Pets are the ones left behind when their owners go out of town on vacation, for a business trip or for a weekend away. They need somebody to feed them, clean up after them and give them some love and attention. That’s where pet sitters come in. Let’s look at how to be a perfect pet sitter.
Get to Know the Pet
Make sure you visit the pet at least once before the owner leaves on his or her trip. Try to visit more than once if you can. The more you visit, the more the pet will get to know you. Then, you won’t be a stranger when you show up to pet sit after the owner leaves.
Be sure you know where the pet’s food is kept, where the cat litter is stored and which kitchen cabinet holds the can opener. You don’t want to have to call the pet’s owner in a panic when you can’t find the pet food.
Some pets may need daily medicine or shots. Make sure you know how to give medicine or shots before the owner leaves. Practice in front of the owner until you feel confident that you can do it
Always make sure the owner leaves you contact information for the pet’s veterinarian and where he or she can be reached in an emergency. Chances are, you won’t need it. But you’ll want to know where to take the pet in case of emergency.
Negotiate Fees Before the Trip
Pet sitters, especially if they are friends or relatives of the pet’s owner, often feel awkward talking about fees. Don’t let this bother you. After all, you are performing a service, and you should receive fair compensation for your work.
Be sure to talk about fees before the trip. Pet owners have been known to leave on long trips which last several weeks without paying the pet sitter. Then, when they finally return, they “forget” to pay the pet sitter.
Ten dollars a day is a fair fee for most pet sitting jobs. Don’t be shy about asking to raise the $10 fee if the pet has special needs such as having to get shots daily.
Take Time With the Pets
The dog or cat may feel lonely and may miss its owner terribly. You are the next best thing. So don’t just rush in, feed the animal and rush out. Spend some time with the animals. Try to spend at least half an hour or more with the pets each day.
Both dogs and cats will appreciate a few minutes of petting and stroking. Some cats may enjoy being picked up. Others may scratch if you try to pick them up. Check with the cat’s owner to see what kind of affection they prefer and how much.
Pet sitting is a good excuse to catch up on homework, paperwork, or reading. An added bonus is you may get a furry cat cuddling on your lap or a dog curled up at your feet.
Dogs, of course, will need to be walked. Most dogs also appreciate some play time. If there’s a fenced-in yard, take the dog out for some games. Throw him a Frisbee or a ball. You will both have a good time.
Watch Out For Dogs
Dogs, especially large breeds, may pose a problem for pet sitters. They may bark at you and may not allow you into the house. They may even bite you if you’re not careful.
One visit may not be enough for the dog to get to know you. To minimize this problem, visit the dog at least three or four times before the owner leaves on the trip. The more the dog sees you, the more he or she will get to know you. Then, you won’t be a stranger to the dog when you visit the house after the owner leaves.
Pet sitting can be challenging but fun. You might even make a new furry friend who cuddles on your lap.
This article is based on a similar article I did for Wikinut