How to Choose a Pet Sitter

One of the hardest things a pet owner has to do is to leave their beloved furry friends alone for any period of time. The anxiety is real. Most pet owners resort to leaving their pets with their own trusted veterinarian, a reliable neighbour, or a family member. Sometimes they may even choose to leave their pet at a kennel or home designed to board animals for a period of time. ‌

While these are tried and tested solutions, some pet parents still feel uncomfortable having to take their animal outside their home where they feel the safest. ‘Pet sitting’ is a relatively new option that you can consider if you’re looking for someone to provide trustworthy at-home care for your pets. ‌

There are several tips and strategies that you can make use of to choose the right pet sitter for your needs – one that’s professionally trained and knows how to handle your pet with just the right amount of care and in-depth knowledge.

Search Online and Offline for a Pet Sitter

This can seem like a no-brainer, but it really is a good way to get a sense of the options that are available out there. Look for local service providers and check out their website and reviews. If a site has a lot of positive reviews and repeat customers, it might be worth checking out. ‌There are even some national and international sites that you can use to browse through your own area.

As a pet owner, you want to get the best care for your animal possible. That’s an important reason why one of the best ways to choose a pet sitter is to get reviews and recommendations from trusted friends, family members, neighbours, or work associates. It's similar to hiring people for jobs. Trusted resources can be relied upon to give you truthful and honest recommendations.

Shortlist Potential Pet Sitters

Once you have a working list of potential pet sitters, it’s time to set up interviews. Aside from establishing their expertise and credibility, interviews are a good way for you to assess your rapport and comfort with the pet sitter. Here is a potential checklist you can make use of for your interview:

  • How often have they worked with your specific pet species? Do they have professional training, certifications, qualifications or other credentials?
  • ‌What they would do if they suddenly become unwell or have a personal emergency? How do they plan to make sure your pet is looked after?
  • ‌Check if references and recommendations are available. Ideally, you will always want to pick someone who can readily give you this information so that you can do the necessary checks to make sure they’re legitimate.
  • ‌Discuss what types of services they provide and what’s covered under their pet sitting services.
  • Talk about the prices for their services. A tip – going for the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best thing to do. Even if budget is a concern, your pet still needs the best quality care possible.
  • Discuss your pet’s specific needs, their routines, what they like and don’t like, and gauge the pet sitter’s comfort with managing these.

Shortlist a few candidates instead of settling on just one because the next step is to see how well your pet and the pet sitter take to each other!

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Set Up a Meeting With Your Pet

Invite the pet sitter to your home so they can meet your pet and spend some time getting to know each other. Watch how they interact with each other. If you have a dog, for example, you could ask your pet sitter to take your dog for a walk so you can observe how they’re handling your animal. 

  • ‌Does your pet sitter look calm, patient, professional, and capable of managing your pet? 
  • ‌Does your pet appear comfortable and at ease with the pet sitter?

‌Review the interactions you’ve had with your shortlisted candidates, and choose the best-performing candidate for your beloved pet!

Keep Tabs

Choosing the right pet sitter for your animal is only just the first step. Remember to ask for reports, photos, activity logs or install a camera so you can assess how the pet sitter is really doing.  ‌

As a pet parent, you may not always have the liberty to take your pets with you wherever you go or look after them as often as you want. These 5 tips can help you choose the best pet sitter for your animal so you can have the peace of mind, knowing your pet is getting the best care possible in your absence.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 24, 2021

Sources

‌‌SOURCES:

American Kennel Club: "How to Find & Choose a Pet Sitter."

The Humane Society of the United States: "How to choose a reliable pet sitter." 

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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