FAQ – Next level pet care LLC

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Please Read Our FAQ To Get Your Questions Answer.

What areas do you service?

We currently offer pet services in Worcester, West Boylston, Boylston, Shrewsbury, Grafton, Auburn, Leicester, Paxton and Holden.

What are Next Level Pet Care’s business hours?

Our normal business hours are M-F 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-1pm, Sun 12-3pm

There are many pet service businesses in Worcester. What sets you apart from the others?

We take care of pets of all kinds, not just dogs, and cats. We have taken care of salt and freshwater aquariums, turtles, snakes, bearded dragons, gecko, lizards, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, rats, mice, hermit crabs, parrots, parakeets, lovebirds, peacocks, Cockatiels, African Grey’s, macaws, cockatoos, chicken, ducks, butterflies and more.  We recognize and are sensitive to the fact that each client and pet has his or her own specific requirements and do our very best to listen, understand, and accommodate them. For dog walking, a happy, tired dog is our goal above all else. For pet sitting, happy, healthy pets and a safe, secure home are our goals. We will go above and beyond to make sure our customers are happy.

Are you insured and bonded?

Yes. We feel it is very important for dog walkers to have insurance and bonding. For your peace of mind, and ours. We have insurance through the Herlihy Insurance Group, herlihygroup.com, with Hanover.

What benefits can I expect?

Less stress for you and your pet!  You won’t have to worry about them or feel guilty when you can’t be there.  We’ll provide exercise, companionship, and stimulation while you’re away. This will result in a healthier, happier pet, both mentally and physically. Might do something for your mental stress too! Remember… a tired dog is a good dog!

Do you accept pets with special needs?

We get it. Not everyone is a straight A student. We’re happy to work with pets that need a little extra training and support, be it behavioral or medical. Just let us know ahead of time so that we can properly prepare our team. We do not provide needle injection services, however, if you need this please get in touch and we will refer you to another pet care professional in the area who does.

Do you care for Exotic, Reptile, Aquatic or other non-dog/cat pets?

We focus on providing the best care for all kinds of pets. We have experience with fresh and saltwater aquariums, ferrets, hamsters, rabbits, hermit crabs, bearded dragons, snakes and more! If we have not provided care for a particular pet before we will be upfront about it, do research, and speak to you about how to take care of them. We are always willing and able to learn your processes, even if it means multiple meet-and-greets before you leave.

Does my dog really need a walker?

Did you know that most dogs have the energy and strength to travel (on foot) an average of 15 miles a day?  It’s in their nature. Those dogs who do not get enough exercise often become frustrated (and unhealthy) and often demonstrate destructive, undesirable behaviors such as barking, chewing, anxiety, and digging. How much exercise does your dog get?

What happens in severe weather?

Keeping your pup safe is our top priority. When it’s too hot, too cold, lightning, or extremely high winds, we’ll take your pup out for a short bathroom break and finish the balance of their visit with playtime and cuddling in the safety of your home. We’ll always inform you when walks are shortened for safety.

If we ever decide to cancel services completely, we will let you know by 5 pm the day before so that you can make other arrangements, we have never had to do this since we are allowed to drive even in a driving ban, but we prefer to be prepared.

For winter and summer, we follow the two charts that will soon be up on our blog.

What do I do if there is an emergency?

If you have an emergency please call us directly at 508-556-0656.

In the rare event that we don’t answer, please leave your name, address, phone number, and nature of your emergency and we’ll return your call shortly.

Please note that we don’t consider last-minute scheduling requests or billing questions an emergency. If you leave a message related to one of these issues, we’ll return your call as soon as we’re back at our desk.

What does dog sitting entail?

During the day we typically visit your dog about every six hours, with no more than twelve hours between their last evening visit and first morning visit:

  • Breakfast visit between 7:00 AM-9:00 AM for a feeding, 30 minute walk, and water refresh.
  • Mid-Day visit between 11:00 PM-1:00 PM for a 30 minute walk and water refresh.
  • Dinner visit between 4:00 PM-6:00 PM for a feeding, 30 minute walk, and water refresh.
  • Tuck-In visit between 8:00 PM-10:00 PM for a 30 minute walk and water refresh.

We can alter this to three visits, spreading out the mid-day and dinner visits. We have a minimum of 2 visits per day.

How long are your dog walks?

We offer two visit lengths, our regular walks are about 20-30-minutes, and our long walks are about 45-60 minutes. We make sure your pup has on the proper gear (yep, we’ll put on raincoats and booties), has their dirty puppy paws wiped down so they don’t track mud into your home, enjoys refreshed water upon their return, and that you receive important pet updates.

How many dogs do you walk at a time?

We only walk pets from one household at a time, unless of course they have a neighbor or nearby friend and you want them walked together! This allows us to give your pup personalized attention and training. We will only walk two dogs at a time, even if you have more.

What kind of equipment do you use?

We use whatever your dog is used to, we suggest Easy-Walk harnesses if you’re looking to get new gear. The Easy-Walk harness helps prevent pulling and keeps tension off their neck.

How do you manage behavior?

One word: motivation. We mainly use positive reinforcement to encourage your pet to demonstrate the behaviors we want to see and to deter them from the behaviors we don’t. We get to know your pet, what motivates him/her, and use that. When they demonstrate the behavior we want to see, we reward them with the motivator (for most dogs that means food and affection). When they do a behavior we don’t want to see, such as jumping or pulling, we simply remove the positive reinforcement. That means no treats, no markers, no affection. We also might say ‘eh-eh’ or redirect them to something positive. They soon learn to behave as we want them too!

What kind of treats do you use? What if my pet has an allergy?

We use treats sparingly and when we do give a treat, it’s a small little bite. What treats we have on hand can vary day to day, so if your pup is allergic to something or you simply prefer we use your own treats, just let us know!

What does cat sitting entail?

Cat sitting typically involves one to two visits per day with no more than 24 hours between visits. We’re happy to add additional visits if you’d like! Cat sitting visits are typically scheduled mid-morning or late afternoon and include:

  • Feeding as instructed by you
  • Scooping litter and disposing of clumps
  • Providing 15-30 minutes of playtime and cuddling. If your cat is not a social butterfly, we’ll make visual contact to ensure they are doing well and sit with them reading aloud.

Do you have boarding?

While we do not have a boarding facility, we do offer in your home pet sitting. This allows your pet to keep their regular routine and stay in the comfort of their own home. We are always happy to work with you to develop a schedule that meets the unique needs of your pet.

My pet has never been alone. Do you do overnights?

We’re happy to have a sitter stay overnight in your home with your pet if it is required. Most pets do great with just visits, but for clients who need medical care or overnight potty breaks for puppies, we do offer overnights. Our sitter will take your dog for a walk around 9 – 10 PM and then stay the duration of the night cuddling and playing with them in your home. Just let us know where you want us to sleep and any other special instructions.

Can you pick up my mail or water my plants?

Absolutely. We’re happy to help where we can. For all of our pet-sitting clients, we bring in the mail, bring out trash and recycling, and bring in the receptacles at the end of the day. If you would like us to water your plants we request specific instructions on quantity and frequency of watering so we can be sure to get it right!

How is pet sitting different than a dog walk?

Pet sitting is for when you will be out of town. While we always provide excellent care for your pet, we are extra vigilant during these visits, making note of any small behavioral changes that may impact your pet’s health. We also make sure to check your home to ensure it is staying secure and in the same condition as you left it.

How much do your services cost?

Please go to our services page to view the full list of our services and pricing. We offer discounts to active military personnel and for pets that have been adopted in the last 6 months, the amount of the discount can instead be donated to a local and/or global no-kill pet rescue or shelter of your choosing.

Do you charge more for holidays?

We do have a $10 charge for all major holidays and holiday weekends (listed below). This allows us to pay our team members a holiday rate. We believe this is one step towards creating a great working environment that attracts the best care providers.

  • New Years Eve and Day
  • February and April School Breaks
  • Valentine’s, Mother’s and Father’s day
  • Memorial Day weekend
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day Weekend
  • Columbus Day Weekend
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving Weekend
  • Christmas (2 days before, 1 day after)

What will you need from me before we can get started?

Getting started is simple! We have you sign up with our scheduling program Time To Pet (https://www.timetopet.com/portal/nextlevelpetcare) and fill out a profile for your home and each pet that lives there (even if we’re just doing dog walking, we still check on all pets at every visit). You then schedule a Meet and Greet with you, your pet and us (free of charge). We want to give both of you the chance to get acquainted with us and to discuss your pet’s personality and requirements. At this Meet and Greet, we will receive and tag the 2 copies of the keys to your home and have you sign a vet release and key release.

I’m leaving today. Can I still get pet-sitting?

Maybe, but we need to meet you and your pet ahead of time, as well as have you complete our registration process and ensure we have access to your place. Give us a call ASAP at 508.556.0656 and have two keys ready if possible.

Do I need to sign a service agreement?

Yes. The service agreement grants permission to enter your home and care for your animals. It also states that you agree to our policies, rates, and services. No services will be provided without a signed service agreement, a copy of which can be found here soon. This agreement is our Portal Policy.

How do keys work?

We require two keys which are tagged with a number that corresponds to your profile in the system and the name of your pet(s). This ensures there is no identifying information on them. We carry one with us when we’re out doing visits, the other stays in a lock-box in the office.

Is there a cancellation fee?

For our daily dog walking clients, you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance with no charge. However, any cancellation made inside of 24 hours is charged in full. Vacation care clients can cancel up to 2 weeks before you leave at no charge. If it is earlier than 2 days before your vacation we retain the 50% that was already collected, within 48 hours is charged in full.

Do you charge more for weekends?

We don’t charge extra for weekends, only holidays. We know some people have to work on the weekends, so our mid-“days” happen any day of the week (and at any time for those of you working alternate shifts).

Can I request a specific time for my visit?

We make every effort to meet specific requests, but sometimes things happen–a dog doesn’t want to walk, a cat won’t come out from hiding, or a pet is sick. Therefore, we ask that all customers provide a two-hour window in which your pet will be serviced.

Can I request a specific person to visit my pet?

We use a team-based approach to our pet care services to ensure that we always have someone to cover every visit. This team approach allows us to take vacations or sick days as needed. Rest assured, all of us have completed the same intensive training and quality assessments. Our robust technology allows our team to share detailed notes on pets so that everyone has the same important information to ensure your pet has a great experience.

What happens if I did not complete my profile?

If you started the process but had to step away, you can easily pick up where you left off. Just go to https://www.timetopet.com/portal/nextlevelpetcare, enter your login and password, and finish where you left off. We cannot provide services until all profiles are complete.

Once I’m a client, how far in advance do I need to book visits?

It depends on what kind of services you’d like to reserve. For dog walking, we can usually start within a day or two. For vacation and especially holiday reservations please book as far in advance as possible as availability is limited and will book up fast.

Can you administer medication to my pet?

Our sitters have experience administering a variety of oral and topical medications. If your pet needs medication, we will need you to show us exactly how the medicine is to be delivered, along with written instructions that include the name of the medications, conditions they treat, dosages, timing, and possible side effects. Make sure to add them to your pet’s “medical notes” on their profile!

I need a very last minute walk. How quickly can you get there?

We will make every effort to accommodate your request and typically can get a sitter to your pet within two hours as long as you are a current client. However, during peak times, slots quickly fill up. The sooner you let us know, the better!

How late or early do you do visits?

We provide services regularly from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM, if you need visits outside of those times we are happy to discuss your needs.

Can I meet the sitter who will be caring for my pet?

We strongly encourage all pet parents to participate in a meet and greet with our owner Yenni. Meet and greets are entirely free. They are a chance for us to get to know your pet prior to providing care. They also provide you with the opportunity to learn more about our techniques and meet one of us.

If you would like to schedule a meet and greet with our sitters as well, this takes a little bit more coordination. Please note, given our team-based approach, we can’t guarantee that it will be the same person who visits your pet every time, but with our small team, it’s never a stranger coming to visit alone. Also, anytime a new sitter is going to be visiting your pet, a person that already has met them goes to the visit with the new person.

May I schedule or cancel an appointment directly through a text, or e-mail?

To ensure your appointment is confirmed, please book directly online. We prefer to keep all communications on the Time To Pet portal if possible to ensure that all information is kept in one place. The best way to request changes is through the red “Cancel/Request Changes” on the Schedule page.

How will I know how my pets are doing when I’m away from home?

You will receive a visit report waiting for you in your Time To Pet portal every day, many times with a photo of your pets. We also have a Facebook page and an Instagram account where you will see pictures and videos of NLPC pets going about their days and walks.

What if my pet has an accident inside or makes a mess?

Accidents happen; we completely understand! Don’t worry though, if your pet accidentally goes to the bathroom inside or otherwise makes a mess, we’ll be sure to clean it up so you come back to a fresh home.

What if you can’t get my dog out or my dog doesn’t go to the bathroom?

We have many tricks up our sleeve to calm frightened dogs and to encourage dogs to go to the bathroom. However, there are some days that a dog just doesn’t want to walk or doesn’t have to go to the bathroom. In these cases, you will still be charged for the visit. If you know your pup has some challenges, we strongly encourage you to share tips with us that you have found work for your dog.

What if my property is damaged?

Next Level Pet Care is liable for damage from our negligence or willful misconduct. Due to the unpredictability of animals, we cannot accept responsibility for uncontrollable mishaps if your pet is allowed full access to your home (such as if your pet chews your furniture). Please rest assured we will do everything in our power to keep your pet safe and out of trouble when they are with us, and to follow any special instructions for them while in your home.

My dog has or has had aggression/fear/guarding issues in the past. Can we still be a client?

This answer really depends on your dog.  Some dogs are great with people, and not so great with other dogs. Usually, we will try to identify a trigger to your dog’s issues and just avoid that scenario completely. This conversation will happen during the meet and greet, we can address any issues then. *If there is danger of physical harm to the walker, then we are unfortunately unable to provide services*

How do you bill?

For Pet Sitting, 50% is charged two weeks before your visits start, the remainder is charged 2 days before you leave. We bill all other services on a bi-weekly basis, after the service have been delivered. If you ever have a question about the charges on your account, please reach out.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards through Time To Pet’s invoicing system. We use Stripe as a payment processor. Failure to pay may result in suspension of services.

How do you screen your sitters?

Our team members undergo a rigorous screening process. First and foremost we screen resumes for reliability, trustworthiness, and a love of animals. All applicants that pass the initial resume and cover letter review get sent a questionnaire to fill out. From there we select those who seem to be a good fit on paper and conduct an interview followed by an in-person walk-along where observe a candidate in action. Lastly, we check references and conduct a full background check. All sitters are employees of Next Level Pet Care, not contractors, and are fully bonded and insured.

What training do team members receive?

All team members receive a minimum of 10 hours of upfront training. Training includes a mixture of classroom and hands-on training. We cover best practices in animal care, loose leash walking, animal behavior, and customer service. Additionally, team members are subject to quality assessments conducted at random and ongoing education, both of which provide ongoing training opportunities.  For more details on our training process, we will have a blog article soon.

Can I communicate directly with my sitter?

For the full duration of you and your pet’s being our client, you are able to directly communicate with everyone on our team via the messaging system on your Time To Pet portal. Our centralized messaging system ensures that you get a timely response and that important information is shared with all sitters caring for your pet.

Can I give my sitter a tip?

Tipping is not expected but is much appreciated. If you feel so inclined you may tip your sitter by adding a tip on the portal when you pay.

Still have questions?

Email us at info@nextlevelpetcare.com or give us a call 508.556.0656. We’d be happy to answer any question you could have.