December 3, 2022

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Four things you need to know before hiring a dog walker or sitter

Leaving your dog can cause a lot of anxiety and guilt but there might be times you need someone else to look after or even walk them.

Whether it’s your wedding, jetting off on a luxurious holiday or going on a work trip, it can be hard knowing you’ve got to leave your beloved pet behind.

Another factor is finding someone you trust to look after them, so a pet sitter or dog walker could be a valuable solution but how do you know they are right for you and your pet?

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TeamDogs teamed up with two of Liverpool’s most trusted pet carers to create the ultimate guide to picking the perfect dog sitter for your pooch, reports the Liverpool Echo.

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Meet your sitter or walker first

According to Liverpool-based dog sitter, Catie Leighton, you should meet potential sitters and walkers to get to know them before leaving your dog with them.

She said: “Get them to come and visit first, I always recommend that, as much for them as for me.”

Catie, who founded her pet sitting business, Sunnydays, in 2013, says trust plays a huge part when considering a sitter.

“Most of my work involves going into people’s houses, so trust is really important,” she explained.

Make sure your sitter is insured

Most professional dog-walkers and sitters should have insurance.

You should ask to see your sitters insurance certificate, criminal record check certificate if they hold one and local authority licence for home boarding, according to NARPS, the national association of Pet sitters and dog walkers in the UK.

They also advised that doing this it will ensure the pet sitters certificates are up to date and correct.

Caite added: “It’s a good idea to check whether your sitter or walker is covered. It’s unlikely anything will go wrong, but if they’re paying for insurance, you’ll know they’re serious about what they do.”

Homeward Bound’s Katie, with Scottish Deerhound Finn
Katie with Scottish Deerhound Finn

Find out if your pet will be walking with other dogs and how many

Everyone has sympathetically watched a dog-walker being dragged through the park by a pack of excitable dogs, so you need to consider whether your pup might prefer being walked alone or in a smaller group.

Professional dog walker Katie van der Woude, founder of Homeward Bound Pets in Liverpool, often walks one pet at a time. She claims it is safer for both the walker and the dog.

Katie explained: “Our main thing is safety, so we don’t do the big dog walks that you normally see. We either do one on one, or two together if they live close by and are a good match,” she says. “We like to focus on making sure the dogs are getting exactly what they need.”

Think about having a pet sitter stay overnight

When you head off on holiday, it can be fairly traumatic and upsetting for your pet who gets left behind.

Katie claims that having a dog-sitter stay at your home helps lessen the shock, in comparison to putting them in kennels – which could make them more distressed.

She added: “A homestay means they’re going through as little change as possible.”

Homeward Bound’s Katie knows exactly how to reassure her clients’ while she is looking after their dogs.

She advises: “We send pictures and videos during the day, so they know their dogs are having a good time while they’re working.”

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