The sun is finally poking its head out - teasing us with warm weather and fun playing outside. Along with all the outdoor activities that nice weather brings also comes vacation time!
When you're scheduling a big vacation, the last thing you may want to think about is leaving your fur baby in the hands of some stranger. Though, it may be a better alternative to boarding her in a center where she may come back with viruses, infections, or altered behavior.
To avoid the drama of leaving your pup at one of these places, a pet sitter may be a better idea. If you can find a pet sitter that's willing to stay with your pup in her own home, it will bring peace of mind to both you and her while you're away. Here are a few tips to find a good pet sitter:
Use Good Sites to Find a Reliable Sitter
There are many websites out there to help you find a good pet sitter: Rover.com, Petsitter.com, and even care.com are all options where you can find a pet sitter who will be a good match for you and your pet. The nice thing about these websites is that you can easily search for sitters in your area and check out their profiles to see their experience, their price range, and the tasks they're willing to do (take your dog on walks, clean the litter box, etc.) Instead of cold calling people that your mom and aunt know, this is an easy way to find a few people who can watch your furry friend in a fraction of the time! Although, we do recommend scheduling an interview once you find a potential candidate.
Schedule an Interview
Scheduling an interview is an essential step in finding a good pet sitter. Find a time that you'll be home that you're not in a rush - maybe a weekend afternoon - and take the time to really get to know the person. You're really looking to see if this person is honest, reliable, and passionate about what they do. Invite them to your home so that they can meet your pet and so you can see how they interact together. Play around, with your pet's favorite toys and see if they're comfortable around one another. If your animal seems nervous around this new person, this may be a sign that they're not a good fit. If there is anything special about your pet like any allergies they have or any abnormal behavior they may exhibit, make sure to let the person know. This process is as much for them as it is for you.
A few questions to ask during the interview:
Why do you like pet sitting?
How would you handle an emergency?
How many years of experience do you have with pet care?
What do you find as the most challenging part about working with pets?
Ask If They Have Insurance
If the pet sitter you're considering has insurance, it means one thing right away: this person is serious. They're not just looking for some extra money on the side, they have taken the extra step to insure their-self in case of an emergency. They think of their services as a pet sitter a business, and they are prepared for worst-case scenarios. Yes, it may be a little more expensive to hire an insured pet sitter, but you know that if anything goes wrong, especially if this person is staying in your home while you are away, you'll be covered.
Ask for Referrals
Asking for referrals may seem like overkill, but if you're seriously considering someone to stay in your house and looking after your family member, your peace of mind is worth the extra step of asking past clients their experience with the individual you're considering. After you meet the potential pet sitter, ask if they have a list of referrals. If they don't that's an immediate red flag. That either means that they're too new to have any yet or they didn't have the best relationships with their past clients. In addition, it can also be worth it to do a little digging on social media. You may not have any referrals, but if someone leaves a negative review on a social media site, you know that you should take your business elsewhere. If you take the time to really research someone to watch your pet, you'll be happier in the end.
Communication is Key
Once you find a sitter that you're comfortable with, communication is key! Before you leave, agree on a communication schedule about your pet. Do you need to know every time he is fed and that he eats all of his food? What about every time he goes to the bathroom or on a walk? Do you need pictures throughout the day? Make sure the communication preferences are agreeable by both parties - you don't want the pet sitter bailing because you're asking for too many updates.