When you go away for vacation, especially for a short while, it might be tempting to simply ask your neighbour to care for your dog.  Here, the pros and cons of this practice will be discussed.  

If you ask a neighbour to mind your pet, he or she is likely someone that you already trust.  This aspect is important when allowing someone into your home.  Additionally, having a neighbour watch your pet is economical, as you might compensate your friend with a 6-pack of a favorite beer, or a gift card to a nearby restaurant.  Finally, your neighbour likely already knows your dog, which can be comforting to know that your pet is in the hands of someone familiar.

However, there are numerous drawbacks to this practice.  Regardless of whether your neighbour has a pet of his or her own, there is no guarantee that the temporary caregiver is trained to give emergency care, such as CPR, in the same way as a pet sitter.  An untrained professional is also less likely to notice changes in your pet that might require immediately veterinary attention, such as bloat.

While your neighbour is undoubtedly a trustworthy individual, pet sitters are licensed, bonded, and insured.  This advantage is especially useful an item in your home is accidentally broken, or the unlikely event that something happens to your dog.

A major limitation of asking your neighbour to mind your pet is expecting your dog’s normal routine to be followed. Especially when dog owners are away their pets might feel anxious and require additional exercise and attention.  While you might feel uncomfortable asking your neighbour to take your pet for a 3 mile walk or have an extra-long Frisbee session, these activities are part of a dog sitter’s job description.  

Even the most well-behaved dog can be a handful when the owner is away, and pet sitters are trained in the proper way to handle issues that can arise when a dog owner is gone.  Your  neighbour, on the other hand, might become aggravated at a whining dog, or one that is inappropriately pottying.

In addition, a pet sitter will never forget to feed your dog, take it outside, or give it the necessary medications. Your pet sitter will not be late getting home from work, or be too tired at the end of the day to provide a little bit of extra love.

Perhaps most importantly, dog sitters simply have the required experience and training to prevent situations such as escapes, illnesses, injuries, and home destruction.  No matter how well-meaning your neighbour, it is important to remember that pet sitting is not is her or her full time job, whereas for a pet sitter, it is!

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