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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find common questions about our business and the services we offer. If you still can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

General Business Questions

Why should I choose Pet Partners for my pet’s care?

We are an established company with outstanding references and a proven track record of taking care of Silver Spring pets, the lucky ones!

How long has Pet Partners been in business?

Since 2004

Where are your service areas?

Silver Spring and within about 5 miles from the downtown area including homes in zip codes 20901, 20910, and 20902. Some parts of Takoma Park, Kensington and NW Washington, DC may fall within this area so please check with us.

What types of payment are accepted?

Cash, Check, Paypal, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.

What is the best way to contact your office?

We are available by phone at 301-920-2168 in our home office. We also check email daily at sherry@thepetpartners.com. For last minute requests or urgent matters, please call Sherry’s cell phone at 703-216-5946. You can also text this number. If you email or text, Sherry will always reply if she receives the message. If you do not get a reply, assume she did not get the message, then call or try some other means of connecting.

What if I need emergency pet care?

Ideally, we request you schedule at least 48 hours in advance. However, for emergency requests that are 48-hours or less, we charge a $25 emergency surcharge and will do all we can to accommodate you.

Are there extra costs for services performed on a holiday?

Yes, on these annual holidays: New Year’s Day, Labor Day, Easter, Independence Day, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve Day. There is a $10 surcharge per visit to your home and a $25 surcharge for Bed & Biscuit and Stay & Play services at Sherry’s home.

Are there a minimum amount of services I must sign my pet up for?

No, sign up for only the number of visits that best serve you and your pets.

Can you describe your hiring process?

Our dog walkers (who must be older than 18, have a cell phone and reliable transportation) go through an extensive screening process before becoming part of the Pet Partners team. After successfully interviewing with Sherry, having references checked, and passing a criminal and credit background check, candidates begin orientation. This involves shadowing Sherry to learn all the details about your pet’s personality, safety and care.

This is followed by a 30-day trial period during which new walkers are permitted to walk dogs alone but Sherry is nearby to help if needed. At every step in this process and after, client’s feedback is welcome and appreciated about walkers to let us know what we are doing well and how we can improve.

My pet has been aggressive in the past. Can he or she still be a client?

Unfortunately no, but we will provide referrals to dog trainers and animal behaviorists.

Can you give my pet medication?

Yes and No. We can give pills, creams and drops, but not injections. If your pet requires medication, we can only administer doses from the original container. We also require your written instructions for dose, frequency, duration and possible side effects to be aware of.

Is there an extra charge for giving my pet medication?

No.

Is Pet Partners insured and bonded?

Yes, we are insured and bonded by Business Insurers of the Carolinas.

How much notice do I need to give Pet Partners to cancel a visit or service?

24 hours

What trade associations does Pet Partners belong to?

Pet Sitters International, National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, the Humane Society and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Dog Walking

Is my dog walked with other dogs, in what is commonly called “Pack Walking”?

No, your dog receives individual walks and one-on-one personalized attention. The only exception is families who own more than one dog. We walk just one family’s dogs at a time.

Does my dog get walked by the same person every time?

No. We have a small, select team of walkers, trained and informed about your dog’s personality and preferences, who share walking duties. This prevents dog walker burnout and your dog benefits from different styles, personalities and energy levels. This system also ensures we will always have coverage for your dog’s walks in the event of an illness, injury or other emergency with one walker. It also allows us to take needed breaks during holidays and vacations.

How long is a dog walk?

Under most circumstances, a dog walk is 30 minutes.  The exception would be in extremely bad weather such as code red days in the summer, below freezing days in the winter, pouring rain, and hazardous ice and snow; on days such as these we may shorten the walk to 20 minutes. We make up the difference by spending a few extra minutes in the house with him or her.

How will you handle my dog’s misbehavior on a walk?

Distraction with a “sit” command, quick tug on the collar, breaking the sight-line if they are overreacting to something or someone.  Once we have their attention again, we give positive reinforcement verbally and with treats if your dog is allowed to have them.  If you use specific verbal commands it is helpful for us to know them.  We do not use harsh language or physical treatment.

How will I know my dog was walked and how the walk went?

Unique to Pet Partners is our journal system. Each dog walking client receives a Pet Partners spiral journal which remains in your home. After each walk, the walker will record date, time and a note about how the walk went. Did your terrier blaze around the neighborhood at top speed? Did your retriever have a roll in the puddle? All these details will be recorded so you’ll know why your pup is extra tired when you get home or why their belly is still damp! The journal is also a means for you to communicate with us easily, and provides a handy record of your dog’s adventures to save for years to come.

My dog is fearful of certain situations. How will the walker handle this?

All walkers have a good understanding of dog behavior and psychology. We will follow your careful instructions to 1) avoid stressful situations for your dog, and 2) minimize unavoidable stress by whatever means works best for your dog. Whether that means breaking the sight line so the mailman is no longer right in view, or being put into a sit position so a treat can be offered when being incited to riot by the squirrel passing by.

Does Pet Partners provide dog training or grooming services?

No.

I know that on rainy days my dog comes in from a walk sopping wet. How will my home and furnishings be protected?

We will towel dry your dog each time we come in from snow or rain. All we ask is that you leave towels by the door for this purpose. Most dogs love this mini massage!

My work schedule varies from week to week. Do I need to have preset days for walks or can I let you know when I need you?

You can either give us a preset schedule, or you can give us a monthly or weekly schedule, or just let us know on a walk by walk basis. Please let us know by noon on Saturday for the upcoming week so we have time to prepare the schedule.

I walk my dog off leash, will the walkers do this also?

No, we will not walk any dog off leash. If you have a fenced yard, we will spend part of our visit with your dog there – exercising your dog by throwing a ball or Frisbee, if you ask us to.

Do you provide puppy care?

Yes, we will take patient and gentle care of your new puppy! This usually includes providing a midday meal. For young pups, we will keep them in your yard before they have had all their vaccinations if you prefer, trying to burn off their energy and giving high praise when they do their business outside. We avoid getting into bad habits with your impressionable pup such as tug of war with the towel, letting them jump on us or letting them out of the crate if they begin crying. Visiting with a variety of walkers is also a wonderful way to socialize a young puppy.

Can I get my dog walker’s phone number or email in case I need to communicate with them about the schedule or an issue related to my dog?

No, for several reasons. First, we protect our employees’ privacy by not giving out this information. Secondly, if they provide it to you, they are likely to be fired because it creates the appearance of working outside of, and in competition with, Pet Partners. Thirdly, all scheduling and billing must go through our office so we can accurately prepare your invoice and future schedules. Finally, if you have information about your dog, it is necessary that all the dog walkers have it. By providing the information to Sherry, she can disseminate it to all the walkers.

How am I billed for dog walks?

We will email you an invoice at the end of each month. This will give you the dates your dog received a walk and a link to a credit card billing service through Quickbooks Billing Solutions. You may enter your credit card information directly on this website where it is stored confidentially. Pet Partners receives an email notice when you have paid, but we never see your credit card number. Invoices must be payed by the 15th of the following month, or it will be necessary to go to a weekly invoice. If you prefer to pay by check, you may leave it for Sherry to pick up, mail it to our office or drop it off.

Pet Sitting

Who does Pet Sitting visits?

Sherry does all the pet sitting visits personally.

Do you require prepayment for Pet Sitting visits?

Yes.

How do I pay for Pet Sitting visits?

We will email you an invoice to confirm the dates in writing. This invoice will give you a link to a credit card billing service through Quickbooks Billing Solutions. You may enter your credit card information directly on this website where it is stored confidentially. Pet Partners receives an email notice when you have paid, but we never see your credit card number. You may also leave a check or mail it prior to your trip. If you are a new client, you must pay by credit card or provide a check at least one week in advance.

How will I know how a pet sit went?

You determine the frequency and mode of communication, from daily emails to handwritten summaries at the end of a pet sit.  You are also welcome to check in with us by phone at any time.

I have a ferret, chickens in the backyard, guinea pigs, chinchillas and fish in an aquarium. Can you take care of these?

Yes, these are all examples of animals we have cared for in the past, as well as birds and reptiles.

My vegetable garden will wither under summer’s heat without water. Do you provide watering services?

Yes. House plants are included in the cost of the pet sit. If you need outside plants watered (containers, landscapes, lawns and vegetable gardens) we will take care of this for an additional $15 for any watering time up to 30 minutes, per visit.

Bed & Biscuit, Stay & Play

What is Bed & Biscuit?

Bed & Biscuit is a phrase we coined to describe our kennel-free boarding in Sherry’s home for your non-aggressive dog who is friendly to cats and house trained.

What is Stay & Play?

Stay & Play is a daytime visit for your dog to Sherry’s home for walks, playtime with other dogs and socializing. Like the Bed & Biscuit requirement, dogs must be non-aggressive, friendly to other dogs and cats, and house trained.

What are your drop off and pick up times for Bed & Biscuit and Stay & Play?

The drop off time begins at 8 AM and the pickup time ends at 9 PM. We are very flexible with these times, however, and there is no charge for being early or late, we just ask you to contact us to make arrangements – and to make sure we are not out on a walk with your dog!

How can I be sure my dog will get along with yours and your cats?

A free visit is required before any services are scheduled. If your dog currently receives midday dog walks, Sherry can handle the visit instead of a walk one day at no charge. If you would like to visit, we will set up a time for you to do so.

What do I bring for my dog for Bed & Biscuit or Stay & Play?

A halter or collar, a sturdy leash and food if you wish us to feed your dog. If you routinely administer medication or supplements, please bring those also with written instructions and the original containers. Dog beds, bowls, toys, clean up bags and treats are provided here, although you are welcome to bring them if you like. We have some medium-sized crates your dog may use. Of course we provide unlimited quantities of filtered, fresh water.

My dog is on a special diet whose food requires refrigeration. Is that a problem?

Not at all, we are happy to refrigerate any food or supplements.

Where will my dog be while at your house?

Your dog will have free access to the upstairs of the house and fenced yard. Crates are used per your request. Baby gates block all of the dog’s access to the lower level so Sherry’s cats have dog-free zones if they need them, and to prevent dogs from getting into the litter boxes. When you are at the door for either drop off or pickup, you will most likely see dogs in crates and behind gates in the kitchen. This is to prevent dogs from rushing the front door and possibly escaping; as soon as the door is shut again we take down the kitchen gate and release dogs from crates. This is another reason why it is important to coordinate with Sherry about drop off and pick up times.

What if my dog has an accident at your house?

Accidents happen, especially when a dog is first in a new place. Also, some dogs have a strong instinct to mark their surroundings with urine. We don’t yell, punish or isolate your dog for this behavior. We clean up with enzyme cleaners and provide more access to outside. Of course, if the behavior continues we would let you know and troubleshoot together. For instance, some dogs that have a strong marking urge just need to go out to the yard immediately upon arrival so they can satisfy this need there!

Which vaccinations are required?

Proof of current rabies and DA2PP vaccinations is required. Bordetello vaccine is not required. A recent dose of Frontline is a good idea but not required.

How am I billed for Bed & Biscuit and Stay & Play services?

Bed & Biscuit services must be prepaid. Stay & Play services which are regular and on-going are billed monthly. For both, we will email you an invoice. This will give you the dates of service and a link to a credit card billing service through Quickbooks Billing Solutions. You may enter your credit card information directly on this website where it is stored confidentially. Pet Partners receives an email notice when you have paid, but we never see your credit card number. For Stay & Play, invoices must be payed by the 15th of the following month, or it will be necessary to go to a weekly invoice. If you prefer to pay by check, mail it to our office or drop it off.

happy animals

I can relax when my dog is being cared for by Pet Partners. I know that he is in a safe, fun and stimulating environment where he receives love and good care.

Elaine

Pet Partners is much more than a dog walking service — they help make our lives run smoothly. We have two large dogs, a toddler and busy jobs and Sherry and her team are always ready to provide an extra walk when needed. If you have dogs and a demanding schedule, you really need to add Sherry to your team!

Christy