Hiring a pet sitter is the best course of action you can take if you own one or more pets and are leaving for any extended period of time. This option is much more logical then bringing your pet to a boarding kennel or bugging your friends or neighbors to keep your pet while you are away.
Pets get stressed when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. Their stress level is heightened when they are around a lot of other animals. This makes boarding kennels not the worst place for you to send you pet but also not the optimal choice.
Your friend, family and friends might take your pets but you run the risk of inconveniencing them and if they are not pet owners themselves they might not have any idea how to care for a pet.
What A Professional Pet Sitter Does
Pet sitters have several important duties to fulfill on your behalf when you are away. These include feeding your pet, cleaning up after your pet, making sure they are safe, exercising your pets (only usually applicable with dogs) and giving your pet needed attention on a daily basis. You can also arrange for your pet sitter to do several other tasks unrelated to your pets like bringing in your mail, picking up the newspaper and any other advertisements, watering your garden (if applicable) and taking out the trash. Though their title implies that their main duties are pet oriented, a pet sitter’s main job is to put your mind at ease and take care of your house while you are away.
Many times it’s a good idea for the person you hire to spend the night at your house a couple nights. It’s good for people to see someone going in and out of the house. Statistics show that hiring a sitter drastically reduces the chances of your house being burglarized while you are away.
How to Find A Good & Trustworthy Sitter
No matter where you find a pet sitter you should meet with this person first. You and the person should have a sit down and discuss various things you would like done. Typically you can get a good feel as to whether you like a person within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. Ask them many questions and see if you and he/she seem to gel.
I would also strongly recommend that your hire an animal lover. If a person does pet sitting or dog walking for a living then that person should be an avid animal lover. Optimally, that person should own some pets themselves.
There are other websites that recommend you do ten different things but the biggest thing I would suggest is that you ask for just a few references and recommendations. You are looking for someone to just vouch for this person to verify they are trustworthy and dependable. Three is more than enough.
Before You Leave…
Make sure that before you leave you go over everything with the pet sitter you choose to go with. Have your own checklist of things you want them to do. Most professional pet sitters have their own forms and checklists so that they can easily keep track of their duties and responsibilities. The more detailed your instructions are the less confusion there would be. Tell the sitter about any medical conditions or special needs your pet might have. It’s also a good idea to write them down.
All of the emergency contact information should be on the refrigerator including the number to the veterinary clinic you use. You should also have his or her cell phone number in case you need to quickly make contact with your sitter. Leave some pocket money for the sitter as well. He or she might need to purchase some food, toys, wipes or other supplies relating to your pet or home.
This article was written by Lindsay Mayer. She is the owner of Mutt Strutters, a Merced pet sitting business that he started become of her passion for animals. She is a pet blogger that write on multiple dog related websites and forums.