Choosing a pet sitter is a big decision. You will be leaving your beloved dog in the hands of someone else and trusting them to visit your home, feed your dog, play with him, and know what to do if there should be an emergency. How do you find the perfect pet sitter?
There are some basic approaches to finding a good pet sitter:
1. Ask around. If you have friends or family who have used a pet sitter in the past, find out who they used and if they would recommend them. The advantage of using someone that is known to your friends and family is that this person comes with a built-in recommendation.
2. Check with your vet. Your vet sees a wide assortment of pets in your community. They also know many pet professionals. They may be able to recommend a good pet sitter. The same is true of your pet groomer and other people you see regularly for your dog’s care.
3. Check bulletin boards. Many pet sitters advertise on the bulletin boards at vet offices, pet groomers’ shops, dog supply stores and other pet-related businesses. This is a good way to make a connection with a pet sitter but it does not provide you with a recommendation about the pet sitter’s abilities.
4. Check your phone book for local pet sitters.
5. Check online for local pet sitters. Superpages.com often lists pet sitters (and other pet professionals) in local areas.
6. You can check with Professional United Pet Sitters , the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters , and Pet Sitters International to find professional pet sitters in your area. Simply type in your area code or other information about your locality and they should be able to offer suggestions.
Once you have found some likely pet sitting candidates there are some things you should ask them before you hire them. You need to discuss the following subjects with your potential pet sitters:
– Is the pet sitter insured?
– Can they provide references?
– You should check with other local pet professional businesses in your area to find out about the pet sitters reputation.
– You should ask to see the contract for pet sitting services.
– Make sure that you understand the costs and what services are included.
– Ask the pet sitter about their pet education and if they have and certification or accreditation.
– Do they know first aid for pets?
– Do they belong to any professional organizations such as a professional pet sitting group or other pet care group?
– Is there a backup plan in case the pet sitter has a personal emergency? Who will take care of your dog?
– Is the pet sitter properly licensed?
You should also ask questions about how the pet sitter interacts with your particular dog. Have they cared for a Greater Shantung Westheimer before? (Insert your breed.) Do they know how to care for them? How many times per day will they be coming to your house? Will they be staying at your house? And so on. Make sure you cover all of the details of their care of your dog, especially if your dog has any special needs.
Whew! It’s a lot of information to cover but you will be gone and you will be asking someone else to take care of your dog — you can’t be too careful. You should interview a pet sitter just as you would interview a baby sitter or anyone applying for an important job.
It’s best if you start trying to find a pet sitter far in advance. Not only will it take you some time to choose a pet sitter but good pet sitters can be hard to find. Good pet sitters can book up early.
If you follow these suggestions you should be able to find a good pet sitter in your area. Make sure you have several phone numbers so you can reach them at various times. No matter how much confidence you have in them you will probably want to check in frequently.