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Lisa Tabachnick @LisaTabachnick

Housekeeper Safety: What to do with Fido When She Arrives?

How to get your house cleaned when you have a pet at home.

What do you do when you've hired the perfect housekeeper but she's afraid of dogs? Or, perhaps your new cleaner does a great job and offers reasonable rates but he's allergic to cats and you've got three. This can lead to a cleaning conundrum. Here are some tips for solving these potential pet problems:

  • If you have pets and are in need of a housekeeper, the first thing you might consider is hiring a housekeeper who's neither afraid of nor allergic to animals: make sure to ask about her pet preference while interviewing her and be clear about what pets are living with you.
  • If the housekeeper is part-time and/or only comes once every few weeks, you might think about boarding your animal for that day or hiring a dog walker or cat sitter. Boarding can be as inexpensive as $17 a day and a boarded pet can accomplish a few things:
    • It keeps your pet and your housekeeper safe from injury or accidents.
    • It allows for your house to be clear of Fido or Fifi and therefore give better access to your housekeeper to do his job.
    • It gives you peace of mind while you're out and the housekeeper is in your home.
    • It may even allow the housekeeper to finish the job faster as he may be otherwise impeded by a barking or non-complying dog.
  • If your dog or cat (or bird or reptile) is going to be at home with your housekeeper, make sure to introduce the two (or three or four). Try doing this more than once if possible and think about staying at home for the first few housekeeping sessions so that you can ensure both your housekeeper and your pet are okay.
  • Give your housekeeper any necessary telephone numbers, such as how to reach you at work or on your cell phone should an emergency arise with your pet (or otherwise), and how to reach the vet in case she can't reach you or your partner and there's a problem with your pet.
  • If you live in a sunny climate or if it's summertime, you might think about keeping your pet outside in a safe, controlled spot while the housekeeper is working. Make sure Fido has access to water, food and a shady, comfortable spot in which to sleep and play.

Lisa Tabachnick Hotta is a freelance writer and editor living in Toronto. She loves it when her house is clean for more than one day at a time.

2 comments

Oldest comments are listed first

  • I am not afraid of dogs, in fact I have had dogs in my home as well as in my parents home growing up. In my last position there was a dog, and I was told at interview that the dog was friendly, and obedient trained. On the first day that I was left alone with the child in my care and the dog huge and About 70 pounds, (I weight 112 pounds)it became very territorial, and it will not allow me to go anywhere in the house. The dog cornered me in an area; got very closed to me in a very aggressive Stance growling and trying to bite my feet. I had to ask for help. When I mentioned the incident to the mother of the child I was fired on the spot Very rudely.I wished she would have been totally honest and had told me that the dog was not friendly, and that it was territorial,mistrustful, and very protective of the child, so that I would had put my self in harms way.

  • I think in these instances (as the one Lyda stated above), the pet owner should have had the housekeeper meet the dog (or cat) prior to coming to the house for work. The dog could have very well been friendly and trained as the owner said, but dogs could easily become very territorial if the housekeeper is not a recognized face. It could have been prevented unfortunately, but you live and you learn for next time! :)

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