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How to Choose a Pet Sitter

Not every pet sitter is alike, here’s how to find a good one

By Sharon O’Brien

How To Choose a Pet Sitter

If you’re taking a trip and leaving your pet at home, you have three basic pet care options:

  1. Ask a family member, friend or neighbor to care for your pet while you’re away.
  2. Board your pet at a kennel or veterinarian clinic.
  3. Hire a professional pet sitter.

A professional pet sitter will provide services ranging from daily feeding and walking to extensive play time and full-time pet care and house sitting in your home. When you’re choosing a pet sitter, here are a few things to consider.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Pet Sitter:

  • What services are included in the fee?
  • Are there any extra services that require additional payments?
  • Does the sitter have a standard contract that spells out services, payments and other obligations?
  • Is the sitter bonded and insured for liability?
  • Can the sitter provide references that you can check?
  • What types of pets has the sitter cared for in the past?
  • How much time will the sitter spend with your pet?
  • What kind of activities will the sitter share with your pet?
  • How would the pet sitter handle a medical or home emergency?
  • Is the sitter affiliated with any pet care organizations?

Before Leaving Your Pet with a Sitter:

  • Assemble everything the sitter will need to care for your pet, including house keys, food and water dishes, any medications your pet may need, and enough food and treats to last for the duration of your trip.
  • Describe your pet’s personality to the sitter, and spend some time introducing the sitter to your pet. You should also acquaint the sitter with your pet’s health issues, habits, hiding places and favorite toys.
  • Leave your sitter with written, detailed pet care instructions, including phone number for your veterinarian and your travel itinerary with contact numbers where you can be reached in an emergency.

Finally, try to spend more than the usual amount of quality time playing and interacting with your pet in the days leading up to your trip. Being separated from their owners for long periods is hard on many pets. Spending a little extra time with your pet before your trip begins may make you and your pet feel better.

Download Tips for Conducting a Professional Pet Sitter Interview

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