Essential Considerations When Hiring a Professional Pet Sitter

You’re all set for your dream vacation, with everything meticulously planned. Yet, there’s the matter of your beloved cat or dog who can’t join you on this journey. What to do? Cancelling the trip isn’t the only option.

You could rely on a neighbor, a family member, a friend, or the kid next door to take care of your pets. However, these well-intentioned favors can sometimes strain relationships and might not provide the level of care your pets deserve. Non-professional pet sitters often lack insurance, bonding, and the expertise to handle potential emergencies.

Professional pet sitters, on the other hand, are experienced in handling such situations as part of their job. They can ensure that your pets receive the care and attention they need while keeping an eye on your home. Hiring a professional pet sitter offers peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your trip.

Finding the Right Pet Sitter

If you’re considering hiring a professional cat sitter or dog sitter, there are several avenues to explore:

  1. Recommendations: Start by asking friends for recommendations, as word-of-mouth referrals are valuable.
  2. Veterinarian’s Office: Some veterinarians may have pet sitters’ contact information or business cards available.
  3. Online Resources: Utilize online platforms such as Yelp and Google to find professional pet sitters.
  4. Professional Organizations: Organizations like Pet Sitters International (PSI) and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAAPS) have directories of reputable pet sitters.

Once you have a few options, it’s essential to select the right pet sitter for your needs.

Selecting a Pet Sitter: What to Look For

Before arranging a meeting with a professional pet sitter, gather crucial information about their service:

  • Are they bonded and insured?
  • Do they conduct background checks on their sitters?
  • Are they affiliated with professional organizations like PSI, NAAPS, or their local Chamber of Commerce?
  • Is their website professional and informative, featuring photos and bios of their sitters?
  • Do they demonstrate expertise in the specific pet type you have, be it cats or dogs?
  • Will you meet your designated sitter, and what’s the backup plan if they’re unavailable?
  • Are the offered services in line with your needs, including in-home visits, multiple daily visits, overnight stays, or boarding options?
  • If it’s in-home visits, what’s the duration, and do they offer additional services like plant care or mail collection?
  • A blog on their website can indicate their dedication to their work and pet care.

Meeting the Pet Sitter: Key Questions and Observations

Once you’ve identified a pet-sitting service that aligns with your requirements, the next step is an in-home meeting with your potential sitter. Here are important questions to ask and things to observe during this meeting:

  • Inquire about their experience in pet sitting.
  • Discuss security measures for your home, like key storage and alarm codes.
  • Establish communication methods while you’re away.
  • Understand how they handle pet illnesses or emergencies.
  • Clarify their protocol for home-related issues.
  • Learn about their emergency response plan for various situations, such as fires, floods, or storms.
  • Request references, especially if you’re considering a solo sitter.
  • Observe how they interact with your pet, ensuring they are comfortable and capable.

Once you’ve found a pet sitter that you, and more importantly, your pets feel at ease with, you can embark on your travels with the confidence that a professional pet sitting service brings.