There are numerous instances where you’ll need to call in a pet sitter. The right sitter will ensure that your loyal companion is well cared for when you go on vacation or take a weekend business trip. While pet hotels and play centers are growing in popularity, your pet might prefer the comforts of home, so finding a sitter will be a priority. Use the following tips to find a sitter who will care for your pet and ensure your peace of mind while you’re away.
1. Keep your pet’s well-being in mind
If your pet’s well-being is your number one priority, you’ll choose a sitter that is capable of managing anything that arises. All pet sitters are not the same. So while it might be affordable and convenient to ask the kid next door to ensure your pet has food and water, there’s no guarantee they’ll know what to do if your pet falls ill. Ask the sitter how they’ll manage certain scenarios and make sure they understand what to do in case of an emergency.
2. Don’t wait until it’s too late
Professional sitters need a few weeks’ notice before accepting a job. So start looking for a sitter as soon as you learn of an upcoming trip that will take you away from your pet. This will also give you time to do some research and ask questions to find the right sitter.
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3. Review the sitter’s qualifications
Does the sitter have any animal specific qualifications? It’s essential that you ask. Professional sitters usually have some animal related training, including CPR and animal first aid. If your pet has some special needs, you’ll need to search for a sitter who has some experience dealing with those special needs.
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4. Schedule an interview where your pet is present
The way your pet relates to the sitter is the key factor that will influence your decision. Some pets take naturally to strangers while others take some time to warm up to a new person. Schedule a meet and greet so you’ll be able to formally introduce your pet to a new potential sitter. Observe how the sitter responds to your pet; does she take steps to relieve the animal’s fear or anxiety? Does she use the right tone and body language to demonstrate support and comfort? With a little observation, you’ll be able to tell whether the sitter is the right fit for your pet.
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5. Check references
Ask the sitter to provide the names of a few references and make sure you follow up on at least two references. Once you’re satisfied that the sitter is competent, your next step should be to confirm that the sitter has the appropriate license and insurance as outlined by your local regulations. Ask the sitter to provide a contract outlining the total cost and the services provided. Finally, make sure there’s sufficient food for your pet and keep the medical records within easy access.
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6. Notify your vet
Let your vet know that you’ll be away and give them the sitter’s name and contact information. You might need to provide your credit card or insurance information to ensure that your pet is promptly cared for in case of an emergency. Make sure that the staff has your information to contact you while you’re out of town.
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7. Leave detailed instructions
You don’t have to be nitpicky, but you should ensure that your sitter has all the appropriate information for caring for your pet. Leave your contact information as well as the vet’s name and number. Document the details on your pet’s diet, favorite toys, exercise and bedtime routine, and any other special needs. If the animal is taking specific medications or have specific allergies, make sure to document those details as well.
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8. Exchange phone numbers
Don’t forget to give your sitter your landlord’s number, or a number for your neighbor with an extra set of keys if you own your own home. Let your family and neighbors know you’ve hired a sitter and give them the sitter’s contact information to call if there’s something wrong.
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9. Enjoy your vacation
Whether you’re going on vacation or a business trip, enjoy the time away. There’s no use in worrying about your pet if you chose a competent sitter.
Choosing the right pet sitter is a little more intensive than dialing a random number from the phone book. Ask all the right questions, but keep your pet’s well-being at the forefront of your mind, and you’ll know when you’ve found the right one. Do you have any other tips on how to find a good pet sitter?