How to Find a Pet Sitter You Can Trust
Let’s face it—your furry family member is probably on your mind often while you’re away. Whether you’re out for the day or traveling to an exotic destination, you know just how important it is for your four-legged friend to feel safe, happy, and relaxed back home. That’s where professional pet sitters come in. Qualified sitters make an excellent alternative to boarding kennels, providing peace of mind knowing your pet is in good hands while enjoying the comforts of home.
Finding a pet sitter who’s right for you and your dog or cat takes thoughtful consideration. The days and times you’ll need a sitter, the services you’re seeking, and your pet’s specific requirements all play important roles in choosing the best professional to watch your furry friend. Follow these steps to hire a sitter who earns you and your pet’s approval!
Gathering Your Information
If you search “pet sitters” online, odds are you’ll have a wide selection of available candidates in your area offering different services. Doing your research will help you find the most qualified sitters for your needs and ultimately make a smart, well-informed hire.
Identify Your Needs
Pet sitting comes in many forms with a variety of responsibilities, which is why it’s important to find a sitter who checks all the right boxes. Determine how frequently you will need a sitter, which days of the week, and the hours they should be available.
Not all sitters are available on holidays or for overnight stays, so you may have a limited selection if you need these services. Also note any specific duties you want your sitter to provide, which may include grooming, feeding, and safely walking your pet.
Do you have a friend or family member who swears by their pet sitter? Ask about their experience to help gauge whether their sitter could be a good fit for you, too! After all, the people closest to you can offer honest, accurate testimonials and answer questions you may have about learning how to find a pet sitter in general.
Your veterinarian is another great person to ask for recommendations. As a trusted professional who works with pet experts regularly, they should have a good pulse on quality pet sitters in your area. Plus, hiring someone with a direct connection to your vet can be invaluable in emergency situations.
Check for Qualifications
The right credentials can separate an average pet sitter from the very best sitter. At a minimum, any sitter you’re considering should have formal training and liability insurance to cover potential damage to your home or pet while on duty. Your prospective sitters should also be certified in first aid and CPR.
Pet sitters are not legally mandated to have a business license, but obtaining one is preferable; taking the time and effort to get a license demonstrates sincere commitment to the job. If any candidates you’re researching work for a pet sitting company, the business should be bonded to protect you from potential theft.
If you have a puppy, kitten, senior pet, or multiple animals, you should also make sure candidates have experience working with your specific kind of pet.
Set a Budget
Finding a pet sitter should be a smart choice for your fur kid and your wallet. Research the average rates of sitters in your area and determine a price point that’s comfortable to you. Keep in mind that sitters often expect more money for overnight stays and holidays, so you may have to adjust your budget.
Once you have a shortlist of candidates you like, it’s time for you and your pet to meet them! The interview process will help you learn more about each sitter and lead you to a final decision.
Prepare Your Interview Questions
List out everything you want to ask each candidate in advance of the interview. Questions to consider include:
- What experience do you have working with dogs or cats?
- What training do you have to handle emergency situations?
- Do you have a veterinary contact?
- What hours and days are you available?
- Are you available on short notice?
- Are you available on holidays?
- Are you willing to stay with my pet overnight, if needed?
Be prepared to talk about additional pet services the candidate may have advertised and get clarity on what those services specifically entail. You can also ask for references to verify the sitter’s expertise.
Meet the Candidates
Ideally, you should host interviews at home while your dog or cat is present. This will give each candidate a chance to meet your pet and make sure they’re compatible with one another. Start asking your interview questions and make sure you are clear about your expectations.
Hiring a Pet Sitter
When you and your pet find a candidate you both like, reaching an agreement with your new pet sitter will be the last big task. Work out any last details regarding pay, hours, and services before officially making the hire.
Finalize the Contract
Your sitter should draft a contract complete with the hiring terms you discussed. The contract should include the following items:
- Pay rate – Make sure your sitter’s hourly rate appears in the contract, as well as any special terms regarding holidays, overnight stays, or other situations that influence pay.
- Services – If you and your sitter agreed to specific services such as feeding your pet or taking them to the park, these details should be included.
- Frequency of visits – The hours and days of the week your sitter is expected to be on duty should be noted.
- Contact information – In the event your sitter needs to reach you in an emergency, they will need your contact information. Make sure your phone number, email address, and any other important contact info is listed in the contract.
- Special details – Any other duties or expectations you and the sitter verbally agreed to should show up in the contract.
If you feel something is missing or incorrect, address the issue with the sitter before putting pen to paper.
Provide Everything Your Sitter Will Need
When it’s time for your sitter’s first visit, make sure they have access to everything your pet will need. These items may include toys, food, treats, grooming supplies, a leash, medicines (if needed), and keys to your home. If you’re going on vacation, make sure the sitter has the hotel’s phone number. Also provide your veterinarian’s contact information in the event of a medical emergency.
Finding a pet sitter you can trust will put both you and your furry friend at ease during your time away. No matter where you plan on going, your pet will appreciate having the familiarity of home and a great caretaker while they look forward to seeing you again soon!