3 years. I will not accept titers for bordetella (duration of immunity is only 12 months, never any longer). Rabies titers: If the town you have registered your pet in accepts a Rabies titer AND your vet will provide a letter stating that the titer is sufficient to protect your pet than I will accept it. Again, all paperwork needs to have vet's name, address, license number and office phone number on it. If your vet does not want to update a vaccine certificate because of legalities, then he or she can type a letter with all his/her info verifying that our pet's immune system shows an adequate response to the distemper combo or rabies vaccine. The rabies titer needs to have been done in past 12 months or sooner. The distemper/parvo titer needs to have been done in last 3 years or sooner. If your pet does not receive vaccines because of toxicity reasons, we can discuss. I will not take on a client who just does not do vaccines because they do not want to pay for veterinary exam etc.

Are pets sedated?

No. It would probably be illegal to judiciously sedate your pet. This needs to be authorized by a licensed vet. If your pet becomes unruly and needs sedation, we will contact your vet. A pet can have a bad night, but if your pet generally needs to be sedated for boarding, we are not for you. If your pet requires a sedative for thunderstorms or fireworks that is fine, they will be administered. Many clients have commented that their pets were sedated while at the kennel. I don’t think the kennel sedated them, the dog probably went thru an ordeal (confusion as to why they are there, barking dogs, concrete floors) and are exhausted! After all why would the kennel need to sedate dogs? Barking, defecating indoors and hyperactivity are the norm for dogs who are bored.

If my pet becomes ill while in your care, where will you seek veterinary attention?

Depending on the illness (serious vs. vomiting and or diarrhea) I will first contact you and then your additional contacts to alert you of the situation (if serious). I will try to get your pet to your veterinary hospital (which you should have authorized for the Dog Haus to consent for treatment). If your hospital is closed or unable to take your pet for an appointment, I seek veterinary care elsewhere, it depends on the situation. If it is a true emergency: I will go to a 24 hour emergency hospital. It is my sole discretion as to whether your pet needs veterinary medical care. If your chosen vet is not providing adequate care for your pet (ie engaging in malpractice), another veterinarian will be chosen to administer care or I will seek guidance from another vet. I would be found negligent if a vet /vet's office is NOT providing adequate care and I did nothing about it.

My pet had diarrhea when I picked him up from the kennel, why?

Diarrhea is USUALLY a stress response from being kenneled. It can happen at the best kennels. Usually a pet can get over it with a bland diet and Immodium (dogs only). Many kennels do not feed the pet his own food. A change in the diet can cause diarrhea. Diarrhea can also be from a more serious problem accompanied with vomiting. If you have any doubt that your pet is sick, you should seek veterinary attention. Dogs that come to “visit” usually do not have diarrhea because they are not stressed. They are usually not “out of sorts” because they are happy to be playing with their canine friends.

Can I check up on my pet while in your care?

Yes, we encourage it. It gives us a chance to ask any additional questions that may arise while your pet is here. Calling us will also make you feel assured knowing your pet is happy and comfortable. You are not considered a pest if you call, I can only think of how I would feel if I am away from my pet. If you wish, you can request pictures during the time I am caring for your pet.

Do you take "Pit Bulls"? Do you separate "family" dogs from aggressive breeds?

Every Pit Bull I have petsit for has been happy, sociable and great around kids. I can't say that of all Goldens and Labs. If you have a "family dog" and you are worried that your dog will be mauled by some "dangerous breed"- please stop watching too much tv. I have no "customers" that are aggressive. All the dogs have been preapproved. They are all family dogs. Just because a dog is a so called happy all around "good dog" breed does not guarantee it being my client.

My dog is really a human, not a dog, can I pay for 4 dogs worth of boarding so that he/she will be by him/herself?

No! I feel sorry for dogs who have owners who think they are little furry children, as a dog is not happy being treated as any other species than what they are. A dog who is treated as a human will have MANY behavorial issues. A dog like that is a disaster waiting to happen and do not want that dog around any critters (four legged or two legged).

You are booked and the people who you recommended are too. What do you think of this petsitter?

If I did not give out a name and you are asking for another recommendation for someone else, I probably am unable to say anything about that petsitter. Being a PROFESSIONAL myself, I can not bad mouth another petsitter, it is unprofessional. If I haven't mentioned a particular petsitter it is probably because: A) I have never heard of them, they are new to petsitting (seems that some folks think that petsitting is for anyone who "loves" animals and who "want to earn some extra money" or B) I have gotten bad reports from their former clients. It really is quite embarrassing that there are "petsitters" out there that behave in a less than mature fashion. It seems that a lot of petsitters will do anything to thwart any competition. There is a large customer base in the metro area and petsitters should all work together. I will continue to network with other professional petsitters, it's in my best interest and pet owners. Remember to hire mature intelligent individuals to care for your pet(s), not a neighbor's kid or a corporate type only interested in making money. It surely would not have impressed me when looking for a nursery school for my child if the teachers wore suits. What came thru was the warmness of the teachers. Just judge for yourself, does your dog run into the petsitter's house or jump up and down when he/she sees your petsitter? Just as my child runs into nursery school, that's the reaction you should look for.

Do you do doggie day care?

No, not in the sense that a dog is dropped off in the morning and picked up in the p.m. I provide overnight care.

Do you do overnight petsitting IN MY HOME?

No, I'd suggest calling your vet's office for a recommendation.

Does my pet need to be altered (neutered or spayed)?

This is not a yes or no answer. Research is showing that altering pets is not always the healthiest thing for pet, especially large breed dogs. This is something that is a individual need by need basis. Intact animals can pose a series of problems, but this is something that can be discussed.

Do you have references?

Yes, they will be furnished to you once you meet me and I meet your pet. At this initial interview, you are interviewing me as I am of you and your pet. Either one of us can decide we aren’t a good match. If we are a good match, you can then call references.

You are fully booked, do you have any recommendations to where I can board my pet?

Yes, I can recommend Aranwood in Mahwah, NJ 201-529-2700 and Bihari in Nanuet, NY 845-356-1658.

I don’t see my town listed as a town you go to, it doesn’t seem that far from your location, will you still come to my home?

I may, but I recommend you find someone close to you, as they will have a more competitive rate. I can travel outside of service area, but the price will reflect traveling time.

Can my dog drink from a separate water bowl?

How would I be able to accomplish this task? Dogs need water throughout the day. The water can be picked/taken up late at night if your dog is prone to drinking excessively then needing to go out in the middle of the night. The only way this (separate water bowls) is accomplished is at a kennel, where your dog is separated from others.

Food Aggression: My dog is socialized but he is food aggressive. Is this okay?

No. Food aggression usually translates to other types of aggression. It's one thing to get upset if another dog has started to eat another's food/treat. However, it's a whole other issue if another dog walks into the room or a human brushes up to a dog while feeding and a dog snaps. Dogs are "separated" during feeding times. This means that a dog is free to eat his/her meal without interruptions. A dog must be able to eat when another dog is nearby (in same room). This is a topic that must be discussed if your pet exhibits this behavior.

Do you offer training?

No, I do not have the patience to train an owner. Almost all rude manners a dog has is because of it's owner. I can suggest a trainer to you. A trainer will take the time to explain doggie behavior to you. Always remember a dog is a dog, not a furry child. If you understand that, you will have a well adjusted dog. A very good show to watch is "The Dog Whisperer" with Ceasar Milan. It's on National Geographic Channel. He teaches a no nonsense approach to dog training. Also remember when searching for a trainer get references. Make sure the trainer is a REAL trainer not just someone who does dog sitting or boarding but someone who has credentials. There is no licensing for trainers (or petsitters) so beware that every trainer is not the same. I specialize in pet sitting, I do not dabble in dog training. I recommend Greg Kleva (Bark Busters):See his website: http://www.barkbusters.com/page.cfm/ID/50/id_directory/1048/ Also check him out on Martha Stewart! Please understand that dog training isn't a get rich scheme, it needs to be done by a professional that has proven results! 

Do you accept credit cards?

No, in order to continue offering reasonable rates for petsitting, I only accept checks or cash.

My pet is used to having someone at home all the time, do you work? Will he/she be left alone for extended periods of time?

Someone is usually home. I wouldn't think it would be fair to take care of someone's pet and work somewhere else and your pet is an afterthought. Whatever you may require for your pet, I can tailor it to suit his/her needs.

Where will my dog sleep?

Wherever he ends up if he does not require a crate to sleep in. Most dogs do not need to be separated at night as they are tired from playing with their canine friends thru the day and will sleep until morning. They can fall asleep on a dog bed, floor or couch.

How many dogs do you watch at one time?

I own 1 dog myself and try to keep the number at a manageable level, it can be as many as 4.

My dog gets bathed free of charge the day he or she comes home, do you offer this?

I do offer bathing or light grooming for a fee. There is generally no need to bathe a dog when it is going back home. Since this is not a kennel where they may be sitting in their own waste or around other dog's waste, they will not smell. I require that all dogs that come here are CLEAN, free of excessive doggie smell, dirt and parasites.

So are you a veterinary technician or veterinary assistant, what's the difference? Being an ACO, does that make you a better petsitter?

I am a Veterinary Technician and an ACO (Animal Control Officer). A Veterinary Assistant is similar to a Nursing Assistant and a Vet Tech is similar to an RN/LPN. In other words, a TRUE Vet Tech has to complete a degree program like a RN/LPN does. NJ does not require licensing for Vet techs, thus ANYONE can call him/herself a vet tech, there's no legal ramifications (unlike a person that called himself a RN or Dr and wasn't one). The general public doesn't know that a vet tech doesn't need to be licensed and can possibly be putting a pet at risk, but that's a whole other topic. To be a good professional pet sitter does not mean you must have a degree in vet med, it helps. The petsitter that I recommend is not a vet tech, but has worked in a vet hospital. She has many more years experience in petsitting/private dog boarding than me, and I do not hesitate to recommend her.

Why don't you require the Lepto vaccine (the "L" in Da2LPPV)?

Leptospirosis is not a "kennel" disease. It is very rare for a dog to get lepto from another dog. The vaccine does NOT prevent transmission of the disease. The vaccine only protects for strains that are not present in this area. Lepto is MANY times misdiagnosed. Most vets get a high titer for a particular strain and assume, umm, high number, must be this one. Please see the recommendation page for the studies of Dr. Shultz, he's the guru of vaccines and hasn't diagnosed the common strain in lepto vaccines in a dog in 20 years. My dogs have never had a lepto vaccine and will not because of the high incidence of vaccine reactions and the limited effectiveness of the vaccine and the likely hood of not coming down with lepto.

Why do you not require the Lyme (Borrelia burgdorferi) vaccine?

It is impossible for a dog to transmit Lyme disease to another dog. The vaccines required to board a dog are for dog to dog transmitted diseases. The Ixodes scapularis tick is responsible for Lyme disease transmission, not another dog. I do require a veterinary purchased flea/tick preventative to be applied once a month for protection against external parasites.

Why don't you require the corona vaccine?

Corona is a disease of neonates, not of puppies or adult dogs. There is no reason to have your dog vaccinated for Corona.

I've met with you and my dog has been approved. Every time I call, you are booked. What gives? Did my dog or me not pass the interview? Do you not want my business?

No, if I am unavailable, that's the reason why I can't take your pet. There is no other reason. If you or your pet doesn't pass the interview, I will tell you. Since we are not a kennel, time slots can fill up quickly. It is best to book early.

Will you call my vet to verify anything?

Sometimes. Some vaccine certificates may contain errors and I need to call. Other times, the office staff may have only hand written a note on a vaccine certificate that your dog has gotten heartworm meds and flea/tick preventative, forgetting to indicate how much and when it was purchased. On rare occasions, I need to verify temperament and health status.

How is the daily charge calculated?

The rate has a per hour charge. For example: if the contract starts on Monday morning at 8am and ends Wednesday at 8pm, your total is for two and a half days. 

What towns do you service for in home pet care (pet sitting in my home) and animal control?

I travel to the towns of: In Ramapo, NY: Hillburn, Suffern, Airmont, Sloatsburg. In NJ: Oakland, Mahwah, Wayne, Franklin Lakes, Ramsey, Upper Saddle River, Allendale. Towns in NJ that I service for animal control (wildlife abatement): Oakland, Mahwah, Wayne, Pompton Lakes, Pompton Plains, Riverdale, Franklin Lakes, Wyckoff, Midland Park, Hawthorne, Ramsey, Upper Saddle River, Saddle River, Allendale, Montvale and Woodcliff Lake. If you need specialized or vet tech pet sitting, I may be able to travel further but the cost is more.

I only need someone to administer medication to my pet, I don't need pet sitting. Do you do this?

Yes. Some folks have difficulty giving oral meds to their pets or may need help giving subcutaneous fluids (SQ). I can also teach you to administer medication. The charge is the same as a petsitting visit.

My dog has had a bad experience at a kennel or a private pet sitter's home. Does this mean that I will never be able to go away?

No. Please tell me any bad experiences as this will help us decide if your pet is suited to come here or stay in your home for me to pet sit. Since this a small business, and I take pride in what I do, your pet will get individual attention. I can not guarantee we will be a good match, asking questions and giving me honest answers will benefit both humans and pets. There has been a couple of instances that a pet has used another service and had a horrible experience and the pet did marvelous with Dog Haus.

Do you accept post dated checks?

No, banking institutions require that a written check has funds ready to be deposited, (otherwise bad check laws may apply). If you wish for me to wait until petsitting service (in your home) is completed before depositing a check, I can certainly accommodate you. A check that is used for a deposit (to reserve your reservation) will be deposited when received.

Do you take care of fish, birds, small/large animals and exotics?

Yes, I have watched fish, equine and birds. I have owned animals other than dogs and cats and do have some exotic and farm animal education. Please email or call to discuss.

What sicknesses can my pet pick up?

Everything and nothing. We pride ourselves in that no one yet has ever complained that their pet has gotten sick while in our care. Unfortunately, when a pet is at a kennel (which we are not) they are in a more confined area. They are exposed to a higher population. Dogs can transmit a bevy of diseases. Even healthy, vaccinated dogs can pick up something while sitting on their front porch. Many topical, internal pesticides can help prevent infestions, but they are not 100%. A healthy pet's very best defense for disease is their own immune system. To keep endo and exto parasites from infecting your pet, you can either use a pesticide from your vet (Frontline, Advantix, Heartgard) OR keep your pet on a raw diet free of grain (in tick/flea season use a powder/tonic to change the blood's pH, so that the bugs don't want to feast on your pet). Dogs can pick up kennel cough (which is a general term) at any place no matter if they are vaccinated. No vaccine is 100%. Kennel Cough can be caused by a virus called Canine Influenza or Bordetella sometimes accompanied with the parainfluenza virus (not canine influenza). CIV (Canine Influenza) is NOT as widespread as vaccine manufacturers would like you to believe. When there is an "outbreak" of CIV, many will report that it's CIV if it's suspected. Many times there's no confirmation test from a vet laboratory OR there's one positive, so of the 10 other dogs that were coughing, they presume they have CIV, even if tested negative (ie the virus was not live at time of testing.....). For more information on CIV: http://www.avma.org/public_health/influenza/canine_guidelines.asp

The Bordetella vaccination is administered every 6 to 12 months, depending on manufacturer and vet’s preference. Lastly, I have heard that older pets can get urine scalding while at a kennel. Pets generally are not walked or have access to the outdoors on a regular basis while at a kennel. When the need arises, a pet will urinate if not given the appropriate place to relieve himself. The pet will soil the kennel area and have to wait until the next “hose down”. Urine scalding is from standing/lying in urine. This will not happen because the dog is given ample times to go outdoors where a dog should go to the bathroom. When a pet is in his familiar surroundings, his routine is not altered, so he will continue with his good bathroom habits.

I might be in the area, can I stop by?

Sorry, no. This is not a kennel. The mailing address is a private community. In order to come here, you must be a resident or an invited guest. To do this without permission is trespassing. The streets are owned by the individual members of this community. Dogs (and many other animals) are loose, you could possibly hit a neighbors dog by "sightseeing". I have noticed too many sightseers. The neighbors know everyone and if you do not belong here, you will stick out and possibly have an encounter with law enforcement. Please be respectful and make an appointment so that you will be announced.Surveillance cameras are in place.

Are you hiring?

Sorry, no. We are a small business and I do not wish to expand that I need to outsource. My clients value the fact that I am a small business and I try to accommodate them. If a new client needs a time and I am too busy , I will refer them. If you are interested in dog walking or pet sitting, I'd suggest telling your vet. Perhaps he or she can give your info to his or her clients. If you are interested in starting a pet sitting company, email me or call, I'd be glad to assist you, so that you will be operating a business to the best of your ability and perhaps I can refer clients to you. If you are school age or just trying to learn the ropes and it's for a busy time, I'd be glad to show you around (to the world of pet sitting), however it would probably be best for you to tag along with a colleague who does dog walking. Just shoot me an email and I'll see if I can assist you.

Why did you decide to expand your business to include animal control?

I have long wanted to get involved in community based affairs (ambulance, cert, cart). Animal Control has a lot to do with people. In the years working with wildlife that Good Samaritans brought into the animal hospital, handling wildlife is natural to me and I run into so much in my "neck of the woods". I can work with homeowners and business owners to help rid them of nuisance animals and at the same time provide humane care to wildlife.

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