Eight reasons a pet sitter or dog walker might be right for your furry family member

While you are busy working, running the kids to their activities and picking up groceries on the way home, there’s one member of the family who isn’t getting any playtime — your pet. With increasingly busy lives, we are spending more and more time away from home, and sometimes that means more time away from our four-legged friends.

While doggie daycares and kennels can be a good option for some, others who want more personalized care for their pets might consider a pet sitter or dog walker. Daniela Price, owner of Ease My Mind Pet & House Sitting in Killeen, said having in-home care can be beneficial to both pet and owner.

Here are some reasons why you might consider choosing a pet sitter or dog walker for your furry family member.

1. No packing

“Having a pet sitter is very convenient for pet owners because they don’t have to pack up their pet’s belongings and take them to a boarding facility,” Price said. “They can keep them at home and the pet can stay in almost the same routine as when the pet owner is there.”

2. Less anxiety

Many pets develop anxiety about staying in a boarding facility, especially if they once lived in an institutional setting.

“When you have a rescue animal or an animal you got from a shelter, and they had a previously bad experience, they could associate boarding with shelter life,” she said. “Staying at home relieves that to a large degree.”

Price said even cats need human interaction to improve their mental well-being.

“Although they are independent, cats still need to know someone is there,” she said.

3. Catch sickness early

If you are working 12-hour shifts and don’t have time to check on your dog or cat during the day, then you might be missing signs of illness.

“Animals are sometimes so stoic that if they do come down with something or become ill, it will be too late by the time your recognize it.”

Pet sitters, such as those who work for Ease My Mind Pet & Home Sitters, are with animals several times a day, assessing their health. Price tells her clients up front that she requires each sitter to visit at least once a day for cats and twice a day for dogs in order to prevent injury and scope out illness.

“Even if they have access to the backyard while their owners are gone, things can happen,” she said. “They could be bitten by a rattlesnake or find their way through a fence, putting them in danger.”

4. Safety for your home

Because the pet sitter will be their several times a day taking care of your pet, they will also have the opportunity to check on your home and make sure everything is safe and secure.

“If you have in-home care like ours, you’ll get security checks, trash take-out, plant watering, and someone to bring in the mail,” she said.

5. Prevent bad behaviors

When animals are left alone for hours on end, they get bored. This is when bad behaviors can develop.

“They’ll eat your furniture, chew on window sills, or dig through the trash to find something exciting. They just have way too much pent-up energy,” Price said. “Just taking a dog on a walk can really relieve a lot of those behavioral issues.”

Price also said that exercise during the day can also keep your pet calm, even when they are excited to see you at the end of the day.

6. Encourage good health

“Dogs and cats don’t exercise themselves,” Price said. “They aren’t driven internally like a human being. So giving them opportunities to exercise and play is important to their overall health.”

Having a pet sitter or dog walker can help keep your pet from becoming obese.

7. Avoid dealing with business hours

When a pet owner goes on vacation, or in the case of many military men and women — goes for extended training, they often return at all hours of the day and night. If their dog or cat is in a boarding facility, then they might have to wait until the facility is open to get their pet.

“When the owner uses in-home care, they can come home in the middle of the night and their pet is already there,” Price said. “They don’t have to wait until the next morning or until the end of the weekend to be reunited with their pets.”

8. Hands-on, customized care

If you can’t be with your pet during the day, then you want someone who will treat them like you would. With in-home pet sitting, your pet will be getting one-on-one attention they wouldn’t be getting at a larger facility.

“When we’re there, it’s really about this pet or these pets. It’s very customized,” Price said. “We collect a lot of details from the pet owners so we can mimic their routine. The only thing different is that mom and dad aren’t there.”