Why Having Pets Makes it Harder to Find A Nanny

18 Mar


ImageAs we near busy season here at North Star Nannies, we already have quite a few families that we need to place before the rush is upon us. There is only one problem: most of these families have pets.


There are so many factors at play when deciding which of our nannies to refer to families, but the biggest deterrent since I started the business has been the presence of pets. It may not sound like a big deal, but nannies having pet allergies automatically, and immediately, disqualifies them from being a good candidate for a job.


This is also one of the most frustrating parts of my job.


Usually, within 20 minutes of meeting with a family for the first time, I have a few nanny candidates in mind. It is nearly impossible to remember whether or not nannies have allergies, and I sometimes forget. 


Yes, in addition to knowing which nannies have experience with multiples, which areas they are willing to work in, whether or not they are comfortable with special needs, etc., pets REALLY affect the placement process.


Here are a few rules to consider when searching for a pet-friendly nanny:


Rule #1. Give full disclosure. Be upfront about having a pet and being an animal loving family. Whether creating your profile online or when working with an agency, be sure to include information about your pet in your family’s description. Even if you don’t expect your nanny to provide any care for your family pet, if she has a severe allergy to dogs or cats and you have one it could be an employment deal breaker.

Rule #2.  Advertise for a pet loving nanny. When you describe your ideal nanny candidate, include a nanny that enjoys being around animals. When you do, you’ll naturally attract nannies who enjoy being around pets.

Rule #3.  Be clear about the pet responsibilities your nanny would have. If you expect your nanny to walk or feed the family dog, communicate that from the get go.  If part of her job would be taking the pet to routine vet visits, be sure to discuss it upfront. While opening the screen door to let a dog out may not be a big deal to you, to a nanny who has an allergy to dogs or a general dislike of them it’s not going to be something she wants to do.

Rule #4. Be willing to hire a dog walker or pet care provider and make that clear in your family profile. Dogs with lots of energy and young children with equal amounts of energy don’t always mix. If a nanny candidate is aware you’re willing to outsource the pet duties, a pet may be a nonissue.  If you love a nanny who doesn’t really love dogs, hiring a dog walker or taking the dog to doggie daycare may be your only chance of securing her.

Rule #5. Compensate your nanny if she agrees to take on any pet duties. When discussing compensation be sure to include what you’re offering to take care of the family pet in addition to her nanny salary. Showing your nanny that you appreciate her going above and beyond the call of duty will go a long way in helping her to feel valued and respected.

If you’ve hired a nanny and then decide you want to get a family pet, it’s important to discuss the idea with your nanny first. If you decide you’d like to get a puppy, for example, the reality is that your nanny is going to be spending the majority of time with the puppy, unless you make alternative arrangements. If she’s not willing to train the puppy with you and give the puppy the care it needs, getting a new pet will be problematic.



Best of luck!

❤ Katie


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