How To Choose A Pet Sitter

Thursday, February 20, 2014

When you need to leave your pet at home while you go on a business trip or vacation, everyone will be happier if your pet is well-cared for. That includes you, your family, your neighbors and, not to mention, your pet. This is why it is important to select a professional pet sitter who understands the needs of your pet and does his or her best to fulfill them.

Hiring a pet sitter gives a much better return on investment than taking your pet to a kennel or other place. Your pet gets to stay in his own home, which will reduce any stress he feels about being abandoned. He will also get regular attention as well as his usual food and feeding times. If you travel a lot and find a good pet sitter who knows your pet well, your pet may even begin to enjoy the change.

A qualified, professional pet sitter will provide written proof of commercial liability insurance and be bonded [detailed guide here]. This will give you peace of mind that you are protected against accidents, negligence and theft. You can also ask if the pet sitter is associated with a veterinarian in case of an emergency. A professional pet sitter will be happy to provide:

• References with phone numbers
• Related services such as grooming and dog walking
A service contract that makes services and fees clear
• Additional services such as watering the garden and taking in the mail
A business or kennel license if required in your area 

When you are satisfied that the candidate has fulfilled all the preliminary requirements, the pet sitter needs to meet your pet. It is essential to see how she interacts with your pet and how your pet reacts to her. Only if this goes well, you should hire her.

You can decide exactly what the pet sitter’s schedule should be. If you have more than one pet, you may want her to spend more time so that each pet gets some personal attention. The visiting time could be 15 minutes or one hour or somewhere in between, it’s up to you. You can select pre-determined time slots so that you know when the sitter is in your home. You may want to call at that time for updates on how things are going.

Dogs that only stay indoors may need three visits per day. Most dogs require one visit per day and cats may require two visits per day. You can ask the sitter to visit your pet every other day, but this doesn’t give optimum care.

There are also some professional pet sitters who offer live-in service, however, this is not common because they usually have other customers and pets they need to visit. The sitter should also tell you about any backup plan she has in the event that she becomes ill or, for any reason, can’t fulfill her duties. You should know in advance if the sitter plans to bring anyone else with them when they visit your pet. You can stipulate that the sitter should always come alone. However, if there is a visit after dark, the sitter may request to bring another person.

The best way to find a pet sitter that you feel you can trust in your home is to get recommendations from vets, the humane society, dog trainers and people who have experience with a particular pet sitter. Even then, you should ask for references. The applicant should take the time to ask you about your pet and write down important details such as medical conditions, vets phone number, likes and dislikes, routine and any other thing that makes your pet unique.

Pet sitters offer other services for your pets even when you are not on a trip. If you have a pet that is home alone all day during the week, a pet sitter may come to your house and take your dog for a walk during the day. Dog walking services can be for 20 to 60 minutes and either every day or just a few times a week.

Professional pet sitters are worth the cost because they give you and your pet peace of mind when you need to travel or be otherwise engaged.

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