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  • Writer's pictureCaméa Allen

The Kid Next Door is Not a Pet Sitter

Updated: Jun 17

Summer's here, the kids are almost out of school, and your pup's pleading eyes beg for attention. With your busy work and travel schedule, who will watch your best boy(s) or girl(s) while you're out? While the neighbor's kid might seem like a quick and easy solution, there are many reasons why a professional pet sitter is the best choice for your pet's summer care. Let's discuss why the kid next door is not a pet sitter.

The Kid Next Door is Not a Pet Sitter: Training & Experience

pet sitter yorktown
A professional pet sitter has policies and procedures to protect everyone

At Hearts at Home, our professional pet sitters are trained and experienced in caring for pets of varying species, sizes, and temperaments. We understand pet behavior, can handle unexpected situations, and are CPR and pet first-aid certified.

When you leave your pet in the care of a professional pet care company like ours, our employees, your pet, and your home are covered by our insurance. As part of our services, we care for your home while you're away. We alternate lights and blinds to make it appear occupied, deter potential break-ins by bringing in packages and mail, and provide an extra layer of security by looking out for signs of danger.

A child doesn't have the skills to recognize when your pet is uneasy and about to bite, may not know how to properly hold a leash or prevent pet loss, and is likely not prepared to encounter an off-leash dog on a walk. The risk of hiring a child to care for your pet is great. Don't let the potential to save a few dollars lead you to put your pet or a neighborhood child in harm's way.

The Kid Next Door is Not a Pet Sitter: Customized Care

dog walker yorktown
kids don't know your pet's limits, we study them

Each pet has its personality and needs. A professional pet sitter will take the time to get to know your pet's routine, feeding schedule, medication requirements (if any), and playtime preferences to ensure we meet their needs. We customize our services and the frequency of our visits to ensure your pet feels happy, safe, and loved in your absence.

The kid next door doesn't know what he or she doesn't know. They may love animals but they don't have the skills necessary to tailor visits and care to your pet's needs.

More Than Just Walks and Kibble

A professional pet sitter offers services beyond just feeding and walking your pet. We provide playtime, litter box scooping, medication administration, and more. We also ensure your pet receives the same level of care they're accustomed to when you are home, reducing stress and easing separation anxiety.

The Kid Next Door is Not a Pet Sitter: Safety & Liability

dog walker yorktown
we make accident and injury prevention our priority

When it comes to pet and home safety, prevention is key. As professional pet sitters, we understand how to prevent accidents and issues. A child does not.

For example, a child may forget to safeguard chewable medications, extra food, or other tempting items. The kid next door may invite a friend over without your approval. We've even heard of teenagers having parties while pet sitting neighbors' pets, which is a huge liability for you if someone gets hurt.

As professionals, our team isn't immune from accidents or injuries, but they are covered by our workers compensation if they sustain a bite, scratch, injury, etc. while providing services. That alone is worth its weight in gold because accidents can and do happen.

Emergency Management & Transport

cat sitter yorktown
we work with pets of all ages, temperaments, and needs

Heaven forbid your pet fall ill or get injured while you're away, will the kid next door know what to do? Would they know if and when your pet needs emergency veterinary care? Do they have the skills necessary to stabilize your pet for transport? Do they even have a vehicle in which to transport your pet? Can they safely secure and/or lift your pet in an emergency? These are only a few of the questions you should ask yourself before asking a neighborhood kid to care for your pet.

In addition, if the child is below 18, you should speaking to the child's parent before enaging them to provide pet care. Their parents should be aware of and be on board with your expectations of their child.

Longterm Care & Reliability

dog walker yorktown
we have back-ups so that services are never unexpectedly interrupted

A professional pet sitter will become a trusted companion for your pet. Regular visits create a familiar face and a source of comfort, especially for pets who struggle with separation anxiety.

At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we work hard to minimize employee turnover. We have built a team of professionals that we are proud of and have trained them to provide the same exceptional level of service across the board.

The kid next door may be passionate about pets but caring for them is not a career and vocation like it is for us. We take this work very seriously and are committed to doing it properly. Their school and extracurricular schedule may also make it difficult for them to provide consistent, quality service whereas we not only have a primary pet sitter for each client, we also have trusted back-ups on our team to step in if your primary pet sitter falls ill or is unable to make a scheduled visit.

Can you imagine if the child you "hire" to care for your pet forgets and leaves your pet waiting for hours or days for care? We have scheduling software and other safeguards that ensure our services are never unexpectedly interrupted.

dog walker pet sitter yorktown virginia

Only The Best for Your Pet

Sure, the neighbor's kid may be cheaper short-term, but the peace of mind, professional care, and personalized attention a pet sitter offers are invaluable. Consider it an investment in your pet's happiness and well-being, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable summer for both of you. And, remember, by hiring a pet sitting company with employees and insurance, you're mitigating your risk. Skip the gamble and choose a professional pet sitter this summer. Your furry friend will thank you for it!

At Hearts at Home, we offer in-home dog walking and pet sitting services in Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton, Virginia. To register your pet(s) with us, please complete a new client questionnaire here. Existing clients may request services here.

Please visit our website or contact us by email at or by phone at 757-745-9868 to learn more. We thank you for your commitment to your pets!

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