Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by ellen
Whether you’re going away on business or a family vacation, learning how to choose a pet sitter can help you feel more comfortable leaving your pet behind. Having a pet sitter come to your home can be a much more affordable option than boarding your pet while you’re away.
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How to Choose a Pet Sitter
There is more involved in choosing a pet sitter than finding an add on your local bulletin board. Take some time choosing the right pet sitter for your pet and your situation by following these tips. If you’re looking for a pet sitter, make sure that you consider a few of these questions before you make your choice.
What makes a great pet sitter?
A great pet sitter should love animals. But, they should also pay attention to details and make safe, responsible choices. You’ll want someone with experience sitting for your type of animal. And, you’ll want someone who forms some type of bond with your animal when they first visit.
And, because they will be coming in and out of your house, you will want someone that you can trust. They will need to have a key to your home and the access codes for your security system. So, it’s vital that you can trust the fact that they’ll have access to your home without your supervision. While larger pet sitter agencies are often bonded, smaller pet sitters generally are not. Word of mouth and personal references go a long way when considering how to choose a pet sitter.
Tips when looking for a pet sitter
Be sure to check their references. Get at least two references from them to be sure you’re making a good choice. Be sure they have experience watching your type of pet. If they’ve only sat for dogs, and you have cats, they may not be the right choice.
Interview them with your pet. See how they react and how your pet reacts to them. While they won’t always form an immediate bond with your pet, an immediate negative reaction from your pet may give you a clue they aren’t the best choice. You can always ask for pet sitter recommendations from friends in the area.
What should I ask at an interview?
Find out what their fee is and what it includes. Do they charge extra for more than one pet? For administering medicine? How many visits per day does their fee include? If your dog needs to be walked four times a day, will that be extra?
Be sure they are available every day during your absence including holidays. How do they cover emergencies? Do they have a backup? What other services will they provide? Will they brush your pet? Bring in the mail? Water the plants? Will that be extra?
Other things to consider
Are they insured? While this isn’t something that smaller pet sitting services always provide if it’s important to you be sure you ask. How will they communicate with you while you’re gone? Will they leave you a home phone number? Cell phone number? Email address?
The most important thing to keep in mind when looking for a pet sitter is not to rush. You want to feel confident with your choice, and you want to be sure that your pet feels comfortable with the pet sitter. I require at least two meetings with the pet before the pet owner leaves on their trip. I make certain to play with them talk to them and get to know them.
Where to look for a pet sitter?
If you don’t know where to find a pet sitter in your area, you check with places like Pet Sitters of America or the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters. Or, you can always check with your local veterinarian or the Humane Society in your area. They should be able to give you a few names of pet sitters in your area.
Once you’ve chosen a pet sitter, you will probably want to use the same person again in the future as long as you were happy with their service. I have many clients that I’ve been working with for years because they know they can trust me.
Ellen runs a small pet sitting business in southern Vermont. She has experience with a variety of small animals, dogs and cats. She has also cared for ducks, chickens and rabbits. Combined, she has over 20 years of experience in pet care and pet sitting.