April is pet first aid awareness month. Did you know you should have a pet first aid kit that has the essentials for all the pets in your home? While you don’t really need one kit per pet, there are items that a dog can use, but a cat cannot (like a muzzle) and if you have a horse, they should have their own first aid kit in your trailer or tackroom --not at your house. If you do have a first aid kit for your pet(s), when was the last time you checked it to make sure all of the medications weren’t expired and it had everything you needed? This should be done about once a year. Make it in January to keep it easy to remember, new year, new first aid kit essentials.
You might be saying, “Great! That’s all well and good to have a first aid kit, but I don’t have the time to search up and down CVS and find the items needed to make a kit, and then ensure they’re safe for my dog and/or cat.” Luckily, there are a plethora of premade kits available with just a simple Google search. Chewy.com and Amazon have some great options. One of our favorite brands is Adventure Medical Kits. Available on Chewy.com for dogs (and people) of all different adventure levels, from your average dog to working dog, they have you covered. Chewy also has a great Equine Triage Kit available. For cats, the best one we found was on Amazon from ARCA
With so many great premade kits available online, we really don’t recommend building your own. It’s very time consuming and will cost much more than purchasing one. But if you really want to build your own, here is a short list of items we recommend: (1) adhesive bandage tape, (2) over the counter antibiotic ointment (dogs only), (3) antibiotic eye ointment, (4) antiseptic spray/lotion/powder, (5) betadine, (6) cotton bandage rolls, (7) cotton balls/swabs, (8) ear cleaning solution, (9) elastic bandage rolls, (10) hydrogen peroxide, (11) instant ice packs, (12) alcohol prep pads, (13) latex gloves, (14) muzzle or strips of cotton to create a muzzle, (15) tweezers, (16) non stick bandage pads, (17) petroleum jelly, (18) leash, (19) syringe without the needle, (20) rectal thermometer, (21) saline solution, (22) scissors, (23) gauze rolls, (24) styptic powder, (25) towels or blankets.
Also, it’s very important to know how to use all of these items. There’s nothing worse than to have the correct items and in an emergency, not know how to use them! Denise Fleck, of Sunny Dog Ink, is an amazing teacher of pet first aid and she has a great YouTube channel, where she teaches the basics of Pet First Aid and CPR.
One of the benefits of having us as your professional pet sitter and/or dog walker is everyone here is trained in Pet CPR and First Aid, and we renew this training every two years. In fact, we have a few team members up for renewal this year. Interested in joining us in learning Pet CPR and First Aid? We’re more than happy to send you a link to the class we’re attending online (or at least one very similar). Hopefully come next renewal time, we can take an in-person course again.
Professional Pet Sitters week may be over, but we always want to keep the conversation going about what it means to be a professional pet sitter; what you should expect from one and the advantages of hiring one. Let’s start with the definition of a pet sitter. In 1997, Patti Moran was successfully added “pet sitting” to the Random House Dictionary with the following definition “the act of caring for a pet in its own home while the owner is away”.
In a nutshell, that’s what we do best! Pet sitting includes the actual care the pet gets while their pet parent is away (feeding, giving medications, playing, etc), but it also includes dog walking as well “since it involves coming to the pet’s home to provide exercise and companionship." according to www.petsit.com.
So what does it mean to be a professional pet sitter? It means that we have chosen this as our career. We have dedicated ourselves to the betterment of our clients’ pets. And while a love for pets is a perfect way to start, it takes much more than that. There are so many things we need to learn and study to become the best professional pet sitters we can be (and the learning never ends).
We study animal behavior, best practices, the needs of different species of pets, signs to look for if something seems off, pet safety, personal safety, differences between various pet products/brands, plus the nitty gritty business and legal details. A professional pet sitter will dedicate themselves to excellence, continued education and great customer service. They will also be bonded, insured, have a local business license, client contracts, certifications in pet care/behavior/etc and have chosen pet sitting as their main job.
Ryan and I have taken our quest knowledge even further and have become Certified Professional Pet Sitters (CPPS) through Pet Sitters International (PSI). What does a CPPS entail? To “maintain the CPPS-Certified Professional Pet Sitter designation, pet sitters must:
What then should you expect from a professional pet sitter? A professional pet sitter will require a meet-and-greet before service begins so they can get to know you and your pet, as well as ensure they are the correct fit for your needs. Typically a meet-and-greet will last about an hour in which the sitter will ask many questions like, what is your pet's usual routine? What are they afraid of? Where does your cat hide? How is your dog on leash? What is your pet allergic to? How does your dog react to seeing other dogs on the walk? How do they react to loud noises? Any many more.
A professional sitter will also be willing and able so show any credentials they have such as business license, insurance, CPPS and more. And a professional sitter will also have a contract ready for you before the meet-and-greet or will be presented at the meeting.
This is the time for you to ask any questions you have and a professional sitter should be willing to answer any of them. We really want to form a relationship with you and your pet for many years to come, and we want you to be completely comfortable with us in your home and caring for your pets. You are entrusting us with some of your most precious things, your pets and your home and we take that very seriously.
What are the advantages of hiring a professional pet sitter? Including all the things above, a professional pet sitter provides peace of mind that your pet is in the best hands and will be cared for as you have instructed while you are away. If something were to go wrong, a professional pet sitter will immediately communicate with you and take necessary immediate action. A professional pet sitter will often go above and beyond for the pets they are caring for, simply because we love what we do!
Jennifer, CPPS has loved caring for animals since childhood, and she’s had quite a few throughout the years. From cats to dogs, to birds, hamsters, fish, guinea pigs, and even a horse; she’s had more four-legged family members than two legged ones!