Professional Pet-Sitter Perks

Professional Pet-Sitter Perks

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This week, March 1st -7th 2015, is Professional Pet-Sitters Week! Being a professional pet-sitter myself, I thought I should write a little about the different options you have for pet supervision while you are away from home, and the pros and cons of each so you can compare them.

I Need a Dog-Sitter

It can be difficult to figure out what to do about caring for your pets when you must travel, whether for business or for pleasure. Sometimes your dog can come with you on vacation, but that requires finding an affordable pet-friendly hotel where you are staying, plus taking him down an elevator and through the lobby every time he needs to go out and trying to find activities around a strange town to which you can bring your dog.

This is where professional pet-sitters can be a life-saver! The way I see it, there are really four different types of pet supervision you can provide for your dog while you are gone: conventional kenneling or veterinarian boarding, doggy daycares, in-your-home pet-sitters, and in-their-home pet-sitters.

Conventional Kennel or Vet Office

This is the old go-to for pet-sitting. You take your dog into a boarding facility or veterinarian office and leave him there while you are away. I suggest that you ask for a tour of the kennels your dog will be staying in to make sure they are clean and the dogs who are staying there currently look well-cared for. Also, check references and reviews if you are using a kennel for the first time.

Pros:

  • You will already be familiar with the staff at your veterinary office
  • Medical professionals will be available in case there is an emergency
  • You will not have to give a pet-sitter access to your home while you are away
  • They should have liability insurance to cover you and your dog in case anything happens while you are away

Cons:

  • Your doggy will be kept in a kennel almost 24/7, and only let out to be given short walks a few times a day (some kennels and veterinary offices that do boarding will give your doggy more attention for a higher price, so you will have to make sure you ask questions)
  • No one will be with the dogs overnight (usually)
  • Many times kennels are very loud and stressful, and they are filled with strange dogs (and smells)
  • Dogs with anxiety issues will have trouble in this setting
  • You will still have to get a neighbor to collect your mail and papers, or cancel service while you are gone, and your house will be empty

Doggy Daycares

Doggy daycares have become very popular lately. This type of pet-supervision allows for your dog to spend more time out of a kennel, playing with other dogs. Many doggy daycare facilities are even set up like dog spas with lots of amenities (if you pay).

Pros:

  • There will be many other dogs boarding here as well, and they usually get to spend most of their time playing in a big open area; good for your dog’s socialization
  • Your dog will retreat to a room or kennel of his own in the evening, and many of these rooms (and the open play areas) have cameras installed so that you can remotely view what your dog is doing in real time
  • You will not have to give a pet-sitter access to your home while you are away
  • They should have liability insurance to cover you and your dog in case anything happens while you are away

Cons:

  • Your doggy will be kept in a kennel or room alone at night
  • Doggy daycares can be loud and stressful, and filled with strange dogs whose temperaments are unknown to you
  • Dogs who are aggressive toward other dogs will have trouble in this setting
  • You will still have to have a neighbor collect your mail and papers, or cancel service while you are gone, and your house will be empty
  • Having lots of other dogs around means that your dog may not get the attention and supervision you think he is

Overnights or Visits to Your Home

For this type of pet-sitting, you can have a professional pet-sitter come and stay at your home while you are gone, or make multiple visits to your home each day to walk your dog, feed him and play with him.

Pros:

  • Your dog (or cat) will feel more comfortable being in his own home
  • Your pet-sitter is also your house-sitter! If you have birds, fish, or gerbils, then the pet-sitter can care for them, too. Many in-home sitters will throw these services in for free. They may also be able to turn lights off and on in your home, collect your mail and paper, and even take the trash to the street. You will, of course, have to discuss these details with the person you hire!
  • Someone will be spending more time with your dog than at boarding facilities, so your dog will not have to be kenneled as often and maybe not at all
  • Your dog will get individualized attention and affection without other dogs around to hog the cuddles or cause anxiety

Cons:

  • You will be allowing someone access to your home while you are away
  • Your dog will probably not have constant supervision, unless your pet-sitter hangs out in your house and does not have another job (which may be likely)
  • This is not the best option for dogs with separation anxiety, unless the pet-sitter really is spending all of her time at your home. Otherwise your house may be destroyed, or your dog will have to be kenneled between the visits your pet-sitter makes to your home.
  • At-your-home pet-sitters may not have liability insurance, in case something happens while you are away

Hotel Services in Pet-Sitter's Home

I must admit, this is my favorite style of pet-sitting! Mostly because it means I get to watch your doggy in the comfort of my own home. Your dog will go stay at the home of the pet-sitter while you are on vacation.

Pros:

  • Someone will be around most of the time with your dogs (some in-home pet-sitters may leave the house to work a second job, but many work from home or are professional pet-sitters with no other income source)
  • Your dog will not need to be kenneled unless there are aggression issues or destructive behaviors
  • Your dog will get to hang out with your pet-sitter’s animals, so he will have some friends to play with or will be able to get some socialization experience
  • You will not have to give someone access to your home while you are away
  • There will be no shortage of affection or attention for your dog
  • Sometimes the dogs that stay at my house get to sleep in the bed with me, too!

Cons:

  • Your at-home pet-sitter may not have liability insurance, in case something happens while you are away
  • You will not know the temperament of your pet-sitters animals and if they will get along with your dog(s) unless you schedule a meet and greet first
  • You will still have to have a neighbor collect your mail and papers, or cancel service while you are gone, and your house will be empty

Now that you’re armed with the information you need to make the best decision for you and your doggy, go out and book your professional pet-sitter for your next vacation!

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