While dogs are pretty smart companions, they have needs that can’t be entirely met on their own. With busy lifestyles and commitments that take us away from the home, at times it is necessary to make arrangements for another caregiver for your pet. Depending on your preferences, level of comfort, needs of your animal and specific circumstances of your absence, there are several options for ensuring your pet is properly cared for when you are not available to do so. Some options include dog walkers, pet sitters and doggie daycare / boarding facilities.
Is it just us, or does it seem like work days are getting longer and longer? This can be a problem, especially if you have a pet at home who could use a trip to the bathroom, a midday snack or simply some companionship. The good news is that dog walkers are a perfect solution! Typically, a dog walker stops by your home, provides food, water and bathroom breaks as requested by you and then spends 15 – 30 minutes either walking or playing with your pet.
Dog walkers can be as simple as the kid down the street (who is mature and trustworthy) or a professional dog walking organization. If you choose to go with a commercial dog walker, be sure that they are insured and have a few (legitimate) references around your neighborhood that you can contact before giving out the keys to your home.
Pet sitters are a great option if you require overnight care for your dog. They care for your pet in their natural environment and are able to keep an eye on your home at the same time! There are two ways to approach pet sitting – one is to hire a professional pet sitter and the other is to have a friend or family member (or high school student down the street) stay overnight at your home while resuming their normal schedule. Which route you choose really depends on the level of care required of your pet, your budget and your resources – do you know somebody willing to care for your pet overnight at your residence?
Good places to find pet sitters are word of mouth, your groomer and your veterinarian. Like a dog walker, you will want to make sure any pet sitters has experience with pets, is trustworthy and is insured to protect you from the unexpected.
As our world continues to become more pet centric in tandem with ever busier lives, doggie daycare is becoming more and more popular. Many facilities are set up both for drop-offs during the workday and overnight care. An advantage of a doggie daycare / boarding facility is that pets can interact with other dogs while they are there. This is great for well socialized animals. Be careful, however, if your dog is shy around others or, more importantly, aggressive towards other dogs.
Use caution when finding a daycare, just as you would any other care provider for your pet. Before taking your animal, a good facility should require a meet and great to ensure that your dog is able to safely integrate into their programs and will get along with the other pets. When visiting prospective doggie daycare’s, be sure to inquire about feeding schedules, how pets are fed, how play time is supervised, walk schedules and sleeping arrangements – do dogs sleep communally, or do they have a private sleeping area where they are able to enjoy some private downtime?