The Dangers of Pet Sitting

Dec 26, 2018   Tracey Aston   Hiring a Pet Sitter

Pet sitting comes with many furry and slobbery benefits and rewards, but it also has its share of not often talked about dangers.  The most obvious risk, and the one most people would assume, is an animal bite. 

Animal bites can come at any time - even from a normally well-behaved pet – and pet sitters must always be on guard.  Comfort at Home Pet Services LLC does not condone the use of aversive devices and always inquires if such devices have been used in the past. The reason for this is, those devices are meant to cause pain and the animal remembers this pain and associates it with certain similar non-aversive equipment. For example, a dog that had a shock collar used on them in the past may now be fearful of any collar or movement to put on a collar. A relaxed and calm pet could react in a fearful or aggressive manner thinking they are going to be shocked even if their collar is not a shock collar. 

Another bite risk from a friendly dog is when the animal is injured. A pet sitter could enter the home and find the pet has injured themselves or is sick. A sick or injured animal will react very differently than when they are feeling well. While trying to contain the pet to assess the situation, an injured animal will react in ways they normally wouldn't. These ways can include biting, scratching and trying to flee.  If a sick animal needs medications or first aid, whether in the form of a pill or bandage, a pet could react out of pain or stress. 

Cats can pose health dangers to the pet sitters in the form of bites or scratches. Cat bites can cause infection and a scratch can lead to cat scratch fever and both of those will have to be treated with antibiotics. 

If a pet has something contagious, such as worms, kennel cough or fleas, pet sitters must take precautions to keep themselves as well as other pets safe. If they step in excrement of a dog with worms, they could track bacteria into other homes or their own home.  Safety is always the priority of pet sitters. 

Comfort at Home Pet Services LLC always requires a meet and greet with a pet before agreeing to services because a dog can react badly to a stranger entering their home.  Even if a pet knows the pet sitter, the pet could have a storm phobia and be stressed out from a recent storm.  They could be worked up from a UPS driver or mailman or seeing kids playing outside by the house and could react negatively to the pet sitter entering the home while they are still in a heightened state. 

The final bite risk comes in the form of loose or stray dogs. While out walking pets, a pet sitter must always be on the lookout for loose dogs, keeping an eye on a yard they are passing to see if a dog is on a tie-out, has an electric fence or will jump the fence. If the pet sitter is walking a dog aggressive pet or the approaching dog is aggressive, the pet sitter could possibly end up in the middle.  Either dog could lunge, bite, jump or knock over the pet sitter resulting in serious injury. 

Bites are not the only risk and a pet sitter out walking a dog still faces injury from a dog jerking and pulling. A hard, abrupt jerking motion with no warning can catch even the best pet sitter off guard. With a hard enough jerk or pull the pet sitter risks joint and ligament damage from the pull itself, or scrapes and abrasions if they are pulled over. 

Pet sitters spend a good bit of their day walking pets. In areas without sidewalks, passing cars or speeding motorist can pose a safety risk for pet sitters. This risk is doubled during inclement weather. 

Pet sitters must always be available as pets depend on them for their wellbeing. This can mean having to drive in inclement weather – snow, ice and even during a state of emergency.  Even during good weather conditions, pet sitters spend a part of their day driving between appointments and must always be aware of distracted drivers, traffic laws and traffic conditions. 

Even removing animals from the equation – pet sitters could show up to a house under the guise of a meet and greet and someone could be waiting to harm them.  Or someone notices they are entering a home alone or walking alone and follow them. 

While professional pet sitters are aware of these risks and take the proper precautions, accident and the unexpected are always a risk. Pet sitters must always be aware of the dangers and be alert for their own safety and safety of your pets. This job path is not for just anyone, or those who assume a pet sitters' job is to play with pets all day.  Professional pet sitters are aware of these potential dangers and take the time to educate and train themselves and pet parents to ensure the safety of all. 

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Pet Sitters International
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Pittsburgh's Professional Pet Sitters Network
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National Association of Professional Pet Sitters Certification