You’ve saved your pennies. You’ve accrued time off at work. You have selected a perfect get away destination. Only one problem. Fido. You can’t take him with you, although it is tempting. Now comes the ultimate search. How will you find and pick a good pet sitter for your four-legged family member?
Pet Sitter Research
You probably can think of less than 2 people on this planet you would trust with your precious fur baby. Perhaps, those 2 people are actually traveling with you, so now who can you choose with this huge responsibility? Certainly, not Jacob the 9 year old kid next door!
Start with your friend group. Who has their own bundle of fur and treats them like royalty? Get a recommendation of good pet sitters from fellow dog lovers. After that, ask neighbors, veterinarians, pet rescues and even dog trainers. These people are all connected and will lead you to the right person you can trust.
Safe At Home
Most dog moms and dog dads would prefer their pet be in a home environment, either yours or a pet sitter. Boarding kennels can be cold and impersonal. The benefits to keeping your dog at home is less stress for everyone. The pup stays in their familiar surroundings, they have the same diet and routine all the while still getting quality attention and belly rubs while you are away.
There are also multiple online pet sitting companies that you can sort through and find someone with plenty of five star reviews. One of the biggest online pet sitting companies: ROVER
The Pet Sitter Interview
Before you meet with a pet sitter in person, make sure they are available for your vacation dates. If you are choosing someone from a website service, they will have liability insurance and be bonded. A few critical questions to ask your potential pet sitter:
- What training does the pet sitter have?
- Do they have a daily routine for taking care of your pooch?
- In a doggy emergency, what would they do?
- If something happens to your pet sitter, do they have a backup?
- Does the pet sitter take your dog on a walk, to the park, do grooming, provide training, etc.?
- What is the payment policy? Will they provide you with a written estimate of the services provided?
- If the pet sitter is staying in your home, what are the specific times they have agreed to be with your dog?
- Can the pet sitter provide phone numbers from other clients as references?
Pet Sitter & Doggy Meet ‘N Greet
Have you seen those funny memes that say “If my dog doesn’t like you, neither do I!” The critical part of hiring a pet sitter is to make sure your dog and the pet sitter like each other and can form a bond. Set up a play date so you can observe how the potential sitter behaves around your pup and vice versa. If your dog is shy, you will probably need more time and patience for this important introduction. Always trust your instincts as well as your dog!
Pet Owner Responsibilites
As a responsible pet owner, it’s your job to set up your pet sitter for success. Here are a few tips to remember to do before you go out of town:
- Book early, especially if it’s a holiday time
- Make sure your pet has an i.d. tag, their micro-chip is up-to-date as well as their vaccination records
- Leave clear instructions for your pet sitter on feeding time, exercise time
- Make sure you leave an emergency contact number for someone in town/local while you are away
- Leave extra pet food/supplies for “just in case”
- Give an extra house key to a neighbor or friend as a back-up plan
- Show your pet sitter how to enter/exit your home safely and efficiently