Caring for Your Pets: Why Exclusive Pet Sitting Access Matters.
Professional pet sitters are service providers who enter their clients' homes to provide essential care for pets and maintain the property while the owner/client is absent, whether for work or vacation. In many ways, they are similar to real estate agents, cleaning personnel, or any other service professionals who have access to a client's property for a specific purpose.
At Paskapoo Pet Services, we follow specific instructions regarding pet care, feeding, medication, and above all, maintaining a secure environment. Allowing additional individuals into the home (like a friend, neighbors, or another pet sitter) can potentially disrupt the smooth operation of the pet sitting service we are hired to provide, and not only compromise our safety, but also introduce unwarranted risks to the pets and home.
We really don't want that!
In this article, we will explore five compelling reasons why pet owners should not permit anyone other than their hired professional pet sitter into their home during their absence.
1. Liability Insurance Concerns
Most professional pet sitters (including us!) carry liability insurance to cover unforeseen accidents or incidents that may occur while they are taking care of your pets. Allowing house guests to enter your home can jeopardize the pet sitter's liability insurance coverage.
Insurance policies often have conditions, and introducing unauthorized individuals into the home may nullify their protection. This puts both you and your pet sitter at financial risk if an incident were to occur.
2. Security Compromises
House guests, well-intentioned as they may be, might forget to lock doors behind them or inadvertently let your pets escape. This can be a significant security concern.
In recent years, we've encountered a number of incidents that required us to report to our clients, placing us in challenging situations. These incidents have ranged from unlocked doors and rooms left open when they shouldn't have been, to running water taps, open toilet lids, muddy shoe prints, and even cases of cats accidentally getting trapped in closets.
3. Accusations of Theft
Innocent actions of your house guests, such as taking items or money out of your home, can inadvertently lead to the pet sitter being accused of theft.
Based on our experience, and in talking with other pet sitters who have found themselves in similar situations, we've observed that in most cases, missing items were taken by individuals known to the client, and who had accessed to their home.
Misunderstandings or misplaced trust can result in unfounded suspicions, potentially causing unnecessary stress and legal complications. By keeping your home exclusive to the pet sitter, you avoid the potential for such accusations.
4. Safety, Especially for Female Pet Sitters
Safety is of paramount concern, especially when considering female pet sitters. Allowing guests and third parties into your home during your absence can put your pet sitter, especially if they are a woman, in an uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situation.
While most encounters are typically harmless, walking into a client's home and finding unannounced guests can be an unsettling experience. These unexpected situations can sometimes escalate to harassment, sexual advances, and unsolicited comments from these house guests. Regrettably, we, along with many other pet sitters, have had to deal with such distressing incidents.
Depending on the circumstances, these encounters can be very frightening. While some scenarios may seem humorous initially, like discovering a nephew watching adult content in the living room or accidentally encountering an adult male exiting the shower as you're on your way to perform routine pet care tasks, the humor quickly fades when these encounters are unexpected.
Even though most clients genuinely believe that their family members, friends, or roommates would never pose a threat to their pet sitter or make them uncomfortable, unfortunate incidents can and do occur. All individuals, including pet sitters, have the right to feel safe while performing their work, and it's crucial to address and prevent such situations.
5. Pet Health Risks
House guests may have the best intentions, but they may inadvertently feed or medicate your pets without consulting you or the pet sitter. This can lead to confusion in your pet's care routine, causing harm or even death. Your pet sitter knows your pets' needs and routines, and introducing outsiders into the equation can lead to unintended consequences that could affect your pets' well-being.
A few years ago, we encountered a concerning incident involving a client's cat that required daily oral medication. In this particular case, a family member took it upon themselves to visit the client's home after their departure for vacation and administered the cat's medication without notifying us or leaving any written communication. Fortunately, as we arrived for our scheduled visit simultaneously with the family member's departure, we discovered that the cat had already received its medication. It's worth noting that had we arrived just five minutes later, the cat could have inadvertently received a double dose of medication, which could have had potentially fatal consequences!
Another incident that occurred involved a well-meaning neighbor who was taking it upon themselves to refill the cat's dishes between our visits without informing either us or the client. We initially believed that the cat was not eating, prompting us to schedule an emergency vet appointment, only for us to discover later that someone had been accessing the house without our knowledge and giving the cat a lot of extra food.
So, what should we do if having a house guest AND a pet sitter during your absence is inevitable?
Communication is Key
If a client must have a house guest or third party inside their home while a pet sitter is on duty, it's crucial to maintain open lines of communication. Inform the pet sitter in advance about the presence of another person in the home and provide details on when this will occur. This allows the pet sitter to be aware of any changes and prepare accordingly.
The client should make sure the house guest is aware of any specific quirks or behaviors exhibited by the pets. Whether your furry friend is known to escape, hide, or has special dietary or medical needs, communicating this information to the house guest helps them understand how to interact with the pets safely.
Handling Feeding and Medication
It's important to emphasize that the house guest should not engage in feeding or medicating your animals, unless explicitly instructed to do so by the client. There should also be a medication log available for all parties. This ensures that the pet's routine remains consistent and minimizes the risk of overfeeding or administering medication improperly.
Both the pet sitter and house guest should prioritize home security. The house guest should double-check that all doors and windows are securely locked when leaving the property.
Cleanliness and Respect
It's essential that the house guest is responsible for cleaning up after themselves.
When entrusting your pets and home to a professional pet sitter, it's crucial to prioritize their ability to do their job effectively and safely. Allowing house guests during your absence can compromise your pet sitter's liability insurance, security, and the safety of your home. It can lead to accusations of theft and even put the well-being of your pets at risk.
To ensure the best possible care for your furry companions, it's advisable to keep your home pet-sitter exclusive. In situations where having a house guest or third party in your home is unavoidable, clear communication and established guidelines are vital. In doing so, you'll provide peace of mind for both you and your pet sitter, ensuring a safe and secure environment for your beloved pets.