Sitter to impose doggy diet

Hi from BobnLyn in Australia, we are regular house sitters over last seven years or so. We thought we would share some thoughts re pet feeding: we believe it is not infrequent that owners (who may over-indulge their feeds/treats to their dog/s) take the opportunity to give their canine/s a diet whilst they are away (and probably over-indulging themselves) as we’ve have frequently been given a feeding regime for doggo which clearly does not match his/her appetite nor weight!
Others had similar experiences?


Yes, definitely. Sometimes they will say that explicitly, but other times you just notice that something is off. It’s often hard for HOs to say no to their pets and I guess they hope that they will hate them less if someone else puts them on a diet.

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We often find the dogs seems to want more food than the owner has recommended (cats too at times!).
We have put this down to a couple of reasons.
1, the dog sees if it can get away with more with the new person.
2, its likely we’re also giving the dog much more excercise & play than it probably gets generally everyday. We’re the sitters!
Interesting thought​:thinking::blush:


Hi @Bob and welcome to the forum. I don’t think of myself as a sitter who has a long list of questions for owners, but this is a topic I always touch on, either in the video call or in person when I arrive.

I use an example of owners where we stayed over the night they returned and, at breakfast, the owner shared their toast with the pet. I then reminded them that they had said absolutely no human food, which we’d stayed with, even though the pet sat next to us at breakfast. The owner’s answer? Oh, it’s only a piece of toast. :slightly_smiling_face:

Now I use that example when chatting, and then the owners open up a bit more. I’m still often faced with a pet’s pleading eyes and wonder whether I’m being played by the pet, or the owner still wasn’t truly honest with me. :wink:

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@Bob Hi and welcome to the Community Forum. You know, I never really gave it much thought when sitting with new pets that we might have been told to feed them entirely differently than their own moms and dads do, but now you have me thinking. I think back on a couple of sits where we were told the quantity of kibble to give them, and honestly, it seemed way too little for the size of the pup, but we followed as closely as we could (ok, maybe we were guilty of giving them just a little extra). The looks on those pups faces made us feel so guilty like we were trying to starve them! I think I will take the advice of some other folks who replied on here and really watch as they are interacting with their babies during our facetime interviews. I feel when we are sitting that we are kind of like “aunts and uncles” to the pups and we all know what that usually means…Grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles always indulge the kids when mom and dad are away, but I sure wouldn’t want to cause an intestinal issue by not following the guidelines!

I am looking forward to reading more replies from others as to their thoughts on this subject!

Thanks for bringing up this post…it sure is thought provoking!

Have a great day!

Debbie - Forum Team Moderator

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Hi @Bob One of the questions that I will ask the homeowner(s) during the application process is how much and how often do their pets eat daily? I also ask if treats are allowed; this has always been a firm ‘yes’. Sometimes I have brought dog/cat treats along (and with the homeowner’s permission) and given them to the pet(s).

Hi @Snowbird

Oh, it’s only a piece of toast.

Yes, it is only a piece of toast for a person, but for a dog, it can mean extra calories and training the dog that it’s ok to beg while the human eats. If a dog is begging, barking or whining for food while the house / pet sitter is eating, that may be a good indication that the pet parent gives him people food.

As a firm rule, I do not give the pet(s) people food. There is a reason it is called ‘people food’. Once one begins giving a pet people food, the pet will always expect it and may not want to eat their pet food. Not to mention (as previously mentioned) there is always the possibility of packing on extra calories (weight gain) and some people foods may be toxic for the pets.

If a homeowner tells me the pets get 1 1/2 cups of dry kibble and 1/3 cup of green beans for a meal, then that is what I stick with, and a few treats during the day.

Regarding the pets’ diet / food, I stick with the instructions the homeowner(s) have given me.


You just said what I was meaning to say much better than I would have. I have found that dogs and cats will eat more if allowed, a lot like people :grinning:
But some owners will say strictly this and it’s obvious that the pet is used to eating people food. Makes it difficult and when I have asked I get but he’s so cute :laughing:


:innocent: their just innocent and wanting more to eat due to us sitters exercising them more

totally agree with you on the number 2 theory…
we also found this to be so true (exercising more) and also the change in weather