What to Expect from Pet Sitting: Tips from Owners and Experienced Sitters

by on July 9th, 2010 at 7:00 am

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to dog sit for a friend of mine; so far it’s been great and a lot of fun, but I can imagine if the “house rules” hadn’t been laid out for me, I wouldn’t be having such a great time. Pet sitting can be challenging, and based on the arrangements, there can be a few headaches.

Whether you are the owner who needs the service or you are the one providing it, it is important for both parties involved to do their homework. Communication is your best friend when it comes to pet sitting; for sitters, when the owner is away, the pet can’t tell you when they need to go to the bathroom, and for owners, if the rules are laid out for sitters to follow before you leave, there is less for you to worry about on your vacation.

For the Sitter

First and foremost, make sure you are up for the job. Taking care of someone pet is no easy task. You will need to make sure there are no conflicts with your schedule during the sitting. If you have to go to work, ask the owner how long he or she has been away from home during the day- this will give you a great indication of any lifestyle conflicts. Just think, if the longest the animal has ever waited to go outside is 8 hours and you work 9, there is a good indication you aren’t right for the job.

If schedules work out, the next step is to make sure the pet actually likes you. You should get acquainted with Fluffy or Fido at least 2 weeks before the owner needs to leave; if the animal doesn’t like you or you don’t like it, the owner has enough time to fill your spot.

Another great question to ask is if the pet has any medical issues. Asking the owner about their pet’s medical history will help you to determine whether or not you are right for the mission. Sometimes animals can get nervous bellies while their owners are away, so dealing with intestinal issues should be expected; however, if the pet needs a shot everyday or has a debilitating disease, this is something you will either need to be prepared for, or walk away from.

For the Owner

It’s a big leap for you to leave your fur-baby with someone, but as long as your ducks are in a row, it should be non-stressful. First you need to determine whether or not you want the sitter to live in your home or not. This can be a daunting question, especially if you don’t know the person too well.

Sometimes asking a friend to do the favor is the way to go, but when they aren’t available you will need to call a pet sitting service. Sometimes a service can come to your home 3 times a day to walk, play and feed your pets; otherwise you will drop your pet off at his or her home for the entire time you are away.

If you do choose to either have someone live in your home, or come to your home for activity time, make sure you set some rules. Write down what appliances your guest can use, and even what temperature the A/C should be set. Also, make sure to include the rules for the visitors of your guest. If you are gone for an extended period of time, not allowing a guest or two may not work, but you can be explicit as to whom it is, and what time they should leave.

Leave a list with all information you deem pertinent such as the vet’s number, a number where you will be, and even the number of a trusted friend who can make a decision in your absence in the case of an emergency. The list should also include the directions to the veterinary office, and the after-hours care phone number.

The bottom line is pet sitting does not have to be stressful! Being prepared (both sitter and owner), is the best asset you can have.

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5 Responses to “What to Expect from Pet Sitting: Tips from Owners and Experienced Sitters”

  1. chicago sitter

    Aug 22nd, 2010

    Nice post!

  2. Melissa H

    Oct 5th, 2010

    I really enjoyed reading this post. I am an owner of a pet sitting business and sometimes, miscommunication is the biggest stress of them all. It’s nice to see this recognized from both sides. These are some great tips!

  3. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by AdoptMECanada, Found Animals. Found Animals said: Communication is your best friend when it comes to pet sitting. For more tips, read this article: http://bit.ly/e5nsnW [...]

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