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Finding a Reputable Pet Sitter

Going away? And you can't bring your dog(s)? Then I'm not going...


Leaving your beloved furry friend behind while you're away can be tough, but finding a reliable pet sitter shouldn't add to the stress. With busy schedules and concerns about separation anxiety, many people are turning to professional pet sitters to ensure their pets are well-cared for. However, selecting the right sitter requires careful consideration. When it comes to ensuring the well-being of our beloved pets, finding a trustworthy and reliable pet sitter is crucial.

...Because you deserve to drink a sangria or six on a sunset cruise in Aruba worry-free about if Max or Tallulah is getting cheered on for big stretches before their morning walk.

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Since pet sitters will be responsible for cherished family members and entering your home, it's crucial to find someone who is trustworthy, professional, knowledgeable, and capable of handling any unexpected situations. Equally important is ensuring that your pet feels comfortable and at ease in their presence.


Start Online


Begin your search for a pet sitter by exploring the vast world of the internet. Utilize neighborhood and community websites, where you can often find local pet-sitting services, such as NextDoor. Additionally, professional associations like the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters and Pet Sitters International provide directories of their members on their websites. Take advantage of online reviews and don't hesitate to browse through candidates' Facebook pages to gain insight into their reputation and qualifications. With the power of the internet at your fingertips, you can efficiently narrow down your search for the perfect pet sitter.


Seek Recommendations


Expand your search beyond the virtual world by checking out the bulletin boards at local stores or your veterinarian's office. These physical spaces often have ads from pet sitters seeking clients. Reach out to potential sitters and request references to gain insights into their experience and reliability. Don't forget to tap into your personal network by asking friends, relatives, and neighbors for referrals.


Another valuable resource is your veterinarian and local humane societies, as they may have employees who offer pet-sitting services on a part-time basis. Keep in mind that individuals with full-time jobs may have limited availability, so consider your scheduling needs when exploring options.


Interviewing Potential Sitters


Before diving into interviews via phone or video chat with potential pet sitters, define your pets needs - daily routine, any special needs or medications, and the duration of your absence. From there, take a moment to brainstorm the questions you want to ask. Don't be afraid to engage in a lengthy conversation, as it can provide valuable insights into someone's personality and character. Consider the following topics during your discussions:


The Basics:

Inquire about their business tenure, experience with your specific type of pet, and what backup plan they have in case they are unable to visit your home as scheduled.


Fees:

Discuss their pricing structure to ensure it aligns with your budget. Remember, it's not just about the lowest price, but finding a qualified professional who meets your needs.


Services:

Ask about the specific services they offer. Are they comfortable administering medications? Do they possess any specialized training or certifications? Are they bonded and insured, providing an added layer of protection for both you and your pet?


Emergency Scenarios:

Present one or two hypothetical emergency situations to gauge how candidates would handle them. For instance, what steps would they take if the air conditioning malfunctions on a scorching day or if your pet suddenly starts vomiting?


Check References and Reviews:

Just like reading online reviews before choosing a restaurant, check references and online reviews for potential pet sitters. Contact previous clients to hear about their experiences, and browse online platforms dedicated to pet services. This research will give you valuable insights into the pet sitter's reliability and the quality of care they provide.


By covering these key areas, you'll gain a deeper understanding of each candidate's qualifications, expertise, and problem-solving abilities. With thoughtful preparation and insightful questioning, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision when selecting the best pet sitter for your furry companion.


Meet-and-Greet


Prior to finalizing a pet-sitting arrangement, it's essential for you and your pets to meet the potential candidate in person. This face-to-face interaction provides an opportunity to establish a connection, discuss specific instructions, and observe how they interact with your beloved animal. Consider requesting a trial walk to witness firsthand how they handle your dog's needs and behavior.


Remember to inquire about the candidate's credentials, including references, as well as copies of their bonding and license. Taking this extra step helps ensure their professionalism and reliability. Additionally, for an added layer of security, you may want to consider obtaining a criminal background check to provide peace of mind for both you and your furry friend. By prioritizing these steps, you can rest assured that you've found a trustworthy and competent pet sitter for your cherished companion.


Trial Run


Before embarking on a lengthy trip or vacation, consider setting up a trial run with the potential pet sitter. This trial period involves leaving your pet in their care for a shorter duration, such as a day or a weekend. Think of it as a test drive before committing to the longer journey of your absence.


Think of it as a valuable opportunity to fine-tune the pet-sitter relationship and establish a sense of trust and confidence. It's like trying on a pair of shoes before embarking on a long hike. By conducting a trial run, you can ensure that your pet receives the care and attention they deserve while you're away, providing you with peace of mind and allowing you to fully enjoy your time apart.


Good Fit?


While thorough screening can greatly minimize the risk, there's still a possibility of hiring the wrong person as a pet sitter. However, there are simple steps you can take to assess their performance during the trial run and ensure they are carrying out their responsibilities effectively. Consider implementing the following measures:

Communication is key.

Ask your pet sitter to leave detailed notes about each visit or share photos with you through text or email. This allows you to stay informed about your pet's well-being and the activities undertaken during the sitter's visits.


Utilize technology.

If you have a doorbell camera, periodically check the footage to verify whether the pet sitter arrives at the agreed-upon times. This provides an additional layer of confirmation and peace of mind.


Track their activities.

Invest in a GPS device for your dog's collar. This way, you can monitor their movements and ensure that they are being walked regularly as agreed upon. Like this one!


By implementing these simple measures, you can gain valuable insights into the pet sitter's reliability and dedication to their job. It helps you maintain open lines of communication, verify their presence, and track the care provided to your beloved pet. Ultimately, these steps contribute to your peace of mind and ensure that your pet receives the care and attention they deserve.

Keep an eye out for these possible warning signs:


Indoor accidents:

If you come home to pee puddles, feces, or vomit in the house, it could be an indication that the pet sitter may not be providing adequate care or attention.


Neglected treats or toys:

If you notice that the treats or toys you left for the pet sitter to give to your pet remain untouched, it suggests that they may not be actively engaging with your furry friend during their visits.


Lack of detailed reports:

A reliable pet sitter should provide you with thorough reports on your pet's behavior, activities, and overall well-being. If you consistently receive vague or incomplete updates, it may be a red flag.


While it's wise to be cautious when working with someone new, it's important to remember that most individuals who choose pet-sitting as a profession are genuine animal lovers. With time and trust, a pet sitter can evolve into a trusted friend for both you and your furry companion.


Feel free to leave a comment for more tips/tricks!


Best of luck!

Heather, Pack Leader


Photo by Adam Griffith on Unsplash


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