Is there such a thing as walking your dog safely in the scorching embrace of an Arizona summer? Only sometimes. Ensuring your furry friend’s well-being during these intermittent walks becomes so much more important. TLC House & Pet Sitting is here to guide you through the essentials for keeping your dog safe on those oh-so-warm days.
Understanding the Impact of Heat on Your Dog
Unlike their wild ancestors, modern dogs live indoors and are more vulnerable to the effects of high temperatures. Their paw pads are less resilient, and they struggle to adapt as swiftly to warmer weather. Thus, it’s your job as a pet parent to recognize the signs of overheating in dogs and be proactive in ensuring their comfort.
Temperature Thresholds for Walks
Determining the ideal temperature for walks is important and maybe a little confusing. At TLC Pet & House Sitting, we have a quick test. If you can’t put your hand on the ground, then it’s too hot to walk your dog. Therefore, we only walk dogs early morning or after the sun goes down.
Even more, at temperatures surpassing 89°F, dogs are at risk of heat stroke, and any reading of 90°F or higher should prompt you to avoid outdoor activity. For several dogs, even temperatures ranging from 70°-77°F can prove excessively warm. High humidity also plays a significant role; if the sum of temperature (in °F) and humidity crosses 150, outdoor exercise should be avoided altogether.
Where we are in Arizona for example, the climate is often very hot and moderately humid in August. Temperatures are up to 106°F on the day of writing this with a humidity of 41%. On average, Phoenix residents (and most cities surrounding) can expect to experience 86°F or higher throughout the month.
Factors Affecting Your Dog’s Heat Tolerance
Your dog’s response to heat hinges on various factors, including:
Brachycephalic breeds, characterized by flat faces, such as English Bulldogs, Shih-Tzus, and Pugs, are more prone to heatstroke due to their impaired ability to cool down through panting. Walking these kinds of dogs in hot weather should be approached with caution.
Body Type, Size, and Weight
Smaller dogs possess a higher surface-area-to-mass ratio, allowing them to dissipate heat more effectively than larger counterparts. Overweight dogs are more susceptible to overheating than lean ones.
Age and Health
Senior dogs and puppies struggle to regulate body temperature efficiently, and their sensitivity to heat is heightened. Preexisting health conditions, particularly heart or respiratory ailments, can amplify vulnerability.
Coat thickness and color also influence heat tolerance. Double-coated breeds like Golden Retrievers are prone to overheating, while dark-colored dogs absorb more heat from sunlight.
Don’t Rely on a Fan
Did you know that dogs sweat primarily through their feet? Pets respond differently to heat than people do. And while we love a cool breeze from a fan, they don’t do the job of cooling off pets as effectively as they do humans.
Acclimation and Humidity
Walking your dog in hot weather may be more difficult if your pup isn’t used to those conditions. The general temperature range your dog is accustomed to matters, along with the humidity level. When combined with these factors, you can refer to the following chart for guidance. Remember to do the touch-the-street/sidewalk test first:
Temp °F Recommendation
100° It’s too hot to walk your dog (and yourself, too, probably)
90° Dangerous heat – use caution (go outside for potty breaks only)
80°-89° Modify or skip the walk (early mornings or after sun goes down)
70°-79° Low risk of overheating (depending on the pup, you may need to keep it short)
60°-69° Enjoy your walk!
Ensuring Safe Paw Patrols: Checking Pavement Temperature
While ambient temperatures might seem manageable, the pavement’s heat can be significantly higher, causing potential harm to your pup’s paws. On sunny days, surfaces like asphalt, concrete, or sand can be 40°-60°F hotter than the air temperature. Stop and think about that for a minute. That’s super-duper hot. To test the pavement’s suitability for your dog, place your hand (or bare foot) on a sunny spot – if you can’t endure it for 10 seconds, it’s too hot for your dog.
Recognizing and Preventing Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a dire concern during hot weather. Dogs are more heat-sensitive than humans, so identifying symptoms early is crucial:
Gums turning red, blue, or bruised
Dry or sticky gums
If your dog displays these signs, act promptly. Call or take them to the vet and initiate cooling measures. Move your dog into the shade, apply cool (not cold) water, and avoid laying wet towels. Offer water, but don’t force it. A prompt response can avert severe consequences.
Navigating Hot Days: Safe Walking Strategies
To ensure your dog enjoys walks even on scorching days, consider these strategies:
Time Your Walks: Opt for early mornings or evenings when temperatures are cooler.
Plan Your Route: Choose shaded paths and grassy areas instead of hot pavements.
Adjust Your Pace: Slow down, especially if you have a flat-faced breed, to avoid overexertion.
Dress for Success: Utilize dog boots and cooling vests to enhance your dog’s comfort.
Hydration Matters: Carry water and a collapsible bowl for your dog to drink.
Alternative Activities: Swimming or indoor games can provide exercise without excessive heat exposure.
The Wisdom of Staying Healthy
Not unlike us humans, exercise is easier when we are healthier to begin with. If you’re walking your dog in hot weather, they’ll appreciate all the help they can get. If you’d like to help your pup be able to have a pep in their step, consider their overall diet. Reader’s Digest put together ‘The Very Best Diet for Dogs, According to Vets’. The article quotes a veterinarian as saying “As with people, when dogs eat highly processed foods, we see an increase in chronic inflammation which can show up as arthritis, chronic elevation of liver enzymes, immune thyroiditis, and inflammatory bowel disease, among others.”
Walking Your Dog in Hot Weather: Conclusion
When temperatures surge in Arizona (or anywhere, for that matter), ensuring your dog’s safety becomes an important mission. Armed with the knowledge to read your pup’s temperature cues, assess pavement conditions, and recognize signs of heatstroke, you’re equipped to provide the best care for your furry friend. Remember, a few simple adjustments can make all the difference in ensuring enjoyable walks even on the hottest days.
For More Information
If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC House & Pet Sitting. We are also available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. View more of our articles on pets here.
3 Things a Pet Sitter Should Establish with the Owner Before the Job
If you’re just starting out as a pet sitter, these ground rules will be quite helpful. Not only will they make the experience more pleasant for you and the pet owner, they will help portray you as a professional. Without these three simple steps, it is easy for things to get off track quickly. Ahead, we’ll discuss how to be successful, and encourage recurring bookings. Read on for the top three things a pet sitter should establish before a job begins.
#1 – Gathering Contact Information
Ensure that you have records all of the important contact information before pet sitting begins. For instance, how will you contact the owner while they are away? Even more, what number will you call if there is a medical or non-medical emergency? Always have a number in the event of an extreme situation. Ask for a friend or family member’s phone number, too. This way, if the owner is not readily available you have a responsible alternate contact. Additionally, be sure to have contact information for the family vet. Pro tip: Enter this information in your phone to ensure it will always be readily available.
#2 – Determining Your Pay
Among the things a pet sitter should establish before a job begins is their pay. Whether you are pet sitting professionally or on a freelancing basis, determine the exact pricing prior to start of a job. This establishes expectations and avoids any surprises from either party. In your area, do reasearch into the market rate for your services. Price yourself accordingly. For example, do you have as much or more experience as the top priced sitter?
In 2022, professional pet sitters charge an average of $25 per 30-minute visit, or $20 to $30 per day depending on your location, the number of pets, the length of stay, and any special pet services needed. The rates will also depend on your own level of experience.
Also, establish a payment schedule. Confirm if you will be paid on a daily or weekly basis. Weekly wages per week can vary and are affected by things such as holidays, or if you are also providing additional services such as house maintenance or cleaning. Remember to be polite if there is a negotiation phase. Or, if you have a website, have your fees clearly outlined.
#3 – Scheduling a Meet and Greet Before the Day of Sitting
It is always a good idea to schedule a meet and greet before the pet sitting. This allows the pet, and also the pet owner, to become familiar with you before you begin solo care of Fido. Meet and greets also provide you the opportunity to get familiar with the locations of their food, water, toys and treats. In addition, a visit like this provides owners with reassurance that the pet has a degree of comfort with you. After all, sometimes a pet simply may not take to a person, especially if they’re a rescue pet. Rescue animals may develop negative associations with certain types of humans. If you’re one of them, it may trigger a negative reaction. If the pet is uncomfortable, timid or aggressive during your presence, you may want to suggest using a different pet sitter.
These are the top three things a pet sitter should establish before a job begins. Of course, there’s much more to running a successful pet sitting business. Overall, however, establishing these processes and procedures early on will help you get there. And, over time, your reputation will spread as professional. Then, you’ll be on your way to becoming one of the areas most sought after pet sitters.
For More Information
If you have questions about this topic or general questions about pet care, you can contact Kara Jenkins, Owner of TLC House & Pet Sitting. We are also available by email at email@example.com. View more of our articles on pets here.
You may be thinking that pet sitting is just opening the door, petting the dog on the head and letting him out for a potty break, right? Maybe in the old days when pet owners went on vacation and asked a neighbor to look in every now and then. Today, however, our cherished members of the family are being rewarded with the care and love of professional pet sitters.
What to Expect
At TLC House & Pet Sitting Service our sitters visit dogs up to three times a day and cats once or twice a day. We provide love and attention along with providing fresh food, water and exercise. TLC includes these services and much more.
We provide experienced sitters that know what to do while looking after your pet’s individual needs. When required, we administer medicines, both orally or by injection (for insulin), according to your instructions with prescribed dosages. All the care you provide your pet is performed in your absence by our sitters/walkers on your pet’s regular schedule. It’s not exactly the same as when you’re home, but we get pretty close. At TLC, we know that your pet misses you, and we are mindful of that bond.
We will walk dogs privately in your neighborhood after learning your dog’s commands and leash etiquette with your consultation. We dispose of all dog poop and cat litter boxes. If your pet requires overnight attention we will be there for that as well. We prepare detailed reports on your pet during your absence – and we can check in with nervous parents!
While we are visiting TLC sitter/walker do those little things to keep your house looking lived in – hauling trash cans to and from the curb, bringing in the mail, alternating lights, picking up newspapers and watering plants. But even with all that we never forget the pat on the head – just like the old days.
Learn More About Our Services
If you’d like to learn more about our services, please visit our website.
Pet sitting doesn’t conjure up thoughts of rocket science. However, there are still quite a few traps you might fall into when on the job. As a new sitter, you’ll want to avoid making this pet sitting mistakes at all costs.
Never miss a visit
You might miss a visit because you wrote the wrong date, or got overbooked, or were involved in an accident. Always have safeguards in place in order to avoid such a situation from spiraling out of control, since missing a visit will cause your client’s trust in you to erode. Have a backup pet sitter just in case. Make sure to only book new pet sitting assignments when you’re able to immediately log it into your scheduler. Also, you should enact a policy where you contact the client a couple of days before the assignment, and have them call you if they don’t hear from you.
You might think you can’t afford pet sitter liability insurance, or you may have forgotten to renew your policy. Be warned that it’s risky to not maintain your insurance policy. Having coverage in place makes you appear more professional, and it keeps you protected in case of extreme situations. Even the most experienced pet sitter may have to face the results of mistakes or accidents, and these can result in astronomically high insurance claims. If a situation arises, you need to have insurance to cover it in order to avoid legal action.
Never bring in visitors
You may think bringing in people you know is harmless if you’re staying overnight and a friend or partner wants to stop by. In fact, you might even want help – like if the pet has made a huge mess that you need help cleaning up. However, brining someone else into a client’s home is a breach of privacy, and violates your client’s trust in you. Your clients are going to be trusting you with their most valuable possessions, as well as their beloved pets, and it’s important to keep them from feeling that their trust has been violated because a stranger had access to their house.
Never arrive late or leave early
Always arrive on time. If you’re late by a few minutes, be honest about it in your pet sitting notes. Never shorten a visit either. This is especially important since clients may be using their home’s alarm systems check the times their sitter arrived and left.
You could have the sweetest cat in the world, but no one would ever know if kitty rushes to hide under the bed whenever there’s company! It’s fairly common for cats to be afraid of strangers, especially if they weren’t socialized as kittens or grew up on the streets. If your cat is shy, try the following tips to help your cat feel less shy around strangers.
Provide a Safe Space
Before your company arrives, designate a safe area for your cat. It could be in a back room or a quiet area of your house where your cat usually feels calm and likes to sleep. Then, let your company know about your cat’s safe space. Advise them not to disturb kitty when he or she goes back there to be alone. This will help ease feelings of anxiety in your cat. He or she will know that there’s always a safe escape if things get too exciting.
Avoid Loud Noises
Some cats are afraid of strangers because they associate them with scary noises. Instead of using the doorbell or buzzer, let your guests know ahead of time that they should call or text once they’ve arrived. Try to keep the noise level of your conversation low and laughters down to a quiet chuckle to keep from spooking your cat.
Let the Cat Come to You
It could take several visits before your cat comes out to say hello to your company, and that’s perfectly normal. Don’t force your cat to greet strangers by catching them and holding them once your guests arrive. Alternatively, you can give your visitors a handful of treats to put down if kitty ventures close to them. You can also leave a pile of treats halfway between the safe area and your guests’ area to encourage kitty to come a little closer.
Use the formal feline greeting
Once your kitty feels comfortable approaching your guests, coach them to extend one finger and wait for the cat’s response. Your cat will either brush his or her cheeks on the finger, which means he or she feels comfortable enough to be petted, or simply walk away if not. Once your cat indicates it’s okay to be petted, remind your guests not to overdo it. One gentle chin rub should be enough.
When it comes to cat sitting, it can take a little time for kitties warm up to their sitters, too. Let us know if your cat tends to be shy, and we’ll do everything possible to make him or her feel comfortable and secure during our visits.
In today’s busy world, it often becomes difficult to care for your pet the way you’d want to. So enters a positive alternative; a doting pet sitter. Choosing a pet sitter that your dog will love may seem daunting. With the right tools, you’ll be all set to make a choice that your furry friend will love. Read on for what to consider when looking for a pet sitter.
1. Have a Background Check of the Potential Sitters
You are looking for someone to take care of your pet in your absence, and you have to make sure you leave this responsibility to someone who is responsible enough to treat your pet as their own. Before hiring a pet sitter, ask around about the sitters offering their services in the vicinity. If they have an online page, look for testimonials and reviews by their previous clients. Moreover, make sure you meet them once or twice in person before you finally hand them the responsibility to take care of your pet. Do not hire a sitter who has no prior experience with animals because even a minor careless act from their side can be dangerous for your pet.
2. See How Resourceful They Are
See how knowledgeable your pet sitter is and we’re not talking about the general knowledge here only. A good pet sitter must have thorough knowledge about animal care, with a good understanding of ergonomics. Ask your pet sitter if they know the safety measures to be taken in emergency or if they know where to take the pet if something goes wrong with it. Check if they have a sound understanding of animal psychology to respond to your pet’s separation anxiety or changes in its moods. If you feel like the sitter has enough knowledge to be trusted, hire them.
3. Do They Have a Pet Friendly Home
Leaving your pet in someone’s care is not an easy thing for a pet owner. Not being sure if your pet would be safe while you are away can add extra mental burden. A pet friendly home lessens that burden by assuring you pet security. Make sure the sitter’s house is equipped with all essential safety measures for the pet. If there is a yard, make sure it is pet-protected with high fences and no loose wires hanging here and there. As for interior, it would be better if there is paw-friendly flooring and small carved out spaces for pets to hide in, otherwise chances are they will end up stuck behind the washing machines, sofas and what not.
4. They Should Genuinely Love Animals
Dogs have a strong sense of judgment and they would know who is friendly enough to take care of them. Dogs can sense it on people if they have pet aversion and they will act distant around them. When choosing a pet sitter, make sure they genuinely love pets, especially cats and dog. Also, make sure is the sitter is patient with the animals. You do not want someone to scare off your pet while you are away.
So you’ve bagged yourself a pet-sitting job and are wondering about the basics of the job. Well, this article is a short guide that should help you understand what your work entails. Let’s have a look at how you are supposed to care of the animal.
1) Follow Instructions
The pet owner will have likely left you with a list of instructions to care for your pet. Follow these instructions to a tee, as well as any schedule they’ve provided. Make sure to feed the pet at the appointed time, and to give them the right quantity of food. Some cat owners allow their pets to have free access to dry food at every point of the day, so make sure to keep bowls filled if this is the case. Clean water is a must as well. Ask the owner before you bring in any treats or food from outside, since the pet may be on a specific diet which variations might upset.
You will also have been instructed on any meds the pet is taking. Be careful to not deviate from the regular dosage and schedule, and never neglect or forget this. Plus, ensure that the litter boxes are cleaned regularly. The bottom line’s pretty straightforward: follow the instructions and you should be fine.
2) Be Attentive to the Pet’s Needs
A pet sitter’s role exceeds simply providing the pet with the necessities of life. You’re also expected to keep the pet feeling comfortable and safe while their owners are away. Pets tend to become nervous or timid when their owners aren’t around (or even aggressive). That’s why it’s so important the pet sitter show them attention and affection every day. Play with the pet with their favorite toys until they get tired and sleepy. Stroke and cuddle them, and give them the human interaction they desire.
3) Do Some Extra Work
No, this isn’t part of your job description, but performing extra tasks can display your dedication to the owner and help differentiate you from other sitters. Try to do some basic upkeep. You could keep the home clean, water the plants or collect the mail. However, take care to not disturb the organization of the house in your zeal to be efficient. So if you wash dishes, don’t put them back. Leave them be so the owner can arrange them as they prefer.
There is a lot more to pet-sitting than simply showing up to the pet owner’s house and giving the animal a treat or two. First of all, you need to have the right aptitude for the job. As rewarding as the pet-sitting experience can be, it is also a very challenging one. If you don’t have the qualifications or skills to excel, you may be in for a tough time. Preparing for a pet sitting job is essential. So let’s have a look at some of the things you need to consider before you decide to pet-sit.
1) Make sure you actually want the job
You might believe that pet-sitting is easy enough for anyone to do it, but the truth is that there are certain qualifications you need to have. You absolutely need to be an animal lover. After all, you’ll be spending hours with animals, and if you don’t like having animals around you, you’re not going to have a pleasant time. You should also have a calm temperament, as well as low-stress levels since pet-sitting does not often run like clockwork. Plus, you should be organized and self-motivated so you can manage your schedule even with multiple clients, and can track the requirements of numerous pets of different species and sizes.
2) Get yourself liability insurance
Professional pet sitters would do well to look into commercial liability insurance in order to cover potential incidents or accidents. This way, if there’s been any damage inside the client’s home, you won’t be liable for it. You also won’t be liable for any injuries caused by an out-of-control dog. Of course, if you work for a pet-sitting organization, you’ll already be covered by its policies, though you should still remain knowledgeable about your personal coverage. If you don’t, shop around for the most favorable rates and coverage.
3) Get certified
Of course, this isn’t a pre-requisite to becoming a pet sitter, but professional training indicates to clients that you take your job seriously. Not only does it allow you to impress your clients, but it can also open up opportunities like working for a pet sitting agency or business. Many organizations now provide pet-sitters with the training they need in order to perform their jobs exceedingly well. Pet Sitters International and the Professional Pet Sitters can be approached to provide you with general training for pet sitting.
What a Pet Sitter Should Do in their First Meeting with the Pet Owner
If possible, provide references
You should be able to provide the contact information and phone numbers of pet owners that you pet-sat for in the past. For one thing, it provides the owner with reassurance that you have the experience necessary to do the job, and are skilled enough to merit confidence and a reference from past clients. Keep in mind, however, that you should never share a client’s contact information if they haven’t expressly given you permission to do so. Ensure that those past clients have agreed to serve as references, and then only give out the number they provide you for this purpose. Client’s you’ve worked with for more than a year make for the best references.
And if you don’t have any references
Ask past employers to volunteer as references, or friends whose pets you watched.
Make sure to discuss expectations
Ensure that both you and the pet owner know what to expect from each other. The pet owner will state everything they expect from you, depending on the requirements of their pets. Establish what kind of time commitment is needed beforehand, and whether you’ll be required to stay at the house, or merely to check in on a regular basis. By the end of the meeting, you should also know where the pet food is kept, the amount of food the pet consumes every day, as well as if the pet is on any medications.
Ask plenty of questions to cover your bases. The owner should let you know how old the pet is, as well as what its medical history is and how often it should be given treats. The owner probably already has a system of giving their pet treats based on its behavior, as well as methods of discipline like withholding treats in case of bad behavior. Ascertain how you should continue disciplining the pet. You should also be told whether it handles contact with other animals or people well. You should also be well aware of the pet’s likes, dislikes and fears. This will keep the pet from accidentally being triggered, and so prevent any mental or physical issues from happening to it while it is in your care.
All of these questions will allow you to serve the pet’s needs better, so don’t skip out on them.
Top 10 Things to Look For In A Pet Sitter in Scottsdale
Planning a trip away from your beloved pets is much less stressful when you have the peace-of-mind in knowing that your pet sitter is going to care for your pets in a loving, attentive manor. Take the time to research the available pet sitters in your area well in advance, in order to find the perfect pet sitter for your pets. When searching for the right pet sitter, here are the top 10 things you should consider, as recommended by the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters:
Make sure that your pet sitter is bonded and/or has commercial liability insurance.
If your pet sitter is hired with a pet sitting company, inquire as to his/her experience, training, and if a background check is performed prior to hiring.
Research the pet sitting company through agencies such as the Better Business Bureau.
Request and review your sitter’s references.
Ask your sitter for literature on the company, their services, and their rates.
The pet sitter should offer to meet with you prior to your departure in order to become familiar with your home and pets.
Your pet sitter’s personality, attitude, and confidence level during your initial consultation will help you to judge whether he/she will provide the specialized care that you desire for your pets.
Once an agreement is reached for pet sitting services, make sure your pet sitter provides a detailed, accurate contract for the services offered and the fees charged.
Ask your pet sitter about their emergency and contingency plans in the event that your pet needs urgent veterinary care or the pet sitter is unable to perform services due to a personal emergency. Be sure to collect your pet sitter’s contact information, office hours, and a way to reach them outside of office hours in case of an emergency.
Inquire as to your pet sitter’s policy after you return home. A responsible pet sitter will be sure to verify that you have returned home safely and your pets are safe as well. Your pet sitter should also provide an opportunity for feedback regarding their services, as a tool to grow and improve their business.
Taking the time to follow these simple guidelines will help you to find the most qualified pet sitter to provide personalized care for your pets. While you are away from home, you will rest easily knowing that your pets and home are cared for by a trusted, caring professional pet sitter.
Once you have determined that a pet sitter is the best solution for the care of your pets, hiring the right pet sitter is the next step. Finding the right pet sitter will make the pet sitting experience an enjoyable one for both you and your pets. On the other hand, making an uninformed decision about who will be caring for your beloved pets and home could have disastrous results.
Finding a Potential Pet Sitter
With the convenience of the internet, a qualified, professional pet sitter can be found quite easily. Choose a source that you trust, such as the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. Also, visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website www.petsitters.org for information on pet sitters in your area. Recommendations from friends and family are also a great resource.
Once You Find a Potential Pet Sitter
Be sure to conduct a thorough interview of the person who will be caring for your pets and who will have access to your home while you are away.
Ask for a list of client references.
Ask the sitter for proof of bonding and insurance coverage, as well as any other certifications that the sitter may have. Some sitters may have animal CPR certifications or Vet Tech experience.
Make sure the sitter has an opportunity to bond with your pets and observe the sitter’s behavior as well as your pet’s behavior to determine if they are a good match.
Determine your needs, your pet’s needs, and your budget, as pet sitting fees may vary.
Communicate your needs and your pet’s needs clearly to your pet sitter, so they may understand your expectations while you are away.
Follow up with the pet sitter afterwards, and communicate your positive and/or negative experiences, so they may improve upon their services.
Work on creating a long lasting relationship with your pets and your pet sitter, so your pets will truly feel “at home” every time you are away.
For more information on this topic and many others, please visit the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters website at: www.petsitters.org