Professional Pet Care vs Friends and Family

September 15, 2020
How do you know if you are making the right choice? How do you decide

You know you need to hire someone to care for your pets.  But oh man, this task seems daunting. Your pets are family, and your family deserves the best.  This article will give you some clarification about the options available, as well as the difference between them.

With so many options it’s hard to know which way you should go.  Use an app, make an add on Facebook, use google and pick from the list, find a neighbor or a friend or a cousin or wait, who did that person say they used??  Ahhh, so many options.  Let’s review:


Use an app, that seems easy.

so many appsIf you are looking for a bargain then Wag and Rover are very popular apps. There are some things to consider before hitting download. 

Anyone can sign up to be a care provider on those apps.  Some of the apps do a background check on the people who sign up, which is great. Unfortunately, a background check doesn’t say anything about the reliability of a person, their ability to follow through, how truthful they are, and definitely doesn’t tell you anything about how they handle animals or their experience.  Likewise, without any vetting process, it’s hard to know if you will get a great person or someone who would like to throw a party while you are away.  Or even worse, take payment and not show up. You can read some reviews for Rover here.  A quick search for Wag reviews will reveal similar scary experiences. 

There are absolutely trustworthy people on these apps, some of them I know and trust,  just do your research and ask for LOTS of references that you can personally speak to before hiring someone.


family and friends

A Neighbor, Friend, or Family Member

Lots of people have really great neighbors, friends or family that will take amazing care of their pets.  They will show up when they are supposed to, shower the animals with love and attention, and give them their food and medication as directed. But let’s face it, would you be reading this if you had 110% confidence in the person you are thinking of? 

Ask yourself these questions:  Are those people going to maintain your pets current schedule?  Will they stay and give attention and love or just feed, potty and go?  Do they feel obligated or will they feel guilty if they say no?  Do they know what to do in an emergency, either with your pets or with the house?  If you have someone, wonderful!

If you are wondering what the difference is between a trusted friend and a Professional Pet Care Company, here is one clients experience:

Client Experience: friends vs professional

favicon“There is a VAST difference between a professional and a friend/family/person just looking to make a quick buck. I once hired someone that let over FIFTEEN HOURS go by without even a pee break while we were out of town (we have outdoor cameras and caught it, so thankfully another friend was available to let them out prior to their poor bladders bursting! 😩) THAT was the exactly the moment I decided I would NEVER hire anyone but a PROFESSIONAL and I am SO GLAD we found Barks and Recreation. Elizabeth is amazing!

She doesn’t simply make sure your animal’s basic needs are met in 5 minutes and leaves – she takes care of them as if they are her own! I have 2 excitable dogs and 1 very judgmental cat. She gave them all love, took them on long walks, brushed out their fur, gave them lots of treats. I love that she will come to our home so they can stay together in their cozy space instead of in a cold, concrete kennel! She emailed me every single time she stopped by with photos of each of them and a checklist to show they were fed, had fresh water, medication was given, etc.

It made me feel so comfortable that she gave me a recap of exactly when she came to the house, what happened during her visit and showed me my babies smiling faces multiple times a day! She truly loves animals and it shows. I know my little loves are in good hands with her 🙂 “

Why choose a Professional?

Dog Walker

  1. PASSION: Aside from the fact that a professional likely started in pet care because not only do they love animals, they are passionate about providing amazing care. They enjoy meeting and caring for new pets just as much as they love all the pets they have cared for longer term
  2. WE ARE FAMILY:  Each of our clients become part of the family, and the care we provide proves that.  A professional can tell you the personalities, medical conditions, training style, favorite toys and games, and plenty more about the fur babies in their care.
  3. REFERENCES: A professional will be able to provide you plenty of references. People that you can call and actually speak to.
  4. THEY ARE COVERED:  Any care provider should always be insured and bonded. This covers damage to your home or property due to negligence, certain medical situations with your pets or theft by the person providing care.
  5. REPUTATION: If a professional provides poor care there are consequences to our business, one poor review can mean significant lost business.  As a small business owner, we have incentive to provide the quality of care we promise

How do you know who to hire?

How do you know if they are a true professional? Unfortunately, there are no licensing standards in this industry, so sometimes it’s hard to tell.  Here are some things to ask a potential pet care provider:

  • Are they insured and bonded?
  • Do they belong to a professional organization such as NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) or PSI (Pet Sitters International)?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Is their business registered with the state and do they pay taxes? 
  • Will they give you references that you can speak to?
  • Are they pet CPR and First Aid Certified?
  • What kind of training do they have? Do they do any continuing education?
  • How do they communicate with you about visits? How often? 
  • Is pet care a full-time job?  Do they work anywhere else? (having another job shouldn’t exclude them, just something to consider)
In conclusion

Barks and RecFor professionals, pets are our whole life, and we have a deep understanding of the needs that your fur family has and how important they are to you. Therefore this isn’t just a side job, for professional pet care companies providing exceptional pet care (and customer service) it is our passion. 

What it boils down to is making an informed decision by asking the right questions.  Don’t hesitate to interview multiple people so you can find the right match for you and your pets.  Ideally, the relationship you have with your pet care provider will last many years, take the time to find the right company for you.

Was this article helpful to you?  Do you have any questions?  Please leave a comment below, we love to hear from you!