Posted 2 months ago
Deciding who’s going to take care of our four legged friends when we’re unable to can be a seriously tough decision. For many dog owners, it’s on a par with sorting out the right childcare for their children!
But with our busy lives, it’s inevitable we’ll need to entrust our dogs with a sitter or walker every once in a while. For those of us at work all day, or for families heading off on holiday, the services of a dog sitter or walker can be invaluable. And for anyone with a disability that prevents them from going outside, a dog walker can ensure their pet is given the opportunity for vital exercise.
So how do we find the right sitter or walker for us – and our dogs? We asked two of Liverpool’s most trusted pet carers for their advice...
1. Meet your sitter first
According to Liverpool-based dog sitter Catie Leighton, it’s a good idea to meet potential sitters before entrusting them with your pooch. “Get them to come and visit first,” says Catie. “I always recommend that, as much for them as for me.” Catie, who founded her pet sitting business, Sunnydays, in 2013, says trust plays a huge part when considering a sitter. “Most of my work involves going into people’s houses, so trust is really important.”
2. Check your sitter’s insured
Most professional dog-sitters and walkers should have insurance. “It’s a good idea to check whether your sitter or walker is covered,” says Catie. “It’s unlikely anything will go wrong, but if they’re paying for insurance, you’ll know they’re serious about what they do.”
Caption: Homeward Bound’s Katie, with Scottish Deerhound Finn
3. Find out how many dogs will be walking with your pet
We’ve all seen dog-walkers being dragged through parks by several excitable dogs, all straining at the leash. But consider whether your pup might prefer being walked alone or in a smaller group. Professional dog walker Katie van der Woude, founder of Homeward Bound Pets in Liverpool, mostly walks one at a time, which she believes is safer for both walker and dog. “Our main thing is safety, so we don’t do the big dog walks that you normally see. We either do one on one, or two together if they live close by and are a good match,” she says. “We like to focus on making sure the dogs are getting exactly what they need.”
4. Consider overnight stays
When dog owners head off on holiday, the wrench can be fairly traumatic for their pets. Katie says that getting a dog-sitter to stay at your home helps lessen the shock, whereas putting them in kennels could increase their distress. “A home stay means they’re going through as little change as possible,” she explains.
5. Will your dog sitter go the extra mile?
Like parents, dog owners often worry how their pups are coping when they’re not there, especially if they’re new to their walker or sitter. Homeward Bound’s Katie knows exactly how to alleviate her clients’ concerns while their dogs are in her care. She says: “We send pictures and videos during the day, so they know their dogs are having a good time while they’re working.”
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