Hiring a pet sitter can sometimes be a difficult task. This person will be coming into your home and you want someone you can trust. After all, they will be caring for the furry members of your family. If you don’t have clear expectations of what you want in a pet sitter, it’s likely you will be disappointed. Follow these tips to find, hire and keep the perfect pet sitter.
- Plan Ahead. Chances are your vacation will fall during the summer or on a holiday which are the busiest times for pet sitters. Don’t wait until the last-minute and expect to find a great sitter. All the good ones may be booked up. Not sure where to start? First ask friends and family if they have someone they love. If not, try using websites like www.southernnevadapets.com. All sitters are licensed/insured and the site lists the zip codes that they service.
- Set up Interviews. Once you have a list of pet sitters that service your area call a few to check services, availability and pricing. Make sure to discuss what kinds of animals you have. Not all pet sitters care for all kinds of pets. Some are limited to cats and dogs. I recommend setting up at least 2-3 interviews with potential sitters. This way you will be able to see how people interact with your pets and vice versa. Animals are a great judge of people and they can help you make the final decision. Keep in mind that the cheapest person is not always the best choice. You will find after making a few calls that most sitters will have similar prices. If someone is charging significantly less, there might be a reason.
- Be Upfront. If you have pets with behavior or medical issues make sure to disclose this. You want to be sure the pet sitter is equipped to deal with them. For instance, not everyone is comfortable giving insulin or other injections. On the behavioral side you might have a 150 lb. dog that pulls on a leash. Is the potential dog walker physically capable of walking him?
- Ask Questions. This is the step most people get hung up on and yet it’s the most important one. Be sure to ask the right questions and never feel bad about asking too many questions. Reputable pet sitters won’t mind at all and will be happy to sit and chat. Does the sitter have business license/insurance? What other certifications do they have, if any? Do they have an emergency backup person in case they are ill or injured? Do they have a contract? Do they walk dogs, check mail, clean litter, clean cages, water plants etc.?
- Make Final Arrangements. Once you have decided on a pet sitter make sure to go over contracts, exchange keys, give payment and explain your exact needs. Consider putting together a folder with your pet’s shot records and other important information that the sitter can take to vet in case of an emergency. If you already have vacation days booked, give them to your new sitter ASAP. Feel free to leave extra notes or send texts for things that you may have forgotten until your pet sitter gets comfortable with your pet’s routine.
Now that you’ve hired the perfect pet sitter you can enjoy your vacation without having to worry about the family members that had to stay home!
Kristen Corral-Marin is the owner of Little White Dog Co., a pet services company specializing in pet sitting, animal massage and dog yoga. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.