There are many things that can happen when a friend and not a professional pet sitter are watching your dog. Your dog could get sick, run out of the house into the road, eat something toxic, etc. Read below to learn what to look for if you are choosing to have a friend to watch your dog.
Communication is key and is probably the most important aspect to consider. First and foremost is your friend reliable and trustworthy? When they say they are going to do something do they follow through? Are they good at listening and following instructions from you? Is it easy for them to communicate with you if something goes wrong? These questions are key so that you know that your friend will not subject your dog to dangerous situation by not following your directions. Also if it is easy for them to tell you that your dog got injured then emergency care will be easier to create for your dog in the moment of an injury.
Is your friend a dog person? If the answer is yes then they might know the basics of dog care. If they are not then be clear about the following: exercise, feeding time and proportions, keeping food off the counter, covering trash cans, how to give medication, leash walking, etc. They may not be a good candidate to walk your dog off leash. Common sense to us is not common sense to a non-dog person. Also communicate foods that are toxic for dogs: raisins, onions, avocado, garlic in large quantities, chocolate, etc.
If your friend is not familiar with dog care a trial time might be needed. You can have them watch the dog for one day. Having you friend come with you on frequent dog walks can be highly beneficial as well.
A few more tips:
Of course make sure that your friend understands that your dog is to be kept inside.
Also, if your dog has any medical conditions, give very specific instructions about medication dosage, how to give your dog medication and activity restrictions, etc.
Making sure your friend has emergency contact info of another dog friend and of course vet information.
With the holidays being here having friends watch our dogs can be beneficial. Make sure you are creating a good choice. If you can’t find someone responsible leave your dog at a boarding facility such as Animal Medical Clinic, the Titanic’s Toy Hilton, or Coddled Critters.
Johanna Teresi, Professional Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC