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11 hacks for travelling with a dog

11 hacks for travelling with a dog

At one point or another, you may end up travelling with a dog (aka your best mate!). You don’t have to have trepidation about it as it can actually prove to be a great time for both you and your pooch.

In order to make things easier while you are travelling with a dog, you should utilise the following 11 travel hacks below 🥰

 

1. When travelling with a dog, bring a dryer sheet

Many dogs tend to get very nervous when it’s thundering and lightening outside. They often get scared because of static electricity builds up in their fur.

You can use a dryer sheet to calm them down.

Simply rub it over their fur to get rid of static electricity buildup. It’s a quick and easy way to calm them down when it’s stormy outside.

 

2. Book travel based on your dog’s schedule

It’s imperative that you book your travel at the right time. You don’t want to be taking off on a flight or starting a long car ride during the time of day when your dog has the most energy. This is why you should book your travel based on your dog’s schedule.

Try to make your travel plans for when you know he will be tired and want to nap. While there’s no guarantee that he will actually sleep, your travels will go a whole lot easier if he snoozes for at least part of it.

👉If your schedules don’t match up, have you considered engaging a pet and house sitter? Find out more

 

3. Pack a squeegee when travelling with a dog

Squeegees aren’t just for cleaning car windows. They can actually be very beneficial at cleaning up dog hair. You can use it to get up hair on carpets, furniture or beds.

 

4. Get the contact information for vets at your destination

Unfortunately, dogs can get sick or become injured when you are travelling. Because of this, you need to know where the nearest vet is. You don’t want to wait until there’s an emergency in order to find a vet.

Research vets at your destination beforehand. Reach out to them to make sure that they are taking new patients.

If they are, keep their contact information handy just in case you need it while you are at your destination.

how to travel with a dog

 

5. Strategise so that they’ll need to relieve themselves less on travel days

You probably don’t want to stop constantly so that your dog can relieve himself. Fortunately, there are some things that you can do so that he will need to go potty less.

Don’t feed him or give him water right before you walk out of the door. You may want to feed him or give him water so that he’s not hungry or thirsty, but he will just need to relieve himself at an inopportune time.

Try giving him something to eat or drink about an hour before you walk out of the door.

 

6. Use a pet carrier that has wheels

Carrying your dog around over long periods of time can be difficult. You can make it easier on yourself by getting a pet carrier that has wheels. This will allow you to safely navigate your way around a crowded airport without putting your dog’s safety in jeopardy. Just make sure that he is used to it well ahead of travel time.

Do a few practice runs in the weeks leading up to your vacation. In order to make it easier for him or her, put a favourite toy or blankets in it as well.

 

7. Bring an indoor potty system

There may be times where you can’t take your dog outside to relieve himself. This is where an indoor potty system can come in handy.

You can use it when your dog gets sick and needs somewhere to go pretty quickly. It also might be forbidden to let your dog relieve himself outside of your holiday destination, or you might find that it’s very rainy out and isn’t safe to take him outside.

No matter what the reason may be, he can use the indoor potty system to relieve himself. You won’t have to deal with accidents because there wasn’t a place to take him to do so.

 

8. Pack baking soda

Even dogs that have been potty trained for a long time can have accidents while travelling.

If your dog pees on a carpet, you can easily clean this up with a bit of baking soda. All you need to do is sprinkle it over the wet spot. In a few minutes it will absorb all of the urine.

 

9. Portion their food beforehand

You want to make sure that you pack the right amount of food for your dog. One way to do this is by portioning it before you travel.

Pack a day’s worth of food in a sealable bag. This will ensure that your dog gets the right amount of food, and you won’t have to travel with dog food that you won’t end up using.

travelling with a dog

 

10. Have an extra collar and leash

One of the most misplaced items when travelling is a collar or leash. This is why you need to have an extra of both. You don’t want to let your dog run around without a leash or collar, and there might not be a retailer near your hotel where you can purchase one.

 

11. Pack a can of chicken broth

Dogs can easily get upset tummies when they are travelling. If your dog just has a little bit of motion sickness, you don’t necessarily have to run to the vet.

Chicken broth can help soothe their stomach.

Place a little bit of it in his/her water to drink. Chicken broth is packed with nutrients, and it can make him feel better pretty quickly. Just make sure that you choose a chicken broth that’s low in sodium as too much salt isn’t good for dogs.

Travelling with your dog can prove to be a very enjoyable time for the both of you. If you will be travelling with your dog soon, make sure you utilise some of the travel hacks mentioned above. By doing so, you will ensure that both you and your dog have a great time no matter where in the world you go.

 

Got questions or other tips? Let us know in the comments.

Can’t take your pooch with you on holidays? Have a read about other options so they’re well cared for while you’re away 💕

 

 

House sitting Australia guide

House sitting Australia guide

In response to readers’ questions we’ve produced a house sitting Australia guide. While Cooper and I have our sitting experience in the UK and Europe (so far), we are Australian, and happy to offer insight into an incredible destination.

If you dream of spending time Down Under, house sitting in Australia is a great option. Here we’ll share with you options on what sites to use, and where to go in Australia as a house sitter.

Meet our Aussie animals while house sitting

 

What is house sitting?

House sitting is where you take care of someone else’s house – and often, pets – in exchange for free accommodation. Some people do get paid to house sit, but many do not. You can house and pet sit anywhere in the world, and it’s a great way to see new places and supplement accommodation costs.

You do need to take the ‘job’ seriously, especially if you’re taking care of pets. We always leave a property as we’ve found it, if not in better shape! Discover how we got started, and house sitting tips.

Sign up for our e-news for an exclusive FREE guide

You might end up in Melbourne while you're house sitting in Australia

 

Why house sitting in Australia?

House sitting Australia wide gives you a real chance to see our beautiful country. If you’ve ever tried to plan a trip to Aus, you’ll quickly have discovered how vast the country is. Also, for most people Australia is a long way to go – so you want to have a bit of time to stay and travel, if possible. With all that travel as an expense, house and pet sitting in Australia can save you money on accommodation. An added bonus is that you might end up discovering an amazing place that you wouldn’t have if you’d not been assigned a house sit there.

We find it’s a good idea to not get too attached to a particular outcome when applying for house sits. Don’t just aim for Sydney, for example. Search for what’s on offer in the State of New South Wales, and then you can travel to Sydney around your house sit.

Similarly, see what’s available in some of our other gorgeous big cities like Brisbane (such a GREAT place these days), and the Gold Coast in Queensland.

Travel visas to Australia can be granted for up to a year, and house sitting in Australia allows you to ‘go slow’ – take your time in a place, immerse yourself in the Aussie lifestyle. There’s no better travel experience than this, and house sitting gives you an economical way to do it.

House sitting is particularly great for not just retirees, but also for those who work for themselves, freelancers and digital nomads.

House sitting Australia guide

 

House sitting Australia – considerations

If you want to travel this way in Australia, a few important things you should consider:

Transport:

As mentioned, Australia is huge. Our cities can be spread out, and the space between towns and cities can be vast. How do you plan to get around when travelling in Australia? Will you be taking the bus or train long or short distances? Will you hire a car, or buy a cheap one? Access to your own transport options will determine where you go. It’s very hot here, sometimes you simply can’t hike for hours to get from one place to another. Plan your travel – and your house sitting commitments in Australia – accordingly.

Budget:

How much money do you want to spend while travelling in Australia? There are very expensive destination here, like Sydney. But if you head to lesser known towns or cities, you’ll find cheaper cost of living and travel options. Determine how long you’ll be here, where you want to go, and consider ways you can save or spend money.

When you’re on the ground in Australia, there are plenty of tour operators who advise those with a lower budget on bus or train deals for getting around. Smaller towns or cities like Cairns also offer visitors on a budget more deals for entertainment and excursions that won’t break the bank. Get on Aussie forums or ask questions of other Australians for advice and local tips before you travel.

Trip type:

We’ve got everything in Australia, from the city to beach, Outback, rainforest and desert. What would you like to see? Do your research and aim for house sits in destinations where your wanderlust can be quenched.

Remember – Australia is huge – so you’re best to place yourself in an area that’s in your heart to see. That said, there’s something to be said for being open to new experiences and surprises. I’ll leave that one with you.

House sitting Australia guide - do kangaroos really jump down the street

 

About Australia

There are six states in Australia:

  1. New South Wales
  2. Queensland
  3. South Australia
  4. Tasmania
  5. Victoria
  6. Western Australia

and two territories:

  1. Northern Territory
  2. Australian Capital Territory

 

At a glance

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is where our national capital, Canberra, is located, and it is the centre of government. New South Wales (NSW) is Australia’s most populated state, and our oldest. This is where Australia was originally settled by the British, as a penal colony on the shores of Port Jackson where Sydney now thrives as the country’s largest city. Our home state, Queensland (QLD) is Australia’s second-largest (in size). Here you’ll find the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, unique rainforests and extraordinary islands. You’ll love Queensland – and our capital Brisbane – if you enjoy warm weather, outdoor and water activities.

On the other side of the country from Queensland is Western Australia (WA), Australia’s largest state. Here you can explore vast deserts and secluded, sublime coastlines – miles and miles of untouched serenity. The state’s capital is Perth, a popular destination for travellers from all over the world.

Victoria (VIC) is the smallest of the mainland states in size but is home to Australia’s second most populated (but arguably coolest) city, Melbourne. Fashion, art, coffee and culture – Melbourne has it all, and all visitors love it! This lovely state is full of beautiful coastal and country scenery too.

Wine lovers, head to South Australia (SA) in the southern central part of the country. Adelaide, the capital city, is a foodie paradise, and a great base for exploring surrounding wineries, the Flinders Ranges and wilderness hotspot Kangaroo Island.

At the top of Australia, you’ll find the Northern Territory (NT). Darwin, on the northern coast and Alice Springs further inland, are the most well-known destinations up here. You will have heard of the famous rock, Uluru too – it’s here, at almost Australia’s geographical centre.

From the top to the bottom of Australia – discover beautiful Tasmania (TAS) which is separated from the mainland by the Bass Strait. Tasmania’s capital, Hobart, was founded in 1804 as a penal colony, and is Australia’s second oldest capital city after Sydney.

 

👉Find out more about Australia’s states and territories.

House sitting Australia guide - the real experience

 

Top sites to try if house sitting Australia is on your travel bucket list

There’s a number of options you can try if you’re looking for house sitting jobs in Australia (or if you’re looking for house sitters), but the top sites we know of are:

  1. TrustedHousesitters is who we book our house sits through.
  2. Mindahome
  3. Aussie housesitters
  4. Housesitters.com.au
  5. Happy housesitters
  6. Mad Paws

 

👉Find out more in our video guides

 

Our advice on what to look for in house sitting sites:

We have been house and pet sitting for about six months now, and plan to do more. But we did our research for at least a year before deciding to sign up for a service. In my experience, here’s how I recommend you assess a site before planning your dream trip (to make sure it IS a dream trip).

Professional look and brand feel:

This might be stating the obvious, but there’s no excuse for a lazy website these days. Look for professional design and easy user experience. I believe it shows care and that there’s likely to be a team of professionals behind the brand. I’d also be looking to see how easy it is to find basics like FAQs, details on how your details and security is managed.

Website videos, testimonials and social media:

If you’re ready to take the next step and commit to a house sitting site, whether you want to travel to Australia or elsewhere, delve deeper to see what you can find. Are there videos the brand has produced to show what they do and how far they reach?

Another simple tip is to take a look at how they present on social media – are there recent posts, reviews, a presence, even? This all goes a long way to show the legitimacy of the brand, its offering, and the people using its service.

House sitting Australia guide - stay in Sydney

 

You get what you pay for:

I come across a lot of ‘forum’ looking sites, or ‘shout outs’ on Facebook. If you’re going to negotiate with a stranger online for a free deal, good luck to you. A lot of people have mentioned to us that they were considering putting a call out on Facebook, for example, or applying for jobs they’d seen on there or a free site.

All because they don’t want to pay a subscription fee. In my opinion this is highly risky – you could end up anywhere!

Look at reviews on sitters and house sits:

If you go down the route of paying for a service, which I highly recommend for your own security, take the opportunity to look at reviews. Just like you would on Airbnb or Tripadvisor, you can gain a lot of insight be looking at what people have written about a house sit, or a sitter. If there are gaps, that may be a sign you should take too.

And please don’t forget the old rule: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!

Subscribe to the service’s e-news:

If you’re interested in house sitting Australia or internationally, and you’ve identified a service to use, sign up for their e-news. This call to action should be easy to find on their website, and their newsletters will give you more insight into how active the brand and its users are!

Paid vs free

I’ve found a few sites that are either totally free or that charge sitters but not home owners. This doesn’t sit so well with me. House sitters should have the same protection as home owners, and in my opinion I think if both parties are willing to pay for a service then that for the most part legitimises those services.

Paid services usually mean more security checks too, on home owners and house sitters. Nothing’s ever perfect, but you can set yourself up for the best chance at an awesome experience. Invest the time and a little money into this – we believe it’s worth it.

 

If you have other views or questions, do let us know in the comments. Or better yet, join our dedicated house sitting group on Facebook – join here

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world- subscribe right here for our free info series

 

 

 

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt (and ‘must dos’ for YOU)

It’s been over six months since we set off on our house sitting UK adventure. We’ve explored terrific destinations in the UK through house sitting, including London, Northampton, the Cotswolds, Bedfordshire and soon Devon and the Sussex coast.

We’ve loved house sitting in the UK, and we’ve also been to Malta, France and Ireland.

House sitting UK: 6 lessons learnt

Leave the toilet seat down!

You hear stories about dogs drinking out of the toilet, right? One night we were sound asleep but awoken at 1am.

“Can you hear a noise, is that an intruder?” I asked panicked (but still tucked into bed)

“I’m not sure… do you think I should check?” asks Cooper, as we hear again… what is that?

“Slurp, slurp, slurp…” 😆

Our beautiful shepherd, Luna, couldn’t be bothered going downstairs to her bowl. Our lesson? Close the toilet lid! It’s true – dogs DO drink from the toilet.

Luna in Northampton on our dog sit where we learnt a house and pet sitting lesson...

Never forget poo bags

We find poo bags in all or pockets now. It’s pretty funny. The bags always come in handy, of course. But what about the one occasion you forget to take them?

In Northampton we had simply popped out to the corner store. When I was inside gathering supplies, Cooper was walking Luna (pictured above) around the block and having a little play with her. You guessed it – she chose this very time to do her business.

And it was no small matter!

Cooper scrounged around to find cardboard and resources to clean up after Luna, but it wasn’t pretty, oh no.

Hence, poo bags in every pocket since that time.

 

Watch what your dog eats

I’m sorry, this seems to have turned into a post about toilets and dogs’ business. You see, we took care of another gorgeous pup, Teal. A Springer Spaniel – about the best behaved and most affectionate creature you’d ever meet. But Teal has a secret.

Teal eats poo. In the depths of fields around the Cotswolds, this innocent pooch will grab a ‘snack’ the second you turn away. At first I thought Cooper was exaggerating because he spotted this, er, behaviour first. I didn’t believe him. Not our lovely Teal.

However, when I turned around after being engaged in conversation with a fellow dog walker, I saw it. Oh Teal. Perhaps he needed some nutrients that are in there?

Whatever the case, we were reminded that dogs are like kids. Keep an eye on them at all times 🐶

 

👉Find out how we got started pet sitting in London

Be mindful of how you’re using treats

We took care of a precious little old man called Monty. He was such a beautiful old soul. A 15 year old Jack Russell, for the most part he was super easy to look after. Except he suffered major senior separation anxiety.

When we arrived he seemed ok, but once his parents left he wouldn’t leave his bed or hid under theirs. It broke our hearts. We kept an eye on him over the 12 hours to come, and we even called TrustedHousesitters pet line for guidance to make sure we were doing all the right things, which we were.

For anxiety, we’ve discovered we need to give dogs in this scenario their space. It’s beneficial for them to be in their own home. If they are not sleeping or eating, then you should contact a vet. One thing we had going for us was that Monty liked his food. We used this to try and coax him to love us 💖 We even got him downstairs by laying out a cheese trail – his favourite treat.

After a while though, we realised we were using treats in the wrong way – we were reinforcing his behaviour to stay in his bed or hide from us. We’d give him treats for it! Instead, we switched it around – gave him treats for coming to us and we got him outside on walks which cheered him right up. Our lesson: consider what kind of behaviour you’re rewarding with treats, or are you giving them to make you feel better?

We’ve shared more on this in our video guides 👇

 

Close doors and check where your pets can go

House sitting in the UK brought many lessons our way. When we took care of Blue, a senior Lurcher doggie in London, we’d been told where in the house he could go. It was pretty much everywhere except the bedrooms. What we didn’t realise is that’s exactly where he’d try to go. Some of the door handles weren’t shut properly and we discovered this after he went missing twice. Blue managed to break into the rooms, have a nap on his siblings’ beds but then got locked in, bless him!

Our Luna in Northampton was known to break into the fridge and eat all the meat, so we had to lock the door to the kitchen if we went out. Luna’s also actually unlocked the front door to go in search of her family 💕 So, we needed to deadbolt it for her own safety from the busy street outside.

A special mention must go to Harley in Dublin who knew how to follow you into the toilet, jump up on the sink and drink water while you wash your hands. His mum said that is entirely his father’s fault for teaching him 🤣

 

Learn to share your personal space

 

 

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Polly and Darcy ☝ haven’t been the only babies to want in on our private space. Pretty much all dogs and cats, once they get to know you, will want to be with you – or on top of you, in bed with you…

But you know what – that’s the bit we love the most. If you don’t, then this gig probably isn’t for you.

 

 

Find out more practical tips about house and pet sitting as you travel the world: subscribe to our newsletter for a FREE guide on how you can travel the world house and pet sitting. 

And of course – questions/comments are appreciated below 😸

 

 

House sitting Gold Coast – a surfers state of mind

House sitting Gold Coast – a surfers state of mind

House sitting on the Gold Coast is for many a total Aussie beach-side dream! The Gold Coast is a place Cooper and I consider home – let us show you how to experience it too.

The city is beautiful with many different waterfront suburbs you can explore. If you’re coming to Australia, don’t skip Queensland, how regrettable.

Here’s a quick guide to house sitting Gold Coast and why you might want to apply to come here now!

House sitting Gold Coast – where to start

We’ve been booking our house sits around the world with TrustedHousesitters and we’ve had a wonderful experience so far. It’s taken us to different parts of the UK and Europe.

And you can come to Australia too!

Find out how we got started with house sitting.

 

 

How to get house and pet sitting jobs

Scoring house and pet sitting jobs can be competitive. But with a little bit of strategy you’ll be on the right track and headed for your dream destination in no time.

Here’s our top tips to get you started:

 

We’ve also produced a guide to dog care if you’re keen to take care of fur babies, like we are. Have a read here

 

House sitting Gold Coast

 

About the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast offers you the best of beach side paradise and also Hinterland rainforest. There’s plenty to see and do on the Gold Coast. Learn to surf, go shopping, people-watch while enjoying a coffee. Gold Coasters enjoy an active lifestyle, so if you enjoy the outdoors, this might be the place for you. To find out more about what’s going on in Australia’s sixth largest (and one of its fastest growing) cities, have a read of local magazine, Get it

Capital city Brisbane is just up the road. Here’s a snap shot on how to house sit in Brissy too.

 

Where to stay on the Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is an aspirational destination and there’s no doubt you’ll love it. Sandy white beaches, cool restaurants and plenty to see and do – you’re spoilt for choice. Transport links have improved vastly over the past five years too, but some areas are still not that well connected.

If you do not have a car I’d suggest basing yourself somewhere along the new tram line that runs from Helensvale into Surfers Paradise. Or, along the train line that runs between Brisbane, Helensvale and Coolangatta.

Our favourite suburbs on the Gold Coast include Coolangatta, Burleigh, Varsity Lakes, Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise and Nobbys Beach.

Find out more about what to do on the Gold Coast.

 

Before committing to a sit, ask a few questions like:

a) Is the house sit in the city, or outside of the Gold Coast? What suburb are they in?

b) What are your nearest transport links, how long does it take to get to your nearest shopping centre, beach or central area with things to do; and how much does that cost?

c) If you don’t have a car, how easy is it to get groceries?

d) Where would you take your dogs to play (if you’re caring for dogs)?

e) What is there to do in the area if you want to go exploring?

f) If you need to work while you’re house sitting like we do, what’s the internet connection like?

If the answers to these questions satisfy your needs, you’re likely to be good to go. That said, any reservations (in particular if you’re without transport), be mindful about where you are signing up for. Don’t get stuck somewhere that’s difficult to get around.

You may like to walk places, but also remember Australia gets HOT, so an hour’s walk somewhere might not be viable.

 

Always check reviews on a house sit if there are any. And do please feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you would like any advice.

 

 

House sitting Brisbane – live in the Sunshine State!

House sitting Brisbane – live in the Sunshine State!

House sitting in Brisbane is a wonderful way to get acquainted with Queensland’s beautiful capital city. Cooper and I lived here a long time ago, and I went to Uni here. The city has really grown up since then. Don’t skip Queensland if you’re coming to Australia, whatever you do 🌞

Here’s a quick guide to house sitting Brisbane and how to make it work for you.

House sitting in Brisbane – where to start

We’ve been booking our house sits around the world with TrustedHousesitters and have had a wonderful experience so far. It’s taken us to different parts of the UK and Europe.

And you can come to Australia too!

Find out how we got started with house sitting.

 

 

How to get house and pet sitting jobs

This business is competitive, but if you are armed with a strategy, you’ll be booking house sits in no time.

A side note: most sits do not pay. This is an exchange for free accommodation in return for you looking after pets and homes as if they are your own.

Top tips to get you started:

 

👉Our guide to dog care might be of interest to you too. Have a read here

 

House sitting Brisbane - live in the Sunshine State!

About Brisbane

Brisbane doesn’t disappoint. It’s a contemporary city that sprawls along the beautiful Brisbane river.

The city is stylish and pretty. It’s brimming with great shopping, restaurants, theatre, shows, and fitness options too. We love walking all the way along the river – there are now dedicated pathways you can take around the city. It’s our favourite way to spend time.

Find out more about what’s on in Brisbane.

The nearest beaches are on the Gold Coast – you can also look for house sits there!

 

Where to stay in Brisbane

Brisbane is spread out. It’s a capital city though, and as such, the transport links are decent if you don’t have a car. The buses and trains aren’t as frequent as some places in the UK or Europe, but that’s to be expected.

Our favourite suburbs in Brisbane would be those in the inner city. If you’re lucky enough to find something within walking distance of the river, or Southbank, you’d be set. But, Brisbane is a lovely, interesting and multicultural city where you can make a home just about anywhere.

 

House and pet sits can be almost anywhere in a city. We’d suggest asking a few questions first:

a) Is the house sit in the city, or outside of Brisbane? What suburb are they in?

b) What are your nearest transport links, how long does it take to get to your nearest shopping centre or Brisbane city, and how much does it cost?

c) If you don’t have a car, how easy is it to get groceries?

d) Where would you take your dogs to play (if you’re caring for dogs)?

e) What is there to do in the area if you want to go exploring?

f) If you need to work while you’re house sitting like we do, what’s the internet connection like?

If the answers to these questions satisfy your needs, you’re likely to be good to go. That said, any reservations (in particular if you’re without transport), be mindful about where you are signing up for. Find yourself a house sit where it’s easy to get around both the area and city.

Always check reviews on a house sit if there are any. And do please feel free to drop us a line in the comments if you would like any advice.

 

 

In home pet boarding: sitter’s guide to dog care

In home pet boarding: sitter’s guide to dog care

Give your dog the best life when you go on a holiday – in home pet boarding is so easy! Following is a guide to how a sitter will take care of all of your dog’s needs, and how you can make this happen in time for your next travel trip.

In home pet boarding – what is it?

Cooper and I are currently on a ‘slow travel’ trip around the UK and Europe. We started house and dog sitting in London. Those city sits were short sits, and now we’re on a journey of a series of long sits that started in Northampton, have taken us to Ireland and soon France and Malta. You’ll see from our content that we are big dog people. The same goes for most of those signed up to a reputable in home pet boarding service like TrustedHousesitters.

If you can’t travel with your pooch to a pet hotel or utilise any other pet care travel options, a house sitting service may be for you.

In home pet boarding means that your pets can stay in their own environment while you’re away. Research shows this is far better for their wellbeing and state of mind. And, there’s no shortage of ‘animal people’ who are happy to visit your place, stay and take care of the fur babies.

It’s cheaper than you might think too. Most sites charge a fee per year which allows for background checks on home owners and sitters, and for the running of a site that helps us find good matches.

 

Special needs? No worries

Over the past few months we’ve learnt a LOT about different dogs and their needs. We’ll admit, we have been a bit surprised by the range of personalities we’ve met.

 

 

It’s been such a great experience to meet home owners and facilitate in home pet boarding for gorgeous dogs. We’ve got some insights to share, to show how seriously pet sitters take our jobs.

The range of needs taken care of by us as house and pet sit includes:

Anxiety

Many poor little dogs have anxiety. This may present through persistent barking (no, they’re not necessarily just being naughty!), fearful behaviours like retreating or tail between the legs.

We’ve experienced a range of dog anxiety, and it’s important that pet owners and sitters communicate any known needs or concerns. As our experience grows, we understand it’s really important to nurture dogs like kids. Reward them for good behaviour, and don’t write off defensive behaviour (like barking at another dog) automatically as a dog misbehaving. Sometimes it’s a protection mechanism. We take treats on walks with us and do whatever we can to ensure our dogs feel loved and safe.

Diets

Cooper and I understand it’s very important to respect the requests of pet owners, especially when it comes to their diet. Many pups are on a diet for their own health reasons. This may mean eating certain foods at a particular time of the day. We always abide by this, for the wellbeing of our fur babies.

Again, communication is critical. As a pet owner, write instructions down but discuss face to face if possible.

Medication

Another really important one. A fave pup of ours in the Cotswolds has been through a hip operation and has a heart murmur. He’s on specific medication three times a day. His mum was very helpful and thorough, sorting his medication into pill containers and also leaving us instructions and talking us through it.

As a sitter, we should be prepared to administer medication. We are experienced with dogs including our own, and know the drill, so we get on with it. You should be able to rely on your sitter to take good care of your pets, even if medication is required. We have a duty of care to them. (and it’s all totally fine by us)

Age (and associated abilities or health care requirements)

Cooper and I have had one instance where we looked after an old gentleman who suffered severe separation anxiety. This is normal for older dogs, although it was distressing to see him so upset.

Our strategy involved giving him ample time to himself, making sure he was eating and sleeping, and taking him out for walks when he got used to us. We did actually call the TrustedHousesitters advice line to ensure we were doing all the right things, which we were. Sometimes there’s no way around a dog being apprehensive. But, we know to give him/her space and still be around so they’re not alone. Of course, if sickness, trembling, no sleep or no eating kicks in, it’s time to contact the vet or emergency details left by the home owner.

In this instance, our little man’s parents were aware of his anxiety and had already taken him to the vet about it. They had also warned us he might struggle. We stayed in constant contact with them to keep them updated, and after a few days he did settle with us.

As far as other age-related issues go, always discuss how far a dog can or wants to walk each day, and what their overall abilities are like – how is their hearing or sight, for example?

 

Exercise and rehab

The same little man we took care of who needs his meds three times a day also needs rehab for his hip. This was a really rewarding experience for Cooper and I. The doggie’s mum went through five sets of exercises we needed to do with him, including a circuit in his back yard, leg lifts (like shaking his paw), and balancing activities.

This dog was so good and so diligent and we happily obliged.

Routine

They say routine is just as important for dogs as it is kids, and we’d agree (especially Cooper, a teacher by trade). Leave thorough instructions for your sitter as to what your pet’s routine is. If possible, chat through in person. Usually the dogs tell us when it’s time for their walk or dinner! But, it’s good to know what their usual day looks like, so it can be continued while their family is away.

Sight or hearing loss

Ok, so some pups have ‘selective’ hearing loss, we know that well! But others, particularly ageing dogs, start to lose some of their sight and hearing. This can lead to anxiety, or fright if they don’t know we’re around.

We have learnt to make sure we make noise or vibrations on the floor so as not to startle a pooch whose hearing is going. Similarly, we will ensure they see us properly. It can be hard enough with their parents gone – we make every effort to help them through and accommodate any special needs.

‘Personality differences’ between dogs

This is a classic that you’re likely to see on the street. Some dogs, like people, just don’t get along. Always make sure that any personality quirks are discussed between sitters and pet owners. One of our pup’s parent’s gave us a heads-up that their cute dog wouldn’t be behind the door at getting into a bit of an argument with others. They were right 😂 But we knew, and managed it. Again, communication and being up front about your dog’s personality is key, for their own wellbeing and bespoke care a sitter can offer.

 

As a home owner or pet sitter, do you have questions or tips to add? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.