Whether you’ve just started your dog-sitting or dog-walking business or you’ve been doing this for years, there are a few key things you can do to keep pets happy and healthy. It all comes down to meeting their basic needs, paying attention to their body language, and taking a few extra safety precautions. Let’s dive right in.
Dogs can behave abnormally when their owners aren’t around and need to be closely watched. Before the stay or walk begins:
- Clear the countertops. If a dog can reach it, they will eat it (we’ve seen it all).
- Check that dogs can’t get into the garbage.
- Create double barriers around doors to the outside to prevent escapes.
- Make sure your Rover dog is leashed on walks.
- Supervise them when outside—even in a fenced yard.
Owners will appreciate the care you took to keep their pet safe in their absence.
Food and Water
We know this one may seem obvious, but making sure your Rover dog has access to fresh water and food at the right times is an easy way to keep them healthy:
- Prior to the stay or walk, ask the owner to bring all the food the dog would need for the duration of the visit.
- Be sure to keep as close to their regular routine as possible, and only feed your Rover dog food their owner provides.
- Fresh water should be available to the dog all day (otherwise they may take a drink from the toilet bowl—ew).
- Make sure to ask the pet parent about the dog’s normal schedule: This will ensure you aren’t surprised by anything and will lessen the potential for accidents.
- If you’re providing day care, a dog walk, or a drop-in visit, you’ll send a Rover Card that includes food and water updates.
One of the best parts of the job is the seeing how excited your Rover dogs get when they know it’s time for a w-a-l-k. Here’s how you can make sure your dog gets the exercise they need while in your care:
- Giving your Rover dog at least 30 minutes of exercise a day is key.
- If you’re throwing the tennis ball around in the yard, make sure the gate is securely closed.
- If you want to go to the dog park, ask the pet parent first.
- If you’re providing day care, a dog walk, or a drop-in visit, you’ll send a Rover Card that includes a map of your walk.
No matter how they get their exercise, it’ll help you bond, keep them healthy, and maybe even tire them out enough to chill on the couch with you.
Learning to tune in to a dog’s body language will help ensure you have an accident-free stay or walk. With a little preparation, here’s how you can prevent accidents:
- If your Rover dog is giving you “the look,” make sure you take them outside as soon as you can.
- Ask the owner before the stay begins about the dog’s schedule, how long they can go without a break, and—in the case of puppies—if pee pads are a necessity.
- Keep some pet odor cleaning supplies on hand, and remember that dogs may have more accidents in unfamiliar environments.
- If you’re providing day care, a dog walk, or a drop-in visit, you’ll send a Rover Card that includes pee and poo updates.
Your Rover dog may be used to their own bed, or might want to snuggle with you, but a cozy place to sleep is another way you can guarantee your guest’s comfort. Bonus: Keeping your Rover dog warm and comfortable often means plenty of snuggle time with you.
- Ask the owner to bring their dog’s bed if they are staying with you, or be sure to check out their favorite spot to snooze if you’re traveling to the dogs home.
- Ask the pet parent what’s allowed at home (like access to furniture and beds) will help you get an idea of the kind of creature comforts your Rover dog enjoys.
- If it says on your profile that you don’t let dogs sleep on your bed or jump on your furniture, make sure the pet parent knows that. They’ll be able to tell you if their dog will do well in your home.
But bottom line: if you meet your Rover dog’s basic needs—and go above and beyond to make them comfortable—you’ll be much more likely to earn a 5-star review. Once a dog knows they can trust you to take care of them, they’ll love you forever. Want to learn more about reviews (including if your client left you one)?