Owning a pet with a disability is rewarding yet challenging. One of the more difficult areas surrounds situations where you need to travel. There’s certainly a growing number of dog-friendly hotels available. Nevertheless, you may not always have access to these. Indeed, your reason for traveling may mean you can’t provide your dog with the level of care they need at all times.
You might find you’re a little reluctant to utilize a kennel for a significant length of time. This is understandable, as they may not be able to provide the specialist care you want. In this case, your primary option is to look for an appropriate pet sitter. This in itself is a challenge.
We will run through a handful of key aspects of finding a pet sitter for your dog with a disability.
The first step is to confirm what your pet’s needs are. Finding the appropriate sitter is more difficult if you don’t have clarity here. It also gives you a solid list of requirements you can provide to the potential sitter. This also allows them to assess whether they’re the right choice for your dog. In essence, it keeps everybody on the same page, which benefits you, your dog, and the sitter.
Your considerations here should include:
Maintaining a routine is an essential part of caring for a disabled dog. When there are disruptions here, your dog might experience stress in addition to the stress related to your absence. Your schedule likely includes walking, meal times, and perhaps access to your yard for additional exercise. A dog with a disability might also have specific times for medication, physiotherapy activities, or veterinarian appointments. Be clear on the schedule your dog and their sitter need to keep throughout your time away.
Depending on your dog’s age and medical needs, they might have some special dietary requirements. Be as specific as possible here. Fixing your dog’s food may be a matter of muscle memory for you now, but it won’t be for the sitter. This should include how many times a day you feed your dog, the amounts and types of food you give them at each stage, alongside any supplements you add.
Dogs with disabilities often have some specific exercise requirements. Clarify what types of exercise are suitable for your dog. If your pet has mobility challenges, it can be wise to write down appropriate terrain and length of walk to ensure they don’t experience injuries. You should also detail any socialization elements, like if they tend to get distressed around more rambunctious animals.
Knowing what makes a good pet sitter for a disabled dog can be difficult. Unfortunately, you can’t expect them to have the deeply personal knowledge of your dog that you have. At the same time, simply finding the most popular dog sitting service isn’t necessarily going to offer the best care for your dog. You need to prioritize reviewing sitters with the right skills and experience.
This may be finding someone who has spent time working with animals with disabilities on a professional level. Even if they haven’t worked with dogs with the same needs as yours, you can be relatively certain they understand the commitment required to care for them. Don’t be afraid to ask individual sitters or services for details of their previous experience sitting for dogs with disabilities.
At the same time, skills and experience don’t have to be limited to professionals. This can be a good start if you have friends or family your dog is familiar with. You may be able to spend the weeks leading up to your departure giving some training in the skills required to care for your dog. This also allows your dog to the sitter to be part of the daily routine.
Remember that your neighbors can be valuable in ensuring your dog gets the care they need. Forging close friendships with neighbors tends to create a strong sense of community. You’ll usually find that everyone is keen to keep one another safe and happy. When crises or just periods of difficulty arise, your neighbors can be there to offer support. This can take a variety of forms when it comes to finding a dog sitter.
Your neighbors may be able to spread the word among their network about your needs. This can help you to more effectively locate potential sitters. Some of them might also be willing to share the care duties personally. This might involve collaborating on creating a schedule to spread the workload around your close neighborhood.
Even if you choose a professional service, your neighbors can be a valuable resource. You can provide a neighbor with a spare key in case your dog is in distress at times the sitter isn’t around. It’s also vital to provide a neighbor’s contact details to the sitter. This way, if the sitter is unable to spend time with you or there’s an emergency, there’s someone available to step in.
Safety and security should be among the key considerations when looking for a pet sitter. Trust is a massive part of sitting for a dog with a disability. It isn’t just that you need to be confident they can effectively perform the tasks at hand. You also need to be clear they will keep your home and pet safe from threats.
Your pet sitter will potentially enter and leave your home a few times a day. If they forget to lock the door and close any windows they’ve opened, your house and pet could be at risk. The same goes for turning off any appliances they use that might start fires or cause leaks if left on and unattended. It’s essential to confirm the individual or service you use has strict procedures for checking the safety and security of the home during each visit.
There are also various measures you can put in place to ensure the security of your home and pet while you’re away. Alongside the basics of locking your doors and windows, you can install an audio/video monitoring system. This does more than deter intruders. It also allows you to view how your dog is doing remotely. You can also check that your sitter is visiting as planned and performing the required tasks. This could be an additional source of peace of mind while you’re away.
Finding a pet sitter for a dog with a disability can be challenging. It’s important to take the time to clarify your needs so you can direct your search more effectively. This also sets clear standards for potential sitters.
While popular companies may seem like an easy choice, you should prioritize those with the appropriate skills for your dog’s specific needs. Remember that your neighbors can be a valuable source of assistance in times of crisis. You should also set strong security protocols for your sitter and home. While this process can take some focused planning, it ensures your pet will get the best care for the time you’re away.