Frequently Asked Questions

We take our commitment to you and your pet seriously. We have collected questions that customers have asked us here so you can learn more about our company. If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please contact us.

General Questions

What makes Tails on Trails different from other pet sitting and dog walking companies?
There are a myriad of reasons Tails on Trails is different from the other companies. First, our staff is made up of actual employees, not contractors. Having employees, rather than contractors benefits us and you. We are able to require more accountability of our staff. As employees, our staff is expected to maintain a consistent standard of care and performance. Companies utilizing contractors do not have the ability to require a criterion of care. Companies cannot legally require contractors to perform visits in a certain way or even by a certain time.

As employees, Tails on Trails walkers and sitters are trained by animal professionals, including veterinarians and animal trainers. Additionally, they follow a standard of care, defined by our policies and procedures. They report in and out of jobs through our online scheduling system and follow the instructions you provide to us.

In addition to the bonding and insurance most companies provide, we also provide additional employment insurance, not given to companies that only have contractors. The sitters are better insured for your protection and ours.

What type of animals do you care for?
Our wonderful staff has had experience caring for the smallest to largest animals. Our service includes dogs, cats, sugar gliders, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, birds, fish, rabbits, and ducks.

Our Sitters

Are you bonded and insured?
We are bonded and insured by the Business Insurers of the Carolinas. Additionally, at Tails on Trails, every walker and sitter is an actual employee. They are insured beyond basic bonding and business insurance. They are insured for workers’ compensation and other appropriate employment insurance.
Are your sitters background checked?
We perform background checks with Mazella Investigative Solutions. They are a local company that provides a thorough background check. We review them annually. Different from a company that does a simple database check of the state and county, Mazella Investigative Solutions goes further. They research potential hits all over the country to make certain the report we receive is as thorough as possible. Additionally, each year, we do another thorough background check.

Mazzella-Investigative Solutions, LLC is operated under the guidance of principal investigator Gregory A. Mazzella. Greg retired as a lieutenant from the Maryland State Police with over 25 years of police experience. Twenty-three of those years were spent in the criminal investigation field, which included extensive work as a covert investigator. According to him, “Criminal records are just one part of a detailed background check. As you can see, it is not as easy as typing in a person’s name and getting back a complete report of criminal history. To be accurate and completed properly, a lot of searching and analysis goes into the process”.

Are your sitters Pet CPR trained or certified?
Our sitters are not trained in Pet CPR or certified with the Red Cross. They are, however, trained with a veterinarian on pet health and recognizing a pet in distress. After researching about Pet CPR and certification, I learned that more often a sitter would be likely to encounter a pet in distress. It is important that they recognize an urgent situation, respond, and act on health situations swiftly and responsibly. Our sitters know the closest emergency vet and the clients’ regular vets by utilizing our online software and phone application. Additionally, any questions they have can be answered quickly by calling our office phone which is always staffed.
What training/background do your sitters have?
Typically, our walkers and sitters come to us with experience working with animals in a work setting such as kennels, grooming, other dog walking companies, and rescue organizations. Upon hiring, our walkers and sitters undergo in-house training where they are instructed on our policies and procedures, via an employee handbook and one-on-one training to maintain a consistent level of care and expectations. Additionally, they work with an animal trainer, to understand animal behavior, to help them work with multiple breeds and personality traits. Further, they work on leash training and distractions. This training puts them in a position to be better prepared for the unexpected, when they are caring for your loved one. As employees, not contractors, their expectations are consistent with those of Tails on Trails.

Pricing & Payment

What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MC, and Discover.
What are your prices?
We do not arbitrarily assign pricing to a visit because not all households, with a certain number of pets, equate to the same time it takes to perform a visit. We will evaluate your individual needs and determine a price, based on time. To see a range of costs, visit our pricing page.
What determines the rates for services?
We evaluate your specific needs. We have cared for over 650 families of pets. In our experience, we recognize all clients’ needs are different. We don’t arbitrarily add on fees for services such as medication, including insulin or two-dog families. You may have two dogs and two cats, but your visit needs may actually be less than someone with just one dog. We are flexible to your needs and happy to accommodate. During our consultation, we can evaluate things like your home set-up, what services you would like, including the length of time you would like your dogs walked, along with the feeding and medication set-up, to determine the time needed to properly perform the service. Additionally, you will have the option on time frames of services. Early morning and late evening are a bit extra, but it’s completely up to you if you would like those time frames. If we determine, after caring for your pets, that the pre-determined time frame wasn’t actually needed, we will actually adjust your cost for the next reservation. You could pay less, next time, based on our actual experience with your pets and household!
Do you charge per animal?
We do not necessarily charge per animal. We charge based on the time we spend with your animals. Not every two-dog household is the same so to arbitrarily charge for two or three dogs is not necessarily accurate to your needs or a fair cost. We can evaluate a typical visit with you and give you a fair charge based on the time it takes to perform a complete visit. There are households where a proper walk and feeding takes 30 minutes and others where the time necessary is closer to 45 minutes. We will work together to evaluate your needs and provide the care you request at a reasonable cost.
What are the holiday fees?
Our holiday fees are $6 additional on each visit on holiday periods. Overnight holiday fees are $15 per night. During the holidays, our sitters are available at your chosen time frame and give up time with their own friends and family to care for yours. For that reason, they are compensated during the entire time frame of a holiday.
What holidays are affected by the holiday fees?
Easter Day only, Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July Day or Weekend (depending on where it falls that year), Labor Day Weekend, Thanksgiving Weekend (Beginning Wednesday), Christmas Holiday (dates vary by year).
Do you require a deposit?
Our new client registration is $25 that includes a 30-minute free phone consultation to go over your specific needs and a meeting with a sitter, on the team, that services your area. In order to hold your reservation, there is a $100, non-refundable deposit. For overnight care there is a 50% non-refundable deposit. Why? It takes staff to prepare for your upcoming vacation. Beyond the consultation, we prepare the pet care instruction paperwork, enter all of your information in our scheduling system, schedule the sitters for their time, and reserve space.

Sitter Visits

How do I know you won’t miss a visit?
We have an online scheduling system that we utilize to schedule all visits with each particular walker/sitter. We don’t stop there, though. We have staff members that are monitoring visits, throughout the day, to make certain we are meeting time frames and length of time required for visits. Our sitters check in and out of visits, via a smartphone application designed by our scheduling system. They utilize GPS, via the application, to your location when signing in and out of the visits. Since we are monitoring the schedule, we know about each and every visit, at a glance. The system is monitored every day, throughout the day, to make certain we haven’t missed anything.
Why do you need two keys?
One key will be for your primary sitter. The other key will be kept in the office, in case of an emergency.
What if I do not have two keys?
If you are only able to provide one key, one can be made for a cost of $25. We do have a drop box, at the office in Odenton, if you are able to make a key within 48 hours, and provide to the office. Otherwise, the key copy charge will be added to your account.
What is the cancellation policy for mid-day visits?
For a weekday, mid-day visit, cancellation must be received in the office by 8:00 AM on the day of service to not incur the visit fee.
What is the cancellation policy for overnight, vacation, or weekend care?
Overnight visits require a one-month cancellation notice.

Vacation care requires a two-week cancellation notice.

Weekend single visits require notice the Thursday prior to services.

Why you ask? It’s simple. We ask the sitters to be available to work. These visits are their income and typically, this is their only job. In addition, we have a limited number of staff that can perform overnight and vacation care. We need enough time to rebook them on other jobs. We routinely have to turn down overnight care, to new and existing clients, as the overnight care is a large part of our business.

How much notice do you need to perform a visit?
For weekday, mid-day services, we request 24 hours’ notice, preferably. However, with flexibility, we can usually accept appointment up to 8:00 AM, the day of service. For weekend single visits, we request notice the Thursday prior to services. For vacation care, we request two weeks’ notice. We understand emergencies, but please understand, the notice allows us to prepare a sitter, get them a key, and update our schedules.
What times do you perform vacation visits?
Our morning visits are from 8:00 AM until 9:30 AM. Our late afternoon visits are from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Our evening visits are from 5:15 PM until 7:45 PM. Visits can be performed at any time, during the time frames you choose when scheduling. Early morning or late evening appointments are available for an additional fee.
What is included in my visit?
We are flexible to your needs. We will evaluate what is needed at your visit and provide it. We do not just add fees for medication, extra animals, or additional care needs, if they can be performed within an allotted time period. Conversely, if your pets require extra needs, we can do that too, but the visit time frame, and associated cost, will be more appropriate to those needs.
What is included with overnight care?
We arrive at 8:30 PM and the visit includes overnight stay, any evening care and morning walk and care. Mid-day and dinner visits can be added. The sitter will provide all medications and be present with your pets during that time frame.
Do you have a minimum daily requirement for care for dogs?
We require twice-a-day service for dogs, regardless if you have a dog door. We highly recommend that you include a third visit. Many clients choose two regular visits to walk and feed their dogs and a short let out, later in the evening.
How will multiple sitters manage the key to my home?
We use lock boxes to manage vacation reservations. This is an efficient way for us to manage potential changes in staff. We attach the lock box on your day of departure and remove it upon our last visit. We provide a temporary standard lock box, similar to those used for home sales.
Why should I use a stay-at-home option instead of taking my pet to a facility?
While a facility can be acceptable for some animals, we find most prefer their home turf or to stay at a sitter’s home. It is quieter and they can continue their regular routine. At the sitter’s home, they are a part of the family. It is convenient for you as well.
Will I always have the same walker/sitter?
Our sitters are assigned by geography. Each geography has a team of two to four sitters. The schedule and geography of clients change daily. All of our sitters are trained to give quality and consistent care.
How long are the mid-day visits?
Our visit time frame is dependent upon your needs. When providing mid-day visits, the time we spend will depend on whether or visit you would like a feeding at the mid-day visit and how long you want the actual walk to be. It takes a few minutes to leash your pets, give fresh water, and a treat. At the consultation, we can discuss how much walking time you would like for your pet and can design the visit around your needs.
What times are the mid-day appointments?
Our mid-day appointments are performed from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM. Typically, our puppies are done at 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM time frames. When setting you up for your mid-day service for an adult dog, we request a two-hour preferred window. Several clients are utilizing our service simply to exercise their dog and the time of day is not relevant. If you are completely flexible during 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM, we offer a special discount, termed an “Anytime Walk”. Want to know more? Just ask us!
Can I meet a sitter on my team?
Your initial $25 registration fee includes meeting one sitter on the team. If you would like additional meetings to meet other sitters on the team, there will be an additional $25 charge per meeting.
Do you walk dogs together?
We will walk only one client’s dogs at the same time. This is the safest way to care for your pets and prevent issues with other pets we may encounter.
Do you have discounted rates for frequent service?
We have prepaid monthly packages that result in up to a 10% discount. Packages are for our Monday through Friday, mid-day service. Cancellations do not result in refunds as the entire month is discounted.
What services do you have for puppies?
Puppies are a wonderful addition to your family. If you have a new puppy, you already realize the extra care they need. Generally, a new puppy needs to get outside every 3-4 hours. We provide twice-a-day service to help potty train them quicker. We offer discounts for daily service, during our mid-day hours, to help your pocket too!

Other Questions

Do you have a minimum daily requirement for care for cats?
We require once-a-day service for cats. Often, clients opt for twice a day care, particularly if they are kittens or adult cats requiring medication, including insulin.