Choosing a Pet Sitter


Pet sitters do a lot more than just provide your dog with food and water while you’re away from home. A good pet sitter will spend time with your dog, exercise it, and know when it needs veterinary attention.

Some pet sitters will offer to do additional things for you like bring in your mail and newspaper, water your plants, and turn lights on and off so your house looks occupied.

But just because someone says they are a pet sitter doesn’t mean they are qualified to do the job

When you have to be away from home for travel, or if an unexpected emergency arises and you don’t want to board your dog in a kennel, who can you depend on to take care of your dog?

Many pet owners will ask a friend or neighbor to stop in every day to feed their dog and give it fresh water. But will this limited amount of attention be enough?

Unfortunately, unless your friends and neighbors are dedicated dog lovers, they may not understand proper pet care and could leave your dog susceptible to injury or stress from separation anxiety. Many friends and family members won’t tell you, but they often resent having to look after your pet and make frequent visits to your house – especially if they are young or have busy schedules in their lives.

To satisfy your own fears, you may want to consider hiring a professional pet sitter to care for your dog while you’re away.

A pet sitter can offer both you and your pet many benefits. Your pet will be able to stay in the environment it is most familiar with; will have its same diet and routine; and won’t have to stay in a boarding kennel with other unfamiliar dogs.

The benefits for you are numerous also. Keeping your family, friends and neighbors happy because they won’t be burdened with caring for your dog; the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional; having someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so burglars don’t know that no one is home; plus other errands or chores a sitter can do for you while you’re away.

The best way to choose a pet sitter is to ask for a recommendation from your family and friends, or you can check your Yellow Pages under “Pet Sitting Services.”

It is very important that you learn all you can about any potential pet sitters. Interviewing prospects on the phone or at your home can reveal a lot about a the qualifications of a pet sitter.

Whether on the phone or in person, you should ask the prospective pet sitter if he or she has any medical conditions that might interfere with taking care of your dog; whether he or she has a backup person to care for your dog in the event of a personal or family emergency; will your dog be taken on regular walks to get its exercise, and are there other services that can be handled like picking up your mail and newspaper.

If you find a pet sitter that provides live-in services in your home, find out the specific times that person will be home with your pet; for example, do they work, or do they have appointments scheduled with a doctor or dentist during your absence? Will the pet sitter provide you phone numbers of other clients as references?

It is of vital importance to have any prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your dog before deciding on who to hire as a pet-sitter. During this in-person interview, observe how the person interacts with your dog and whether your dog is comfortable with that person.

You have responsibilities to the pet sitter also. You should make reservations with your pet sitter early enough for them to plan their life around your departure and return. Be sure your dog has current identification tags and is up-to-date with its vaccinations. Leave clear instructions for the pet sitter detailing specific pet-care responsibilities and emergency contact information, including how to reach you and your veterinarian.

Be sure your dog has sufficient pet food and any necessary medications. Leave an extra key with a neighbor as a backup.

A pet sitter will be spending a lot of time alone in your home, so you want to choose a pet sitter who is the most reliable and trustworthy person. Ask them about their past work history and be sure to check references with their former clients.

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