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FAQS

GENERAL

What are your hours?

We provide daily dog walking and cat sitting 365 days a year from 6am until 8pm. We provide daily doggy daycare at Hyde Bark Play Park Monday through Friday from 7am until 7pm. Hyde Bark Play Park is closed on the weekends and federal holidays. Our office hours are M-F 9am-5pm.

What is the best way to reach you?

The best way to reach us is via message in your Time to Pet account. These messages are monitored by all management all day long. Our phone number is 773-359-8158 ext 1 for dog walking and cat sitting, ext 2 for doggy daycare and ext 3 for training (via Anything is Pawzible) and ext 0 for general. Please leave us a message if we are unable to answer and we will call you back! 

How do I schedule services?

You will have your own secure Time to Pet account in which you are able to schedule services online or via the Time to Pet app. You can schedule one appointment at a time, or multiple appointments. We ask our clients to schedule their own services to minimize the risk of miscommunication or error, however we can set up ongoing recurring services for you!

When do I schedule services?

We recommend you schedule any services you may need for the upcoming week M-F by 7pm on Sundays; and by 7pm on Wednesdays for the upcoming weekend Saturday & Sunday. This will ensure we have availability for your pet. Services scheduled after Sunday for M-F, and after Wednesday for Sa-Su are subject to availability and not guaranteed. Please note a minimum of 2 walks per week is required for service. This is so your dog can get used to us, and get into a routine! This also helps us to maintain a regular FT team with regular schedules.

Are there any late fees?

Dog walks and cat sitting appointments will have a $5 surcharge for walks placed for M-F after 7pm on Sunday; and for Sa-Su after 7pm on Wednesday. This is because most of our employees are full time, so they already have full schedules once the schedules are finalized on Sunday nights for M-F and Wednesday nights for Sa-Su. This gives you an experienced and professional team, but unfortunately it can make it difficult to accommodate last minute requests. 

Dog walking and cat sitting services scheduled later than 7pm the night before or on the same day will incur an additional $15 “same day” surcharge. 

Doggy daycare scheduled after 7pm the night before or on the same day will incur a $10 “same day fee” This is because we plan our routes and our daycare rooms the night before so that we can curate our routes/groups. 

How do I cancel a service?

Doggy daycare, dog walks and cat sitting can be canceled at no charge any time as long as it is before 7pm the night before. Pet Sitting and Boarding services must be canceled at least one week in advance, and two weeks surrounding major holidays. Pet Sitting and Boarding services canceled less than one week in advance (two weeks during the holidays) will still be billed at 50% of the total cost unless another client takes your spot. This is due to very limited space and high demand for these services. You can cancel any scheduled service via your Time to Pet account by selecting the service you want to cancel and selecting edit > cancel

How and when do I pay you?

You are able to add your bank account or credit card onto your account and you will be auto-billed weekly every Monday after services rendered. We can also take Venmo or Zelle.

May I give my walker or sitter gratuity?

Of course! When you pay your invoice there is an option to add a tip which will then be dispersed to your walkers or sitters, or we can set up a recurring tip for you. 

What is your service area?

We are located in Hyde Park and we service exclusively Hyde Park and the immediate surrounding south side neighborhoods such as Kenwood, Bronzeville, and Woodlawn.  We feel keeping our service small and local enables us to provide the best quality service quickly and efficiently. Our service area is East to South Shore Drive, west to King Drive, north to 43rd and south to 61st Rd.

What does it mean to be licensed, insured and bonded?

We are a professional business licensed in the city of Chicago which means we pay taxes and follow all business ethical and legal requirements as put forth by The Department of Agriculture. We also carry an expansive pet sitters’ insurance policy, including an expanded bonding policy. We want to make sure that every aspect of our business is professional and accountable. As of 2024, we have never had to take out a claim on our insurance policy

What is your pet emergency protocol?

Our staff does know basic pet first aid and CPR but is not trained in veterinary medicine outside of minor  injuries that can be treated with cleaning, ointment and/or sterile bandaging. For an emergency situation, we would first contact the vet to let them know of our impending arrival and take them to VEG - Veterinary Emergency Group - in the South Loop. We would of course also inform you of any developments, but getting your dog immediate care is the top priority. Please note: you would be responsible for any medical bills.

 

DOG WALKING & CAT SITTING 

What kind of qualifications do your walkers & sitters have?

All of our Pet Care Professionals are carefully vetted, selected and extensively trained. We do not use independent contractors and all of our Pet Care Professionals are all actual employees of Hyde Bark. Each employee goes through an extensive hiring and training process, including a background check. Before starting, each employee first completes multiple online training courses in which they must score 100% on each test to pass. Next, they do between 20-40 hours of on-the-job training. We continue to mentor, supervise and support employees throughout their tenure with us.

Our employees enjoy benefits such as health insurance, paid time off, mileage reimbursement, and we are proud to pay a living wage. All of these things help us to attract top applicants with career-focused minds. Many of our employees have been with us for years, and most are full-time, meaning this is what they do for a living! We feel we are able to recruit highly qualified professional and responsible candidates by being able to offer more than a traditional dog walking company, or independent contract work

 

We are an all-inclusive employer and welcome LGBTQ-identifying individuals and are proud to have a diverse team. We take hiring very seriously and only choose the very best and most qualified applicants. To learn more about our hiring and training process, please review our Jobs tab

Click here to "meet our team"

Will I have the same walker or sitter each time?

Your walker or sitter may vary depending on availability, employment status (FT or PT), and time of day. In each part of the neighborhood, we have groups of about 3-5 walkers that rotate hours and days. While you may not have the same walker each time, it should be the same small group of people, so you will see the same faces. We always take your pets’ emotional well-being into account first and foremost and we think there is an art to pairing the right people with the right pets! Our goal, however, is for every one of our employees to be as good as every other employee, but different people have different strengths, etc. Unfortunately, we will not be the right fit for dogs that can only have 1-2 walkers due to anxiety, shyness, or other reasons.

How will I know when my walker or sitter has taken care of my pet?

We proudly use Time to Pet for every service we provide. When your walker or sitter arrives for your scheduled appointment, you will get an instant email and/or phone notification that they have arrived. The app tracks our time and location for the duration of your scheduled appointment and when your appointment time has been met, we leave you a report about how the visit went, including pictures of your pet

How does my walker/sitter get into my home?

We ask for two sets of keys for your home whenever possible in case there is an emergency. One set will be secured in a lockbox on your property, and the other in our key safe at our facility. If you need to provide us with keys, you can drop them off at Hyde Bark Play Park at 5508 S. Lake Park Ave. at the front desk or through the mail slot. Please be sure to label them with a tag or in an envelope with your pet’s name and remove all extra unneeded keys. We cannot service homes that do not allow lockboxes. Exception for apartment buildings with key checkout protocols in place. 

Can I set a specific appointment time?

We ask that you allow us a 2-4 hour window in which to arrive for your service for dogs, and a 4 hour window for cats. You can choose your window when you schedule your visits

Do you do group walks?

Each walk is private one-on-one, so we can focus on just your pet(s)

Can you take my dog off leash, like to a dog park?

Unfortunately, our insurance policy requires your dog be leashed at all times when off of your property. For your dog's safety (and the safety of others) we need to keep your pup on leash. 

Can you administer medication to pets?

Yes, we can administer medications at no extra charge per your detailed directions, however, for vacation care, we do require a medical trial visit at least one week prior to your service start date for all new medications. This is so that if your pet is not receptive to us administering their medications you have ample time to find alternative arrangements. We can administer the following medications:

 

  • Pills - We ask that pills be stored in their original containers with instructions clearly visible, and any pills that need to be be pre-cut. We can manually "pill" dogs, but not cats. We have found the experience of a non-family member physically handling the cat to manually give them a pill to be very stressful to the cat which can lead to aggressiveness and/or hiding. We are more than happy to try to hide the pill in a treat or other edible method.

 

  • Liquid Oral Medications - if your pet it conducive to us giving it to them which would be determined at their trial visit

 

  • Transdermal Medications​ - if your pet it conducive to us giving it to them which would be determined at their trial visit

 

  • Insulin - Unfortunately, we do not do insulin anymore

 

  • Other topical medications - f your pet it conducive to us giving it to them which would be determined at their trial visit

 

 

Please, if there's any question as to whether your pet will be receptive to us giving them their medications, consider alternative care options, such as medically boarding them or a sitter with a veterinary education.

What would you do in the event of a walker emergency?

We first contact the rest of the team to get your walk covered. We will reach out if there is any issue, such as if you have a pet that does not do well with new walkers. We would never just not show up! If you ever notice we are “outside of your service window” or very close to it, please feel free to reach out just in case

How can I communicate with my walker?

Simply click Send Message in the app or on the website to communicate directly with your walker as well as management! We highly prefer clients use this tool as their primary mode of communication so that everyone is always updated and on the same page 

 

PET SITTING & BOARDING

What kind of Pet Sitting and Boarding services do you offer, and what is the difference?

We offer three kinds of pet-sitting/boarding.

  1. Stop-in Service (walks + feeding only): Scheduling a minimum of two 30 minute walks, which will include feeding, while you are away. Starts at $55 per day for two walks. More walks may be scheduled at regular prices (no weekend fees) as fits your pup’s needs.

 

  1. Overnight Pet Sitting in Your Home (walks + feeding + sleepover): Scheduling a minimum of two 30 minute walks, which will include feeding, while you are away + a sleepover in your home arriving between 7-9pm and departing after breakfast between 7-9am. Starts at $150 per night for two walks + sleepover. More walks may be scheduled at regular prices (no weekend fees) as fits your pup’s needs - please note: we only provide overnight pet sitting for regular Hyde Bark clients, whether they do dog walking or daycare. Overnight pet sitting is subject to sitter availability and is not guaranteed.

 

  1. Boarding in Our Home (your pup stays with us in our home - all feeding and walking is included). Starts at $95/night - please note: we only board dogs that regularly come to Hyde Bark Play Park for daycare. Because boarding is in our homes, sometimes with other people or animals, we reserve the right to use our discretion as to when we are taking new boarding clients. This makes a great peaceful environment for everyone :) 

Do you ever offer private (only one dog or household) at a time?

If you specifically request private boarding you MAY Be charged $150 a night only if your boarder has to turn down another client. We cannot provide private boarding over peak holiday seasons or federal holidays (those are times we are busiest and need as much space as possible for furry friends!)

Do I have to be a regular client to use your in-home dog pet-sitting or boarding services? 

Yes, we only offer pet-sitting services for our regular clients; and boarding is only for our doggy daycare clients. Because we board 1-6 dogs at a time in our homes and it is cage-free, it is imperative the dogs all get along. We know they get along if they all attend daycare together! Plus, it can make the experience more comfortable and fun when there are other friends they know also staying. We believe it is important to your dog's emotional well-being to establish an on-going relationship beforehand as well. We want to have ongoing long term relationships with the pets in our care, not have a revolving door of pets. 

How much does boarding or pet sitting cost?

Boarding in Our Homes is $95 per night and includes all feeding and walks. Pick up and drop off may be available within Hyde Park for an additional cost of $15 each way. Pet Sitting in Your Home starts at $150 per night and includes two 30 minute walks, all feeding, and an overnight sleepover. Additional walks may be scheduled at regular prices (no weekend fees).

Where and when do I drop off my dog for boarding?

Generally, people drop off their dog for boarding at Hyde Bark Play Park at the normal drop off times, but we can also schedule a time to drop off at our homes between 7am and 7pm. See more below on how to schedule. Our earliest drop off time is 7-9am and our latest pickup time is 7pm-9pm. 

Do you offer pick up or drop off for boarding?

We can sometimes provide pick up or drop off from within Hyde park only for an additional charge of $15 each way (evening fees do apply +$5 for 5pm or later)

What do I need to provide for my dog while boarding?

You can pack food, and treats. A blanket, shirt or stuffed animal that reminds them of home can also be nice! We have bowls, beds, toys and more

Will I get updates?

Yes, you will receive a daily update and photos

How do I schedule boarding (in a sitter’s home)?

  1. Select the day you want the boarding to start and choose “overnight sitter boarding in our home”, and the time you would like to drop off, or have them picked up. Choose 7am-9am (daycare drop off) or 10am-1pm (daycare drop off) to drop off at The Play Park. Choose any other time to drop off directly with your sitter

1a. If you need your dog picked up, also schedule a “pet taxi” for the time you want them picked up. 

  1. Select the day you want the boarding to end and choose “overnight sitter boarding in our home”, and the time you would like to pick them up, or have them dropped off. Choose 10am-1pm (daycare drop off or pick up) or 4pm-7pm (daycare pick up) to pick up at The Play Park. Choose any other time to pick up directly from your sitter

2a. If you need your dog dropped off, also schedule a “pet taxi” for the time you want them dropped off. 

How do I schedule pet sitting (in a client’s home)?

Use the Time to Pet scheduler to schedule whatever walks/visits your pet needs, and choose the “overnight pet sitting in my home” option for the 8pm - 10pm window. We will arrive between 8pm and 10pm for your pet’s last walk/let out (if applicable), and sleepover in your home. 

DOGGY DAYCARE

Why do dogs have to be neutered or spayed to attend Hyde Bark Play Park?

Unfortunately, due to the changing and increased hormones an unaltered dog produces as they reach maturity, it can cause conflict and fights. We mostly see other dogs reacting poorly to the unaltered dog, not the other way around.

My dog has never been to a doggy daycare before. Will she like it?

We hope so! However, doggy daycare is not for all dogs. We will let you know if daycare is not the best fit for your dog. We want all of the dogs that come in to enjoy coming and be happy to be there!

What are some reasons a dog may be “expelled” from doggy daycare?

If your dog poses a safety issue to the other dogs, our staff or themselve. Such as if they are overly anxious and do not enjoy being there, do not take social cues from other dogs, they are not responsive to staff, etc.

Are the dogs separated by size?

The dogs are separated by both size and temperament. We have three separate lots so if a dog doesn't ”fit in” with one group, we can try another group.

What is the best way to introduce my dog to doggy daycare?

We recommend a two-step process. First, scheduling a private tour so you and your dog can come in and check out the play rooms. This can help the dog to get familiar with the environment with the comfort and reassurance of their pawrent being there with them. Next, all dogs have a free trial day. This can be a full day or half day. We recommend a half day for the first day so that they have time to get comfortable but also are not overwhelmed being in a strange new place all day long.

How often should I bring my dog to doggy daycare?

We recommend at least 2-3 times a week so that they can make consistent friends and get into a routine. Many dogs love to come 5 days a week, however some might get pretty tired by Friday so it really depends on your dog!

How do I schedule doggy daycare?

You can either schedule as needed via our Time to Pet app or website each, or we can set up a recurring schedule for you so you do not have to worry about doing it each week. We ask that you request doggy daycare for the upcoming week by Sunday evening to ensure we have a spot for your dog, can plan our rooms accordingly, and also make sure we are properly staffed each day.

 

How do injuries happen?

  • A bite or scratch can happen in a split second while playing, with no fight or scuffle. Dogs play with their teeth and nails and this can occasionally result in an accidental scratch! It is rare this happens, maybe a handful of times a year, but it does happen and we will notify you right away if it does! As of 2024 we have never had to take a dog to the emergency room due to a daycare-related injury. 

  • Because we carefully curate our play groups, and tend to have the same dogs come in each day, this helps minimize disagreements between dogs, since they all know each other. Our staff is well-trained in dog play behavior and body language and prevention is key - to keep the energy fun and not let anyone get too worked up or overwhelmed. The most common grumpy behavior we see is if one dog has had enough of playing and the other dog is not picking up on those social cues. The annoyed dog may snap at the other dog. The other dog may get upset and snap back. These are the situations we try our best to avoid. 

  • Some breeds such as boxers, bulldogs, and sighthounds (Greyhounds, Whippets, etc.) have very thin fur, so they have little protection against scratches and playbites. New owners of these breeds often find this out the hard way, but we do believe you will find scratches on your dog throughout its life, whether coming to daycare or not, and that's part of the joy of owning one. If you have a breed like this you can try putting on a shirt or jammies to protect their skin when they go out to play with other dogs whether it is at a daycare or a dog park.

  • Please view our Health and Injury Policy HERE.

 

What is your emergency protocol?

Our staff does know basic pet first aid and CPR but is not trained in veterinary medicine outside of minor  injuries that can be treated with cleaning, ointment and/or sterile bandaging. For an emergency situation, we would first contact the vet to let them know of our impending arrival and take them to VEG - Veterinary Emergency Group - in the South Loop. We would of course also inform you of any developments, but getting your dog immediate care is the top priority. Please note: you may be responsible for any medical bills.

 

OTHER RESOURCES:

Veterinarians:

Hyde Park Animal Clinic 

1363 E. 53rd St 

773-324-4484

Woodlawn Animal Hospital 

6523 S. King Dr.

773-249-7191

Emergency Vets: 

Veterinary Emergency Group aka VEG

1114 South Clinton Street Unit B, Chicago, IL

 

(872) 710-5226

(preferred emergency vet of Hyde Bark)

Metropolitan aka MetroVet

(preferred vet of Hyde Bark)

1556 S. Michigan Ave. 

312-583-1921 

South Loop Animal Hospital 

1640 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

 

(312) 753-5551

(preferred vet of Hyde Bark)

MedVet 

3123 N Clybourn Ave 

773-281-7110

Grooming: 

Bark N Bubbles Doggy Day Spa 

1433 E. Hyde Park Blvd 

773-236-0886

Puppy Haberdashery 

5100 S. Cornell Ave. 

773-424-8871 

Cindy @ Hyde Park Animal Hospital 

6937 S. Stony Island Ave.

773-324-4484

So Fetch!

4757 S. Ashland Ave. 

773-347-3187

Pet supplies, food and treats: 

Sprocket & Stone 

1013 E. 53rd St 

773-966-4777 

Dog Parks: 

Jackson Bark 

6000 S Lake Shore Dr. 

773-272-1307

Cat adoptions, fostering and rescue: 

Hyde Park Cats 

www.hydeparkcats.org

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