Woman holding brown dachshund

How to Feel Comfortable with Your Pet Sitter

Using a pet sitter for the first time (or switching to a new one) can feel a little uncomfortable for some people. It can be strange knowing that someone is in your home while you’re away. Are they trustworthy? Responsible? Will they take care of your home and your pets as if they were their own?  These are all valid questions.

Whether you’re just away for the day or on an extended trip, you certainly don’t want to spend your time worrying about your pet sitter. The good news is you don’t have to.

Here are some hints to help you feel as comfortable as possible with your pet sitter so that you can focus on what you need to focus on, be that business or pleasure.

Meet the Pet Sitter Ahead of Time

It’s crucial for you – and your pets – to meet the sitter ahead of time and be sure you feel comfortable with them. This is also a good time to ask about qualifications and previous experience.

Work with a Reputable Company

Choose a company with experienced, reliable sitters who take their work and your peace of mind seriously. Ideally, your pet sitter will stay in touch with you while you’re away and keep you updated on how your pets are doing.  (PS – we even send photos to our clients so you can stay connected with your pets!)

Know What Services Are Offered

Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and make sure you know exactly what to expect while you’re away. That way, there are no worries about what is or isn’t happening.

Give the Pet Sitter Thorough Information

Whether you’re sitting on the beach or in a business meeting, the last thing you want to think about is whether you remembered to tell the pet sitter about your dog’s random allergy or quirky fear. Take the time before you leave to gather all the info your pet’s sitter will need – and then stop worrying.

Your pets are members of your household, and it’s important to you and them to feel comfortable with your pet sitter. When you use VIP Pets, you can feel confident that your pets – and your home – are getting the respect and care they deserve.

How to Include Your Dog in Your Wedding

Wedding. Friends. Family. And…pets? That’s right. It’s not just for the rich and famous any more. But thanks to some of today’s film and music celebrities, incorporating our 4-legged family into weddings has become the thing to do! In fact, it is not unusual to see newlyweds’ loving pups mingling amongst guests during cocktail hour and posing for pics before, during and after the big “I do’s”. Adam Sandler’s dog Meatball stayed throughout the entire reception and was just considered one of the guests! Let us show you exactly how to include your dog in your wedding.

From ring bearer to escorting the bride down the aisle, the furry family members (we are talking the 4 legged ones here) can be counted on to play any number of roles. Here are some ideas to get you started on ways your pet can take part in your big day. It is important to take a few things into consideration when planning the perfect dog-involved wedding. While having your pup walk down the aisle does sound adorable and is sure to get its fair share of “oohs” and “ahhs,” you need to be mindful of a few things when deciding what role your pet will play. Here are 10 tips to consider and keep in mind while planning your big day.

Once you have decided on the exact role(s) your pet will play in the wedding, it is time to think about who you will put in charge of caring for him/her on the day you say “I do.” Choosing someone to get your pup fed, walked, watered, transported and yes, dressed, is no small decision. That’s where we come in. Let VIP Pet Services take the reins (aka leash) so you don’t have to worry about your 4-legged baby between hair, makeup and champagne toasts. We offer Pet Taxi services to transport your pet to and from the wedding venue. We also offer Pet Sitting services to take special care of your pet leading up to the ceremony. This would include walking, watering, feeding and dressing your animal in any special outfit you may have chosen. We will even collect your pet after the ceremony if necessary so you can enjoy your reception without the worry of your little buddy running around and getting danced upon!

Tis’ the season for weddings and VIP Pet Services is ready to celebrate with you. Contact us today for all of your wedding needs!

Pet Services Header Brunette Lady Hugging White Dog

6 Things to Look for in a Top-Notch Pet Sitter

When it comes to your pet, you want the very best care you can find. This can sometimes make it difficult to decide on the perfect pet sitter. How will you find a pet sitter who is top-notch that would care for your pet exactly as you would?

Here are six things to look for:

1. Trusted Source

The pet sitter you choose must be a trained professional. Whether they are an individual or working for a company, their training and qualifications should be easily verifiable.

Also, never risk hiring someone who you have not met in person. Any professional pet sitting service will welcome and require a face-to-face meeting before having a sitter walk into your home to take care of your pet.

2. Experience

Make sure the sitter you’re hiring has extensive experience with the type of pet they’ll be caring for. For example, if your pet is a snake – you should hire someone who has experience handling, caring and feeding snakes.

3. Part of Your Team

A pet sitter isn’t just someone you hire – they must be a trusted, reliable extension of the family for your pet.  What happens in the event of an emergency? If you’re not able to get home and your pet needs care?  Or if a natural disaster strikes and you’re not able to leave your office?  Or even if you just need someone to take your pet to a vet or grooming appointment?

Also important to ask – does your sitter have a back-up team in place themselves? If they get sick or have a flat tire is there someone else who can step in their place, retrieve your keys etc? Emergencies happen to pet sitters too and a back-up plan is critical when they do.

4. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail should be a priority for any pet sitter that you hire. Pets love routines and having a sitter who will pay close attention to your instructions is a must.

5. Options

Having options is ideal when finding someone to stay with your pet. If your pet needs more interaction and attention, you might want to find services, such as ours, that offers a host home, so that your pet can have plenty of love and attention while you are away.

6. Communication

Knowing what is happening with your pet while you are away can help you feel more at ease. Make sure that your pet sitter keeps you up to date with emails, text messages and/or a quick phone call.

By hiring a pet sitter from VIP Pet Services, you will have someone who not only meets all of the above criteria, but who will also give your pet the love and attention they deserve. Contact us today to find a new friend for your pet.

Celebrate VIP Pet Services' 14th Anniversary with 14% Off Packages of Standard & Premium Visits!

VIP Pet Services would like to once again say THANK YOU for allowing us to care for and love your pets.  In honor of Small Business Week, we would also like to voice our appreciation for being part of such a close knit community of fellow business owners in Dallas and Austin.

On Tuesday, May 5th, we celebrated our 14th anniversary of being in business and are marking this special occasion with a week-long promotion of 14% off our packages of 10 Standard and Premium visits! That’s a savings of $33.50 or $43.30 per package!

Some great reasons to take advantage of this deal:

  • Memorial Day is right around the corner!
  • Have a summer vacation already lined up? Lock in your favorite VIP sitter too!
  • July 4th and Labor Day weekends may seem far away, but this deal also covers those dates!

Plan ahead for all upcoming trips and save 14% by booking your VIP Pet Services 10-visit package between 5/5 – 5/15. You can use the visits as you please for the upcoming months and have the peace of mind knowing that your pets will be cared for during our busiest season.

Click here to purchase a VIP Pet Services 14th Anniversary 10 Standard Visit Package:

Click here to purchase a VIP Pet Services 14th Anniversary 10 Premium Visit Package:

* Your VIP account will reflect a credit for the purchased amount. Special rate expires on November 5 (afterward credit will remain in the account but all unused visits will revert back to the regular rate). Please include any special instructions for your pet sitter. Additional pets/special needs charges may apply. Limit 2 per household. Valid over holiday weekends and for standard or premium visits only (not dog walks). Not valid with other discounts.

Thank you for letting us take care of your pets throughout the years!

7 Tips When Choosing a Dog Walking Service

Dogs are just pets to some, but for the dog owner Fido is a significant part of the family and deserves the kind of treatment you would give to any family member. You know it is important for your dog to get the exercise they need and in your absence a reliable dog walking service is worth their weight in gold. Choosing the right service is essential for your dog and your peace of mind just as you would choose a babysitter for your child. Let’s look at 7 tips when choosing a dog walking service.

1. The best way to find a dog walking service is by word of mouth. Ask family, friends and co-workers for recommendations. They may work with a dog walking service or know someone who does and they will be happy to pass along a good reference or tell you who to stay away from. If you bring your dog to a grooming professional or veterinarian they will also most likely have a good suggestion.

2. It is important to check a dog walking service’s references. Even if family, friends and co-workers highly recommend the service, it is always a good idea to check with a third-party. At VIP Pet Services we are always happy to provide multiple references, so please ask!

3. Make sure the dog walking service is properly insured and bonded. This is to protect all involved. It is critical the individual dog walkers have undergone a criminal background check, which all VIP pet sitters/walkers are required to have prior to employment.

4. Ask about the dog walker’s dog training and background. It is important the dog walker has some training with dogs. Walking a dog is more than holding the leash and leading them around the neighborhood. If the service has multiple dog walkers, it is important to know if the same person will be walking your dog. Always inquire if the walking service has a backup plan in place in the event your dog walker cannot walk your dog on a particular day.

5. It is essential to know where the dog will be walking. If the dog is skittish around children or aggressive, the park will not be the best option. If the dog is known to play well with others, a dog park will be the ideal choice. It is important for you to communicate your dog’s likes and dislikes to the walking service.

6. Another essential thing to know is if your dog will be walking with a pack of dogs or will your dog make the trip solo. If your dog will walk with others, how does the walking service decide which dogs walk together? Does the walking service check the health and immunization records of all dogs they walk? Dogs are social animals and not all dogs like each other and get along. To avoid pack walking conflicts and possible health issues VIP Pet Services only walks dogs individually.

7. Emergencies arise from time to time, even with dogs. Ask the dog walking service if they are trained in doggie first aid. If anything of a serious nature were to happen to your dog, first aid or CPR might save your pet’s life. However, pet first aid is never a substitute for veterinary care.

For more information about our dog walking services and how VIP stacks up against the competition, please contact us. Thank you!

Springtime Yard Cleaning with Pets

Springtime Yard Cleaning Is Important For Pets

Hey Snoopy!

Remember Snoopy from the Peanuts gang? It’s a little known fact, but this famous pup was terrified of high weeds. He couldn’t stand sitting Springtime Yard Cleaning Is Important For Pets in a field of weeds that were taller than him. Your dog probably isn’t as phobic about weeds as Snoopy, but having a clean yard would probably make him very happy. With the sun finally out, springtime yard cleaning is important for pets.

It is obviously unsanitary to let dog waste rot on the ground or in the grass. Especially in the hot Texas environment, it could encourage unwanted insects. Many owners train their dogs to wait until they go on their walks, but others prefer to clean up the mess in the yard. Enter VIP Pet Services.

VIP offers poop scooping services on a one-time basis or at discounted pricing with a weekly commitment. The number of donor pets contributing to your waste pickup needs and your yard size determines the price.

What We Do

During each visit, we carefully police your back yard, scooping and bagging all pet waste. We will spray a disinfectant, double bag it and leave it in your trash bin; or we will take the poop with us and dispose of it for a $3.00 fee.

  • Weekly Poop Scooping Rates. Most clients need only one visit per week. We come by your house on the same day each week (determined by the location of your house). We recommend twice per week service for customers with exceptionally small yards and lots of waste, or those who simply prefer their yard be extra clean. These rates apply for those clients who commit to at least once per week Poop Scooping Services:
    Standard Yard: $12.95 per backyard per visit for one dog plus $3.00 for each additional dogStandard yard is 1/2 acre or less. We reserve the right to charge an additional $5 per yard for a large yard or $10 per yard for an extra large yard. We charge an additional $5.00 per week to scoop both the front and back yards.
  • First Visit. First visit charges vary based on number of dogs, the yard size, and your yard’s pet-waste accumulation. An initial $45 fee may be charged if warranted, after which time we will charge the normal weekly rate.
  • We also offer a Call Ahead Service, One-Time Scoops and a special Puppy Program to address scooping needs after a new litter of puppies. Pricing and more info is available here.

Beyond this, the yard should be checked for weeds that are dangerous to pets. Maybe that was why Snoopy was so phobic about weeds. He had bad memories of a tall weed he shouldn’t have tasted. He also could have been concerned about all the things that can hide in those weeds. Nettles, ants, rats and snakes can crouch down in the grass, waiting to surprise a curious pooch or kitty. It is generally a good idea to keep the lawn mowed and weeds short.

With early spring here we look forward to frolicking with your pets in the yard. Please contact us to schedule your poop scooping service now and reclaim your backyard for fun in the sun!

Who Needs Uber? Use a VIP Pet Taxi at South by Southwest

Yep! It’s that time of year, again: SXSW is coming up soon and whether you’re enjoying the festivities or escaping them, it’s time to make arrangements for your pets to move around Austin in style. Your pets need consistency to be comfortable and that’s one thing in short supply during Austin’s big entertainment blowout. Who needs Uber? Use a VIP Pet Taxi at South by Southwest.

Try to maintain your pet’s routine as much as possible during all the chaos. You may be rocking out at Stubb’s, but your pet is more interested in making it to the groomer, being fed and walked on time. He doesn’t want to hear about that great new band and how they played an extra set – not when it means his supper was late!

If it’s time for a grooming or vet visit, don’t make your pet wait because the traffic is just too crazy. Schedule a VIP pet taxi and we’ll wade through the traffic for you. We can even pick up and deliver your furry friend’s favorite food! We can also take your pal to pet camp if you’re not going to be home much, so she doesn’t miss out on walks and playtime.

Maybe you just want to dodge the chaos altogether but can’t take your pets with you; call us and you’ll be trusting your four-legged pals to the best pet sitters in Austin for South by Southwest. We’ll make sure that things stay as normal as possible for your dog or cat: meals and walks in the right places at the right times; snacks, cuddles and lots of love. You and your pet will both rest easier when things are running smoothly at home while you escape the madness.

Contact us for rave reviews from satisfied customers and then trust your pets to our caring professionals during South by Southwest!

Let the Best Pet Sitters in Austin Help During Carnaval!

Are you looking forward to downing a few mojitos and shaking your money-maker amongst friends at this year’s Carnaval Brasileiro in Austin? If so, don’t forget to make arrangements for your four-legged family members and the sooner the better. After all, pooches love to party too but they won’t be able to join you at the Palmer Events Center. Consequently, you’ll want to hook them up with a doggy sleepover and VIP’s best pet sitters in Austin are more than happy to help fill up your dog’s social calendar.

Granted, our doggy sleepovers don’t feature the samba dancing and mojitos you’ll be enjoying at the Carnaval Brasileiro. But they will be filled with fun, friends, fresh water and whatever else your pup will need to happily get through the night. So you’ll be able to party the evening away in complete confidence, knowing that Rover will be having a great time too. Oh, and if you have a little too much hair of the dog don’t worry. VIP pet sitters can also provide other services that will help care for your dog while you take care of yourself. For example, our pet camp program and dog walkers can help keep Fido busy during the day. Plus, we offer pooper scooper services that will help ensure you and your friends won’t be stumbling into a stinky mess on your way back to the front door.

However, it is important that you reach out to us now if you’ve never booked with VIP before. That way, we can introduce ourselves to your pet so he or she won’t feel anxious when the day of the carnaval arrives. Then we can go over everything that you’d like to have done while you’re living it up at the Palmer Events Center. You’ll also have a chance to ask questions and learn more about our suite of pet focused services. To get the ball rolling before the carnaval beads start to fly, please contact us online or by phone today.

VIP New Puppy & Kitten Care: Best Practices for Your Newest Family Member

One of the BEST gifts a family can receive over the holiday season is a puppy or kitten. The joy and excitement a new fur baby brings to a household cannot be described. If you are one of these lucky people, a huge congratulations is in order!

With 2015 upon us and a work week looming, now is the time to take a look at how VIP can help you ease back into a normal routine. We offer a specialized level of care for puppies and kittens so you can relax, knowing your new baby is in good hands. Our resident experts have assembled this collection of VIP Puppy and Kitten Care tips. These suggestions will help make this important time of transition a little easier for you and your family.

  1. Veterinary Care
    • If you don’t already have a vet you know and trust, now is the perfect time to start that critical relationship. You will want to get an appointment as soon as possible to ensure that your puppy or kitten is healthy. This will also lay the foundation for a good preventive health routine. At this first vet visit, you will want to establish a vaccination schedule. Also, it is not too early to inquire about when to have your pet spayed or neutered. Another topic to consider is whether or not you should have your puppy micro-chipped.
    • VIP Sitters offer Pet Taxi services and can help with these initial appointments while you are at work. We are also happy to give vet referrals!

  2. Feeding and Quality Food
    • Puppies generally need to eat 3 times a day. Your puppy’s body is growing rapidly and good nutrition now is an essential component of overall good health. Look for food that is formulated especially for puppies. While small breeds can make the switch to adult food at 9 to 12 months, large breeds should stick with puppy food until they reach the age of 2 years.
    • Kittens under the age of 8 weeks rely on one-another’s body heat to survive, so keep them warm. If you have a kitten in this age group, special care will need to be taken, including bottle-feeding the kitten every two hours up to four weeks of age and possibly helping your kitten pee and poop.
    • VIP Sitters are available to stop by as needed throughout the day to feed and check water bowls which are often turned over by the clumsy youngsters!

  3. Potty Routine
    • Housetraining is best accomplished with planning, patience and positive reinforcement. Routine is also very important. Common times to take your puppy outside to potty include: when you wake up, before you go to bed, after puppy eats or drinks a lot of water, and when puppy wakes up from a nap. It’s also a good idea to take a potty break after a vigorous play session as well. Until your puppy has been vaccinated, you’ll want to find a potty place outdoors that is not accessible to other animals. (Author’s side note: NEVER take an unvaccinated puppy to a dog park.)
    • For kittens, teach them how to use the litter box by placing them in the box after meals and play sessions. Take them outside on a lead or in a carrier (It can be very dangerous to allow a kitten outside without one.)
    • VIP Sitters can assist with crate training, changing of puppy pads or litter boxes and general mess cleanup!

  4. Socialization and Obedience Training
    • Your puppy wants to please you and be a good member of the family. The effort you put into socializing and teaching such commands as sit, stay, down and come will help keep your dog safe and under control. Socialization and obedience training will also strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Obedience classes typically begin accepting puppies at around 4 to 6 months of age.
    • Kitten socialization should also begin at a very young age. Pet them frequently, and get them used to grooming and weekly combing. Provide appropriate scratching alternatives (such as scratching posts) and reward good behavior with toys, praise or treats. Expose them to other cats and kittens (as soon as they’re up to date on vaccinations, of course!). There are even kitten socialization classes; do an internet search to see if any are available in your area.
    • VIP Sitters LOVE socializing puppies and kittens. With our drop-in or hourly service, you can keep progress moving forward while you’re away. Need a recommendation for trainers or classes in your neighborhood? We can help with that too!

Do you have a favorite new puppy or kitten care tip to share? Tell us in the comments below or over on our Facebook page. Thanks for reading!

VIP’s Favorite Pet Charities and the Spirit of Giving

At VIP Pet Services, we love supporting wonderful organizations that have made it their life purpose to help people and pets in need. We proudly contribute throughout the year to pet charities by sponsoring events, donating cash and volunteering our time. A unique way our sitters participate is by tracking their dog walks with Wooftrax’s Walk for a Dog app. This company donates to the shelter of their choice for every mile walked.

During this special “giving season,” we are thrilled to be giving back with the contribution of a cash donation to each of the causes below, in hopes that it makes someone’s holiday season a little brighter.


1. Pets of the Homeless

A nonprofit organization that provides pet food and emergency veterinary care to the homeless in local communities across the United States and Canada. Over 11,500 pets of the homeless have been successfully vaccinated and/or treated for illness or injuries, many were spayed or neutered. Over 330 tons of pet food and supplies have been dispersed to the homeless and disadvantaged who own pets. There are several collection sites in Dallas and Austin for people to drop off food.


2. Austin Pets Alive!

February 2014 marked three years of Austin’s no kill status. Austin Pets Alive! has played a critical role in achieving this status by developing innovative and comprehensive programs that serve key demographics of animals typically euthanized in a shelter setting. Austin Pets Alive! has saved more than 25,000 cats and dogs from euthanasia and the numbers continue to rise. They are sponsoring a “Home for the Holidays” program asking people to foster a pet during the holiday season.


3. Dallas Pets Alive!

The Dallas Pets Alive! no-kill/rescue organization is completely run by volunteers. All pets are housed by dedicated foster families throughout the metroplex. DPA! is currently focused on helping the healthy and treatable pets who are at risk of being killed in the Dallas Animal Services, by rescuing those that are at the greatest risk and helping owners with problems so great that they need to surrender their pet(s) to a shelter. In the DPA! rescue program, they do not duplicate work of other agencies. DPA! focus primarily on the pets who have already been passed over by other groups and the Dallas Animal Services’ adoption programs.


4. Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter

Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter (WCRAS) is celebrating three years of being a no-kill, open-admission shelter. Since December 2010, WCRAS has reached a save rate of 90% and above. Last year they achieved a 94% save rate! Because of the shelter’s efforts, almost 19,000 cats and dogs have found their way home. Proud sponsors of the annual Walk, Woof & Wrun 5K which raised over $9,000 to help the sick and injured animals of WCRAS. Special love for this shelter as they are located in Robin’s home town of Georgetown!


5. I Once Was Lost Animal Advocacy

Founded by Adette Quintana and David Soliz, Austin-based IOWL is a 501c3 Animal Advocacy dedicated to helping homeless pets and advocating for proper pet nutrition and care. Adette is the former owner of the pet-sitting business Adette’s Ark, whose clients are now a part of the VIP Pets Austin family. She also started the Chuckling Hound Ranch Luxury Pet Resort, where one room is dedicated solely to rescue dogs in need of a foster home and rehabilitation.


6. Operation Kindness

Headquartered in Carrollton, Operation Kindness is the original and largest no-kill shelter in North Texas. They have saved more than 75,000 animals over almost 40 years. They care for approximately 300 animals on a day-to-day basis, with another 100 animals in foster homes. More than 3,000 dogs and cats are assisted by Operation Kindness each year. The host of many fundraising events throughout the year including the Holiday Pet Adoption happening now at the Galleria Dallas.

In addition to the organizations VIP champions, VIP Sitters also give back to the community in their own unique ways and we are so proud of them! Four of our rockstar sitters and the organizations they support include:


7. Equest- VIP Sitter Lynne K.

“I am a huge supporter of an organization that provides therapeutic riding, carriage riding and hippotherapy to adults and children with emotional, physical, and developmental delays. There are approximately 40 horses and 4 minis that provide therapeutic services. They also have a special veterans program for veterans returning home suffering from post traumatic stress disorder or who have suddenly become disabled after serving overseas. If anyone is interested in contributing gift cards, cash or shampoo (I am sponsoring their shampoo for the whole year of 2015) , I would be happy to meet anytime, anywhere to collect donations and get them to Equest.”


8. Dogs On Deployment – VIP Sitter Marhiah M.

“My Marine is coming home for Christmas and New Years, but some are just getting deployed again. For the military members having to leave their pets behind, here’s an option to keep them safe and sound. Please let military members know they can contact DOD for assistance locating a foster home while they are deployed. Thousands of people across the country have already signed up and are ready to offer a hand. They don’t take their dog to a shelter without contacting Dogs On Deployment. Just a cool piece of information.”

9. Open Table – VIP Sitter Ann G.

“I serve as the Director for Open Table through our church. The purpose of Open Table is to help establish a brother or sister back into society. It can be anyone who is recovering from drugs or alcohol, or down on their luck and homeless, or struggling with divorce and abuse. It is a year long commitment and involves weekly meetings. I don’t believe that Open Table is labeled as a charity but it is a wonderful program – the return is more than rewarding. And believe it or not you learn a great deal about yourself!!”


10. Habitat 4 Paws – VIP Sitter JoAnn D.

“I volunteer with Habitat 4 Paws, a local dog rescue organization. I served as a board member for two years also, coordinating their volunteers. “ Habitat 4 Paws is an animal rescue group in the DFW area whose mission is to rescue and find permanent homes for dogs and cats while caring for them in a volunteer staffed adoption facility and foster program. H4P’s goal is to acquire and operate an adoption facility in the Frisco or nearby area and to invite community participation in ways that will benefit rescued animals.