Paris Permenter is an all-round pet expert, ‘dog tipper’ and now is Skype’s Pet Brand Ambassador. We asked her to put together a list of reasons that pet owners should be using Skype to keep in touch with their furry friends.
Skype is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family—and that includes our four-legged, finned, and feathered family members, too! I use Skype both to stay in touch with our pets when I’m traveling without them and to introduce my friends to our pets since they’re a special part of my life. Here are 10 reasons you might considering introducing your pet to Skype:
1. To share your pet with others. Not all pets like to socialize. Our cats, for example, are very happy homebodies. They don’t want to travel. Even when people come to our home, they’re not into socializing. However, if I’m on Skype, our cat Inca loves to come sit in my lap and even look into the webcam. My friends are able to see Inca just being Inca, not frightened as they would see her if I took her to their home for a visit.
2. For the joy of seeing your pets when you’re traveling. We love to take our dogs traveling with us but they’re not always able to go on every trip. Recently I spoke at a cat conference where our dogs really wouldn’t have been a good fit; it was nice to return to my room at the end of the day and hop on Skype to see them.
3. To check up on your pet’s health. Are you worried about your cat eating while you’re away? You can place an automatic feeder beside your webcam and, at the scheduled time, check the feeder to see if your cat comes at the sound of the food. Or just check to see if the food is sitting untouched at the end of the day. That glimpse, even without seeing your cat, may give you a clue into how your pet is feeling.
4. To give your pet a boost when you’re away. Not every pet will want to see and hear you while you’re away but, for some, it can be comforting to interact with you while you’re gone. If your dog has separation anxiety, for example, it’s better to peek in on him without making a sound; your voice can cause added anxiety. Balanced dogs at home with a pet sitter may enjoy “talking” with you while you’re gone, however.
5. To talk with your pet sitter when you’re traveling. A talk via Skype with your pet sitter is a great way to put your mind at rest when you’re traveling. Your pet sitter can bring pets into the picture, except in the case of pets with separation anxiety, and you can answer any questions the pet sitter has in your absence—then return to the business of your trip with the peace of mind of knowing that all’s well with your pets.
6. To check on your pets from work. Even if your travel doesn’t take you beyond your office, Skype can be a great way to check in on your pets and make sure your bird is just merrily sitting on his perch or your ferret is simply hanging out in his playpen.
7. To use as a nanny cam to watch your pet sitter. If you’ve hired a new pet sitter, Skype can be an excellent way to keep on eye on your pet sitter to make sure the pet sitter is interacting with your pets in the manner instructed.
8. To check your pet’s behavior when you leave the house. Do you wonder what your dog does when you leave? Is he showing signs of separation anxiety? Or just napping all day? If you’ve received reports of barking (or you’ve seen evidence of destruction), when is that happening in the day? Checking in via Skype can be a great way to pinpoint behavior issues.
9. To make sure your pet’s automatic feeder is working in your absence. Many cat lovers leave their cats with food and water overnight without a pet sitter. If you do, Skype can be an excellent way to check in and make sure that automatic feeder is working properly, that your cat hasn’t turned over the water bowl, etc. Leaving food and water near the webcam can keep them in sight for a quick check-in.
10. To teach an old dog new tricks. With positive reinforcement training, some great treats, and the help of a friend, you can teach your dog to look at the monitor. Like all training, it’s an ongoing process and one you want to start in advance of a time when you really want your dog to come look at the monitor, like during your cross-country trip.
A great list from Paris, and it just goes to show that a chat over Skype doesn’t just have to be human to human.
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, it’s time to show us how much you love your pet. We want to celebrate your furry, feathered and fluffy friends – tell us your story of how much you love your pet: send us a video of your favorite Skype chat with Tiddles or Rover, a photo of you both, or a Skype Video Message starring the pair of you. No matter how you use to Skype to stay close to your furry, feathered, and four-legged friends, we want to hear your story.