Tag: pet sitter

Professional pet sitter versus an online app-driven pet sitter

The world has changed in soooo many ways since the introduction of the internet, smart phones and apps.  You can do pretty much anything at the touch of your fingers on a smart phone with an app – book a restaurant, book a taxi/uber, book a vacation, book a pet sitter and so on.  How do you know what you’re booking though?  Well the food you eat, the taxi you ride in and the vacation you enjoy (hopefully) but how do you know who is caring for your pets?  well if they mess things up you may not know until it’s too late, if ever.  There is a growing trend of online apps such as Rover, Care and others that offer online booking of a pet sitter, offering insurance and online payments – what could be easier!?  Unfortunately many of these sites require only the most basic of background checks if any, no experience and no training or first aid/medical training requirements.  That may work out for your pet if there are no issues but even with a young, healthy pet there can be accidents or unforeseen circumstances that you cannot predict and how do you know that person with the limited background check and NO medical/first aid training will even recognize there is an issue or be equipped to deal with the problem.  Do they care enough to spend some extra time or try to get a hold of you or transport the pet to a vet if it’s something beyond their capabilities.  There may be legitimate ‘diamonds in the rough’ who are looking for their start in the pet care business who actually love and care for your pets but the majority are looking to make some extra cash or think the idea of “getting paid to play with dogs” {this is a quote from Rover’s website link ‘become a pet sitter’} is fantastic or are looking for something to do in their ‘spare time’.  What happens when their ‘spare time’ is over and they’ve gone back to work or school and you need someone?

I often see many posts on social media of people offering “pet care” in their spare time or to make some extra cash – PLEASE steer clear of these!  These people are usually not insured and have no training (owning a couple of dogs in their family does NOT qualify as behaviour training or dog knowledge!) and are ill-equipped to deal with emergencies. Please avoid searching for “cheap pet care” they are cheap for a reason!  I live by the motto you get what you pay for.  I cringe when I see an all out post on social media like “looking for someone to care for my pup this weekend – just needs to be let out in yard, fed twice a day and given a little love” WHO does that?! Polls random strangers to see who is available and wants to care for their dog?  I have high standards of who is going to be trusted with my dogs and high standards for my dogs and how they should behave for that care giver.

A professional pet sitter will provide you with references, a contract, a plan for your pet’s care, will have insurance for their business and have some medical/first aid training.  A professional pet sitter will renew and update their training and fill you in on that.  They will do a meet & greet prior to your departure and show a genuine love/interest in your pet and a respect for your expectations for their care as well as your home.  There are horrible stories about Rover pet sitters that I won’t even share with you…just do your homework – talk to your vet for recommendations, ask for references and trust your gut when you meet with someone.

Why Hire a Dog Walker or Pet Sitter??

Why would a person hire a dog walker or pet sitter when they have family, friends or neighbours they could ask to help them out? Well if you travel a lot or work everyday and need help with Fido or Fluffy, it can be a lot to ask of someone as a favour.

As a pet sitter my goal is to keep your pets as comfortable as possible in your own home by maintaining as regular of a routine as possible.   I will come into your home on regularly scheduled visits to feed, water and walk/exercise your pets while you are away.  Other tasks are also offered as part of the service such as medicating the pets, alternating lights in the home, bringing in mail and newspapers and watering plants.  Some other benefits for your pet are they are familiar with their surroundings and not stressing in a kennel listening to other dogs whine and bark.   Cats generally do not travel well so this is the ideal way to have your cat cared for.  Also you do not need to administer any additional vaccines in order to leave your pet at home and you don’t need to worry about pick up and drop off times scheduled at a kennel.  My visits will be scheduled based on your travel times so Fido and Fluffy are home and happy to greet you when you arrive.

Some tips for leaving your pets at home:

  • inform your veterinarian you are away and let them know who is taking care of your pets in your absence; provide your veterinarian’s contact info to your care provider
  • inform your family/neighbours you are away and that you have someone coming in to look after them; provide your pet sitter with emergency contact numbers in case there is an emergency with your house (broken window, fallen tree)
  • have a plan for things such as power failures, snow clearing, broken furnace or air conditioning, etc
  • if you are uncertain about leaving your pets with a pet sitter do a ‘trial run’ and go out for one night to see how they do

Daily dog walking services are ideal for anyone who has a long day at school or work or needs to run errands after school or work and want their dog to get out for some fresh air, to stretch their legs and, of course, to relieve themselves during the day.  I offer a variety of services ranging from potty breaks for puppies and senior dogs, thirty minute walks or sixty minute hikes – all of which can be tailored to your dogs’ needs.  Your dog can be walked individually or with other dogs – you make the decision.

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When searching for a dog walker or pet sitter some things to consider in your decision would be their experience and love of animals – ask them about themselves and how they came to be a dog walker/pet sitter.  Ask for references – you would do the same for anyone else you hire.   Ask about their training and practices – are they trained in pet first aid? how many dogs do they take out together?  what do they do if your pet gets injured? is their business insured?  When you hire someone to care for your four-legged family members you should feel good about leaving your pets in their care and confident that your pets will be loved and cared for appropriately.