Dear Miki The TabbyDear (Miki the) Tabby: How much does pet sitting cost?

Miki is back with me to answer the number one million-dollar question all pet sitters get from people right off the bat:

How much do you charge?

Take a look at my list of standard/base rates for overnight/live-in pet sitting and cat and critter sitting daily visits in Redlands and surrounding areas. I’d love to give you an exact amount, but I can’t give it to you unless you tell me what needs to be done specifically. What I can tell you is that it depends on the workload. One size does not fit all.

Sure, you can always ask your friend, relative, or some kid off Craigslist to save a few bucks. But do you just trust anyone who gains access to your property and takes the responsibility to care for your critter family members? You may be rudely surprised by what these folks can do, and then some!

So a better question to ask yourself is “what’s the value of quality pet sitting?”

To avoid sticker shock, here are things that you need to bear in mind:

Length, frequency, and type of service

What do you feel would be best for your peace of mind, the well-being of your critter charges, and the security of your home while you’re away? Do you need drop-in visits? How many of them? Or you want a more specific amount of time? Do you need overnights plus day visit(s) or daytime stay? An experienced sitter can advise you on what would suit your needs best.

Number and types of pets

How many pets do you have? Obviously, more pets mean more time. What kind(s) of pet(s) do you have? Some species and breeds are more high-maintenance than others. Dogs need the most work. Some dog breeds need more activity than others. Some are more prone to separation anxiety than others.

Health condition of pets

Age is also a factor. Do you have a puppy or a senior pet? Puppies and seniors need to be watched more closely. Are your pets special needs pets? Do your pets require medications? How are they administered? Orally, via injection, etc.? Do your pets have medical condition(s) that require around-the-clock supervision? Do they have behavioral issues? Are they aggressive? Do they suffer from anxiety or other forms of emotional or psychological trauma? My clientele includes rescue dogs that have been previously abused, neglected, or abandoned. All of these situations require extra TLC, so overnights/extended stays are highly recommended or even a must.

Included in my overnight/extended stay package are complimentary health/wellness sessions for your critter family’s comfort and happiness: Reiki, a holistic modality that balances the body, mind, and spirit, providing a calming effect, plus PetTech Snout-to-Tail Wellness Assessment to establish a normal baseline for your pets, detect any abnormalities, and possibly prevent a serious condition. It also allows more bonding opportunity with your pets. I’m also trained in PetTech First Aid and CPR should the unthinkable happens. (Let’s cross our fingers, toes, and paws that it won’t!)

Routine of your pets

What do your pets eat and how often? How do you normally prepare their food? Do you cook for them? Are they on a special diet? Do they take supplements? Do they need playtime or exercise? How long and how often? Do you need them cleaned up or groomed regularly (other than the kind done in pet grooming shops)?

Routine of your home

To give your home a lived-in look, would you need just basic light housekeeping—picking up mail, packages, as well as trash and pet waste? Watering plants? Is there anything else that you’d like me to specifically do when it comes to that? While I don’t perform certain services beyond pet sitting, I do a little bit more cleaning to keep your home tidy— a little cleaner than or just as clean as its usual maintained state. After all, pets like to make a mess and drop stink bombs here and there. Fear not—I have concentrated, non-toxic/eco-friendly cleaning products in my arsenal.

Location

Do you live within the sitter’s service area? Mileage counts. Sitters typically charge extra for locations outside their service areas, typically beyond the 10-mile radius. A good number of them even restrict their area to the five-mile radius. Southern California is the gold rush-hour bottleneck capital of the US, so keep in mind that traffic conditions are also taken into account. More congestion means more travel time.

Cherry on top!

Here’s what you may expect when I hang out with your furry gang. See the photo and video evidence for yourself!

Bella has too much pet sitting and house sitting fun!

And yes, I specialize in overnights. They happen to be the most requested type of service. Yes, they’re an exclusive, premium service, but I love the fact that most of my clientele includes pet parents who want special treatment for their critter kids. As an introvert and a homebody, I’d much rather be holed up in your place to throw an animal pawty with your party animals! I love to keep them company for as long as possible.

As you can already see, there’s so much more to pet sitting than just feeding and playing with pets. Here’s a collection of real-life stories of the day-to-day work of pet sitters that my friends/colleagues and I have gathered—the great lengths pet care providers go to in order to give pet parents peace of mind and comfort for their critter family members.

All things considered, how much does a responsible, reliable, friendly, and loving pet sitter cost?

As the MasterCard slogan goes: PRICELESS.

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