Dogs and cats get sick just like us. Fortunately, they don’t get sick as often as we do. While it can be extremely distressing dealing with a client’s sick dog or cat, the good news is that is the number one reason why you were hired – to seek immediate medical attention if their beloved pet does get sick.
Your pet client should also be aware of the risks if they have a geriatric pet, or one with a serious illness, such as cancer, kidney or liver disease. Some pet sitters and dog walkers refuse to have these types of clients, while others are happy to provide services for aging pets, as long as they are stabilized and under a vet’s care.
Here are a few tips, so you know exactly what to do if a dog or cat does get sick.
1. Have vet info handy.
Before you’re handed the keys to your client’s home you should have the full address and contact information for the pet’s veterinarian. Find out the hours of the clinic, and where is the nearest 24-hour clinic for an emergency in the middle of the night.
2. Are they really sick?
If pets have owned you for any length of time, you know that sometimes they vomit. This is their body’s natural defense mechanism to remove something toxic from their bodies. Dogs are particularly bad at eating things they shouldn’t. Sometimes cats vomit after eating lawn or cat grass. Sometimes they have hairballs. Call the pet owner first to see if it’s normal.
3. Monitor them.
If the dog or cat has vomited but still seems fine, clean it up and keep an eye on them. If they’re still fine a couple hours later, then chances are whatever troubled their stomaches is gone. But if the pet is lying prone on the floor, crying, or continues to vomit or have diarrhea, then seek immediate medical attention.
4. Err on side of caution.
Most pet owners will agree that it’s better to take the pet to the vet to be checked out, then it is to wait and have the situation worsen. And this isn’t just for the high cost of vet bills either. Let the medical professionals figure it out.
5. Know where crates or carriers are.
Before you are given the keys, find out where the small dog and cat carriers are, or the dog crates. It’s far easier to transport a sick pet in a crate or carrier, even if they’re used to riding in a vehicle. A sick pet may become frightened and try to run out of the vehicle if they aren’t properly secured.
It’s extremely rare to have to deal with a sick dog or cat during your pet sitting or dog walking services. It’s your job to keep the pet healthy and safe. Sometimes pets do get into mischief, but if you stay active and alert, you can stop them from eating that questionable item on the floor or ground. But if your dog or cat client does get sick, then you’ll be ready to go!