If you enjoy working with animals and want to make some extra cash on the side, dog sitting may be just the thing for you. In addition to feeding, grooming, and exercising a pet, you may also be responsible for cleaning the home, providing playtime or walk breaks, and transporting pets to and from the vet, among other duties. Before accepting a job, meet with the pet owner and ask about the pet’s health status, medication needs, and daily routine. Ask whether the dog has any dietary restrictions, and if so, what the best approach is to ensure compliance. If the animal is crate trained, find out where it’s kept and how to access it in case of an emergency.
If the dog is new to you, take a practice visit to get familiar with it. This is a great opportunity to bond with the pet and learn its personality. It’s also an excellent time to familiarize yourself with the owner’s house rules, especially if they have any special requests or concerns. For example, if the client is worried about their dog wandering, ask them if you can keep it on leash when outdoors or if they’re comfortable with you taking them to the park. Walking dogs in extreme heat can be dangerous for them, so you might consider asking if the pet can be kept indoors or outside in a shaded area, rather than walking on pavement or asphalt. You can also offer to play with the pet, and use puzzle toys or snuffle mats to provide mental stimulation when walking them.
Leave clear instructions for the pet sitter to reference while you’re away. Include how to work the television and heating/cooling, if you want them to leave the door and windows locked, where pet supplies are located (leashes, food, and poop bags), and other information that can help them stay safe and happy in your home. You might want to include a list of names and phone numbers of people who can be reached in case of an emergency, as well as the name of your landlord and any other important contacts.
If you have a fenced yard, leave a key in a designated spot so the pet sitter can let themselves in and out of the house if necessary. You should also give the sitter permission to have someone come in and do chores if you’re not available. This helps reassure the pet owner that their dog is not left alone, and it will be less stressful for the pet as well.