As a dog sitter, your top priorities are the safety, security, and comfort of your clients and their homes. However, that is easier said than done, especially if you are new to dog sitting or are watching a new dog for the first time. There are several steps you can take to ensure you provide the best care for the pets in your charge and put their owners at ease while they are away.
This guide will walk you through essential tips for preparing for dog sitting services, following owner instructions, ensuring pet comfort, handling potential medical issues, and maintaining the home’s condition. With the right preparation and precautions, you can gain valuable experience dog sitting and build your reputation as a trustworthy, responsible sitter.
Preparing Your Home for Dog Sitting Safety and Comfort
Take the time to properly prepare your home for the protection, health, and comfort of any pets in your care.
Securing entry and exit points
Make sure all doors and gates are securely closed or locked to prevent escape. Install baby gates to block stairways or restrict access to certain areas. Ensure any fences are in good repair without holes or weaknesses. It is also a good idea to place “Beware of Dog” signs on gates or doors leading to the yard.
Conduct a thorough sweep of the areas the dog will access and remove anything that could be a choking, tripping or toxicity hazard. Put away loose items like shoes, clothing, toys, and secure trash cans. Any plants, foods or chemicals that could be poisonous to dogs should also be removed or properly secured.
Have food, water, treats, a bed, leash, waste bags, grooming supplies, medication (if needed), and emergency contact information on hand. Set up a feeding and elimination schedule as close as possible to the dog’s normal routine.
Ensuring proper ventilation and temperature
Make sure any area where the dog will spend time is properly ventilated and temperature is comfortable. Have fans, air purifiers, heaters, cooling pads, and extra bedding on hand in case of extreme weather.
With the essentials provided and potential hazards removed, you’ll be ready to fully focus on giving your furry charge the attention and affection they need.
Essential Supplies for Dog Sitting Success
To ensure a safe and comfortable experience for both you and the dog(s) in your care, certain essential supplies are needed.
Food and Water Bowls
Provide food and water bowls that are appropriate for the size of the dog. Elevated dishes can make eating and drinking more pleasant for larger breeds. Make sure to keep the bowls away from foot traffic and the dog’s bed.
In case the dog gets lost, an ID tag with the dog’s name and your contact information is recommended. Microchipping the dog as a permanent means of identification is also strongly suggested.
A leash that can be used to control the dog on walks and in public. Detachable leashes are harmful and should be avoided.
For walking and caution, a good collar and possibly a harness are required. Check that any collar is secure while still allowing the dog to breathe freely.
Bring some familiar toys from home to assist the dog adjust to his new surroundings. When dogs are alone, interactive puzzle toys and chew toys can keep them entertained. To avoid choking or destruction, always supervise the dog with any toys.
Tasty treats are useful for rewarding and training the dog. However, only give treats in moderation and account for them in the dog’s regular diet to avoid weight gain or digestive issues.
Keeping Your Dog Comfortable and Reducing Separation Anxiety
There are various actions you can do to put your dog at ease in their temporary home to keep them comfortable while you’re away.
Provide Plenty of Exercise
Give your dog plenty of exercise before leaving them alone. Take them for an extended walk or jog to release excess energy and encourage rest while you’re gone. Exercising your dog will also stimulate the release of endorphins to help keep them calm.
Leave with Treats and Toys
To keep your dog occupied when he is alone, provide interactive food puzzle toys and long-lasting chew toys. Dogs can be entertained for hours by puzzle toys that dispense rewards while they play. Giving them a special reward as you leave can also help them associate your leaving with a happy experience.
Maintain a Familiar Routine
Maintain as much of your dog’s normal eating, walking, and sleeping schedule as possible. Performing routines and activities at regular intervals will help their temporary surroundings feel more like home. Maintaining a consistent routine will also help to avoid digestive discomfort caused by changes in diet or feeding times.
Use Calming Aids
Consider relaxing tools like a Thundershirt, anxiety medication from your veterinarian, pheromone sprays or collars, calming music, a DAP diffuser, or CBD oil. These products work to reduce anxiety and encourage relaxation, keeping your dog comfortable while he is alone or in a new environment.
Check In Regularly
Check in on your dog on a frequent basis using a pet surveillance camera to assure their safety, comfort, and reassurance. Hearing your voice or seeing yourself on video might help reduce separation anxiety and make the time apart seem shorter.
Following Safety Protocols for Walks, Feeding and Playtime
When taking any dogs in your care for walks, feeding times, and playtimes, follow these rules to ensure their greatest safety and comfort:
For the protection of both dogs and other people, leashes should always be used when taking dogs for walks. When you walk them near roads, exercise extreme caution, and be sure to pick up after them. A first aid kit should also be kept nearby in case someone gets hurt.
Feed dogs according to the owner’s directions and at the same times each day. Portion control is important; do not leave leftover food out as this may cause obesity or other health problems in some dogs. Assume that any goodies given have the owner’s consent and are included in the dog’s daily calorie requirements. Dehydration is a severe risk, so make sure the dogs always have access to fresh, clean water.
Be careful during play and never leave dogs alone with toys or other objects that they could choke on or injure themselves with. Keep a close eye on the dog’s body language to ensure that any playing does not progress into aggressiveness. If the dogs become excessively eager or worried, stop the play activity.
Providing Your Dog Sitter With Crucial Information for a Smooth Stay
To ensure your dog sitter can properly care for your dog during their stay, provide them with all the necessary information about your dog’s routine, needs, and any medical conditions.
Feeding Schedule and Diet
Share your dog’s typical feeding schedule and dietary requirements. Include the amounts and types of food for each meal, any supplements or prescriptions, and the typical feeding times. Inform the sitter of any food allergies or limits they should be aware of.
Inform the sitter of your dog’s typical exercise regimen, including the frequency, intensity, and duration of walks or playtime. Provide details on your dog’s favorite activities, toys, games, and any equipment needed. Let the sitter know if your dog has any physical limitations they should keep in mind.
Medical History and Medications
Give the sitter a comprehensive medical history for your dog, including any diseases such as diabetes, epilepsy, or arthritis that the sitter may need to handle. List any medications or therapies, along with detailed directions for administration. Include your veterinarian’s contact information in case of an emergency.
House Rules and Commands
Explain any home rules or commands that the sitter will need to reinforce in order to keep your dog in good behavior. Provide specifics such as not being permitted on furniture, staying out of specific rooms, using the restroom only in designated sections of the yard, and basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come.”
Providing this essential information to your dog sitter will give them the knowledge and tools to properly care for your dog.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What are essential safety tips for dog sitting services?
Answer: Ensure a safe environment by removing hazards and closely monitoring dogs during play.
Question: How can I make dog sitting more comfortable for the pets?
Answer: Maintain a familiar routine, provide cozy bedding, and offer their favorite toys and treats.
Question: Why is professional dog sitting better than boarding services?
Answer: Dog sitting services offer one-on-one attention in a familiar environment, reducing stress for your pet.
Question: What should I look for in reliable dog sitting services?
Answer: Look for experienced, insured, and well-referenced dog sitters who put safety and comfort first.
In conclusion, you have all the information you need to responsibly and safely dog sit. With the proper precautions and considerations taken care of ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on going for walks together, playing, grooming, and bonding. Dog sitting can be extremely rewarding when done right. Follow these tips and you’ll be able to keep the dog happy and healthy while also avoiding unwanted stress and chaos. Most of all, remember to show the dog lots of love – that’s what it’s really all about.