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6 Steps To Find The Perfect Dog Sitter

Choosing a pet sitter is a big decision.  You will be leaving your beloved dog in the hands of someone else and trusting them to visit your home, feed your dog, play with him, and know what to do if there should be an emergency.  How do you find the perfect pet sitter?

 

There are some basic approaches to finding a good pet sitter:

 

1.  Ask around.  If you have friends or family who have used a pet sitter in the past, find out who they used and if they would recommend them. The advantage of using someone that is known to your friends and family is that this person comes with a built-in recommendation.

 

2.  Check with your vet.  Your vet sees a wide assortment of pets in your community.  They also know many pet professionals.  They may be able to recommend a good pet sitter.  The same is true of your pet groomer and other people you see regularly for your dog’s care.

 

3.  Check bulletin boards.  Many pet sitters advertise on the bulletin boards at vet offices, pet groomers’ shops, dog supply stores and other pet-related businesses.  This is a good way to make a connection with a pet sitter but it does not provide you with a recommendation about the pet sitter’s abilities.

 

4.  Check your phone book for local pet sitters.

 

5.  Check online for local pet sitters.  Superpages.com often lists pet sitters (and other pet professionals) in local areas.

 

6.  You can check with Professional United Pet Sitters , the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters , and Pet Sitters International  to find professional pet sitters in your area.  Simply type in your area code or other information about your locality and they should be able to offer suggestions.

 

Once you have found some likely pet sitting candidates there are some things you should ask them before you hire them.  You need to discuss the following subjects with your potential pet sitters:

 

– Is the pet sitter insured?

 

– Can they provide references?

 

– You should check with other local pet professional businesses in your area to find out about the pet sitters reputation.

 

– You should ask to see the contract for pet sitting services.

 

– Make sure that you understand the costs and what services are included.

 

– Ask the pet sitter about their pet education and if they have and certification or accreditation.

 

– Do they know first aid for pets?

 

– Do they belong to any professional organizations such as a professional pet sitting group or other pet care group?

 

– Is there a backup plan in case the pet sitter has a personal emergency?  Who will take care of your dog?

 

– Is the pet sitter properly licensed?

 

You should also ask questions about how the pet sitter interacts with your particular dog.  Have they cared for a Greater Shantung Westheimer before?  (Insert your breed.) Do they know how to care for them?  How many times per day will they be coming to your house?  Will they be staying at your house?  And so on.  Make sure you cover all of the details of their care of your dog, especially if your dog has any special needs.

 

Whew!  It’s a lot of information to cover but you will be gone and you will be asking someone else to take care of your dog — you can’t be too careful.  You should interview a pet sitter just as you would interview a baby sitter or anyone applying for an important job.

 

It’s best if you start trying to find a pet sitter far in advance.  Not only will it take you some time to choose a pet sitter but good pet sitters can be hard to find.  Good pet sitters can book up early.

 

If you follow these suggestions you should be able to find a good pet sitter in your area.  Make sure you have several phone numbers so you can reach them at various times.  No matter how much confidence you have in them you will probably want to check in frequently.

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How to Choose a Groomer for Your Dog

Depending on the breed of dog you have, a groomer may be very useful in keeping the hair coat neat and tidy. Ask your veterinarian, family, and friends for names of groomers that they recommend.
Questions to ask when choosing a groomer…

Staff and training:

  • What breeds do they own?
  • Are their pets’ hair coats kept neat and clean?
  • Did the groomer go to school to learn grooming or did they learn it ‘on the job?’
  • How long have they been grooming dogs?
  • What breeds are they proficient at grooming?
  • Do they provide different styles of cuts for different breeds?
  • Will they give a ‘show cut’ versus a ‘puppy cut?’

Hours, fees, and payment:

  • What are the hours?
  • How are dogs admitted and how do you know when to pick them up?
  • How long does it take to get an appointment?
  • What is the range of fees for your breed of dog?
  • What does that fee include?
  • What methods of payment are accepted?
  • When is payment due?
  • Are credit cards accepted?

Services:

  • What type of shampoos and conditioners are used?
  • If your veterinarian recommends a certain shampoo do you need to supply it?
  • Is a hand-held or cage drier used?
  • Is the ear hair plucked from those breeds with hair in the ear canals?
  • Do they accept dogs that need to be sedated for grooming?
  • Who sedates and monitors your dog?
  • Will the groomer trim nails between regular grooming appointments?

Facilities:

  • Is the area kept clean, neat, and orderly?
  • Are there unpleasant odors?
  • Where are the dogs kept?
  • How are clippers, scissors, etc., cleaned between use?

Your relationship with your dog’s groomer is similar to the one with your own hairdresser or barber. They should listen to what you want and you should listen to their advice before making your decision.

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Adopting Adult Cats & Dogs

Getting a new pet is never a quick or easy decision. How do you know what pet is right for you? First you must figure out what your options are. There are purebreds, strays, rescues, puppies, kittens, and adults. That’s right, adult pets (pets over two years old) need homes, too. Just as with any animal, you must research its history, temperament, and breed. You may not have thought about adopting an adult pet, but after reading this article, perhaps you will at least consider it as an option.

Many people are afraid that adult pets will come with some behavioral problems. That may be true. Pets at animal shelters tend to be at a higher risk for issues like separation anxiety and food aggression (when an animal becomes defensively aggressive if you approach its food). However, not all pets have these difficult problems. There are many adult pets at shelters, and a vast majority of them are not difficult or bad, they are simply lonely. The best way to make sure the animal will not have any behavioral problems is to learn its history and spend time asking about its personality.

Of course, all adult pets, just like adult humans, have personality quirks. Maybe the cat needs vigilant cleaning of the litter box, or the dog doesn’t get along well with other dogs. Any of these personality traits can develop and exist in a pet whether you owned it since it was little or welcomed it into the house as an older pet. A puppy or kitten is not exactly a blank slate. You can influence its manners and control its personality to a certain extent, but you will never be able to exactly dictate the type of animal it will become. Even the influence that you have comes only with hard work and vigilance.

The thing is, when you have an older pet, at least you already know its personality. There will be no surprises that arise, as can sometimes happen with a young pet. When you first get your tiny new puppy or kitten, you have no way of predicting whether it will be calm, neurotic, hyper, loud, friendly, or shy. You can guess based on its breed and the temperament of its parents, but there is no guarantee. When you adopt an adult pet, you will know straight away what kind of personality and energy level you going to be dealing with.

On that note sometimes adult pets suit your lifestyle better than a puppy. Are you an older person? Do you have limited time? Just like kids, young pets need constant supervision and patience. They will need to be potty-trained and will interrupt your day constantly for crucial socialization. Puppies and kittens don’t come with manners; they don’t yet know the rules and roles of hierarchy and the human world. Their attention span is incredibly short, which can make them cute and frustrating at the same time. Also, the first year of life is often the most expensive with vaccinations, dewormers, check-ups, etc. On the other hand, with older adult pets you have to consider potential expensive geriatric issues like kidney disease and diabetes. However, these are issues that you would eventually deal with if you got a young pet anyways.

One common misconception is that an adult pet will never bond with you or your family the way a young pet, who has spent its whole life with you would. It might take time for an adult animal to learn to trust, respect, and bond with you. However, it also takes a young animal some time to adjust to a life without its mother and littermates. You may be surprised to learn that often the pets with the strongest bond to their owner are adult rescues. They are so strongly attached to their owner that, as mentioned above, they can have more of a predisposition for separation anxiety.

When you adopt a pet, you get the satisfaction that you have saved this animal from a life in a cage or no life at all. When you adopt an adult pet, you get the opportunity to show an animal love, an animal that may have suffered abandonment, abuse, or loneliness. Animals may not think the way humans do, but they still somehow manage to show us their appreciation for the new start that we give them.

As always, when you are thinking about getting a pet, do your research. Consider the time and effort you are willing to put into a pet. When you look at different breeds, determine what personality quirks are you willing to tolerate. Are you willing to have a high-energy pet? What about a vocal, attention-needy, or protective pet? There is nothing wrong with wanting to adopt a kitten or puppy, and to enjoy those younger years. The benefits adopting an adult pet however, may be better suited to your lifestyle.

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