Dog owner cleaning after his german shepherd

How Can I Have Friends Safely Watch My Dog?

Hiring a professional dog sitter for when you’re away from home can be expensive. Additionally, if your dog has specific needs or is hostile toward strangers, you may find that a dog sitter is not a good option for your situation.

Having friends watch your dog is an alternative to a professional pet sitter or kennel. It’s often the cheapest method. And, more than likely, your dog will already be familiar with and comfortable around the friend in question.

However, just because this may seem like the easiest option, you must still take the time to properly prepare. Exercise some caution when arranging things. Here’s how you can successfully have your friends safely watch your dog:

Acknowledge That Not All Friends Are Suitable Pet Sitters

beware the alcoholic pet sitter
beware the alcoholic pet sitter

People have busy lives. While it may seem fun to take care of someone’s dog for a while, many people don’t fully realize the time commitment and effort involved. Before you approach your friends to ask them, think carefully about who is both suitable and able to do it. The following tend not to be suitable for dog sitting:

  • Friends who work long or unpredictable hours.
  • Those with babies or people that they care for on a constant basis.
  • Friends who live too far away.
  • Friends who are unreliable in general. We all have them. However nice they are, it can leave you with major problems if they arrive late or cancel plans last-minute.

Be Honest About the Work Involved

When you’ve found the ideal friend to care for your dog, be honest about what’s actually involved so they’re fully prepared for what to expect. This includes essential information such as:

  • How often the dog needs to be walked and how far each walk.
  • Whether they can let your dog off the lead or not.
  • How often and when the dog needs feeding.
  • How much attention it requires daily.
  • Any aggressive or hostile tendencies and whether it’s safe around other people and other dogs.
  • How obedient it is and the essential commands it understands.
  • Any medication or special diet the dog requires.

Hold Introduction Sessions

It’s essential that your friend is familiar with the dog before they’re expected to look after it. It’s likely your friend already knows the dog but hasn’t yet spent any time alone with it.

Have your friend take the dog for a couple of walks and spend some one-on-one time with it. The dog needs to be comfortable with your friend and vice versa. Establish this properly before you go away.

Try to Keep the Dog in its Own Environment

sweet chocolate lab with a nice house sitter
sweet chocolate lab with a nice house sitter

This all depends on the temperament of your dog, but many are happiest in familiar surroundings. It’s quite common for a dog to be perfectly content at home with a house sitter, but a nervous, neurotic wreck when taken to a secondary environment, even if familiar.

This means it’s the least stressful for the dog if you have it stay in its own home while you’re away. Your dog can remain happy in its home while the friend comes and visits the dog daily or stays in your home for the duration. Of course, if you and your dog spend a lot of time at your friend’s house, it may be perfectly happy to spend the time away from home.

We recommend only leaving your dog in homes that have direct access to a yard or outside space. You know your dog best so you can decide the best solution in this situation.

Invest in Auto-Feeders

The ideal solution is to have your friend stay in your house while you’re away. However, this isn’t always practical or possible. If this is the case, then it’s a good idea to invest in auto-feeders and water fountains to ensure your dog can be fed even if your friend isn’t around. Ideally, there’s a dog run allows the dog to do his business.

This removes the panic if your friend can’t get to your house on time and keeps your dog happy and satiated. When your friend arrives to walk the dog, they can top up the feeders as necessary and give the dog fresh food as required.

Leave Detailed Lists

Even the most careful and conscientious friend can forget something. It’s essential that you write down everything that your dog needs. This includes:

  • The type of food the dog eats, how much and how often.
  • Walking times and distances.
  • Any medication requirements and instructions.
  • Any allergies and medical circumstances.
  • Things to be cautious of or keep the dog away from.
  • Anything the dog dislikes.
  • Typical daily routine.
  • Where and how often to go the toilet.
  • Veterinary contact details.
  • Emergency contact details.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Sometimes situations arise that can’t be helped. If your friend suddenly finds themselves in a position where they can no longer look after your dog, you will benefit from having a backup plan in place.

Having another friend on standby who can take over the care is the best plan. If this isn’t possible, then leave the contact details of local pet sitters or boarding kennels that could take your dog in an emergency.

While these may not be the most ideal situations, the crucial thing is that your dog can continue to receive the care it needs while your friend is indisposed.

Consider Other Options

While having a friend look after your dog is a great solution, there are other inexpensive options that you could consider. For example, having a house sitter stay in your house while you’re away will not only ensure your dog is cared for properly, they’ll also keep your home secure and look after other things, such as your garden and other pets.

House sitters work from home, so they’re always present to give your dog the attention it needs. Additionally, they’re experienced professionals who know how to act properly in an emergency. If you’re interested in house sitting as an option. Why not get in touch with Estate Sitting to find out more?

Your dog is an important family member. Planning for its care properly when you’re away will ensure you come home to a happy and content pooch.

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