If you use a pet sitter, send some flowers or a note this week to tell them how much you appreciate them caring for your pet while you’re gone!
Pet sitters do much more than just feed and water your pet while you are away. A professional pet sitter will spend quality time with your pet as well as provide play and exercise time. Pet sitters often will not only care for your pet, but will bring in your mail, water your plants and turn lights on and off to help deter crime.
A pet sitter offers both you and your pet many benefits.
Your pet gets:
- the environment he knows best.
- his same diet and routine.
- relief from traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place with other animals (such as a boarding kennel).
- attention while you’re away.
- the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional.
- someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so potential burglars don’t know you’re away.
- someone who will come to your home
- other services, such as plant watering and pet grooming.
Just because someone has the title of professional pet sitter, doesn’t mean that they are qualified to care for your pet. Here are some things to look for when choosing a pet sitter.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, when looking for a pet sitter, you should keep these things in mind:
It’s important to learn all you can about prospective pet sitters’ qualifications and services. Before selecting a pet sitter, interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:
- Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
- What training has the pet sitter received?
- Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet, such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
- Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
- What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does she have a backup?
- Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking, dog training, and play time?
- Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
- If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
- How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
- Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?
Even if you like what you hear from the pet sitter and from her references, it’s important to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet before actually hiring her for a pet-sitting job. Watch how she interacts with your pet—does your pet seem comfortable with the person?
To help your new pet sitter and your pet get accustomed to one another, you might want to take a weekend trip and see how everything works out. This will give you a better idea if your pet sitter and your pet are made for each other.