When you need a dog sitter, it goes without saying that you want the best sitter for your dog. Nothing is more stressful than coming home from vacation only to realize your pet hasn’t been getting the best care. Owners feel that their dogs are members of the family! When dog owners are away, they want their dogs to be the same way. I know this firsthand. For those of you that are new around here, I’m a Toronto-based French Bulldog breeder and I love to travel. I know the struggle of finding someone trustworthy enough to “pawrent” my pups while I’m away. Keep reading to find out what traits to look for while searching for your dog’s new dog-nanny.
They Love French Bulldogs
This one should go without saying, but top-notch dog sitters love animals. They might not be pet owners themselves because their children or partner has allergies, but they adore animals. It’s easy to recognize a dog lover because their entire demeanor lights up when they’re around dogs, especially French Bulldogs. They aren’t faking their joy.
They Have a Flexible Schedule
A reputable dog sitter has a flexible schedule, which means they are able to work with you and your Frenchies needs. What is more, they know their schedule and capability and can be honest during your consultation if they can dog sit without much-advanced notice. Ideally, dog sitting will be your dog sitter’s only job as this allows for maximum flexibility.
The Best Dog Sitters Are Educated
They know about different dog breeds, their specific physical needs, and their nutritional needs. Experienced dog sitters are aware of animal resources in your community such as vet clinics, pet stores, pet-friendly parks, etc. They are knowledgeable about different threats to your pet (such as icy weather or ice melts to dog’s paws) and know how to prepare. They are also up to date on pet trends and new discoveries in pet care. Another thing to consider is breed experience. For example, I am an Ontario French Bulldog breeder. Considering this, I would be less likely to consider someone who has little to no Frenchie experience. The French Bulldog is a medically at-risk/prone breed, and I would need to have the peace of mind that my dog-sitter will know how to handle ANYTHING that may arise in my absence.
Professional Dog Sitters Have Emergency Care Plans in Place
You know you’ve found the best dog sitter if they have educated themselves about different dog breeds and their specific needs, but they will also already have a plan of action for what to do in emergency situations. For example, what if your dog runs away? What if they get sick? What if they ingest poison? The best dog sitter will know who to call, where to go, and how to respond. They know that dog sitting is about much more than showing up and feeding and walking your dog.
Look For Positive Reviews
The best dog sitters will have glowing reviews from former clients. They will not be shy about providing references (make sure to vet these). Note that some very experienced dog sitters may only have a few clients to refer you to; however, if those were long-term clients, then that speaks well to their satisfaction.
They Have Excellent Communication Skills
As a dog parent, you want to know how your dog is doing especially if you have to be away for long stretches of time. The best dog sitters are the ones who put your heart at ease by communicating with you frequently when they are watching your dog. They might text photos of your dog to you during the day to let you know that they just finished a walk with your pup or even call you, so your pup can hear your voice on the phone.
Get a Dog Sitter That Can Accommodate Your Pet’s Needs
While you might find a dog sitter who will come to your home and dog sit, some dog sitters take pets to their residences (especially when the pet sitting is a long-term arrangement). The Best Dog Sitter will have a home ideally suited for pets–a spacious, fully-fenced backyard for dogs to run around safely, or a scratching post house for cats to climb on, sleep in, and sharpen their nails on.
A Dog Sitter that Bonds with Your Pet
Lastly, the best dog sitters have a presence that dogs are drawn to. They are able to put your dog at ease. Your dog should have a positive chemistry with the dog sitter you choose, which is why it’s important to interview dog sitters before you hire them. Let them meet your dog. Watch their interaction.
The best dog sitter will also be honest if they do not feel a connection with your dog. Part of the joy of being a dog sitter is spending time with animals that they love. Who wouldn’t want that?
Dog Sitters That Respect Your Wishes
The best dog sitter respects your care plan for your dog, so if you want your dog fed three times a day, they honor that rather than emptying a bag of food and leaving it out all day, for example.
Professional Dog Sitters Are Insured
Professional dog sitting is a profession as much as a passion; it’s definitely not a hobby. Responsible dog sitters have insurance because they know that things can happen beyond their control. They may even have formed an LLC or other entity for their professional pet-sitting activities. This is especially important to me because being an Ontario French Bulldog breeder is my business. If you don’t already know, I specialize in non-standard colors, specifically blue French Bulldogs. They are among the most commonly stolen dogs, unfortunately.
You go with your gut. If a potential dog sitter looks great on paper and checks all the boxes but something just feels “off,” listen to that feeling and keep looking! Your dog is used to being treated like royalty by you and you want to find someone who will love your dog like their own (and like your dog is used to!) while you’re away.
If you enjoyed this blog and want to learn more you can check out the video I have posted on YouTube over here. Happy dog-sitter hunting!