PET SITTING JOBS

working with animals

Do you love pets?

If you are an animal lover with at least fifteen years caring for domestic pets, live-in pet sitting could be the ideal job for you!

In order to join our award-winning team, you need to answer yes to the following:

  • Do you have at least fifteen years’ experience caring for domestic pets. This can include caring for your own?
  • Are you a non-smoker?
  • Do you have your own transport and a clean driving license?
  • Are you active, since most of your assignments will include exercising dogs on a regular basis?
  • Are you honest, trustworthy and reliable?
  • Do you have pets of your own? they cannot accompany you on assignment)
  • Are you willing to travel and free of family commitments?
  • Are you level headed and able to cope in an emergency?
  • Are you willing to provide a police disclosure?
  • Are you a resident in the U.K and do you have a permanent U.K. address?

If you have answered yes to all the above questions, we would love to hear from you.

Nina’s Nannies for Pets have a team of mature, responsible people working either alone, or as a couple.  Our priority is first and foremost the care and welfare of clients pets and maintaining home security.

Duties will include:

  • Maintaining home security at all times
  • Not exceeding three hours away from the client’s property (dog walking duties are not included in your three-hour leisure time)
  • Coping with emergencies as and when they arise
  • Administering medication when required
  • Keeping the pet’s routine
  • Watering client’s tubs, hanging baskets (although heavy gardening is not part of your job description)
  • Lots of tender loving care to the pets in your charge

We are unable to consider people who already have work commitments, or pets of their own, since they cannot accompany sitters on assignments.  For full details please visit Become a pet sitter

 

 

 

Which pet is best for me?

So you have taken the decision to welcome a pet into your family for the first time, so what pet is best for you?  Little four-year-old Peter is desperate for that beautiful fluffy bunny he fell in love with in the pet store window, while five year old Mandy has been pleading for a little kitten just like her friend Abigail’s.  Decisions, decisions, what do you do?

Pet ownership is extremely rewarding and I have long been of the opinion, that animal welfare should be part of the school curriculum, but back to the question in hand.

Please do NOT buy or adopt on impulse and do your research before welcoming any animal into your home.

At Nina’s Nannies for Pets, we are keen advocates of #adoptdontshop and would always suggest visiting your local animal shelter.  Pet stores are biased to selling their animals and in my opinion, are not best placed to offer the advice required, such as dietary requirements, socialisation and the correct feeding.  In my capacity as a pet sitter, I have seen countless Rabbits, Guinea Pigs and small furries (with the exception of Syrian Hamsters), being sold separately. This is heartbreaking given that those mentioned are community animals and should never live alone.

Over the eighteen years I have been in business, I have shuddered at the inappropriate housing of some animals in our charge, such as tiny Rabbit hutches with little space for them to maneuver, Chickens kept in tiny pods which are completely inadequate, even for the pets for which they were intended and Ducks with just a bowl of water in a small garden.

Impulse buying

When buying or adopting any pet, this should be a thought out, will prepared process.  If in doubt ask a pet professional such as a vet, or visit the Blue Cross/RSPCA website, which are awash with information about all manner of pets.

Consider your home circumstances.

  • What size is your garden?
  • Do you work all day?
  • Finances-can you afford the expense of owning a pet?

Which pet

In order to decide the above, you should consider your reasons for wanting a pet.  If it is primarily for your children, I would look to the small furies such as rabbits, guinea pigs or another hutch/cage dwelling creature.  My particular favorite are fancy rats.  Of all the little furries, fancy rats are by far the most intelligent.  They are extremely affectionate little creatures and far happier if kept in pairs.

As with all pets, please consider adopting, but if you really want a pair of young rats ensure that you go to a reputable breeder.

If you are looking for a more energetic companion, then of course a dog would be ideal.  However, if you work all day and require a more independent addition to your household a cat would be a purrfect fit.  Again, there are dogs and cats of all ages and sizes in rescue centers up and down the country, but if it is a pure bred that you desire, PLEASE, ensure that you chose a reputable breeder and remember to:

  1. Never buy from a pet store or answer an advert in the local paper. These are often the window for puppy mills and should be avoided at all cost.
  2. Remember that the Kennel Club provides details of accredited breeders with registered puppies for sale and look on their website for contact details.
  3. A good breeder with be happy to welcome you to their home, where you can see mum interacting with their puppies.
  4. Ask the breeder for the KC registration certificate and worming information. A good breeder will ask their own questions and their premises will be clean and the dogs happy.

A good breeder will always do the following:

  • Health test their breeding stock
  • Take excellent care of their dogs
  • Provide information and follow up care for those people buying their puppies
  • Offer a lifetime of support to those who buy their puppies
  • A good and considerate breeder, will have no more than three litter from a female in her lifetime and steer clear of any breeder who has different breeds of dog.

If you are still unsure, contact The Kennel Club who will be only too pleased to help.

I would strongly advise that your children are totally committed to caring for pet, since forcing a child into pet ownership will not teach them responsibility and you should be prepared to do all the caring yourselves.

Cost

Animals should be for life and not just an impulse buy.

Apart from the initial cost of buying your pet, be it from a store, breeder or shelter, pets are a huge financial commitment.

They have dietary requirements, suitable housing, grooming, holiday care and most importantly, health care.

Insurance is vital to the well-being of your pet and some can live for many years.  The average lifespan of a cat is around 12 – 14 years and we have cared for some who have reached 20 and above!

Small furies

Rabbits, mice, gerbils and rabbits make wonderful pets, but they need to be handled regularly.  Rats especially, make wonderful companions for small children, since if socialized they are extremely interactive and affectionate, in fact  I liken them to little canines in a rodent form.

All furies require regular cleaning and for some children this can be monotonous once the novelty of pet ownership has worn off.  In this case, parents must be prepared to carry out these duties and where possible encourage children to continue with their routines.

Rabbits in particular can fall prey to the dreaded fly strike, a truly gruesome condition which occurs when flies lay their eggs on the rabbits rear ends.  It is therefore imperative that their living quarters are kept clean and they are checked daily, especially during the summer months.

Dogs/Cats

The above are the most popular choice of pets, with thousands of families welcoming them into our homes.

The majority of dogs are both loyal and affectionate, forming close bonds with their owners.

When choosing a dog, you should insure that he/she is the right breed, type for your family, which is why it is so important that you research your breed before making your decision.

Puppies and kittens need a lot of training and socialisation and may not be appropriate for young children.  Adopting a calm friendly adult dog/cat however, who has been temperament assessed, may be a far better companion for your family.  

As with all pet/child introductions, it is so important that you help your child to see the world through their eyes.  Children would react if they were poked or prodded unexpectedly, so you should explain that animals must be treated with respect and kindness.

So have you done your research?  If so, which pet did you get and did you adopt?

 

 

 

Keeping Pets Safe In The Winter Months

We all know that dogs and cats are happiest and healthiest kept indoors, but even cats who have access to outside require protection from extreme weather conditions such as cold, wind and extreme heat.  With the temperatures set to plummet this week, it is time to spare a thought for all those animals who are kept outdoors.

Although snow may be a great source of fun for the family, you should always be prepared for the hazards it may bring, especially for our outdoor pets, so here are a few  tips for keeping them safe during the cold winter weather.

Doggie do’s and don’ts during the winter months.

  • Short haired dogs such as Greyhounds and Chihuahuas can be really sensitive to cold weather and benefit greatly from wearing coats during exercise.
  • Pavements are usually salted during snow fall, so remember to wash pads and feet  since it can be an irritant.
  • NEVER exercise off lead near rivers or lakes. They can become frozen and although the majority of dogs are strong swimmers, prevention is better than cure!
  • Be mindful of slippery conditions. The elderly should refrain from putting themselves and their dog at risk.  You can always entertain them inside until conditions improve.
  • Wearing bright or reflective clothing is advisable for both dog and owner to be seen by motorists, during dark winter evenings.
  • If your dog is under active during the winter months do not forget to cut back on his calories. Extra weight can cause health problems so please do not kill with kindness!
  • Dogs should NEVER be left outside in freezing conditions.

Cat’s survival guide

  • The majority of cats like to remain inside during the cold winter months, but if your cat does enjoy snowy conditions ensure that they have access to indoors. If there is no cat flap, keep them inside as cats can suffer from hypothermia and develop frostbite.
  • If you are keeping your cats inside, a litter tray should be provided.
  • Cat flaps can become blocked in heavy snowfall, so if your cat does venture outside,  ensure they are checked and cleared regularly.
  • Cats adore warm places and often gravitate to the warmth of a car engine to keep warm. This can cause them to be trapped without food and water so check before making your journey.

Hutches

  • If you really cannot bring your little furies indoors during the cold winter months, hutches should be positioned so that extreme snow/rain cannot get in and covered with an old blanket or sacking. Many of our clients use an old tarpaulin under a hutch to provide extra warmth, but remember when covering with any material, to leave the front clear in order that your pets can still enjoy daylight.
  • If a garage is to be their winter home, ensure that they have good ventilation (by a window) and an area that is damp and draft free. Fumes from your car can be fatal so do not use a garage that is used by a car.  Out of sight should not mean out of mind, so do not forget them.
  • Pets enjoy a thicker coat during the winter months, which can moult with constantly changes in temperature. Please therefore do not bring them inside at night to be put out again during the day.  This could also cause stress and further vulnerability to the cold.
  • Remember to add extra bedding and change it regularly.
  • Water bottles can often freeze over when left outside, so these should also be checked on a regular basis to ensure that your pet(s), can still drink.  Insulation sleeves can be purchased from good pet stores and if the water does freeze change for another as defrosted water can cause tummy upsets.
  • For those people who think ‘well wild rabbits live outside’, should be mindful that they have underground burrows which are dry and draught free and are able to snuggle up to other bunnies!
  • You can line the floor of your hutch with a layer of newspaper and extra hay/straw and you can now purchase a heat pad, but please remember to read and follow the instructions fully before use.
  • Hutches should be kept clean throughout the year whatever the weather.

It is worth remembering that rabbits are communal animals and should never be kept alone. Kept in pairs they will be able to enjoy the warmth and comfort of each other, but check the sex of each one before pairing to ensure that you are not over run with their offspring.

Pets rely on us for their well being and safety, especially during harsh weather conditions, but if in any doubt, please contact your veterinary practice who will happily offer advise without charge.

 

Christmas Dangers for Pets

We may still only be in November, but already Christmas trees and decorations are being hauled from the loft and with them come potential dangers to our pets.

Last Christmas, within 24 hours of publishing my vlog about the dangers of chocolate, I found myself and German Shepherd Dog Luika, in the vets at Leighton Buzzard, having his stomach pumped!

Such an embarrassment and a fine example of how quickly and easily dogs can capitalise on our mistakes.

Being a pet sitter, we have frequent visits from happy clients brandishing bottles of wine and boxes of chocolates.  All of which we donate to the staff of  local rescue centres as a thank you for their hard work throughout the year.  Sadly they are all to often forgotten and without their dedication and hard work, pets would never find suitable homes.

On this particular day, my husband had answered the door, to discover a beautifully wrapped parcel on our doorstep.  He was late for an appointment and left it on kitchen workshop at the same time as I had answered the phone.

I turned my back for no more than five minutes to discover on my return, a demolished parcel, an empty box of Baileys finest liqueurs and a rather sorry and furtive looking German Shepherd Dog!

I immediately reached for the phone to put our vets on alert, grabbed his lead and made a dash to the car.  Luckily it was only a few minutes drive, who immediately administered an injection to induce vomiting.

For those of you who’s dog has never required a vomit inducing drug, I can assure you it is not a pretty sight.  The next half an hour was spent watching my poor pouch, throwing up vast quantities of chocolate until the vet was satisfied that his system was completely clear.

With over eighteen years working within the pet care industry and a lifetime of owning pets and offering advice on my blog, I was aghast that this could happen to MY dog!  It takes but a few minutes for your pet to find danger and Christmas is a time full of them for our pets.

Every string of tinsel, each Poinsettia and even a Christmas dinner, can hold dangers for our pets.  Cats in particular, simply adore the allure of the Christmas tree decorations, so should never be left alone with its temptations and our pet sitters have lost count of the Poinsettia’s that have been relegated to a locked cupboard. Only last year, a client recalled how her prize Pug guzzled the contents of an unattended glass of sherry, which saw him spending Christmas night at the veterinary surgery, followed by a rather hefty vet bill!

The majority of Christmas dangers can be avoided however, so have a wonderful Christmas and remember to keep your pets safe.

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Keeping Your Dogs & Cats Cool In The Summer Heat

As the temperatures soared in late July, so did cases of dogs left in hot cars and one poor dog was left to fry on the hottest day of the year!  Sadly he died, despite the best efforts of those people who tried to save him.

The RSPCA and other animal welfare charities only recently launched a campaign to highlight the dangers of not keeping your pets cool in the summer heat and despite warnings dogs are still being left in hot cars!

Let me ask dog owners one question.  Have you ever walked barefoot on a hot pavement?  If not, please try, since that is what your dog feels each time he is walked in the midday sun!

We have strict guidelines with regard to our pet care services, in that dogs are never exercised during periods of intense heat.  They are walked early morning and late evening.  When the mercury rises, dogs are encouraged to settle on a stone floor and in the coolest part of the house.

Pet Sitters are always careful to follow these simple procedures.

Damp towels

If your dog does start to show signs of overheating, put a towel under the cold water tap, wringing it out before placing it over your dog.  This is an excellent tip for bringing down your dogs temperature as explained by our local veterinarian.  Our German Shepherd Dog absolutely loves playing with water, hence we have great fun with the hose on a hot sunny day and placing a paddling pool in the garden will prove to be a real hit with your canine friend.

Cooling mats

These can be purchased quite cheaply and if you do not have stone floors in your kitchen a cooling mat is a great alternative.  Just ensure that you buy the correct size for your dog in order that they receive the full benefit.

Fans

Keeping your dogs & cats cool in the summer heat

Keeping you dogs & cats cool in the summer heat

Like our cats, yours will probably gravitate to a favourite area of the house, so make that area cool by including a fan or air conditioning unit.

Sunburn

Did you know that even your pets can suffer sunburn, especially white dogs and cats and with this comes the increased risk of cancer.  Especially dogs with fine hair, like hairless breeds such as The Chinese Crested or The Mexican Hairless Dog.

White dogs are particularly susceptible to sunburn, just like blond haired people have a greater propensity to burn.  It is therefore important that you apply a dog/cat sunscreen and use a quality one.  It should be applied to the nose, ears, groin and any area that is normally pink. Many human sunscreens can be toxic to your pet, especially those that contain PABA or zinc oxide, so  if in doubt, ask your vet.

Hutches

Ensure that hutches are removed from full sun and if possible, check them regularly and bring them inside to the coolest area of your house.

Fans can be used, but ensure that it is pulling the cool air in and not blowing against it.

Ensure that  water is changed regularly and the hutches are kept clean.  Fly strike is a real problem in rabbits and keeping their area clean is essential.

Water

Make sure that water bowls are filled regularly giving your dogs/cats fresh cold water throughout the day and you can include some ice cubes to keep it cool. We always have a few water bowls around the house, in case one is spilt.

We are lucky enough to have a feature pond in a garden, which is wonderful for the birds in hot weather.  You may not have a pond, so why not fill a large bowl with water and watch  the wildlife as they use it to keep cool.

We all look forward to the summer, but the heat can prove fatal to our furry family.  Remember to keep them cool and it will be far more enjoyable for both pet and owner.

If you are looking for tips to keep your pets healthy in the hot summer heat, this guide is for you,  if in doubt however, always consult your local veterinarian, who are sure to have leaflets and answer any questions on heat related problems.

 

 

 

Live in Pet Sitters Required

Live – in Pet Sitters required to join our expanding Pet Sitting team.

Are you an animal lover and looking to work during retirement? Have you ever wanted to work with animals? Are you a non smoker with your own transport?    If you answered yes to all of those questions, we would love to hear from you.

Nina’s Nannies for Pets

Nina’s Nannies for Pets was established in 1998 to provide a complete pet care service, which is tailored to suit our clients requirements.  It is therefore important that new recruits are happy to go that extra mile for our clients and fit into our family team of Pet Sitters.

2015, saw us introduce Skype calls to allow  clients to look in on their pets while their were away. This and regular updates, are very much appreciated, hence our repeat bookings and constant recommendations.

Requirements

For this reason our ‘personal service’ must be maintained.  All applicants therefore, must be non smokers, preferably with their own transport, have at least fifteen years experience of caring for domestic pets, be active, in order to maintain dogs exercise regimes and have good communication skills.

Sick dog sideways on white background

You should be able to cope in an emergency, should a pet require veterinary treatment while their owners are away, or deal with household emergencies when and if they arise.

This type of work is ideally suited to retired people/couples who enjoy the pleasure of a pet, without the expense or responsibility and it does not take long for a new pet sitter to build a good client base, which will see you return to the same households throughout the year and when required.  We also offer good rates of pay for the right people.

Good Rates Of Pay

There are good rates of pay for the right people/couples and don’t forget the additional savings you will make on utility bills!

You are also reimbursed for all mileage costs, the preliminary visit and when you start and end the assignment and any extra expenses incurred while clients are away.

We are particularly keen to find Live in Pet Sitters in the London, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire,  Hampshire and Dorset area, so please visit our ‘Become a Pet Sitter’ page for full details.

Keeping your pets safe in the sun

As the heat wave approaches please remember that pets dehydrate extremely quickly in hot weather.
We love to spend sunny days outside with friends and family enjoying outside activities, but some of our activities such as ball games etc. can be extremely dangerous for our dogs!

Here are some handy tips for pet owners:

1. Always ensure that your pets have access to fresh water .
2. NEVER leave your pets in your vehicle. On hot days your car will become a furnace and within a short time
this could lead to fatal heatstroke.
3. Take all outside pet homes/hutches into the shade and ensure that any indoor cages are moved to a shaded area
of your house.
3. Rabbits are particularly prone to maggot infestations, so ensure that their hutches are cleaned regularly and
their bottoms checked frequently.
4. NEVER walk your dog in the hot sun. Save your outdoor time for the early morning or evening when temperatures
fall. The air will be easier to breath and the pavements will be cooler on the pads of their paws.
5. Keep your dogs away from barbecues. The food and drink offered to your guests can be poisonous to dogs!
6. Food can go off very quickly in hot weather, so remove any leftovers quickly.
7. Ponds can evaporate in hot weather so check frequently and refill as required.
8. Always ensure that outdoor ponds have a shaded area.
9. Do not forget that pets can also suffer sunburn. Pets that are shaved, or pale. White nosed dogs and ears
are prone to sun induced tumours. In fact any area where the skin is thin and there is little or no hair
should be protected. There are specific sunscreens designed for pets, but sensitive skin or baby sunscreens
can be used as well.
10. Paddling pools are not only a great source of fun for your children, they can also provide an excellent way of
cooling down for your dog.

Be alert for the signs of heatstroke. Symptoms of overheating, are excessive panting, difficulty breathing, extreme thirst, thick saliva and increased heart rate and since our pets cannot speak , they rely on us for their well-being.
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Studies have found small and large breeds of dog are particularly susceptible to heatstroke and a darker coated dog is more likely to soak up the heat quicker than a lighted coated dog.

Flatter faced dogs such as Boxers or Pugs are more likely to suffer over heating since their wind pipes are narrower and they are more prone to overheating, so outside time should be restricted to toilet breaks only.
If you think that your dog is suffering from heatstroke, it is imperative that you seek emergency veterinary treatment. In the meantime you can put him onto a wet towel to help reduce his temperature.

Faceless voter!

This is my letter to the politicians on why I will not be voting on May 7th.
Dear Mr Cameron, Mr Miliband & Mr Clegg,
I am the faceless voter. I am not a celebrity, a sportswomen, or royalty. I attended secondary school (probably the worst in the country) and left at the age of fifteen with no qualifications, just a love and passion for animals, which led me to where I am now, a pet sitter of seventeen years.
Perhaps however, since you are all desperate for votes, I now matter, for it could be my vote that puts one of you in Downing Street on Thursday 7th May.
Yes, I care about the Health service. Having my own business I worry about the future for small companies. I am also mindful about all those young people who cannot find work and for Mrs Jones down the road who could not afford to pay for heating last winter, but I also care about the welfare of our animals.
They do not have a vote. Every day up and down the country, kittens and puppies suffer the horrors of puppy farms or concentration camps as I like to call them. They suffer a life of neglect, abuse and torture and when they have outlived their usefulness they are left to die a slow and painful death. The lucky ones will be killed or abandoned.
Then there is Mr Smith, a 75 year old pensioner who’s only companion is little Rover. They eat, sleep and exercise together and Rover is often the reason that Mr Smith gets up each morning. The companionship and the attachment they feel towards each other is fundamental to Mr Smith’s well-being and when Rover is suddenly stolen the impact is devasting.
There are literally thousands of dogs stolen each year and many are taken by organised gangs and being sold on for breeding, dog bait in the fighting fraternity, or trafficked through the internet. Did you know that most dog thefts are unrecorded, since officers investigate only if there is evidence of a crime!
What of the Breed specific legislation, which will never work and is entirely unjust.
This law was rushed through parliament in response to media and public pressure following a speight of high profile dog attacks! It is legislation which will never work, is ill informed and has not prevented attacks on the general public.
Numerous family dogs have been murdered as a result of this act. Gentle, loving and affectionate creatures who are completely innocent of any crime, taken off the street as a suspected banned breed and leaving devastated owners behind.
And now to you Mr Cameron. As I understand it, you have been quoted as ‘having the countryside in your blood’ and that it is your firm belief that everyone should have the power to hunt.
Well Mr Cameron, I live in a small country village, surrounded by farmland. I too have the countryside in my blood and like 80% of voters in the U.K. I do NOT want to see this barbaric sport returned.
It is an ASSAULT on rural life. Pregnant livestock can abort their young because of the distress caused by hounds, they cause misery to wildlife, not to mention the damage hunts cause to Farmers lands!
I would also question the integrity of any man who would consider hunting with hounds to be a part of our national heritage. Well let me tell you Mr Cameron, every single part of a hunt is cruel. The chase, the dig out and the kill. If the fox is lucky enough to escape underground, he is forced to fight the hounds before being pulled out and if very lucky, shot!
Yes, I am the faceless voter, but I will always care, for animals should never be forgotten. They are the eyes for the blind, ears for the deaf and help for the disabled. They defend our troops, detect mines and fight crime. They are part of our society and as such they deserve to be represented.
In the U.K. we are purported to be a nation of animal lovers and accordingly their welfare should be an issue of political concern and that Mr Cameron, Mr Clegg and Mr Miliband is why I remain the faceless voter.

Check list for your pet sitter

So you have booked your holiday, engaged a pet sitter and are frantically completing your last minute tasks.
Your cases are packed and hidden, for fear of spooking kitty and Tom who are both looking suspiciously at the front door. Clutching your passport, frantically checking you remembered the foreign currency, and of course your mobile phone for which you have become emotionally attached!

One last look around, a quick ‘be good while I am away’, to the cats and your gone, but what about your pet sitter?
Last minute note

A last minute note is essential. While your pet sitter will have already taken extensive notes , it is vital to inform your pet sitter of any changes to your mobile telephone number, emergency contact number, travel arrangements, hotel details, departure and arrival times.

Bins

Nobody likes to arrive home to a full dustbin and since the black bin, the green bin, the glass bin (and any other bin that has been added to the fortnightly collection), are put out on alternate weeks, you must instruct your pet sitter, which colour bin will require emptying while you are away.
Behaviour changes

Each pet is an individual and as Kitty or Rover reach their twilight years, adjustments may need to be made.
Cats can be prolific hiders. So alert your pet sitter where to look. Should your sitter be worried if cats do not come out to feed, or in the case of house cats, will they be waiting at the door in the hope of a quick escape!
As they age, cats and dogs can often suffer a decline in memory loss and their senses, sight and hearing can deteriorate, so please remember to inform your pet sitter.

Favorite toys

Dogs especially, will usually have a favourite toy which they just cannot be without. Cats too can be extremely fond of a catnip mouse, or curling up on the client’s old jumper, so alert your pet sitter in order that they may use them to interact or accompanying dogs on their walks.

Medications and recurrent illness

Is Kitty or Rover on any medications and if so, how often should it be administered, and for what reason? Are there likely to be any side effects and if so what kind?
Has your vet been informed of your holiday dates and that a pet sitter will be caring for your pet during your absence? This is important information and although your sitter should have a veterinary release form, a note on your pets file with any special considerations. harry in bed

The majority of vets will want to liaise with the owner should major surgery be required, so it is imperative that they have your contact details, or an appointed family member just in case important decisions need to be made.
Above are just a few things to remember for your sitter, in order that your pets will remain happy and healthy while you are away.

Emergencies may arise from time to time, such as a burst pipe in the winter, or a pond which needs topping up in the extreme heat, but a good pet sitter will take all this in their stride and whether you opt for a live in sitter, or just a pop in service, you should feel confident that your pets will be well cared for and safe on your return.

Choosing the right pet

Bringing a pet into your family is a big decision and it is extremely important that research is undertaken, in order that your pet will live a happy and healthy life.

These are just a few points to consider:-

  • Do you work and if so, how much time can you spend with your pet?
  • Are your children of an age to take any responsibility for your pet?
  • Can you deal with a high maintenance pet?
  • Do you have the time?
  • Have you enough outside space to accommodate their needs?
  • If you’re in rented accommodation, are pets allowed?
  • Can you afford the expense of a pet, such as vet fees, food allowance, and insurance?
  • Are you physically active enough to exercise your pet should you chose a dog?
  • Is there someone who can care for your pet during holidays and if not, can you afford a pet sitter?
  • What about your home. Do you have a garden and if so, is it large enough to accommodate a dog?

Homework

It is essential that a potential pet owner does their research before taking the first steps into pet ownership.  For example, rabbits, guinea pigs and rats are all social creatures and need company to lead a happy existence.  All too often these social animals are kept alone and therefore lead a solidarity existence.  Contrary to popular belief Guinea Pigs are not always happy to share their living quarters with a rabbit!

Dogs

If a dog is your preferred choice, you should firstly consider their needs.  Different breeds each have their own characteristics, so it is vital to research which dog would best suit your environment and family.

All dogs need exercise and some require at least two good walks a day.  For example, if you are a fairy sedentary person, you may wish to choose an older dog, which does not need a huge amount of exercise.

Dogs are also very social animals and need to be part of your family and are a long term commitment.

Cats

Contrary to popular belief, cats are not aloof creatures who fend for themselves.  They may not require the attention of dogs, but they still enjoy the interaction and stimulus of family life.

Cats can live up to fifteen and beyond so you must be able to provide long term commitment should a kitten be you’re preferred choice.

Rabbits

Rabbits live in large social groups and two will ensure that they have company.

They need a large hutch (the larger the better), an outside run and daily care.  Handling them each day will ensure that they are comfortable being held and cuddled and can easily adapt to living in your home (house rabbits).

They have a delicate digestive system, so it is vital that they be fed a varied and appropriate diet.

When keep your rabbit outside, you must ensure that they are safe from predators and that the hutch is not exposed to extreme cold or heat.  It is essential that hutches are moved inside during extreme cold and enjoy shade when it is hot.

Sadly rabbits can be the ‘forgotten’, pets, so please ensure that you have the time and love to afford them should you decide to bring one into your home.

Please be mindful that animals in whatever form are a life long commitment. Your new pet could live for anything from two to twenty years and an impulse buy may not be what you expect further down the line.

Rescue pets

There a thousands of abandoned and unwanted pets up and down the country, all desperately seeking a new home.

They will be health checked, microchipped, vaccinated and in the case of dogs, temperament tested, to establish the type of home/family they will best suit.

If however, you decide that you want a particular breed of dog/cat and you still want to help rescue, please contact the breed specific organisations and they will be able to help.  Mixed breeds are not the only animals desperate to be rehomed, so please give them a chance first.

Should you decide that you want to purchase a pedigree dog or cat, PLEASE seek the advise of a veterinary practice or contact the Kennel Club.  Remember to ask the breeder if you can see the mother/father and ask for their registration papers and health certificate which should include worming and vaccinations.

Watch how your puppy, kitten interacts with their siblings and avoid those who have been reared in outdoor kennels/catteries.  Most importantly, do NOT buy from an online ads, pet shops, or dealers who have multiple breeds. They may well be from puppy farms who take little or no interest in your puppy/kittens wellbeing.

The RSPCA and Blue Cross have a wealth of information and free booklets to help you may the right choice.  There are rescue centres throughout the country, who will be delighted to help you select a pet who will fit right into your family.