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Tips for Living Well with Your Dog: Lifestyle and Behavior

Pet sitter is an integral part of dog's family

Third of six-part series

For most pet owners, dogs are members of the family, and from the perspective of our loyal companions, pet sitters are a part of those families.

When one of my dogs was hospitalized, the pet sitter was so concerned that she called every night for a medical update. And the day after my pal came home from the hospital, the pet sitter visited - on her own time - helping to lift my dog's spirits.

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A book about a rescue dog
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During the years, my pal developed a tight, family bond with the pet sitter who had fed, cared and walked her while I was at work.

So choosing the right pet sitter is critical for a dog's well-being since that person becomes a surrogate for you during their visits.

My dogs have been more comfortable staying home in familiar surroundings with visits from a pet sitter rather than going to a kennel, and they have had the added benefit of bonding with the sitter.

Here are some suggestions for choosing a pet sitter:

  • Determine the kind of care your dog needs. The frequency and level of care your dog requires can help determine the pet sitter you choose. For example, if your dog needs to be given medication or has other medical needs, you need a sitter who can provide services, such as popping pills in a dog's mouth, rather than someone who can simply walk and feed your pal. If your dog needs daily care as opposed to occasional visits, make sure the sitter is available on a daily basis.
  • Compare costs. After determining your dog's needs, compare the costs of three pet sitters. Pet sitters normally charge a set rate for a 30-minute visit that includes walking and feeding, but many will tailor services and costs to your needs. For example, if your pal has needs that require a 45-minute visit, you can usually make a price arrangement for the extra 15 minutes. Or if you are going out of town for the weekend and want to leave your pal at home rather than in a kennel, you can arrange to have multiple visits. Many pet sitters also provide house-sitting services.
  • Remember that price is secondary to quality. The comfort and care of your dog takes precedence over cost. Make sure you find a reliable pet sitter who will treat your dog with kindness and respect. I have always told my pet sitter to leave the dirty dog dish in the sink for me to clean. I would rather have her spend every moment walking and pampering my dog.
  • Use word of mouth to find a pet sitter. People at your veterinarian's office and neighbors are good sources. Ask them for recommendations and about their experiences with a sitter. You also may want to choose a service rather than a solo person, because a service will provide backup if the regular sitter has a scheduling conflict.
  • Interview the pet sitter as you would a baby sitter. Ask them for their qualifications and check on references. Many sitters are members of the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, so membership in this organization is a plus because it indicates stability. Also, request proof of bonding and liability insurance coverage. And remember to ask other clients about their experiences with the sitter.
  • Do a test run. Pay the pet sitter to come for a visit while you are home and do a test run of the exact duties and routine that you expect them to perform. Have them take your dog for walk on the route you prefer and then feed your pal. This will provide insight on how well the sitter interacts with your pal and if they are a good match. For example, if you have an energetic, large dog that likes to walk fast, he may not match up well with a less vigorous, smaller person.
Lastly, enlist the help of a reliable neighbor who you can leave a spare key with in case the sitter forgets or loses the key. Introduce the pet sitter to your neighbor and let the sitter know your neighbor is available to help with any problems. As an added bonus, your neighbor can monitor the interaction between your loyal companion and the pet sitter - providing you with an extra set of eyes since you will not be around to see what goes on yourself.

Like children, when it comes to caring for a dog, it takes a village.

Book sets signed by the author available here!

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SERIES: Order your set signed by author Joseph A. Reppucci! The Original will touch your heart and the Sequel will lift your soul. *The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Signed Set
*The Hunt of Her Life signed book series sets are only available to U.S. customers.

Holiday discount Book Sets

THE HUNT HER LIFE BOOK SET (unsigned) is offered for a limited time each year at a special holiday discount rate of 25% off. The discount applies to orders received from November 1 through December 24.

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