Winter Pet Care Tips for Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers

Walk Safety

  • Think about wearing fluorescent or reflective clothing if you are walking in harsh conditions to prevent accidents and to alert other people that you are there.
  • If you have extreme weather where you feel walking would not be safe, offer a pop in service instead.
  • Keep dogs away from ponds and lakes which may be iced over. If the ice breaks under the weight of the dog, this could be fatal.
  • Keep any dogs on leads in the snow. Snow can be disorientating for dogs so they can become lost more easily.
  • Think about your own footwear to minimize the risk of trips and slips and to ensure you have good control of the dog.

Keeping the Dog Warm

  • Let your dog’s coat grow in the winter to help keep them warm. For short haired dogs, elderly dogs or puppies, there are lots of jumpers and coats available for pets which can help to keep them warm. Suggest to the dog’s owner that this is something they need to invest in if you feel their pet would benefit from this.
  • Let the dog get used to a new coat before it wears it for a walk by trying it on indoors and using treats. Once the dog is used to wearing it, you can start using it outside.
  • Keep blankets and towels in your vehicle so that you can dry the dog off thoroughly once the walk is over.

Dog Health

  • Look out for the dog’s paws becoming lodged with snow or ice which can be painful for dogs, and ensure that after walking in areas that may have been treated with rock salt, you wash the dog’s paws to remove any as this can irritate their skin and be poisonous.
  • Ensure that the dog’s hair is trimmed along their underside to avoid it becoming excessively wet if there is enough snow to reach this.
  • Never leave a dog in a car during extreme weather, hot or cold.
  • Antifreeze is very poisonous to dogs, so if there are any spillages, ensure they are cleaned up thoroughly.
  • Take extra care if the dog has arthritis as the cold weather can worsen this.

Alternatives to Walking

  • In extreme cold weather, shorten walks as you would in the summer, so that the dog is not exposed to the cold weather for long periods of time.
  • You can offer a pop in service instead where you would play with the dog in the garden or indoors for half an hour to an hour so that they are still being exercised but avoid the cold as much as possible.
  • Change your route to a route which may avoid the snow. For example if you normally walk in a field where snow may be thicker, consider walking in a shady wooded area where there may be less snow on the ground, or around streets which may have been gritted.

If you feel that walking a dog would be dangerous, let the owner know with as much notice as possible that you may not be able to provide a service on that day. If there is very extreme weather, there is a good chance that the owner of the dog will also not be working, or working from home, so they may be able to exercise their dog themselves.



Animal Welfare Regulations 2018

The new Animal Welfare Regulations came into force on 1st October 2018. They will replace the existing Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Pet Animals Act 1951, Riding Establishments Act 1968, Dog Breeding Act 1991, Performing Animals Act 1925. The new regulations take effect on renewal or if your business is being brought into the scope of licensing for the first time. Businesses earning under £1000 per annum do not need to be licensed and licenses are generally only required by businesses that have premises like day care centres and home boarding establishments. Dog walking and pop in services are not covered by the new regulations.

Why is there a need for new regulations?

The existing laws are largely outdated in the UK and as the Pet Sitting Industry is growing rapidly, the new regulations have been brought in to ensure the welfare of animals in the care of others. There is currently a lot of inconsistency across the country with varying licensing fees and different criteria from one council to another. The new regulations are in place to stop this.

The new regulations can be found online - 

You can also access the guidance notes in your account area.

What is included in the new regulations?

The new regulations cover a whole range of criteria with regards to boarding dogs. These vary from forms and policies you should have in place, training of staff, dog rest areas, cleaning, walking, monitoring of behaviour and many other areas. A star rating system is being introduced where businesses who are meeting a higher criteria are given a higher rating and this could potentially mean lower fees and longer license periods. In the guidance documents there are details on how a higher star rating can be achieved.


Discussion On How Many Dogs Per Walker Heats Up

Have you ever watched someone struggle to walk multiple dogs down a crowded street, in a field or park? Did you happen to witness five, six, seven or more dogs walking in all different directions, while being corralled on multiple leads with a single human at the helm trying to take control? Local Authorities in the UK are looking at new local rules seeking to stop this practice and restrict these type of outings to just four canines per person, at any given time like NarpsUK’s policy.

Many unregistered dog walkers are opposed to these rules because it means less pounds in their pockets with fewer paid pets being available on their leads according to this possible new law. But for dog owners with more than four of their beloved four-legged critters out for a stroll, they’re also are up in arms about the possibility of this new legislation going into effect. But how many dogs are too many to control by the walker?

Can one person actually handle a problematic dog incident with five (or more) dogs involved in a possible violent disagreement amongst these pets on a lead?

Statistics, Violence And Uncertainty

Some pet owners swear that smaller dog breeds, are easier to walk and control (indoors and out) compared to larger animals and they consider this in their opposition against this potential new rule. But according to some recent statistics, the family friendly, smaller Jack Russell terrier is responsible for the most dog attacks where a breed was pinpointed as the culprit.

Also according to Beverley Cuddy the editor of Dogs Today magazine, “More often than not when a dog attacks it is because of a lack of dog-handling knowledge.” Cuddy doesn’t specifically say this has to do with how they’re handled on a lead, but it seems to be implied at the very least.

Another reason for the possible push in this new legislation could be the significant rise in violence since dog attacks have surged during the last decade. It’s been reported that from 2005 to 2015, canine attacks are up 76% over this ten year period of time.

Concerns About Control

But for supporters of this possible new ruling, they say it’s mostly about a lack of control and a growing amount of animal waste. When it comes to doggie-doo-doo patrol and a lack of control, can a walker of multiple animals really keep track of all the excrement that happens during this journey? With only two hands available, this is a difficult task at best with multiple dogs.

While pet owners could be walking a half-dozen cute little dogs, what happens if they run into some kind of trouble? The possibilities are endless, everything from an encounter with an aggressive dog to some kind of unforeseen accident. With the walkers hands already full, how can they deal with a possible tragedy? What if the animal walker becomes injured, what happens next for the dogs if their controller is disabled, even temporarily?

Responsible Dog Walking

Some of the real answers to these important questions happen when it comes time to hire a pet sitter or dog walker for our beloved animals when we’re away from home, at work, school, even a holiday when we can’t take them with us for whatever reason. When we hire pet sitters and dog walkers, we want them to take possession of these beloved family members and give them their undivided attention and care regardless of what the law has to say on the matter.

That’s why we already have special terms and conditions already in place when it comes to responsibly walking our client’s dogs that include no more than four canines per lead. We don’t need legislation to tell us this is simply the right thing to do for everyone involved. This forms part of our Terms and Conditions and Code of Practice which have been written in consultation with the RSPCA.

Travel junkie, Amber Kingsley, is a freelance writer. She is a dog enthusiast and loves spending time with her Pomeranian, Agatha.

6 Reasons A Professional Pet Sitter Is Better Than Friends Or Family

So you’re thinking about going on holiday or have a business trip coming up and you’re sure that one of your friends or family members can watch your pet during your absence. But is this really the best choice for you and your animal?

While your dog or cat may be familiar with this choice, there’s many other things to consider when putting this responsibility onto someone you know and trust. Here’s six reasons why hiring a professional pet sitter is better than choosing from a family member or friend:

6 Reasons A Professional Pet Sitter Is Better Than Friends Or Family

1 – Obligation

Asking for this type of commitment from someone comes with a tremendous amount of responsibility. Often friends or family may agree to do so out of sense of guilt or not wanting to disappoint you. Wouldn’t you rather have someone who is completely committed to the care of your pet?

2 – In Case of an Emergency

Since pet sitters are schooled with special concepts of pet care, like first aid training, if something did happen to your pet while you’re away, they will know exactly what to do. Whether it’s a simple scratch or a necessary emergency trip to the vet, a professional would know the difference and act accordingly.

3 – Finances

Perhaps nothing can destroy a relationship with a close friend or family member like dealing with an unfortunate financial dilemma. On the off chance your pet does become injured or ill after your departure, who is responsible financially … is it you because it’s your animal … or the pet sitter since the animal was under their care? Since professionals are licensed, registered and insured, you won’t even have to have this uncomfortable conversation with someone you’ve had a lifelong relationship with.

4 – Special Circumstances

Professional pet sitters are also able to better address special circumstances that may come into play depending on your animal’s unique situation. Perhaps they’re on a restricted diet, take special medications, on a strict exercise regime or other important issues. Other tasks like cleaning their water bowls or changing a litter box could be overlooked by someone who is not a professional.

5 – Dependability

When you hire a professional service, that’s exactly what you’re getting. Face it, some of our friends and family members aren’t necessarily the most dependable people on the planet. Not to say they shouldn’t be trusted, but sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. What if your intended caretaker was involved in a car accident, has to work late or some type of an emergency occurs … where does this leave your pet?

6 – Other Services

Often there’s more to pet sitting than just spending time with the animal and taking care of their needs. Pet sitting services will often perform other household tasks, picking up the mail, newspapers, taking out the trash, even house sitting if that is what makes you feel the most comfortable.

In closing, consider that professional animal sitters are simply better equipped to deal with a number of situations that could arise during your absence. You know what they say, better safe than sorry.

Revised Dog Walking Code for England & Wales

NarpsUK have been asked by the Kennel Club to circulate a revised 'Dog Walking Code for England & Wales' has been published, this forms part of the Government Countryside code which gives excellent guidance and advice for commercial dog walkers who walk their dogs in National Park Authority space, farmland, woodland, parks, hillsides and moorland.

<< Older Posts