Sometimes we can’t take our pets with us. It’s getting easier to do as more hotels change their policies but there are just trips where we can’t. So what do you do? You can board your pet at your local vet or find a daycare that does boarding. You could also find a neighbor or a friend who may be able to stop by and feed your cat or bird but their working schedule and time may not be consistent with what your pet is used to. If your pet has a special need, it might be best to look for a pet sitter who is experienced with dispensing medications or behavioral problems.
Here are 6 tips to finding a good pet sitter:
1: Ask your vet – any pet sitter who is working hard and is building a reputation will have reached out to others in the pet industry. Your vet may have clients and others who use a pet sitter or knows of one that comes highly recommended. A pet sitter who has established a good rapport with a vet can be a sitter than knows the importance of pet care and takes the job seriously.
2: Ask your friends – anyone can look good on a flyer, advertisement, or website. If you aren’t sure about a pet sitter, ask your fellow pet owners who they have used or liked. Even the locals at your dog park may have a good recommendation.
3: Questions – once you’ve found a pet sitter, ask for references and also ask some questions such as is s/he insured, bonded, and what training, if any, has s/he completed? Will the sitter make notes about your pet and update you while you’re away? Is the sitter associated with a vet who can provide emergency care? How will s/he check that you’ve returned home to return keys, make sure the pets are ok, and any other services you’ve asked to have done?
4: Read the contract carefully – the pet sitter will have complete access to your house and belongings, take care to ensure that all the discussed care and other jobs (taking in mail, watering plants) are listed in the contract. Review the amount of time your pet will be the pet sitter, how long the walks will be, play time, and other services.
5: Test run – a few days before you go away, ask the pet sitter to come by and meet your dog, cat, hamster, fish. See if your pets are ok with the new comer and how they all get along. Take the dog out for a walk with the pet sitter. See if the cat comes over for a pat on the head. Use your instinct and see if you feel at ease with your pets in their care.
6: Emergency plan – if your pet becomes ill or injured what is plan have you agreed upon with the pet sitter? Some pet sitters have a plan set up such as calling the client before taking the pet to the emergency vet. Others have resources that are readily available. Ask if the pet sitter knows CPR or knows of the local 24 hour emergency animal hospital.