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Owning a dog means making all necessary arrangements to care for it when you are away. Whether you are going on a trip for a weekend or a few weeks, you’ll need to find someone to look after your dog. It’s common to leave pets with close family or friends, but you will need to hunt for a good dog sitter if you do not have that option. The individual you entrust your dog with should be trustworthy and reliable and needs to gel well with your dog.
There are many ways you can find the right dog sitter. Here are some tips to find a great dog-sitter.
Start by asking around in your personal network. Ask family and friends for dog-sitter recommendations. There is a good chance a cousin or coworker might have hired someone and can give a reference. The point is to get a recommendation from someone you know and trust. They are also more likely to be honest with you. If you are a member of a neighborhood Facebook group, you can ask there too. You can also ask in local universities, especially if they have pre-veterinary programs.
It’s a good idea to call your veterinarian and ask for a dog sitter recommendation. Your vet might know someone who provides this service. You will also feel more confident with your veterinarians’ word, as these professionals make a living taking care of animals.
If you cannot find any reputable dog-sitters through recommendations, look for dog-sitting websites. You can find many options online. Make sure you select a trustworthy service with plenty of positive online reviews. Try and look for a company that has a team. If you choose a local company, you can also call the owner or manager while you are away for an update.
Local companies usually have procedures and processes to make sure everything runs smoothly. If such an orderly system is not in place, take it as a red flag.
A sole pet sitter that is not part of a team is called a “Hobby Sitter.” Hobby sitters are a great option, but teams can be more useful with emergencies or short notice.
If choosing a pet-sitting company, make sure they are a member of a pet-sitting organization. Such organizations bring pet sitters together, forming a community. Some associations also have annual conferences that pet-sitting company owners attend. This shows their commitment and an effort to learn from others in the field.
Do not hire the sitter immediately. Meet them first. Just like you would never leave your kid with just anyone, you cannot leave your dog either. Meet the prospective candidate casually for coffee or a drink so you can have a chat with them. Ask them everything about their experience as a dog-sitter.
When meeting a potential dog-sitter, ask for references. Real references are an excellent way to judge a sitter. Even if that particular sitter has good reviews on the website where you found them, good sitters will always have something to show you.
Your approval of the sitter is important, but your dog’s approval matters too. Take your dog along to the interview with your potential sitter and see how they get along.
Whether you are opting for a professional pet-sitting company with a team or a hobby sitter, a first-aid certification really helps. Sitters with this qualification are more likely to be trusted by pet owners as they can act swiftly and efficiently during an emergency.
First aid certifications usually cover aspects like how to assess a pet’s health, how to calmly handle an emergency, and vital signs in cats and dogs. With this qualification, you can detect signs of poisoning, illness, or even blockage in pets and know how to give a pet CPR.
Good pet sitters should send daily updates about your pet. Your sitter should maintain regular communication while you are away. A daily picture with an update of the day works well. The knowledge of everything going well back home with their pet is also reassuring for the owner.
At times, sitters might specialize in dealing with certain types of dogs. Some might prefer handling puppies, while some might enjoy bonding with old-age dogs. When choosing the right candidate, ask for that sitter’s specialty and what kind of dogs they have had experience with in the past.
You will need to decide whether you want the sitter to stay at your home or if you will take your pet to the sitter’s place. This decision depends on the nature of your dog.
It’s less stressful for dogs to stay home and stick to their daily routine. This is also useful if you have multiple pets that require looking after. But some dogs also enjoy staying in another home and socializing with other dogs. If dropping your dog at the sitter’s home, do make sure it’s similar to your place. If your dog is used to a yard, choose a sitter that has a similar setup.
It usually takes time for a dog to warm up to new people. Have your sitter come over a few times and spend time with your dog. In this manner, by the time you leave for your vacation, your dog will already be familiar with the sitter.
It can be a little scary to leave your dog with someone you do not personally know. But if you have done a thorough background check or chosen your sitter through a sold recommendation, you don’t have much to worry about. Do take all the tips to find a great dog sitter discussed above into account before deciding who to leave your pet with.
by Maria A Davidson || You can’t buy love, but you can rescue it™ .
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