There are over 6 million households in Canada who own a pet or two. Dogs and cats are the most popular pets, while dogs are the most favoured dogs among pet owners primarily because dogs are most affectionate.
It used to be that when pet owners go away on holiday, they would leave their pets with a neighbour, relative or friend, or with a kennel service. However, many families do not live close to each other and kennels can be quite expensive while not necessarily providing a happy atmosphere for pets. Thus, a new service business of pet sitting and pet walking is born.
Today, the pet sitting service has become a mature business. NAPPS, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters provide publications, training videos, insurance information, and other business resources for its members. Canadian equivalent of such an association is the All Canadian Pet Service Network. Typical pet sitting fees are $15 for a one-to-one 15 minute pee break, $20 for a 20 minute pee break. Group walks are also available at lower rates. Clients are not limited to pet owners on vacations. Some stay-at-home pet owners book 2 to 3 services a week for extra relief from walking their pets. Typically, the owner would leave house keys to the pet sitting service, and the sitters would come to the house and take the pets out for a walk. Reputable pet sitting services run a criminal check on their pet sitter employees and provide insurance bonding. Some pet sitting service also offer dog obedience training and puppy potty training as well.
My husband and I had the unfortunate experience of having to care for a pet while her owners went away for a holiday. The first night, we both forgot that we had the dog, and left our front door open. It was not until four hours later than we remembered we were caring for the dog, and had to have a search party. Luckily, we found the dog. She had wandered away to the neighbour’s yard, and was crying. The dog felt so lonely while staying with us, and wouldn’t eat for the first two days. After our valiant efforts in entertaining her and giving her a lot of pats and talk, she finally warmed up and felt comfortable.
After this episode, I have learned not to take care of somebody’s dog and will gladly refer them to a pet sitting service. I am sure many non-pet owners felt the same way. In fact, many pet sitting services sell gift certificates which make ideal presents for all occasions.
Dogs are social animals, and love company. They also need daily walks and exercises at least once, and preferably twice a day. Without proper attention, dogs can be destructive and manifest behavioral problems. Older arthritic dogs who are not so agile, may not adjust well to new surroundings. If you are travelling and will be away from your pet, consider giving your pets quality care by using a pet sitting service.
If you love pets and want to start your own business, consider a pet sitting service. It can be run from home, and has low startup costs. Several add-on products such as dog accessories, and dog food can also bring in additional income. Here’s another plus! This type of jobs cannot be outsourced to a third world country.