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Pet Care Services: What you need and what to look for

Corgi on a desk smiling advice

Pet care services include pet sitting, dog walking, boarding kennels

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As pet owners, we want to find the best pet services possible. Whether we are looking for pet sitters, dog walking service, cat or dog boarding, we naturally want the very highest level of care.

By Karen Wild, CCAB Certificated Clinical Animal Behaviourist

Updated on the 20/11/2020, 13:11

The peace of mind that a reliable team of pet care services can bring means we can enjoy or time away from our pets without worry. So, how can we build such a team around us?

When you first get your dog, cat, rabbit, guinea pig or any other small animal, it is a big commitment. Not only do they bring a lot of care and responsibility, but also we may feel like we cannot trust other people to bring the same standards to their care as we might. The pet care services industry has expanded over the years in this knowledge that owners still go on holiday and need to work, dogs will always need grooming and personal care, and dog training is ever more important in our community.

What do you need to look for when seeking someone to care for your beloved pet? How much do the services cost, and how will you know if they provide a suitable and high enough quality service? The best advice is to be thorough, so why not take a look at our tips below.

Pet Care Services

Ideally you will have a range of help at your fingertips. Start by deciding what your pet needs.

All dogs will need training, and puppy socialisation from the moment you bring them home. It may be that you are adopting a rescue puppy or dog, but even if you obtained your pup from a breeder, they will need a good, registered dog trainer to help you. Dog training helps with walking your dog so that they do not pull on their leash, makes sure they get along with other dogs and people, and teaches you how to help them to learn the rules of the human household. Even before you get your dog, research locally for a registered, certificated dog trainer and get their space booked in. Any dog trainer should have qualifications in all aspects of animal behaviour.

Pet sitting, day care and dog boarding kennels are next. What will happen to your dog when you are busy, or on holiday? It is nice to ask family, but a professional is always best. They work with animals all day, are fully insured, and there are more than one available. A team of pet sitters will not suddenly let you down, not to mention their qualifications in pet care and pet first aid should any emergency arise.

Find out all the information you need about Pet Care services

Day care for dogs is a relatively recent pet care service, so always check that they are council licensed and insured. Day care is ideal for shorter periods when you perhaps will be out for longer than you’d normally leave a dog (usually maximum of 4 hours per day). Day care can also give your dog the chance to play with other dogs, so they will always come back tired and happy.

Pet sitting services

Pet sitters should be registered with a national agency as well as being insured as they will often have access to your home. Some pet sitters stay in your house whilst you are away. This is especially convenient if you also own small animals or multiple dogs or cats. It can be a very cost effective way of getting the highest level of care, since your pets do not even have to adapt to a new environment! A pet sitter will feed and clean up after your pets, make sure their water is topped up, walk your dog and provide companionship visits too.

What is the average cost of a pet sitter

Currently in the UK pet sitting costs an average of £10 - £15 per hour, although for longer periods such as overnight stays a daily rate may apply. So that you have peace of mind, you will want to find someone who is trustworthy to care for your beloved pet or pets, so whilst cost is a consideration, find someone who will love your pets as much as you do. Pets are family, and only the best care will do.

Pet care services : Dog walking

Dog walking services vary widely. Some dog walkers will collect up a few dogs and take them for a sociable walk together, usually in an enclosed space where they can be safe to roam and play. Others will do individual walks, perhaps for dogs that do not get along with others, or have other health needs that require specific attention. As part of the pet care service, dog walking provides companionship as well as exercise. At the end of your long day, you can return home in the happy knowledge that your dog has had a busy, fun day too. Some dog walkers may offer dog training services, but check their qualifications and make sure they only use positive reinforcement-based methods.

Boarding kennels

A kennel is usually where your dog or cat would stay when you are away for longer periods. These must be licensed and follow strict hygiene and care regulations. You can visit local kennels to see if your beloved pet will have an enjoyable holiday, just as much as you will be. They should welcome your visit, and if you feel at all worried, look for another dog boarding kennel. Your dog may even prefer a pet sitter who can stay with them at home.

Holiday pet care services for cats: Cattery

A cattery will provide care, food, keep your cat clean and even play with your cat whilst you are away. Cats need to feel secure and have space to be warm and hide if they need to, so try to find a cattery that understands and loves animals just as much as you do. Your cat might prefer someone to call in at your home to take care of their needs, so research pet sitters who can offer this manner of pet care.

Pet care services near me: local pet services

Use your local Facebook pages to ask for recommendations so that you can check what people would suggest. You can use search engines, and look for any rankings of their business. It helps to ask other pet owners too - perhaps your dog trainer or groomer can suggest someone who can help.

What to do if you can no longer take care of your pet?

Life is filled with changes, and sometimes we may become ill, or need to move accommodation and a landlord may not allow pets, or we change jobs, or any number of other considerations beyond our control. Firstly, do not panic. The pet care services described above can provide support especially if your situation is temporary. If it’s more long term, contacting local rescue centres is a great next step, as they are experienced at guiding pet owners through the options.