How to choose the right pet sitter

Posted on Nov 30, 2013

How to choose the right pet sitter

When you’re relaxing during vacation, away on business, or out of town for any other reason, the one thing you don’t want to worry about is whether your pet is being taken care of. Hiring a pet sitter gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your pet is being fed and cared for, and that your home is in safe hands while you’re away. Whether you just need someone to make sure the cat gets fed, or if you have a whole pack of pooches that need to be let out three times a day, when you need a pet sitter, it’s important to choose the right one.

Follow this step-by-step guide to choosing the right pet sitter then start packing your bags!

Start looking

Start your search for a pet sitter by just asking around! Seek recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, and of course your veterinarian, pet supply store, groomer or any other pet care professionals you know. For more names, use pet sitter organizations as a resource. A few places to start: the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Dog Tec, and Pet Sitters International.

Narrow your choices

Choose potential pet sitting candidates by identifying the traits and services that are important to you and see if pet sitters (and their reviews) match. Here are a few things to look for:

  •  Proof of commercial liability insurance
  •  Certifications and training’s
  •  Knowledge of pet first aid
  •  Availability of references and/or reviews
  •  Services offered
  •  Rates

Interview candidates

You may start with a phone interview then meet one or two pet sitters in person, but in any case it is essential to meet your pet sitter before leaving your furry friends in their hands, and your pet should definitely be a part of the interview. Prepare a list of questions you would like to ask, such as:

  •          What kind of education or certifications do you have?
  •          Do you know pet first aid?
  •          Are you a member of any professional organizations or groups?
  •          Do you have proof of insurance, certifications, or bonding?
  •          Is this a full-time job or do you have other obligations?
  •          What is your plan in case of a personal emergency? Do you have a back-up?
  •          If working with a company, will the same sitter be in my house on each visit?
  •          How will you update me about my pet while I’m away?
  •          Will any guests or other animals accompany you in my home?
  •          Are overnight pet sitting visits available? How will these work?
  •          Are you willing to administer medications? Is there an additional fee?
  •          Are you able to care for other animals in my home and take care of mail, plants or other            needs?
  •          Can you provide a typed or written legal contract for your services, including the terms and cancellation policy?

Choose the right pet sitter

After you’ve asked all your questions and found a sitter that fits your schedule, budget, and pet care needs, consider other factors that might make a pet sitter the right one for you. For example, did the pet sitter appear comfortable around your pet, and vice versa? Did he or she ask questions during the interview and did they take note of answers and other information provided. When all is said and done, is this a person you feel comfortable having in your home and around your family’s pets?

Sometimes it’s most convenient to ask family, friends, or even the next door neighbor to watch your cat, dog or iguana while you’re away. But for many, hiring a professional pet sitter is the right choice. No matter who you choose, asking the right questions and knowing that you’ve chosen the right pet sitter means you and your pets can feel safe and secure, no matter where you are. 

 

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