It was the summer of 2018 when we were going to travel to literally another end of the world. So, we were faced with the herculean task of finding a trustworthy, capable, qualified and licensed pet sitter who’d be willing to stay at home and look after our dog since we don’t have a live-in nanny. Before you ask why we didn’t opt for boarding, it’s because the last time our dog boarded in a facility [which has now shut down], he fell unwell almost overnight. Thankfully we found someone who was not only all the above but also a veterinary nurse. But before we found him, we had spoken to a lot of sitters who seemed genuinely fond of dogs, but something was always amiss. Either they were not licensed and that was a no-go for us, or they were not punctual or committed enough. That experience taught us an important lesson: why every dog lover isn’t a pet sitter.
So, are you planning to travel?
First things first, now that travel has resumed, and several pet parents are planning to go on vacation and travelling for work its important to ensure that your dog doesn’t suffer from separation anxiety. After staying at home for an extended period, your dog is now used to having you around. So, don’t leave them alone or with a pet sitter or at a boarding facility suddenly. Introduce them to new setups gradually, including introducing them to a pet sitter or a boarding facility.
Read this article to know more: 5 tips to prepare your dogs for boarding
What should you look for in a pet sitter?
Having come across a few disturbing posts on social media about how some dogs left under the care of pet sitters have gone missing. Even worse a dog who managed to slip out, went missing for a few hours and was found dead. That’s why besides loving dogs, here are a few things that you should look for in a pet sitter. If they are licensed and trained to handle emergency situations. Whether they can drive and take your dog to the vet, should the need arise. Sometimes they might be required to administer medication, so its important to find out if they are comfortable doing so.
Now here’s the thing quality service by a licensed and qualified pet sitter will not be cheap. And it’s always better to budget and plan for the expense versus hiring a cheap pet sitter. As much as a cheaper option might be tempting, do not opt for it because you will be leaving your dog under their care. A couple of licensed pet sitting service providers in the UAE include The Pet Sitting Co. Abu Dhabi and Pet Sitters Dubai, among others.
Pet parents must support the pet sitter
The job of a pet parent doesn’t end with hiring a pet sitter. It’s also our job to help the pet sitter with the right information and instructions. Some of these include:
- Helping the pet sitter understand your dog’s behaviour, likes and dislikes, what makes them anxious and what they enjoy doing. This will require a few sittings with the pet sitter, so your dog feels comfortable around them. Word of caution: In case your dog doesn’t feel comfortable with your chosen pet sitter, consider a different person. After all, your dog will have to stay with them not you.
- Help the pet sitter understand your dog’s feeding requirements and habits. What kind of food do they have, what they should not be fed, if supplements must be added? Also, if they should be left alone after food is served or they have to be hand fed?
- If your dog needs medication, the sitter must be given clear instructions and timings. You should also share your dog’s vaccination details, medical records and the details of the trusted veterinary doctor. These details will ensure no time is wasted; in case your dog needs a vet check-up.
- If your dog has favourite toy or bed, the sitter should know about it to meaningfully engage with them. Also, share the details of the doggy day care in case your dog goes to one regularly or a few times in a week. Introduce them to the day care facility so both parties are aware of the expectations.
- It’s also crucial for the pet sitter to know if your dog is friendly with other dogs, cats and humans to avoid any unpleasant incidents during walks.
- Some homes might have cameras installed and the pet sitter must be told about it.
- Finally, it’s always a good idea to prepare a clear list of dos and don’ts for the pet sitter to follow.
Opt for a boarding facility if you don’t find a reliable pet sitter
There are several boarding facilities across the UAE. Select one that your dog feels most comfortable at. For our dog that comfort place is Romi’s Home Pet Nursery, where dogs aren’t left alone at night. There is one handler in every room and the best part is parents are encouraged to be in direct contact with the handlers to get real-time updates. Moreover, if your dog goes to the same day care as ours does, there is already a sense of familiarity and comfort.
Read this article to know more: Where to board your dogs in the UAE
Ask trusted people for help
Asking trusted people, including family and friends for help might be an option for some pet parents, which is alright. You may have a family member or friend who might be willing to take care of your dog while you’re away. They might know your dog very well – their food and walk schedule as well as special requirements, if any – and vice versa. However, always ensure that this is not an imposition. That their plans are not disrupted, and they are able to care for your dog as much as you do. Set the expectations clearly to avoid any misunderstanding.