A good way to keep an eye on your dogs while away? (14 replies)
Hi fellow dog parents-
I have two boys at home- Stewie & Barkley. I'm always worried about them when I'm at work: are they safe? are they bored? Stewie, the Golden Retriever, is going to be 10 years old this May. This adds to my anxiety of leaving them home alone. I am using a regular IP cam to monitor them, but to be honest, the quality is bad and I can't see my boys half of the time.
I've been searching for a good solution but couldn't decide. I'm really happy to see there are cameras designed specifically for pets. (some are even only for dogs) But I'm worried they are merely gimmicky products. Is anyone familiar with pet cameras/dog cameras? How do you decide if they're good for your dogs? Or is there any other alternatives?
Hi groovy! I haven't ever used a pet camera, but whenever I want to purchase something new that I'm not familiar with I always go to Amazon and read the comments on the item. People don't hesitate to say when they're irked by something so usually I get a pretty good picture of what the item can and can't do and what its value is.
As a pet sitter, I have to put in a plug for my profession. A lot of people have me come over around the middle of the day and walk their dogs. This is great because it gets the dogs exercise and out of the house as well as giving them a good, long bathroom break - and human interaction! Something to think about, although I know it's tough to find a good pet sitter. You need someone that is going to respect your privacy and property as much as you do yourself.
Thanks so much for your suggestions. Yes, my husband and I thought about hiring a dog sitter as well but didn't look into it because it felt like leaving your babies to someone you don't know very well...(my friends think i'm being paranoid) So my husband tries to go home during lunch time 2-3 times a week to check on them. If you have tips for selecting and working with a reliable and trustworthy pet sitter, please kindly share. 🙂
Of course I do! You should be picky about your pet sitter. Not only is this person in charge of two very loved family members, they are also in your home. It is perfectly acceptable to be very picky about who you choose and what your requirements are. A good pet sitter will understand. Here are some things to look for:
1. References, references, references. DON'T be afraid to ask for them, and DO call them. Make a list of questions you want to ask the references you speak to. For example: How long has this pet sitter worked for them? What kind of animals do they have? Has this person ever had an issue with their pet sitter and if so, what was it? I have an entire page of references that I hand over without a qualm to any new prospective clients. I want new clients to call my references because I know I've done a great job and have nothing to hide. A pet sitter without references at all is either just starting out (and if so they should at least provide something - previous bosses etc.) or doesn't have good references. At best, they're sloppy and don't bother. So don't waste your time.
2. Look for/pay for a background check. These are relatively inexpensive to do, however they can be invasive. Personally, I am the most boring person in the world so I actually paid for a basic background check on Sittercity, where I have a profile. I encourage my clients to go look at it. (I paid for the dang thing, LOOK AT IT, Lol!!) In all seriousness, I want them to know that the person they are allowing into their home has no criminal history.
3. A good pet sitter will insist upon a meeting before ever sitting for your pets. It's an absolute must. You need to be able to meet them and they you. As importantly, your pets need to see/smell this person in "their" space with you there. It will lessen their anxiety when the pet sitter comes over and you aren't there.
4. Go with your gut - if something doesn't feel right, it's okay to be noncommittal. "We're not exactly sure of our plans yet, but we'll give you a call," or "I need to talk this over with my wife/husband/together and we'll let you know." This can be said nicely and in a non-derogatory way! But just because you meet with a pet sitter doesn't mean you have to commit to him/her right away.
5. It might sound funny, but ask about their social media policy. I am a demon about protecting my clients' privacy. As such, I NEVER post pictures of their pets on social media without their express permission. I also never at all post things like: Identifiers that would pinpoint their home (like a street name or house number or even a picture of the house), who I am sitting for, and if they are gone or not. I do not advertise on my vehicle because when people have pet sitters coming it means they're not at home - security risk. I have a couple clients who have high risk professions and they need to be protected.
Good pet sitters will understand your caution. They will be committed to excellence when it comes to caring for your pets. They will be eager to continually learn new things and be open to your ideas and things that you might have to share with them.
Don't be afraid to take your time. It's a big decision!
Excellent advice, Melissa 🙂
My friend, Kim, is a family doctor and works long hours. So, her Greyhounds are left at home for long stretches of time. She has put in a video monitor that she can access from work (her phone??). I 'll ask her what she has. She's already showed me some footage and it seems very good quality. I believe she's happy with the product.
I have a 3-year-old labrador and a 7-month-old cat at home. Though the cat can take care of himself, my dog can get very lonely when he is alone. Since I don't work full time, I keep him company whenever I am at home. At days when I have to go to work, I hire a pet sitter. She is my neighbor, so there's no problem. 🙂
marthamay, that's great! I think it's so beneficial for dogs to have people pop in and say hi during the day. It can help relieve anxiety, loneliness, and even just help to burn off some energy! I know for my part of it, no matter how my day is going, it always gets better when I visit one of my fur babies <3
You keep your dogs alone at home, I guess I will have to agree with what MarthaMay have suggestesd, hire a trustworthy pet sitter when your not around or might as well as you family or really close friend to look out for them while you're at work. Lastly, a quality time is needed, remember they are the best stress reliever.
It's just so interesting to think that we worry over our pets just like with our own children. 🙂
I think it is safe to keep them at home as long as you have a dog sitter to accompany them. There are many working individuals who offer that service.
The key is to know as much information as you can about the dog sitter.
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