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Frozen Pipes Avoided: Communication Strategies Between Pet Owners & Pet Professionals

Pet owners often travel during sub-freezing weather after contracting with pet professionals to visit their cats 1-2 times daily, or pet sit dogs by living in their home. Sub-freezing weather endangers pipes in the pet owners’ home for risk of cracking if the heating system fails. Heating systems need to be maintained yearly by technicians before the winter arrives.

Communication strategies between pet owners and pet professionals can save pet owners many $1000s of dollars and tremendous inconvenience from ruptured pipes.

Context is important for effective communication between pet owners and pet professionals. Cat visits mean the pet professional is only in the home for 15-30 minutes a visit. Pet sitting means the pet professional is living in the pet owners’ home between 1 to 21 days.

Therefore the pet professional during a winter time cat visit:

1. Needs to look at the thermostat to see if the air temperature reading is greater than the temperature setting.

2. If a pet professional doesn't hear the heating system working in the basement and can't feel any heat exiting from first floor heating fixtures, the thermostat needs to be reset. Resetting involves turning the thermostat setting below the air temperature, then well above the air temperature reading, listening and feeling first floor heating fixtures.

3. If no heat rises up, the pet owner needs to be called immediately and/or the heating company. The phone number for the heating company must be supplied by the pet owner to the pet professional before the pet owner travels. Experiences vary and I recall visiting a cat for 30 minutes on the 3rd day of a deep freeze. After completing my tasks with a cat named Moomoo, I felt excessive cold in the home and realized I hadn't heard the heating system turn on during my visit. The heat was not working despite the heat setting at 66 versus the air temperature reading 58 degrees. I reset the thermostat without the heating system turning on. I called the pet owner and they immediately called the heating company.

During pet sitting, it is best if the pet professional check the heating system daily before they leave the pet owners home for their off-site schedule.

Proper strategies of communication and follow through can keep pet owner's property and their pets safe.

Robert Berkelhammer is the Author of Pet Care Givers & Families: Getting the Most From Dog Playgroups, Pet Sitters, and Walkers. Also, see our MULTI-USE FAMILY PET CARE CONTRACT, a must-have organizing tool for you, your family, pet care professionals, and most importantly your pets!

Please consider helping me continue my important work helping pets as I develop as pet care professional and expert. All Donors will receive a free copy of the 16-page Family Pet Contract! Learn more

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