Babysitting a puppy, or puppy sitting, is something many of us are asked to do from time to time. If you have a friend with a puppy you may be asked to keep a puppy for a few hours or for a couple of days. Or you may need to have someone keep your puppy for a short time. Here are some ways to make the experience go smoothly.
If you are puppy sitting for a friend, ask them to bring the following:
- Emergency contact numbers. You will need phone numbers so you can reach your friend in case of emergency. You will also need the numbers for the puppy’s vet.
- Ask if the puppy has any allergies or health problems. If the puppy is young then it’s unlikely that he or she has any serious health problems, but you should check just to be sure.
- If the puppy is going to be staying with you for more than just a few hours ask your friend to bring vaccination and health records. If you do need to seek veterinary attention for the puppy, it’s always best if you can present the vet with the puppy’s health history.
- Ask your friend to bring the puppy’s regular food. This will help the puppy avoid an upset stomach from eating unfamiliar food.
- Ask your friend to bring the puppy’s favorite toys. This will help you and the puppy have a good time together. Besides, you probably don’t want to have to go out and invest in dog toys for the puppy when he or she will only be staying a little while.
- If the puppy is staying for more than a few hours, ask your friend to bring a blanket from home for the puppy. If the puppy usually sleeps in a crate, your friend should bring the crate so the puppy can sleep where he’s used to sleeping. Your puppy will feel more comfortable sleeping on something that smells like home, or in his crate which is part of his normal routine.
- Try to stick to the puppy’s normal routine as much as possible. Feed him at his regular times and take him outside on the same schedule that he’s used to at home. This will help avoid potty accidents.
- Before the puppy comes over you should pick up things that he would be tempted to chew on. Tuck up electrical cords and things that could cause trouble. If you have houseplants, put them in a room that will be off limits to the puppy.
- If you have other pets make sure that they can accept the puppy before you agree to puppy sit. Sometimes a dog or cat in your home may become very hostile to a new puppy when he comes to visit, even if the pet has been friendly when he’s been on neutral territory with the puppy. If you have pet gates it may be a good idea to use them so the puppy can’t go in rooms where your dog or cat are resting.
- If you have children make sure that they know how to treat a puppy. Explain that they can’t be too rough and that puppies can nip. Tell them that they shouldn’t chase the puppy. Tell them that they shouldn’t run away from the puppy or the puppy will chase them — something which can lead to dangerous play. Above all, you should make sure that your children know that a puppy is an animal, not a toy. You should supervise all interaction between children under eight years old and puppies. Accidents can occur with even the friendliest puppies.
These are some things to consider and to plan ahead for if you are going to puppy sit for a friend. If you are planning to have a friend puppy sit for you then you should have them consider them same things in their home.
If no friend is available, or if it is too much responsibility (and it is a great responsibility to care for someone’s puppy or dog), remember that there are professional pet sitters to care for your puppy when you have to be away. This is often a good option. A professional pet sitter may belong to a professional organization for pet sitters. He or she will have a lot of experience in caring for client dogs. The pet sitter can come to your home to care for your puppy, so your puppy won’t have to go to a strange place. And, the pet sitter can visit as many times per day as you wish. Some pet sitters can even make arrangements to stay in your home.
Whichever option you choose, it’s always hard to leave a puppy behind, even if it’s only for a few hours. Keep in mind that you will be returning soon. Try to keep a positive attitude about leaving. Your puppy will be able to pick up on your attitude and you don’t want him to be too upset.
If your puppy is well-socialized then he should be able to adapt to your short absences without being too upset. If, however, your puppy begins to show signs of separation anxiety when you have to leave him, then you should try to work on more socialization before the problem escalates into something permanent.
If you plan ahead then puppy sitting a puppy can be a fun experience for both you and the puppy. If you’re watching a puppy for a friend then you can have the fun of playing with a puppy for a few hours or for a couple of days. The puppy can make some new friends and then be overjoyed when his owners return. If you are coming home to pick up your puppy from a friend’s house, then you and your puppy can celebrate a joyous reunion when you see each other again.
Try the tips discussed here and everything should go smoothly for puppies and their people.