Pet sitting is a rewarding and often exciting career path, but it can be scary when things don’t go as planned. Adhering to some basic pet sitting safety principles can safeguard against accidents and help prepare you for emergencies. This guide will delve into some essential pet sitting precautions to ensure you and Fido have a safe and fun experience.
The first rule of pet sitting safety is to have all your clients fill out a list of emergency contacts. This list should include their primary veterinarian, local relatives, neighbors, and multiple forms of contact for themselves while they’re away. Hopefully, you won’t need this information, but it’s important to have it in the event of an emergency.
Having an emergency pet sitting kit is crucial when caring for an animal in someone else’s home. You never know when an emergency will happen, so it’s best to prepare just in case. These items can help you deal with minor injuries and keep your pet calm in the event that something happens. Every sitter’s kit will look different depending on their needs, but you’ll want to include these items at the very least:
A list of emergency contacts for yourself and your furry client
1-2 servings of dog food
A spare leash
Emergency medication (if needed)
A basic first aid kit
The last thing you want is to lock yourself out of your furry client’s house, especially without your phone. Prevent this from happening by keeping your phone and house key on you at all times. If you easily misplace your things, consider investing in a phone clip and a keyring clip.
Weather is unpredictable. It's important to formulate a plan in case of a natural disaster, particularly if you service an area prone to tornadoes, flooding, or hurricanes. Have your client show you where they keep the carriers, extra leashes, and other essential pet supplies in case of an emergency. Ideally, you should keep small bills on you and your gas tank at least half full in the event you need to evacuate.
Sunny weather is great, but it brings with it the risks of sunburn, dehydration, and heat exhaustion. Being able to identify the signs of overheating in pets is crucial, especially if you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors. Symptoms of overheating in pets include salivation, excessive panting, gum discoloration, tremors, vomiting, and collapse. If you suspect the pet you’re caring for is getting overheated, take them in the house immediately and give them fresh water. Call a vet ASAP if the pet you’re sitting collapses, experiences a seizure, or is acting strangely.
Scratches and bites are risks of the job when pet sitting, but these pet-related injuries are often preventable. Watch your furry clients for signs of fear or aggression. Cowering, fur-raising, tail tucking, and snarling are all signs that you need to back away and leave them be.
Never mess with an animal while they are eating — even the most easy-going dogs can suffer from food aggression. Do not let others interact with a dog you are pet sitting — this could not only result in a bite, but also a lawsuit.
Practicing good hygiene is so important, especially if you have multiple four-legged clients. Germs and diseases can quickly spread by touch, so wash your hands frequently, especially between clients. If you're unable to wash your hands, hand sanitizer will work in a pinch.
Safety should be priority number one when pet sitting — and that goes for your safety as well as the pets. If you arrive to signs of a break-in or an unusual car parked outside the client’s residence, you should leave immediately. Contact the police first and your client second if you see signs of forced entry into the home. In the case of an unusual parked car, call the client to see if they are expecting someone; if not, call the police immediately.