Most Aussie homeowners hire house sitters not to look after their homes while they’re on holiday, but because they want someone to care for their pets. A lot of pet owners choose to have their pets looked after at home, rather than spend a lot of money on boarding kennels. Besides, leaving pets in boarding kennels for extended periods of time cause animals undue stress. They are away from the environment they are used to and their routine is disrupted.
Caring for someone else’s pet is a huge responsibility and as a sitter, it is very important that you understand what is expected from you. Whether you’ve been house sitting for some time or signing up for your first sitting job, we have listed a few pet care tips here for you.
Choose your house sitting jobs carefully – Just as in any other job application, you need to be sure that you choose the house sitting job that is right for you. Do you prefer to care for dogs? Are you allergic to cat fur? Have you had experience looking after farm animals? Do you like horses? Are you okay with caring for exotic pets like snakes or turtles?
Do not just go about applying for multiple house sitting jobs and grab the first opportunity that comes up. Read the house sitting ads carefully, particularly if the pets require specific medical care. Choose house sitting jobs that fit your level of experience and of course preferences. If you are comfortable with the pet care requirements stated in the ad, it would be easier for you and the animal to get along while they are in your care.
Try to get some animal training – While this is not required, it would help you (and the pets) to not just get booked for more house sitting jobs, but to have an easier time with someone else’s pets. It is easy to find local animal training classes online, where you can learn training basics and how to easily connect with someone else’s pet. Also, having this extra training makes it less daunting for first time house sitters.
Talk to the pet owners – Communication is an important factor in the success of house sits. Ask the owners about their pet’s habits, walk schedules, vet visits (if applicable), how often their pets bathe, feeding schedules, what are the pets favourite toys, are the pets allowed to sleep in the bed, how their pets like to be petted or held, etc. Make sure that all this information is recorded. Sticking to the pet’s routine makes separation from their owners easier and well, it assures you of a peaceful house sit, too.
Do not deviate from the pet owner’s instructions – The most important thing that house sitters learn is that owners are very protective of their pets. So it goes without saying that following the owner’s specific instructions how they want their pets looked after is crucial. Do not forget that this is someone else’s pet. And how you take care of your own pet back home (if you have one) is not often the same way other people take care of their own furbabies. Ask for written instructions if you must, and stick to it.
Prepare for the worst, hope for the best – Okay, that sounds so corny but as a house sitter, you have to be prepared for emergencies. Before the owner leaves, ask them for a list of emergency contact information like the vet’s phone and clinic address, a family member, etc. Animals can also get sick out of the blue and it is important to look ahead and plan for such circumstances. Ask the owner what they want you to do in case of emergencies: would they prefer you to rush their pet to the vet’s or do you monitor how the pet is doing for a period of time before taking them to the vet? Again, make sure these instructions are written down.
House sitting and looking after someone else’s pets is a big responsibility. But it does not have to be a daunting process. As long as you do these five tips before starting any house sitting job, you would be just fine.