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Pet sitting involves caring for someone's pet while they are not around. Generally, pet sitters take care of pets in either their own homes or in the owner's home.

A pet sitter's job is often demanding. Owners expect you to tend to their pets just as they would, if not better. Feeding, grooming, and exercising pets are just a few of the responsibilities that come with the job. That's why, before venturing into pet sitting, make sure you're willing to dedicate time for care.

What Makes a Good Pet Sitter?

Although pet sitting doesn't come with a lot of requirements, you should at least love domestic animals. Getting over your fear of pets is the first step to pet sitting success. Taking care of pet snakes, for example, can be an uphill task for most people. But if you're captivated by snakes, chances are, you'll be more than ready for the job. Put yourself in the owner's shoes and try to understand their pets so that you can feed and groom them better.

Here are a few tips that can help you succeed in pet sitting:

Pet Sitting Tips Every Pet Sitter Must Know

1. Be Knowledgeable

The truth is, you don't need a veterinary background to become a pet sitter. However, the more knowledge you have on pets, the better. If you're an animal lover and have grown around animals, you have an advantage over other inexperienced pet sitters. But if you don't have any prior experience, start by caring for your friends' pets. If possible, take CPR courses as they comprise of essential techniques and pet sitting tips that will help you with animal caring.

Usually, the pet owner will give you all directives for tending to their pet including the medicine to use in case of emergency, the food to cook, and so on. But it's essential to have some tips with you. Find what is toxic to pets and put them away. For example, some of the poisonous foods for dogs and cats include:

  • chocolate
  • raisins
  • walnuts and macadamia
  • yeast dough
  • avocado skin
  • xylitol including gums and candy
  • caffeine
  • onions
  • garlic
  • alcohol

Be Responsible Besides caring for the pet, you also need to take care of the owner's home. Be the ear and the eyes of the house. Clean after yourself and the pet. Groom the pet, take it to the veterinary and, if need be, rush it to the emergency room. As you do all these, learn the history of the animal -- its medical history, current health status, and whether it's taking any medication.

Dispose of pet disposal correctly. If you happen to walk a dog, carry something to poop-scoop. Check whether the yard, house, or plants have any pet poop.

3. Meet the Pet Before the Actual Job

Take a practice visit before every job. During this visit, familiarize yourself with the pet and learn when it eats, drinks, and goes for a walk. A practice visit allows you to know an animal better, preparing you in case the pet's parent leaves some details out in your briefing. Also, bonding with the pet encourages the owner and gives them peace of mind, having left their loved ones in your watch. If you notice any aggression or timidness, consider turning the job down as things might get worse when the owner is not around.

4. Follow a Schedule

Most pets already have a schedule. You, therefore, can't ignore the routine as it might make the pet grumpy and harm you. Follow the written and verbal instructions left by your employer, including the right way to medicate the pet.

5. Be Compassionate

Pets notice when their owner is not around; they even get nervous. So, give the animal extra attention. If it has a favorite toy, play with it for some time until the pet is no longer interested. This way, the animal will rest, waiting for your return later. Go the extra mile beyond feeding and cleaning -- stroke, cuddle, and talk to the pet.

6. Pet Proof Your House

Even when a pet is trained, it can be destructive. That's why, if you're caring for a pet from your home, you need to pet-proof the house. For example, a pet dog might try to open your door. Install a door protector to prevent scratches from the dog. Items such as furniture and other toys in your house are like toys to pets. Proof these items to prevent pets from playing with them.

Determine whether the pet has fleas before taking it to your house. Inform the pet owner that you'll charge them extra if the pet has fleas.

7. Communicate

Nothing makes a pet owner feel better than seeing their pet well-fed and groomed. You probably have a smartphone. Take at least one picture daily and send it to the pet parent. If possible, make a call or send an email. Always relay information about the pet, but ensure you don't worry the pet owner, forcing them to get back before they fulfil their agendas.

8. Be Trustworthy

When you're taking care of a pet from the owner's house, remain trustworthy. Don't use something that was not offered. Avoid perusing the house even if the owner wants you to feel comfortable. Remember, you're a guest in the home and should act like one. Leave the door behind you closed to prevent the pet from escaping or giving excuses if mishaps occur.

Too often, pet sitters care for other people's pets and neglect self-care. Yet, self-care is as essential as caring for the animal. Here are a few self-care tips that compliment pet sitting.

a. Learn When to Say No

It's easier to make careless mistakes when you're overbooked. When someone delegates their responsibility of caring for a pet, they expect you to fulfil your part. Unfortunately, you can't do this when you have more than enough pets to care for. Compromising the care you give might jeopardize you or your pet's health. Recognize your limit and identify how many times you need to visit a pet without compromising your health.

When you're overbooked, you don't have enough time to take care of all the pets. This might cause a misunderstanding between you and the house owner. Consequently, your health will be out of line.

Learn to say no when you're overbooked or ask another sitter to help.

Know What You Can Offer

Turning down a pet sitting assignment is understandable if pets are not a match or if you're inexperienced. Self-care involves being honest with yourself. If a dog is bigger than your weight and could strain your tendon or pull you, it's right to turn the job down.

It's tempting to fulfil your clients' every needs. You may, however, ruin your health without even realizing it. For example, if you're uncomfortable sleeping at the pet owner's house, you may not get enough sleep, yet you need it. If you continue with this habit, you deprive yourself of essential sleep, which could lead to health issues.

Determine whether the pet assignment will constrain you physically, financially, and professionally and decide whether to do it or pass.

Have a Strong Support System

You can't call the pet owner every time you face a minor problem. That's where networking with other pet sitters comes in handy – it helps you deal with any issues that may arise. In these networks, you'll probably find someone who went through the same problem and is willing to help.

Having a medium to channel your concerns on pet sitting is invaluable. It allows you to establish procedures and policies necessary for running your business, resulting in a happier and healthier life.

How Do You Select a Pet Sitter?

Hiring a pet sitter is more complicated than just dialling a number from yellow pages. If you want attentive care for your pet, you need to consider several factors.

Some tips to consider when hiring a pet sitter include:

  • Find references -- ask from at least three people who have previously hired the pet sitter. This way, you get correct information on the trustworthiness of the pet sitter.
  • Availability -- is the person or company available for communication at any time of the day? Is the person available for the whole period you'll be away?
  • Carry a pre-interview to see the comfort level between your pet and pet sitter.
  • Ask about the contingency plan in case a pet has an emergency or the pet sitter is not available.
  • Ensure that your pet sitter has insurance. You can read our comprehensive guide for further clarification.

Is Pet Sitting Dangerous?

It depends on the pet. Most pets are harmless but some may be aggressive when you fail to observe their routine.

Can I Make Money Pet Sitting?

Yes, you can make money by pet sitting. This job is actually best for students who want to make some money after class or in between lessons. However, to earn a high income, you need to sit a lot of pets and charge highly.

What Should I Charge for Pet Sitting?

British pet owners are willing to spend a lot of money on their pets - annually about £10 billion on their dogs and £8 billion on their cats. While these amounts cover all aspects of pet ownership, a fair percentage will be spent on pet grooming and pet-sitting.

So if you are considering establishing a pet-sitting business, there is a lot of potential. Depending upon where you live and with a bit of research, you could find out what the going rate is for pet-sitting and use that as a basis for calculating how much you should charge for your pet-sitting business.

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Pictures references:

Pic 1: Friends Dog, Pet Woman
ID number: 3042751
Artist: Seaq68