When you are a professional pet sitter, it is a serious job that comes along with alot of responsibility and accountability, so I’ve put together a list of 22 things that will set you apart from “the kid nextdoor” in terms of pet sitting. Of course, it goes without saying to always be respectful of the homeowner’s property and privacy and when you leave, the home should be in the same shape—or better—than when you arrived. Here’s a summary of more pet sitter tips:
● Discuss what is included and not included in your services. Do you check in on the dog multiple times a day? Do you spend the night with the dog? Have a frank conversation with the dog owner about expectations.
● Let the pet parents know if you have any deviations from the schedule they have requested. Request any changes be made in LeashTime with the office staff.
● Make sure…MAKE SURE that their profile in LeashTime is up to date. It should contain instructions about food medicine, emergency contacts and anything else you need to know about the home (security codes, other service personnel who will visit the home while you’re there).
● Check that each of the animals is present and healthy when you arrive for the appointment, and double-check that each animal is present and in its proper place (cage, aquarium, living room) before leaving the home.
● If you’re walking dogs, get the dog’s typical schedule and walking routes. Also ask the client to provide and where to dispose of poop bags.
● Provide extra cool, clean water at LEAST once per day.
● Clean out water/food bowls. It shows you care.
● Do follow the feeding instructions exactly. Make sure you understand instructions such as whether the dog has canned food mixed with its dry food, or if these are served separately. An animal may not touch its food if it is not served in the usual place or prepared in the usual manner.
● Be firm but always loving in establishing rules of behavior. You are the master of the situation.
● Wipe off a dog’s paws when it comes in out of the snow or ice. Watch for salt and other chemicals which can hurt its foot pads.
● Be aware of how the pets interact, if you are caring for multiple pets. You wouldn’t want the cat to eat the son’s pet gerbil!
● Ask the owner where they keep a pet carrier or you keep a pet carrier in your car, in case you need to transport a sick animal to the hospital.
● Be careful when handling large pets, especially more than one at a time. It can be easy to get tangled up in leashes or halters, and either breaks something in the home or hurt yourself.
● Make sure that you turn off all water faucets and appliances before leaving the home.
● Contact the client when you have pet sitting problems – they will want to be informed, even if they cannot do anything about the problem.
● Do clean up any animal messes promptly, with cleaning materials that have been approved by the client.
● Communicate politely with the pet parents while they are away. Texts can often be misunderstood, so be clear and considerate. Photos of the dog are great, too.
● Check the home before leaving. Inspect toilets and faucets to make sure there is no running water. Adjust heating/air conditioning to be sure the home is a comfortable temperature for pets. Double check for any hazards that pets may get into.
● Keep your clients’ house keys safe on your person at all times.
● Ring the client’s doorbell or knock before entering the home, in the event that the client has returned home early.
● Carry identification that describes you as a professional pet sitter, and carry information about an emergency contact to care for the animals if you are incapacitated.
● Check all doors before you leave to make sure they are locked.