The Ins and Outs of Pet Sitting
As pet owners, all of us do the very best we can to give our pets the best quality of life possible. In all circumstances, we want assurance that our pets, just like our family members, friends and other members of our community are well taken care of.
That leads to discussion on the sometimes dicey issue of pet sitting. The services of pet sitters become crucial during our little trips out of town, or when we need their help during transitional periods, such as the renovations of our homes.
How do we spot the recalcitrant pet sitter, for there will be those, as in any other profession, who would spoil the pet sitting market? Can we anticipate the times when we will need the services of one? What should we consider in making payment to a pet sitter? What are the considerations for those thinking of venturing into the pet sitting business?
These are just a few things we should think about when we entrust our beloved pets to the care of someone new to us, and to them.
When do we need the services of a pet sitter?
We will need the help of caring individuals who will see to our pets needs at important times and in crucial situations.
Some of these situations would warrant pet sitting services.
When on vacation
Our professions may take us out of town and there will be times when we simply need a break. That includes a short one away from taking care of our sometimes browbeating pets, much as we love them so.
A good pet sitter needs to be relied on for a few days to ensure that our pet’s needs are met.
While you are at work
Some of us commute long distances to work and are at the job for rather long hours. The job might even require you to take up responsibilities abroad.
This is when we might need a pet sitter to take over the reins and responsibilities of pet care for a few hours during the day.
When you need an extra hand
We will sometimes require extra help during gatherings or parties that we might be organizing, and the attendees of such gatherings might have a fear of dogs.
Again, a reliable sitter can supervise our pets while we rest and relax at that party for a few hours.
There is no one else available
You are going to Japan for that all important conference, yet Jake, your needy little terrier, needs you around. Mum and Dad have no space in the house to accomodate him.
It looks like there is no one on hand to take Jake on, so like it or not, we will have to make that all important call to a pet sitter, who should, helpfully and hopefully, save the day!
Hiring the right sitter-things to consider
So, we know that pet sitting is definitely no mean task. Just how would we choose the right one?
Choose someone who will provide balance for your pet.
Many pets suffer from separation anxiety while their owners are away. Ideally, a pet sitter should be a person with good control and calm temperament. He or she should be calm and assertive with our pets and know the appropriate times to rein them in.
Have a face to face interview.
A pet is as huge a responsibility as a child, so having a face-to-face interview with someone you are hiring to look after it cannot be done without.
Get to know the sitter before entrusting the pet to him, and if possible, think about a list of specific needs before
It would be ideal if the sitter is able to stay in your home while you are away to maintain the pet’s normal routine.
If that cannot be done, familiarize your pet with his new location. Observe the little ways the caregivers behave around dogs and if the place smells. Do they use too much verbal communication with the dogs – remember that dogs communicate with little body gestures.
All this should tell a little bit about how reliable the pet sitter will be.
Before leaving the pet with a sitter, make sure they are briefed thoroughly about what they will need to do while caring for the pet.
Some of our pets need medication because of health conditions, so the sitter will need to know exactly how to administer it. At other times, our pets will have their own set routines and habits that the sitters need to be acquainted with.
Leave a checklist.
Just as we would do to make sure our vacations go smoothly, leave a checklist for the sitter so that he or she knows exactly what needs to be done.
The sitter may not be so familiar with dogs,so do keep them informed about the things that should not be given to it as food. It would be good to provide a list of foods that are toxic to pets.
Paying a pet sitter
I mention this for those who are leaving your pets with sitters for the first time, or who may not be familiar with how to negotiate with and pay a pet sitter.
Determine the market rate.
Scout the pet sitting services in your area to determine the market rate for pet sitting. The fee, on both the owner’s and sitter’s part, should be reasonable.
Determine how long his services are needed.
Would you want the sitter to visit the home once or twice daily? Is the sitter just required to feed your pet, or do you need him to stay for a while longer? Is he needed to take the pet for walks?
If the pet sitter is needed during the holiday season, be prepared to pay him or her just a little bit more.
If you are considering being a pet sitter yourself…..
Do a little research.
Find out all you can about the pets you are required to look after. Different dog breeds have different needs, so a little research will always come in handy.
Get experience with animals.
One may have a love for animals, but may not have been exposed enough to enough of them to understand their needs thoroughly.
Get experience volunteering at shelters or even adopting an animal yourself before considering pet sitting.
Hiring a pet sitter or becoming one yourself requires a lot of thought and consideration, for at stake is the life of another being.
Do take some time to ponder before allocating what is a rather heavy responsibility!