Sit, Stay: A Pet-Sitting Guide for Owners and Pet Caregivers

Published: December 12, 2023
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No one cares for your pets like you do, but when you travel for work or to visit family and friends, your beloved furbabies cannot always accompany you. Leaving them at home in a familiar environment instead of a boarding kennel can prevent anxiety for your pet, and hiring a pet sitter allows your dog or cat to remain home and still receive daily care from a loving human. Here at BaxterBoo, we provide all the products necessary for pet sitters, along with a few tips for owners and caregivers alike. 

Hiring a Pet Sitter

Before you advertise for or seek out a pet sitter, take a few moments to list some priorities and what you want in a pet sitter. A number of factors might influence your choices, including: 

      How many pets you have 

      Your pet's age and species 

      The level of pet care experience you desire 

      Whether any of your pets have special needs 

Addressing your concerns with any pet sitters you interview can give you peace of mind that your pets are being cared for completely while you travel. 

Interviewing Pet Sitters 

Giving yourself a few months to interview several different pet sitters can help you find one that meets the varied needs of your beloved animals. For example, do the sitters you interview bring their own supplies, such as leashes and harnesses? Providing a choke-free harness for a smaller dog breed can make dog walking time a pleasure. This polka-dot harness from American River has double safety closures that keep your dog secure and safe during walks. 

Allowing your dog or cat to meet your prospective pet sitters is just as important as you meeting face-to-face with them. If you have an older pet and his bond with you is particularly strong, note his reactions to each person and encourage him to socialize. The more time your pets have to adjust to an upcoming change in the house, the easier the transition. 

The Pet Sitter Timeline: What To Expect 

Whether you have a great deal of pet-sitting experience or you just landed your first client, the comfort and well-being of the pets in question are usually the first priority for pet parents when they hire you. A client questionnaire can help you to better understand what concerns the pet parent has and allows you to cover some basic questions easily, such as what types of food the pets eat. 

If the client has a dog who turns into a fussy eater when his humans go on a trip, you might recommend a food enhancement product to stimulate his appetite. Stella and Chewy's Savory Salmon and Cod Meal Mixers Dog Food Topper adds texture and scent to plain kibble, giving a picky pup more reasons to empty his bowl at mealtime. 

Ask for a Checklist 

As you and your client prepare to sign a dog-sitting contract that spells out the duration of the assignment, contact numbers, and where you can find all the pet supplies inside the home, asking the client for a checklist can help you feel more confident about your duties. 

For example, if walking an urban-dwelling pup is one of the top pet-sitting duties on your list, ask your client if they have enough supplies to pick up after him, such as Clean Go Pet® Scented Doggy Waste Bags. These bags reduce dog waste odors and tie-off handles for easy disposal. 

Review Dos and Do-Nots With Your Client 

Proper communication with your client is often just as important as how you interact and communicate with his or her pets. Understanding your client's desires and needs improves communication, as does a written list of agreed-upon behaviors. This list may include directives for both yourself and the home's pets, including: 

      Do bring your own food and snacks 

      Do not allow friends or partners into the client's home 

      Do pay greater attention to senior or special-needs pets 

      Do clean up after yourself and any pet messes right away 

Remember to ask your client if any pets in the house have marking behaviors and whether they use a deterrent, like Skout's Honor Stop Marking! Preventative Spray for Dogs. The natural oils in this product discourage pets from marking furniture or carpeting, which means fewer cleanups. 

Updating Your Client

Some pet parents may ask you to provide them with updates several times a day, while others may only request an update once a day. Thanks to smartphones and social media, you can provide texts, photos, and even videos of a pet at the park chasing a Chuckit!® Fetch Wheel® Dog Toy. 

Noting any changes in a pet's behavior or a minor accident, such as a paw pad injury, can encourage open communication between yourself and the client. Carrying a medical first aid kit for pets can help you handle these issues. Add Dogswell Remedy + Recovery Medicated Antiseptic Spray for Dogs to your pet first aid supplies to help heal minor cuts, scratches, and skin irritation. If you notice increased scratching or fur chewing, notify the owner right away for advice and instructions. 

Pet parents love their animals without question and usually want a pet sitter who feels the same way about their beloved furry companions. Whether you need a pet sitter in the near future or want to make pet-sitting your new side gig, knowing what to expect can help maintain clear and friendly communication between sitter and client and peace of mind for everyone, two-legged and four-legged. 

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