Pets are a wonderful part of life. Many people love coming home to a sweet dog, kitty cat, bunny rabbit, or other animal friend. Animals bring us joy, love, comfort, and can really make a home feel like a home. That being said, with the joy that pets bring also comes great responsibility. Animals are living creatures that require attention, training, feeding, walking, nurturing, and full-time care. When you have a nanny working in your home you will need to consider how this will affect her, as well as who will be responsible in your absence.
Perhaps you hired your nanny while you already have a dog or cat and have asked her if she is ok with animals and if she has any allergies. Great, that is a good place to start! Beyond this you will want to discuss what is expected of the nanny. If you have a fenced in yard and you simply ask your nanny to let your dog out a few times a day this is fine. This is a pretty basic and noninvasive task to request of your nanny when she and the children are at home. If your dog needs to be fed before you return from work and your children are of the age to assist with these types of chores, then they should be asked to do so rather than your nanny. This teaches your children the responsibility that comes along with caring for a pet, while also letting your nanny be just that, a nanny who provides care for children. Do not assume that just because she enjoys animals that she wants to be the caretaker of yours when you are not home. If you have a pet that needs to be fed before you return and your children are not yet old enough to assist, you will want to discuss this with your nanny. Ask her if she is comfortable feeding your pet, show her where the pet food is, and have it user friendly for her to put together quickly so as not to interfere too much with her day. Most nannies will agree to this without an issue. If your dog needs to be walked several times throughout the day it is not ok to just assume that your nanny is fine with this. She was hired to care for your children not your pets. If your dog requires regular walks there are a few options for you: hire a pet walker to come at specific times each day to take your dog out for a walk. Come home on your lunch break and take your fur baby for a walk yourself, or ask your nanny if she is comfortable doing so. If she says yes, she is happy to, plan on paying her an additional fee for this time. This appreciation will go a long way as she truly is doing something above and beyond by walking your dog. This may sound odd, but the fact is she is not a pet sitter, she is a nanny. Anything that does not directly involve the children is really not her responsibility, and it should not be dropped on her without discussion and compensation.
As some families are growing, they may decide that they want to add a kitten or puppy to their life. This can be a very exciting addition to the family, but you must keep in mind that this is YOUR choice not your nanny’s. While all pets require attention and come with responsibility, young pets such as kittens and puppies are even more so! If you have every had a puppy in your house you know how they chew things up, are not trained to go potty outside, and otherwise make messes and require a lot of attention! It is incredibly unfair to bring a baby animal into your home while you are at work all day and expect that your nanny will pick up the slack. Your nanny is busy doing what she was hired for, caring for the kids! Even in her downtime she should not be stressing over training or tending to the pet that you chose to have. If you want to bring a new pet into your home that is great, but details must be discussed. If your nanny wishes to assist in the care and training of your pet that is great, make sure you compensate her for this! This is in addition to her work as a nanny and must be paid for. You may have a nanny who is not interested in assisting with puppies or kittens at all. Please respect this as she does not have to be. You can hire a pet sitter to care for your pet while you are working, find a family member that is willing to take them in during the day, or other such arrangement. Never just assume that your nanny wants to carry the weight. Pets are wonderful, but simply put, she did not choose to take on this fur baby, you did. When choosing to bring an animal into your home, it is important to think through the proper day to day care that your pet will be given, and who will be providing it. It really is not right to pass the burden onto your nanny just because you chose to have a pet. The pet is your responsibility and not hers.
Perhaps you have an older pet that is well behaved but has a lot of energy and needs to get it out. If you have a nice fenced in yard that the dog can run in while the nanny and children play that is great. Feel free to ask your nanny to let the dog outside throughout the day while she and the children are playing. Keep in mind that your nanny may have some days where she and the kids are out for long periods of time. She should not feel like she has to rush home for the dog when she is out with the children enjoying activities for them. There are many doggy day care camps that you can send your dog to during the day. These are like day care only for pets. Your dog will receive attention, be able to run around and play, and be tended to in which the way animals deserve, all while you work and your nanny goes about her day with the children. Consider these camps as a pet owner! Take the time to check them out and find out which one best fits your needs.
Many of us love animals and your nanny likely does too! The simple fact is that your pets are your responsibility and not that of your nannies. Take the time to set up proper pet care and let your nanny be just that, a nanny for your children. While animals are a wonderful thing, perhaps you are in a place in life where you are too busy and simply don’t have the time to commit to one. That is ok! Recognize that and wait. This may not be the time to add a pet to your family. You can choose to wait to a time when the kids are older and the whole family can pitch in as a team. The bottom line is to think before bringing home that new precious fur baby. They deserve proper time and attention, and your nanny deserves to be able to do her job as a nanny.
By: Anne-Marie Ferraro