As experienced pet sitters, we develop a keen eye for little things and details that most pet owners do not always notice, or even realize. When we perform our pet sitting visits, we are naturally tending to your pets, but we also ensure we are familiar with the actual environment, and that the environment is safe for the pets living in it.
Here are some of the little things we often observe during our pet sitting visits.
Pet Weight Gain and Weight Loss
When pet owners are with their furry friends every day, they may not always notice significant weight changes immediately. Many owners are surprised when somebody else comments on their pets' weight changes! When we notice a worrisome change in weight for a pet under our care, it is our duty as pet care professionals to let their owners know. It is important for us to see our clients’ fur babies live long and healthy lives. If we mention that your pet seems chunkier or thinner than before, do not take it personally! There could be some new, or developing health issues that are going unnoticed. Sometimes a solution can be as simple as a change in pet food, but it could be more serious as well. Any changes in weight, gait, or skin and fur condition should be investigated by a veterinarian. If your pet sitter mentions it, their concerns are most likely valid.
Grooming and hygiene concerns.
Sometimes, we get caught up in our busy lives and forget to schedule things like grooming for the dog, or a nail trim for the cat or the bunny. Even guinea pigs can quickly develop painful matted fur! Your professional pet sitter will most likely notice when your pup has missed a few grooming sessions, or when your cat is not longer able to clean herself in certain spots. Once again, as we do not see our clients’ pets every day, changes are more noticeable when we meet them again, sometimes few weeks or months later. We will give you the heads up if we notice mats on your dog, or if your kitty or bunny has overgrown nails, and offer recommendations. After all, our dear pets also deserve a pet spa treatment from times to time, just like us!
Urine and Feces
A pet’s onsies and twosies tell us a whole lot when it comes to their health - we don’t just scoop a kitty’s litter box, or bag your puppy’s business and forget about it. As gross as it may sound, your pet’s “deposits” can tell us if there is any irregularity that could suggest a health issue. We look at the amount of waste and/or urine, the frequency of elimination, the texture, smell and look. If there are any unusual changes, it is our responsibility to inform our clients immediately, to ensure they are aware of their pet’s health in real time.
Every year, thousands of pets are injured, poisoned or even killed by everyday household hazards. Thankfully, there has been a lot of work done within the last few years to educate pet owners about the risks and dangers of some of the most common household items that seem normal to us, but represent a risk to our beloved animals.
With our busy lives, sometimes little things around us get missed or overlooked. As such, as an integral part of our pet sitting visits, we also take the time to have a quick look around our clients’ houses to make sure the environment remains safe during their absence.
We will look for toxic plants, or signs the animals are eating or chewing on plants. We will put food out of reach, especially when it comes to chocolate, candies, grapes and avocados. We will also put away elastics, strings, jewelry or small toy pieces. Even cat toys with long cords may represent a strangling risk for enthusiastic kitties! Finally, we will also put toilet seats down or completely restrict access to bathrooms in order to avoid any incidents such as drowning, for older cats and kitties.
Bonus: Home Damage and Unexpected House Guests
It is Murphy’s Law: if something is going to break down in a house, it will break down when the owner is away. Any pet sitter who has been working in this line of work long enough will agree with this statement!
Of course, you can trust your professional pet sitter to notice and report things like wind damage, break-in attempts, water in the basement, leaky appliances, smoke detectors chirping and furnace failure, among many other things.
Good pet sitters are also able to tell if someone has been inside the house in-between visits. It is these little details like a dusty footprint on the clean wood floor, an open closet door or the toilet seat back up that will give it away. It is always recommended to tell your pet sitter if someone is going to stop by to avoid unnecessary worry or the police being called – some will even have it in their policies, so be sure to read them fully.
And finally, pet sitters will also notice when paranormal activity is happening. But unlike everything else, we usually keep it to ourselves – you’ll have to ask your pets for the details. 😉
Written by Nina W. and Kathleen B. for Paskapoo Pet Services ©Paskapoo Pet Services, 2020