Since we started Friends for Pets six years ago, we have seen many pet care companies come and go. It has become quite a popular choice for people wanting to earn a bit of extra money or wanting a change in career. So with a such a vast choice of dog walkers and pet care companies to choose from how do you choose the right one for your pet?
There are many important factors to look for:-
1) Experience & Qualifications
‘Professional’ Dog Walkers have a range of experiences from nothing to vets and dog trainers! At Friends for Pets we take on pet carers with a range of different experiences specialising in a wide range of animals. We have a mixture of experiences pet owners, vet students, dog trainers, dog groomers, animal physiotherapists and vet nurses! Due to the wide range of pet carers that we have available we are able to match your pet with the most suitable pet carer for your pet’s requirements. Each pet carer has the support of their local area manager. All of our area managers come from wide variety of backgrounds. Each manager under goes an extensive training programme covering topics such as animal behavior and welfare, animal handling, Pet First Aid and Nutrition. Each area manager has the support of head office. Head Office is run by Becca who is a qualified animal scientist and lecturer. She has worked all over the world caring for animals and teaching animal health workers, vets in developing countries and undergraduate vet and FE animal care students in the UK. Ultimately this means that your pet has access to an enormous volume of knowledge and relevant experience.
It goes without saying that Insurance should be a top priority when choosing a pet care company or dog walker. They should hold a relevant public liability and liability to animals in their care insurance. Other beneficial insurance is a key loss insurance if they are to be key holders for your property.
3) Registration with a trade body
The only trade body available for the pet care industry is the Pet Services Association which is part of the Pet Industry Federation. Friends for Pets are members of this trade body. For more information please see http://www.petcare.org.uk/. Many dog walkers are members of the National Association of Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers (NARPS). You should note that rather than being a trade body this is a company that just gives you information and help in setting up a pet care company. It can be very valuable tool for new dog walkers.
4) Personality of your pet carer
Choosing a pet carer that you and your pet get on with on a personal level is so important. At Friends for Pets we strive to find a pet carer that you and your pet get on with. Leaving your precious family member in the care of someone else is an important decision and one which needs to be right. At Friends for Pets you will find your pet carer usually becomes an extended members of your family!
5) Security consciousness
If you are asking a dog walker to come into your home when you are not there it is important that they hold a minimum of a Basic Disclosure. At Friends for Pets all of our new pet carers are asked to obtain one if they do not hold a recent one already. Other than the area managers who sometimes have removable car magnets, all of our pet carers vehicles are un-marked therefore not announcing to anyone close that you are not at home. It is an all too common horror story for professional burglars to follow a marked dog walkers van to know if someone is home or not and for marked dog walking vans to be broken in to in remote walking spots and client’s house keys and details stolen.
6) Back Up
Although it is so important for your pet to build up a close relationship with their pet carer there may be times when your regular pet carer is not available such as when they go on holiday or are ill etc. It is important that a back up pet carer can be used. At Friends for Pets we can offer this service without causing stress and worry to you.
In summary the choice of dog walkers and pet carers is vast! Taking into account the above factors will usually provide a long lasting, reliable service for your pet.