During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, life gets busy!
Suddenly you may find yourself booking plane tickets to visit relatives for the weekend on a whim, or skipping your normal lunch break to get some holiday shopping done.
While this is a fun time for most people, it can take a toll on our canine companions who suddenly find themselves cooped up in the house more frequently or placed in a boarding facility while you’re on vacation.
The solution for keeping your pet happy, healthy, and stress-free this season: Find a quality dog sitter or dog walker.
Of course this solution seems simple. But, how exactly do you find a dog sitter/walker that you can trust with your pup?
Here are a few strategies and tips for finding a quality pet care provider in your community…
Use a Professional Dog Care Service Finder
Over the last decade, the need for professional dog care services has exploded. This explosion has led to the rise of professional dog care service companies that hire dog lovers to help take care of people’s pets.
It’s likely that you’ve heard of some of the big companies, such as Rover, Care and Wag!
These services are a great place to start if you’re in need of a helping hand as these companies carefully screen their employees to ensure the best care possible is provided to your dog.
If you decide to use one of these services, you can scan through dog walker/sitter profiles and pick a person who you feel is the best match for your dog. Better yet, you can look at testimonials and referrals to truly ensure your pet will receive great care.
These sites offer a variety of services, from pet boarding, in home care, and daily walking.
Currently I’ve been in touch with Rover, a great company that covers the USA and the UK. For everyone else globally keep reading…
Now the awesome folks at Rover (who do sleepovers AND walks) have extended a unique offer to me and my readers…
If you join now by clicking the special link below, you’ll receive a $10 off coupon to use on any of their services.
Save $10 on your first booking at Rover.com
So if you’re in need of a break and are struggling to find a solution regarding where to put your dog… help is at hand 🙂
Ask Your Friends or Family for Help
If you don’t feel comfortable with letting a stranger care for your dog, you can always ask around to see if any of your friends or family would be up to the task.
In fact, there are many benefits to having someone you know care for your pet.
For example, if your dog is familiar with your friend/family member, it can be much less stressful for your dog during the time you go away.
Friends and family members tend to also be a little more flexible and are often willing to go the extra mile for your pet.
And, of course, hiring someone you know personally to care for your pet in your home can give you better piece of mind that that something like mistreatment of your pet or thievery in your home won’t take place.
So, go ahead and ask around to see who is available during lunch breaks or over the holidays when you’re going to be gone. I bet there’s someone in your network who would be happy to make a little extra money watching your pup this season!
Interview Your Potential Dog Walker/Sitter
Regardless of whether you use a professional service or enlist a friend/family member to watch your pet, hosting an interview is always a good idea.
During the interview, you can ask your potential dog sitter really important questions, such as…
- How much experience do you have with dogs?
- Will you be able to stick to a consistent schedule while watching my dog?
- Is there anything about dogs that makes your nervous?
- How do you expect to be compensated for your time?
- What would you do in an emergency situation pertaining to my dog?
- Do you have any references I can contact?
Having this conversation gives you the ability to discuss any questions and concerns you have, ultimately setting your dog watcher and your dog up for success.
Ask Your Veterinarian for Suggestions
Veterinarians are very tied into the canine community. So, if you’re struggling to find help with your dog, it’s likely that your vet will be able to point you in the right direction.
On top of being able to provide suggestions, many vet offices provide dog boarding services.
While these services might be more expensive than hiring someone to dog sit in your home, there are many advantages to using your vet to board your dog.
The biggest advantage is health care.
If you have a dog that has health issues, is old, or struggles with anxiety while you’re away, the vet’s office is the best place for your pet to be. In the event that your dog needs care, your vet will right there, able to assist.
I highly recommend this option to people with elderly pets/sick pets.
Pay Attention to All the Details
The details are important when selecting someone to watch your pet.
What do I my by “details?” A few things…
First of all, I want you to take note of your potential dog walker/sitter’s personality. Do they come across as personalizable, compassionate, and kind?
When they talk do they truly seem to have a good understanding of animal care and dogs?
What kind of methods do they seem familiar with when it comes to handling your dog? Knowing their training/care philosophy can help ensure you don’t accidentally pick a person with limited experience or someone who uses unkind methods to handle your pup.
Details can also mean contractual obligations.
Personally, I think it’s important that you have a formal agreement between you and the pet care provider that outlines everything that is expected. Paying attention to the details such as what time your dog needs care, how long your dog’s walk should be, etc. ensures that you’ll receive the care you’re paying for.
The key to hiring quality care for your dog all comes down to the fine details…so be sure to be on high alert when hiring a care provider!
A Note on Dog Anxiety
As I mentioned earlier, this time of year can be difficult on dogs—especially if you’re not around as much or your schedule is constantly changing.
Traveling, being away, bringing new people into your home, and messing with your dogs schedule can really stir up a lot of anxiety within your dog.
How do you prevent this from happening, or ease the anxiety your pup is currently feeling?
The first step is putting a solid training foundation in place, like my program The Dog Calming Code, that will help keep your dog calm regardless of the many changes that might be going on.
Training is essential as it is the only thing that will permanently help your dog relax and focus when it matters most.
Second, it’s important that you find a high-quality set of helping hands to care for your dog when you can’t. Be sure to use the tips we provided above to find someone!
Finally, keeping your pet on a normal schedule is key. Ensure that he’s getting walked, fed, let out to go potty, etc. according to his normal routine. Consistency will help take the edge off your pets anxiety.
I wish you and your pet a happy, healthy, and stress-free holiday season!
Enjoy your time off!
~Doggy Dan 🙂