Frequently Asked Questions

Becoming a Bow Wow Meow Client

The first step is determining service availability based on your location, the type of service and service dates/times requested, and then making sure both you and your pet(s) give us the “paws up” to get started!

To expedite the process, we’ve created an inquiry form that you may submit to obtain more information and answer any questions you may have, and to schedule an in-home interview (the "meet & greet") if you’re ready to take the next step.

Meet & Greets

A meet & greet is an interview in your home during which we tell you about our service and background, go through our new client kit and also get to know you and your pet(s). Meet & greets are an excellent opportunity to get to know your pet care provider, ask questions and check compatibility with your pet(s).

There is a $20 service fee for the meet & greet to cover staff payment for the meeting (especially since many are after-hours or on weekends), travel, account set-up and related expenses. This is a one-time, per household fee. You will not incur additional meet & greet expenses if additional pets are added to the household at a future date or if you move within the service area.

Meet & greets generally last 20-30 minutes and are typically scheduled 2-3 weeks prior to the desired service start date. Please allow additional lead time for meet & greet requests prior to holiday service needs.

To inquire about our services or schedule a meet & greet, simply submit a request, and we’ll respond within 48 hours. If you don’t hear from us, the dog ate our laptop; call (773) 822-1700!

Hours of Operation

Regular hours of operation for dog walks are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. After hour and weekend visits may be arranged; however, they will be subject to additional service fees or away care package pricing.

Holiday rates apply for any service on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day. For regular, after hour and holiday service rates, visit our services page.

Scheduling and Cancellations

Weekly dog walking clients:  Please submit any changes to your schedule no later than 5 p.m. on Friday of the week prior to the service week in question.

Last-minute (less than 7 days notice) booking or cancellation of in-home pet sitting, cat or critter care may be subject to a late booking and/or cancellation fees. 

Cancellations or requests for additional services can be made via email at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled service date. To add/cancel a walk within 48 hours of the appointment, simply email ( or call (773.822.1700) by 9 a.m. on the day of your scheduled visit. Daily walk cancellation requests may be received after 9 a.m.; however, you will be charged the regular visit rate.

We will always try to accommodate same-day service requests; however, we cannot guarantee these requests due to the extremely short notice.

Credits/debits for cancelled or added visits will be applied to the next consecutive billing cycle.

Payments & Gratuities

BWM operates on a pre-bill system, which means that we ask clients to pay for services on or before the date of service. Clients can choose their own payment periods: weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.

We currently accept three types of payment: cash, check or electronic bank payment.

While tips to your pet care provider are never mandatory, they are always welcome and appreciated as a “thank you” for exemplary service. Please clearly mark any gratuities left in your home for the pet care provider. If gratuity is included in your regular payment via check, please note tip inclusion in the memo section of the check.

There is a $25.00 charge on all returned checks and a $10.00 per month fee on any unpaid balances in excess of fourteen (14) days. Delinquent balances will be sent to collections after 60 days, and clients will be responsible for associated collection and court fees if applicable.

BWM Code of Conduct & Service Guarantee

BWM is licensed as a Limited Liability Corporation in the State of Illinois and City of Chicago and is a proud member of North American Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). We are also a recommended provider on Angie’s List and Yelp. BWM pet care professionals are bonded and insured and carefully chosen following a screening process that includes both state and national background checks.

All walks are 20 minutes in length; however, walks may be shorter due to inclement weather that could pose a threat to either the pet or BWM staff. In these cases, the duration of the visit will be conducted inside and noted on the daily report. You should always receive a dated and time-stamped activity report after each and every visit. If these reports are ever less than satisfactory, please let us know!

BWM does not conduct pack walks or off-leash play (including dog parks).

We do not tolerate walkers smoking or talking on the phone excessively during walks, and all walkers must sign a code of conduct committing to professional conduct in your home and neighborhood. If at any time you feel that a BWM representative may be violating this code of conduct, please alert us immediately!

While we cannot guarantee the same walk time every day, we do guarantee that walks will be conducted within your pet’s specified two hour walk window, unless an emergency arises and you are notified of a late/early walk due to circumstances beyond our control. Walk windows may be expanded during snow, heavy rain or other storm conditions.

Client Responsibility & Liability

A signed service contract/application and pet personality paperwork must be received by the first date of service. Required paperwork is supplied at the meet & greet.

Clients are required to notify BWM of any pre-existing health conditions, contagious conditions, socialization issues or history of aggression to people and/or animals.

Clients must also provide name(s) and contact information for any current or previous dog walkers, doggy daycares, boarding facilities, away care providers, behaviorists and/or trainers used for the pet(s) named on the service application.

BWM reserves the right to request pet references to vouch for pet temperament.

Clients are responsible for any bites or damage inflicted to BWM personnel during routine care or handling of the animal. Clients are also responsible for injuries inflicted to BWM personnel due to negligent or dangerous conditions on client property (includes improper or insufficient snow and ice removal).

In the event that others are allowed access to your home while you are away, BWM cannot be held liable for damage to your home, theft or injured/escaped pets.

Key Policy

Clients must provide BWM with two (2) sets of keys that have been tested and shown to easily open necessary entryways; one of these sets will be kept in the BWM office lock-box in case of emergency. For security purposes, your name/address is never included on key labels or in our key safe.

When any locks are changed, clients should alert BWM immediately and provide two (2) new sets of working keys to avoid disruption of service.

Required Supplies & Pet Clean Up

Collars with current ID tag(s) must be provided for use during every dog walk; however, for safety purposes, tags should not be left on pets that are crated. Additional supplies including leash, waste bags, towels for muddy paws and clean up supplies should be kept easily accessible, preferably close to the door. BWM notepad and pen should also be left for the pet care provider.

BWM is not responsible for excessive pet clean up; however, we will do our best to ensure your home is safe and clean upon our departure. In the event that your pet care provider does clean up excessive pet messes, please note that clean up time may be deducted from the walk time. We do not currently charge for pet clean up in the home (as many services do); however, please consider these circumstances while tipping your walker/pet care provider.

Vacation/Away Care

As of January 2013, we ask that households with canine members utilize our in-home overnight care for canine clients for all away care needs.

For cat or critter care, we require that the first visit take place within 24 hours of client departure from the home, and at least once daily up until within 24 hours of expected return. Sufficient food, cat litter, medication, and other vital supplies must be provided for the duration of your trip. In the event that BWM must purchase supplies while you are gone, you will be charged a $25 service fee, plus the cost of supplies.

BWM requests a check-in call, emailor text upon your return. We like to know that you are home and the pet(s) are happy and safe, and we also look forward to your input on our service. We try to confirm final away care details at least 48 hours in advance prior to your departure; however, if you have not heard from us prior to your departure, it is your responsibility to call or email to confirm your reservation.

If your pet is ill prior to your departure, we need to be advised of the condition and strongly recommend boarding the pet at your veterinarian’s office as a precaution.

Last-minute cancellation fees may apply to away care bookings, especially those during holiday periods.

Primary/Back Up Walker

BWM will always do everything possible to maintain the same pet care professional for you each and every visit; however, back up walkers may be utilized in case of emergency to ensure that no pet is left uncared for. If you have specified instructions regarding use of back up personnel, you must send these in writing and include the instructions in your online profile.

For safety purposes, female staff may also bring a chaperone for late evening visits.

Time With Your Pet

We have very limited time to travel between clients, so please help us avoid delay by letting us know about potential construction, parking obstructions around your residence, problem locks, lock or alarm changes or other situations that may cause delay so they do not affect our time with your pet.

Please also have necessary supplies (leash, bags, pen and notepad, towels, etc.) in a designated spot for each and every visit so that we can maximize quality time with your pet during our visits.

If you have any questions relating to the information contained above or have a question that is not addressed in the FAQ, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you!

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