Make sure that as a sitter you choose the job that is right for you. Do you have experience with dogs? Are you a cat lover? Have you been able to live on acreage with horses? Or are you most comfortable with birds? Try to pick the sitting job that fits in best with your experience and animal preference. You will be more comfortable with any pet care requirements asked of you, and you will have more fun connecting with the animals in your care.
If you do want to try looking after different pets then perhaps consider taking some training. There are various websites where you can search for animal training in your local area. There’s also a lot of good information online to help you research. Having extra, pet specific training and information behind you means your first job won’t be as daunting, and the pets in your care will also benefit.
Talk through with the owner all the specific pet care information needed before they leave, and make sure this is recorded. You need to know the pet’s routine, their feeding schedule, any medical needs and daily exercise schedule. Have all of this written down to refer to when the owner is away. You can then follow this to help you give the pet what is really important in their day to day care.
Ask the owner about their pet’s likes and dislikes. How do they most like to be patted or held? What is their favourite toy or game? Knowing this and being able to connect with the animals in your care will help them with their anxiety. Many animals fret when their owners are away. Anything a sitter can do to reassure them and give them the extra love and attention needed, will make this separation so much easier for them.
Once you have the instructions from the owner, and you have gone through them, it’s crucial that you follow them when the owner is away. You may have owned pets before, and have ideas yourself, however it is important to remember that this pet belongs to the owner. You need to follow the pet care regimen that the owner has in place. This way the pet is able to have their normal day to day routine, even though their owner is away. This prevents stress for them and makes life easier for you as a sitter.
It also means that the owner will feel comfortable to go away and leave their animals in your care. Many owners find it challenging to leave their beloved pets in the care of someone else, especially a sitter who they may have only just met. The more you can do as a sitter to reassure an owner that you will follow their routine, the easier it is for them to let go and trust you with their pets.
Before the owner leaves, ask them for a list of emergency contacts, e.g. a family member and the local vet. Animals can get sick and accidents happen, so it is important that when sitting you know what the owner needs you to do in case of an emergency. Ask the owner to write it down for you to follow so you know what they expect you to do.
Some owners will want you to contact a vet as soon as anything happens, some will want you to monitor the situation first. You need to know exactly what your owner wants you to do in an emergency. Every owner is different so you need to go through this process for every pet sitting job. You probably won’t have to use it, but if something comes up you will appreciate having this information on hand just when you need it.
If you can follow these four steps before starting your job, then you have a great chance of having really enjoyable pet sitting experiences. Pet sitting can be extremely rewarding, and many sitters form deep bonds with animals in their care. Hopefully following these steps can make successful pet sitting even easier.