How to be a Great Pet Sitter - Guest Post By Rover.com

Written by Casey Dickson, Rover.com community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

Get your Gold Star in Pet Sitting

You’d think that the only prerequisite to being a great pet sitter would be a love of furry friends, but there’s definitely a lot more to it. It’s certainly a wonderful quality that people look for when they’re hiring a sitter to tend to their four-legged precious cargo, but as for the rest, be sure to keep in mind the following…

Be aware that no two pet-owning homes are alike.

Dogs, cats, and other furry friends all become fiercely accustomed to the layout and elements of their home, and—just like us—they develop a routine and certain preferences for how things should go, from how and where they eat their dinner to when they need a nap. Be sure to pay attention to things like what kind of food (and how much!) they eat, what kind of food they can’t eat, and what their eating routines are like: do they need you in the room while they dine or does your furry charge like his or her space?

Stay attuned to their needs: exercise, play time, or simply providing space.

From breed to breed and pet to pet, the levels of necessary stimulation and rest (and everything in between) vary greatly. Err on the side of providing attention, affection, and opportunities for exercise—from runs and walks to dog parks and time with toys—but also pay attention to lags in energy and your charge’s need to rest alone and have some down time. One of the many wonderful things about four-legged friends is that they’ll usually tell you what they need via audible alerts and physical hints—listen to them!

Keep in frequent touch with your charges’ parents.

To a pet parent leaving their little four-legged loved ones behind for a night, a weekend, or longer, there’s nothing worse than having to wonder what their fur babies are up to. This is where you come in: keep the photo stream and text updates coming, because when it comes to their sweet cat or dog, there’s no such thing as spam. (Of course, to each their own, and this is not a hard and fast rule to be applied to all pet parents. If your clients indicate that they won’t be near their phones or want a quiet weekend free of electronic alerts, definitely back off the updates. In this, as in all cases, the best way to know is to ask.)

Always take a job you’re comfortable with.

If you come across a pet sitting request that asks you to tend to a cat or dog breed (or personality) that gives you any kind of anxiety that can’t be solved by asking further questions or having the right resources around, don’t take the job! This doesn’t make you a bad person or pet sitter, it means you have the right instincts to know that what’s best for the pet is a sitter who’s ready for anything.

robyn arouty