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Hiring A Petsitter: Tips To Find Best Match For Your Pet

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Are you planning to travel for business or vacation and are looking for someone to care for your pet while you’re gone?  If so, a professional petsitter is a great option to consider.

Although some petsitters care for pets in their home, the majority of sitters visit pets in the pet’s home.  Many pets are more comfortable in familiar surroundings, especially when their family is away.

It’s important to do your homework when hiring a petsitter.  Here are some points to keep in mind:

Schedule Get-Acquainted Visit

Your prospective pet sitter should require it, if not, request one.  This visit will give you a chance to meet the person that would be caring for your pet.

Observe how the prospect interacts with your pet, and gauge your pet’s reaction to the individual.  Pets are usually pretty good judges of character! If your pet doesn’t seem comfortable with the prospective sitter, interview other prospects.

During this visit, the prospective sitter should understand your pet’s normal schedule for walks/potty breaks, feeding (times and amounts) and play times.  The sitter should then discuss the best care option for your pet(s).  Determine number of visits required and time of day visits should occur.

The sitter should ask about your pet’s likes/dislikes regarding play, walks.  If your pet has favorite hiding places, or tends to try to bolt out the door, the sitter should know these things.

Occasionally, I’ve had new clients request visits, when an overnight stay might be a better option.  Discuss cost and what is included with each care option, then determine which one  would work best for your pet.

Leave Contact And Vet Information

The prospective sitter should request this information from you.  He/she should ask for your best contact info, vet info for your pet, and a local emergency contact in the event you couldn’t be reached.

If your pet takes medication, ensure the sitter knows where the meds are located, correct dosage and how you administer them to your pet.

Is The Petsitter Bonded And Insured?

Ask if the prospective sitter is bonded and insured.  If they are not, that should be a red flag and you should interview other prospects.

Status Updates

Good sitters should volunteer to provide you with updates on how your pet is doing.  Communication methods vary, but commonly updates can be email, text message, or phone call.

You should receive a written report, too, upon your return that spells out how the visits went with your pet.

Ask Questions

  • Ask the sitter what services are included in each visit.  If you have special requests, such as mail pick up or watering plants for example, those are very often included.
  • Be sure your sitter knows where all pet supplies are located, along with any unique behavioral traits your cat/dog may have.
  • If you have a garage door keypad that will used as the primary entry, be sure the sitter has the door code.  Also provide a spare house key in the event the garage door doesn’t work. (This has happened to me multiple times)
  • Be sure to inquire about rates, if that hasn’t already been discussed.  Ask about any additional charges for services such as administering medication, additional pet(s), and holiday surcharge.
  • Check with the petsitter on payment options (cash, Venmo, Paypal, check or credit card) and when payment is expected.

Schedule Well In Advance

Especially during peak holiday seasons, or busy vacation periods (i.e. spring break, it’s my busiest time of the year!) pet care providers have full schedules, so contact prospects well in advance.

If you’re looking at pet care for Christmas, it’s a good idea to contact your sitter in early fall so you can reserve a spot.  It is incredibly difficult to reserve holiday pet care at the last minute.

Also, don’t balk if there is an additional charge for holiday visits.  The petsitter is taking time away from his/her family to care for your pets.  There should be a list of observed holidays on the sitter’s website, or he/she should provide you with information during the get-acquainted visit on holidays with applicable additional charges.

The best case is taking your pets with you if you plan to travel.  If that isn’t possible, a professional petsitter provides quality care so you come home to a happy, healthy pet.

Finding the right sitter for your pet gives you a secure feeling your pet will receive the care he/she deserves.  Once you find the right one, your pet will feel secure knowing what to expect when the sitter visits.

To learn more about Joy of Living’s petsitting options, go to our Services page.



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