There is a lot more to dog sitting than just feeding and walking. Be prepared and know what to ask and do for your next dog sit. We have been around dogs all our lives, but when we started dog sitting we realised there is a lot more to looking after other people’s animals that we didn’t know. Since we started house sitting we have looked after many different breeds of dogs, from small poodles and energetic puppies to large huskies and lazy 15 year old dogs. We have also looked after animals with disabilities and special needs. Here’s our essential list of things you need to know, ask and do when dog sitting.
Puppies are very sensitive
When walking be careful of dirty puddles, unknown plants and grasses it can cause them to have skin reactions or upset stomachs.
Know their diet
Don’t feed them anything other than what they normally eat. Certain dog treats, even if brought from a pet shop can contain ingredients that react to one do and be fine to another.
Human food is for humans, dog food is for dogs
We have looked after dogs where the owner lets them lick the plates, however your diet may be different to the owner’s diet. Dairy products, gluten and spices can definitely have a negative effect on the dog’s gut. Last thing you want is a dog with an upset stomach.
Never feed dogs cooked bones
Bones once cooked become brittle and can splinter. This can cause injury to not only the dogs mouth, but his stomach and digestive system too. Cooked bones can also cause explosive diarrhea and no one wants to deal with that.
Know when to let the dog off leash (if they are allowed)
Get to know the dog before letting the dog off leash (even in off leash areas get to know the commands use the treats (if allowed by owners) to reward the dog when they listen to your commands. There is nothing worst than being in a park and the dog won’t listen come back to you so make sure you have confidence in your ability before letting them off.
Always carry more poo bags
This seems like a no brainer but dogs are sneaky and sometimes eat or drink something they shouldn’t. We have been caught out before! Not having enough bags, when walking, the dog decided to go toilet on the front lawn of someone’s house who just so happens to be watching at the time… well I’ll let you figure out the rest!
Dogs miss their owners
Dogs can be very sad and mopey the first few days their owners leave. It’s important to take them for lots of walks, play with them and keep them active, especially in those first few days, it will make the dogs more comfortable and gain your trust.
Ask questions – The check list for dog sitting
After dog sitting full time for a while now, we have put together a little checklist of questions to ask the owner to make it easier, (not to mention having to ask bother the owners whilst there on holiday) so here it is
- Do they have any food allergies?
- What are the best local walks and dog parks?
- How are they off leash? Can we take them off leash?
- What is their call back like, are there any special techniques, whistles etc. to get the dog back? Treats perhaps?
- Are there any commands they know? This seems basic but it can be useful when out walking or at a park.
- How do they react to other dogs?
- What are their sleep and meal time patterns? Always good to know and try stick to their habits.
- Contact details of their local vet if anything goes wrong, and a local friend or family member who knows the dog for any minor help.
Have you got any more tips? We would love to hear them!
Interested in finding out more about housesitting? Start house sitting and travel on a budget!