5 ultimate tips for dog sitting
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So you’ve been asked to look after a dog while your friend has gone away, or you want to experience what owning a dog will be like. Whatever your reason for dog sitting, it’s important to be prepared for looking after the dog while it’s away from its owners.
1. Read up on caring for dogs
Just like looking after a baby, dogs require special attention and might be a bit grumpy when they first arrive at your home. So to ensure you feel capable and up to the job of caring for the pooch, do a little light reading. What breed of dog will you be looking after? Do you need to safety proof your home (especially for younger puppies)? Once you’ve done a little research you’ll feel confident when the dog arrives at your home.
2. Maintain their normal schedule
Make sure the dog owner informs you of the dog’s routine before they leave their furry friend in your capable hands. Every dog will have a different routine they’re used to, so the best way to relieve stress or anxiety is to stick to that routine. An important part of any dog’s normal schedule is letting them do their business at the usual time. You may have to miss your favourite show on T.V. or get up a little bit earlier but it will make the dog feel a lot less stressed.
Any dog lover will also know that dogs love to get out and about. If you’re looking after a larger dog breed, the dog will probably be used to longer walks and it’s essential to keep those up, plus it will also give your waistline a helping hand. By doing this the dog will be kept busy and you’ll be able to relieve their homesickness.
3. Create a checklist
While exercise is extremely important for any dog, it’s also a good idea to learn more about the requirements of the dog. Just like humans, dogs have their own individual needs and the people that will know those needs the best are the owners. Get the owners to write up a checklist that should include the essentials; dietary needs, any behavioral problems, the phone number and address of the dog’s vet, any specific medications that the dog requires… the list can go on and on.
4. Find out the DON’Ts
Once you’ve done your research, know the dog’s routine and have created a checklist, it’s also important to find out what NOT to do. You may have owned a dog before and think you know what’s best. But that doesn’t mean those things will be alright with the owner of the dog. So just because you used to feed your dog scraps from the dinner table doesn’t mean you should do that with their dog. Talk to the owner of the pet to find out what they allow. Food that you eat may be a big no no.
5. Check what to do in an emergency
No matter how much preparation you do or how well you’re looking after the dog, emergencies can happen that are completely out of your control. In the case of an emergency, for example the dog chokes on something, it’s extremely important to stay calm because if you panic you are more likely to make mistakes. If you do find yourself in the situation where the dog is choking check the dog’s airwaves to see if anything is stuck in their throat, you may be able to gently remove the object but never be forceful because this action may make the situation worse. Go straight to their vet and if the vet is not open find a nearby clinic and go straight there. Whatever you do don’t leave the problem to the next day.
Preparing yourself for looking after a dog while its owners are away will give you peace of mind and will reduce the pooch’s anxiety. Don’t forget the doggy toys!
Author bio: PawClub’s Dr Katrina Warren is a veterinarian who first appeared on our television screens in 1994 as a presenter on the children’s show, Totally Wild. Katrina is passionate about helping people enhance the special bond that is shared with pets and currently shares her home with her daughter, Charlotte, a Maine Coon cat called Mr Fox and an adopted Golden Retriever called Riley.