Some Helpful Hints About Pet Sitting

It happens in every pet household. You suddenly have to go away overnight or for a few days and what do you do about the cat/dog/hamster/rabbit while you are gone?

It’s really not advisable to leave them alone with lots of food and water even overnight because things do happen in the home. A sudden invasion of ants taking over the food bowl will leave them without food; raucous play could result in the water bowl being tipped over. And these are just two very ordinary everyday things that spring to mind.

Thus it’s really important to get someone to look in on them.

This is Professional Pet Sitters Week and that brings up the idea of whether to go with a friend or a professional to keep an eye on your fur kids. I am certainly not opposed to very reliable friends and family. But at the same time, I would like to point out never give the job to a kid. There has to be adult supervision involved if the job is going to be done!

A professional pet sitter is of course licensed and bonded and definitely the way to go if you are going to be a way for more than a couple of days.

But even if you are leaving it to the professionals, the onus is upon you as the pet parent to make sure they have everything they need from a spare key to knowing where the electricity mains switch or breaker box is in your house.

Recently, I found a college student standing outside my neighbor’s house with the neighbor’s pooch, looking totally lost and bewildered. She had been called in to pet sit and had taken the dog for a walk, simply closing the front door behind her. No one had bothered to tell her the door self-locked. And she had left the key inside the condo and was now locked out and didn’t even have her cell phone with her!

My dear neighbor should have had the foresight to warn her about this or even put a note on the inside of the front door to prevent such an occurrence in the first place…

If you have never worked with a professional pet sitter before, here is some basic information that you will find helpful.

  • Ask to see written proof that the pet sitter has commercial liability insurance to cover accidents and negligence and is bonded to protect against theft (by the pet sitter.)
  • Ask for phone numbers of other clients, who have agreed to serve as references.
  • Enquire what kind of training they have received.
  • Ask for a written contract that spells out the services the pet sitter agrees to perform relating to your dog such as an exercise routine as well as other services such as bringing in the mail and putting out the garbage. Be clear about the fees involved.
  • If it’s a live-in arrangement, specify the times you definitely want them to be with your pet.
  • If it’s not a live-in arrangement, make sure the pet sitter knows where to switch on the lights if they are checking in on your pet in the evenings.
  • In the case of illness, enquire if the person or organization has a back-up plan.
  • Find out if the pet sitter is associated with a particular veterinary office or is willing to take your pet to your veterinarian.
  • It’s important that the pet sitter understands your pet’s temperament. Not all dogs are outgoing and friendly towards strangers and your pet pal maybe a bit reticent at first. Be sure to spell it out.
  • Make sure you point out salient features of your home, such as an alarm system and where you keep the remote control for the garage door.

Before You Leave

Make sure you’ve written out all instructions regarding your pet’s food, medication and general routine. Remember to pin your contract information up in a prominent place so that they can reach you at any time and give the pet sitter at least one neighbor’s name and phone number. It’s also good idea to leave an additional key with someone trustworthy in case your pet-sitter gets locked out. And don’t forget to stock up on all you pet’s needs before you go.

Finally, make sure your pet is microchipped and wearing a sturdy collar with proper identification. After all, if something goes awry and your pet goes missing, proper ID will be their ticket home.

What steps do YOU take when you must leave your pet behind for a few days?

 

 

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