The whys and hows of pet sitting
25th September 2014
Pet boarding facilities are not always an option. If your fluffy friend, be it a dog or a cat, is rather shy and has problems with socialisation, it's better to consider pet sitting. There's no need to traumatise your pet by introducing them to an environment that they view as hostile or stressful.
Why pet sitting?
So how exactly is pet sitting of benefit to both your pet and yourself?
The most important point is that pet sitting lets your pet remain in a familiar or other home environment. A lot of pets are very sensitive when it comes to their home territory and may suffer from separation anxiety when having to leave it. If they stay within what's known to them, or within someone else’s home environment rather than a boarding facility, they can feel more confident and at ease.
I also want to emphasise on the fact that pet sitting means that your pet will also stick to their regular dietary routine. Lack of stress means no eating disorders. Therefore it’s best not to forget to advise your chosen pet sitter of the appropriate feeding guidelines relative to your pet, prior to you going away.
To have your pet not mix with other unfamiliar animals is another way of reducing stress if your pet is timid or not of a sociable nature, but there's an even better side to choosing a sitter and that’s knowing that your dog or cat is the only one being taken special care of. Boarding facilities are a suitable option for many occasions and other pet owners, but nothing beats the relaxing feeling of a professional who can focus all his or her efforts into pleasing your pet.
Last but not least, a lot of pet sitters offer additional services so that you're also getting someone who will look after your apartment or house. Don't think of these services as a given, though – it's best to discuss them thoroughly with your sitter. Which actually leads me to a vital link in the whole pet sitting experience, namely: choosing the right pet sitter.
The more the merrier: How to choose a pet sitter that’s right for your pet
No, I'm not suggesting that you need to hire multiple sitters. Bear with me for a while and you'll see what I mean.
In order to draw all the benefits of a pet sitting service that I mentioned beforehand, you have to choose a professional pet sitter first, naturally. I know, this sounds like common sense right? But it can actually be a bit of a minefield. For example, the last few years have seen a rise of pet sitters all around the globe as well as in Australia, but this may also have somehow watered down the quality of services, or in fact increased the competition and ultimately provided a greater variety of experts to choose from?
Therefore, in order to feel satisfied with your pet sitter of choice, I want to mention just one word and that’s referrals. It's really like a lot of other services we look for in our lives. Whenever we need something particular, we tend to ask friends, relatives, co-workers or even neighbors. Social ties matter when it's about pet sitting too.
If you are not able to find what you are looking for right here at petstayadvisor.com.au, then I'm fairly certain that there are at least a few people you know who have used a pet sitter before. Go ahead and ask them about their experiences and impressions. An even better option to consider is asking your veterinarian – there's no way he or she doesn't know a number of great professional pet sitters within your local area.
Chances are that by utilizing the power of referrals you have already collected a number of candidates. So, what now?
Protip one should seriously think about choosing only one candidate and hiring him or her on the spot. That's what I meant by “the more, the merrier”. Interview several pet sitters and compare their competencies, skills, communication and behaviour.
You might be surprised to learn that a certain pet sitter specialises in specific breeds and actually has already looked after your breed a lot of times. That's great! Others might have a veterinarian friend or relative so you'll know your pet is in safe hands should any medical need arise. But most importantly, you have to make sure that your pet sitter truly loves animals and will be tender and attentive to your fluffy friend at home.
At last you've pinned down your right candidate. Things don't end there though, as there is another crucial part not to be left out: introducing your pet. I think it's a great “exercise” to do so, since your pet will see for themselves that you are somehow familiar with this person. Hopefully, your pet will then be better disposed towards the pet sitter later. Even twenty or thirty minutes of having your candidate visit you at home is invaluable to the relationship and can help towards knowing that your pet has been left in the best hands possible, so that you can be free to enjoy your time away, worry free.
When to stay away from pet sitting
I want to mention that pet sitting is not always a good idea. Sometimes it's a risk and it's better for you to not take it under certain circumstances. Let me explain this further.
If your animal companion is older, has certain medical problems or is undergoing specialist treatment, you'll want to stick to either a veterinarian office or a boarding facility. A pet sitter is not a medical specialist and it would be unfair to put them in a position of caring for a pet with health concerns. What if your pet takes a turn for the worse? He or she may not be able to react in as a timelier manner than a veterinarian or kennel who would likely have access to 24-hour medical care. This means that if any need arises; your pet will be in safe hands.
Article written by our resident Pet Blogger, Alexander Dimitrov
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