You always want to have your best friend with you at all times but sometimes you just can’t. Whether it’s travel for business or pleasure, have a trusted dog sitter watch over your family helps you relax more. See the tips below to help you find the right dog sitter for your family and find a dog sitter near you here.
Eco-friendly business practices have become an increasingly important element in the allurement of prospective clientele. As a pet-sitter, it is important you have knowledge of the most earth-friendly and pet-friendly commodities for your business venture. Make your pet-sitting business stand out from the rest, with the following eco-friendly practices and pet products:
Market your business in an eco-friendly way, without the unnecessary waste of paper materials. Many smartphone owners have a QR code scanner app on their phone. QR codes provide companies the efficient ability to link their physical marketing material with their online website. When a potential customer sees a QR code, they are able to scan it and access more information about the company or their product. Go one step beyond a photo-copied coffee-shop advertisement for your business and reduce your paper waste through the integration of a QR code that links with your website.
Payment & Instant Invoicing
Paper invoices are a waste of paper and mailing materials, which is not conducive for an eco-friendly business. Eliminate the headache of manual invoice composition and the waste of physical invoices, with an electronic invoice system. Conduct payment transfers through your mobile device, as a convenient service for your clients. For more information on the benefits of instant invoicing and mobile payments, Flint has an article that will guide you through this eco-friendly and efficient process.
Pet Treats & Food
Ensure your pet client receives the most eco-friendly treats, through provision of chemical and preservative-free, high-quality pet food. Many pet food brands will use low-grade waste meat — the discards from the beef and poultry conglomerates. These poor quality meat-based pet foods are made from the 4D’s — dead, dying, diseased, disabled animals. A pet who consumes low-grade meat will most likely encounter poor digestive tendencies and is at higher risk of illness or disease. Guide the owner toward pet foods that are FDA-certified, food-grade meat, and nutritionally beneficial for the pet. “Organic” is another certification of pet foods that are made of meats raised in a sustainable, humane environment. The organic food ensures the meat is raised without drugs or hormones, is minimally processed, and only preserved with natural supplements. Organic goes beyond the “FDA-certified, food-grade” meat, as there are stricter rules about the eco-friendly and humane treatment standards.
When you are the care-taker of a dog, use biodegradable dog-waste bags. Plastic bags are one of the worst culprits of landfill overflow– the decomposition of plastic bags ranges from 20 to 100 years. There are a wide range of biodegradable bags available for purchase at pet stores, like the BioBag at Petco. Steer clear of clay cat litter, as the clay in these litters are procured in non-eco-friendly ways, through strip-mining. Additionally, clay sediment is saturated with carcinogenic silica dust, which is harmful for the lungs of both you and the cat. The sodium bentonite found in clay clumping-litter can attach to the cat’s fur and may be ingested when the cat grooms itself. Sodium bentonite can swell up 15 to 18 times its dry size and will clog up the cat’s digestive system. Opt for a more eco-friendly cat litter, like one made from recycled newspaper, which is reportedly three times more absorbent than clay, non-toxic and dust-free.
No one wants to leave their dog at home when traveling, it’s like going without your best friend! Sometimes you have to though and when you do we like to our’s to be able to stay at home so we get a dog sitter. Dog sitters are great! Not only do your pets get to stay at home, you also get a house sitter and sometimes, with multiple dogs, it ends up being cheaper than boarding. When leaving though, always check the list below to make sure you left everything the dog sitter will need.
- Food – Always leave more food than the amount needed for the days you are away, you never know if you may be extended due to other circumstances.
- Food bowls – Make sure the food bowls, scoops and anything else needed is out for them to find.
- Medications – Leave out all the meds your dogs need along with exact instructions on how to give them and how often.
- Emergency Contact – You may not be available if an emergency happens. Always have a backup plan in place and let them know they are the backup plan.
- Toys – Make sure all your pup’s favorite toys are out. The dog sitter may not know where to get them.
- Crates – If your dogs are crate trained and that is their safe place, ensure that it is open and accessible.
- Treats – Ensure these are out but also ensure that you leave instructions about how and when you give them. Last thing you want is to come home to a dog that has been getting 10 treats an hour.
- Old towels – In case of accident, you don’t want your good towels used ;-)
- Poop bags – You know you want them to clean up!
- Your contact information and itenerary – This way your dog sitter knows where you at and when they can get in touch with you.
- Collar – Make sure your dog’s collar is on and that the contact information is readable just in case they get out.
As a frequent traveler I have to leave my pups at home a lot more than I would like to. Fortunately, my wife and I have been lucky enough to find some great dog sitters and house sitters to take care of our “kids” when we’re out. Unfortunately though, each sitter always forgets to do a couple of things that we think would take them from being a good dog sitter to a great dog sitter that we would promote more to all of our friends and family. Add these things to your list and you’ll win us over as clients for life!
- Check in each day with a text to let us know how things are going, nothing fancy, just let us know you’re really there.
Important though to remember that we’re traveling and may not be on the same time zone so don’t make it too early or late.
- Send a photo of the pups having fun or lounging around. It just takes a second and reinforces the fact that our pups are safe.
- Leave a note for uswhen we get home. It leaves your client with a warm and fuzzy to ensure they call you next time.
- Invest in Square, PayPal or other ways to take credit cards. Sure, cash is king, but after I see that note you just left I can’t leave a cash tip when you are gone.
- Create an email list and use a service like MailChimp to send out emails around the holidays to remind people to book your services before all of your time is taken. It doesn’t cost much and is easy to use.
- Create a small website. Use a service like Blogger, WordPress, WIX, etc. that is free. That way people can have your contact info and find you.
- Create a Facebook page and Twitter feed. It may seem useless to you, but it will help people find your site and give a place for your clients to say good things about you. When was the last time you bought something without a review? This will help you get them.
The bottoms line is that people’s dogs are their family. Just as when you are traveling without your wife or kids, you always like to hear from them or check in. With your pups, you can’t always do that so be there to help put our minds at ease. These tips will help you get more clients and help ensure that your current ones stay with you.
A DogGeek.com exclusive by Teresa Barker
There are so many details to plan for when going out of town on vacation. The one thing that you don’t want to have to worry about is whether or not your dogs are in capable, loving hands back at home. If you’ve decided that your dogs would be most comfortable at home while you’re gone, in their own environment, then you will be looking to hire a pet-sitter.
Here are a few considerations when looking for the perfect pet-sitter for your dogs. Use this list at least 2 months in advance of your vacation to avoid last-minute stress and frustration, and to make sure that your travel dates aren’t already taken by your first-pick candidate!
- Ask your friends for referrals.
While it might seem easy to pay your co-worker’s college-aged daughter to watch your dog, you will want to find a pet-sitter that isn’t “doing you a favor.” Ask all of your dog mom and dad friends who they use when they go away. Your vet and your locally owned pet supply store can also be a great place to seek referrals. If you are new to your area, check out our section right here at DogGeek.com for sitters in your area.
- Interview as many people as you can.
The initial meeting is a great time to “size-up” candidates. From personality to qualifications and experience, you will want to be comfortable with the person sleeping at your house and caring for your special loved ones. Ask questions! Whether he/she knows pet CPR, if they licensed and bonded, if they carry insurance, and how much they charge, are questions that will help you compare candidates based on what is most important to you.
- Ask for a list of references. Then call them!
This is a good step once you’ve narrowed your search down to a few candidates. Ask for details about the type of care that was provided to the referenced client. For example, did the pet-sitter provide overnight care for a series of days (live-in service) or just come by for feeding/watering/walking services? Also, ask about the details of the types of dogs the pet-sitter candidate cared for. Do the references have small or big dogs? More than 1 dog? Look for details in a pet-sitters experience that resemble your home environment.
- Arrange a home visit before you hire.
This is a good step in assessing your potential dog sitters’ ability to interact with your dogs. Does he/she seem confident and loving? Is he/she asking you questions that are important (emergency contacts, vet info, favorite toys, sleeping/eating schedule)? Most importantly, do your dogs like the potential candidate? Dogs are intuitive, so they will be able to read if someone genuinely likes them.
Leaving your dog while you are away on vacation can make a supposedly relaxing experience very stressful. You can reduce your anxiety by taking the time to hire a competent and experienced pet sitter to provide your dog the love and care it deserves and the piece of mind you need to enjoy your vacation!